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. Chef Michael's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Seafood

    This local favorite–-whose motto is "Peace. Love. Hogfish"–-has been making big waves since 2011 with chef Michael Ledwith at the helm. Seafood...Read More

  • 2. Il Postino

    $$ | Italian

    A bright and airy Italian trattoria located inside the upscale Isla Bella Resort, this spot features a lovely indoor dining room, but it's the...Read More

  • 3. Latitudes

    $$$ | Old Town | Eclectic

    It doesn't get more magical than this. Take the short boat ride to lovely Sunset Key for lunch or dinner on the beach where the million-dollar...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Pierre's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | French

    One of the Keys' most elegant restaurants, Pierre's marries colonial style with modern food trends and lets you taste the world from its romantic...Read More

  • 6. Four Marlins

    $$$ | Old Town | Seafood

    Inspired by an Ernest Hemingway photograph of a family fishing trip in Key West, this oceanfront spot pays homage to pristine seafood combined...Read More

  • 7. Key Largo Conch House

    $ | American

    This family-owned restaurant in a Victorian-style home tucked into the trees is worth seeking out. Seven varieties of Benedicts, including conch...Read More

  • 8. Louie's Backyard

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Feast your eyes on a steal-your-breath-away view and beautifully presented dishes prepared by executive chef Doug Shook. Once you get over sticker...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Morada Bay Beach Café

    $$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key | Eclectic

    This bayfront restaurant wins high marks for its surprisingly stellar cuisine, tables in the sand, and tiki torches that bathe the evening in...Read More

  • 11. Sixty-One Prime

    $$$$ | American

    This fine-dining restaurant in Hawks Cay Resort serves steaks and seafood in an elegant setting. Chefs work with local farmers and fishermen...Read More

  • 12. Sundowners

    $$$ | American

    If it's a clear night and you can snag a reservation, this restaurant will treat you to a sherbet-hue sunset over Florida Bay. The food is also...Read More

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