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. Santiago's Bodega

    $ | Old Town | Spanish

    Picky palates will be satisfied at this funky, dark, and sensuous tapas restaurant, which is well off the main drag–-it's a secret spot for...Read More

  • 2. Square Grouper

    $$ | Seafood

    In an unassuming warehouse-looking building on U.S. 1, chef-owner Lynn Bell is creating seafood magic. For starters, try the flash-fried conch...Read More

  • 3. Pisces

    $$$$ | European

    In a circa-1892 former store and home, chef William Arnel and staff create a contemporary setting with a stylish granite bar, Andy Warhol originals...Read More

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