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. Bistro 245

    $$$ | Old Town

    The sunset views alone are worth a visit, but the food here is stellar as well. Enjoy a key lime martini at the bar or...Read More

  • 2. Conch Republic Seafood Company

    $$ | Historic Seaport

    Because of its location where the fast ferry docks, Conch Republic does a brisk business. It's huge, open-air, on the water, and the menu is...Read More

  • 3. El Meson de Pepe

    $ | Old Town

    If you want a taste of the island's Cuban heritage, this is the place to dine alfresco or in the dining room on refined Cuban...Read More

  • 4. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe

    $ | Old Town

    If you must have your cheeseburger in paradise, it may as well be here. The first of Buffett's line of chain eateries, it belongs here...Read More

  • 5. Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill

    $$

    Owned by former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, this waterfront establishment offers three entertaining experiences: the best sports bar in the Upper Keys; a main restaurant...Read More

  • 6. Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar

    $$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | American

    While local anglers gather here for breakfast, lunch and dinner bring a mix of islanders and visitors for straightforward food and front-row...Read More

  • 7. Snappers

    $$

    In a lively waterfront setting, Snappers has live music, Sunday brunch (including a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar), killer rum drinks, and seating alongside the fishing...Read More

  • 8. The Stuffed Pig

    $

    With only nine tables and a counter inside, this breakfast-and-lunch place is always hopping. The kitchen whips up daily lunch specials like seafood platters or...Read More

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