The Florida Keys Restaurants

Seafood rules in the Keys, which is full of chef-owned restaurants with not-too-fancy food. Many restaurants serve cuisine that reflects the proximity of the Bahamas and Caribbean (you’ll see the term "Floribbean" on many menus). Tropical fruits figure prominently—especially on the beverage side of the menu. Florida spiny lobster should be local and fresh from August to March, and stone crabs from mid-October to mid-May. And don't dare leave the islands without sampling conch, be it in a fritter or in ceviche. Keep an eye out for authentic key lime pie—yellow custard in a graham-cracker crust. If it's green, just say "no." Note: Particularly in Key West and particularly during spring break, the more affordable and casual restaurants can get loud and downright rowdy, with young visitors often more interested in drinking than eating. Live music contributes to the decibel levels. If you're more of the quiet, intimate-dining type, avoid such overly exuberant scenes by eating early or choosing a restaurant where the bar isn’t the main focus.

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  • 1. Café Marquesa

    $$$ | European

    Chef Susan Ferry presents seven or more inspired entrées on her changing menu each night. Delicious dishes can include anything from yellowtail...Read More

  • 2. Pierre's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | French

    One of the Keys' most elegant restaurants, Pierre's marries colonial style with modern food trends. Full of interesting architectural artifacts...Read More

  • 3. Alma

    $$$ | Latin American

    A refreshing escape from the Middle Keys' same-old menus, Alma serves expertly prepared Florida and Latin-Caribbean dishes in an elegant setting...Read More

  • 4. Café Solé

    $$$ | French

    This little corner of France hides behind a high wall in a residential neighborhood. Inside, French training intertwines with local ingredients...Read More

  • 5. Kaiyo Grill & Sushi

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Japanese

    The decor—an inviting setting that includes colorful abstract mosaics, polished wood floors, and upholstered banquettes—almost steals the show...Read More

  • 6. Little Palm Island Restaurant

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    The restaurant at the exclusive Little Palm Island Resort—its dining room and adjacent outdoor terrace lit by candles and warmed by live music...Read More

  • 7. Michaels Restaurant

    $$$$ | American

    White tablecloths, subdued lighting, and romantic music give Michaels the feel of an urban eatery, while garden seating reminds you that you...Read More

  • 8. Nine One Five

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Twinkling lights draped along the lower- and upper-level outdoor porches of a 100-year-old Victorian home set an unstuffy and comfortable stage...Read More

  • 9. Sarabeth's

    $$ | American

    Named for the award-winning jam-maker and pastry chef Sarabeth Levine, who runs the kitchen, it naturally is proclaimed for its all-morning...Read More

  • 10. Seven Fish

    $$$ | Seafood

    This local hot spot has relocated to a new, easy-to-find location that exudes a casual Key West vibe, but you'll still find the same eclectic...Read More

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