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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Alabama Jack's

    $ | Seafood

    Calories be damned—the conch fritters here are heaven on a plate. Don't expect the traditional, golf-ball-size spheres of dough; these are unusual...Read More

  • 5. Conch Republic Seafood Company

    $$ | Historic Seaport | Seafood

    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

  • 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. Geiger Key Smokehouse Bar and Grill

    $ | American

    There's a strong hint of the Old Keys at this ocean-side marina restaurant, where local fishermen stop for breakfast before heading out to catch...Read More

  • 8. Half Shell Raw Bar

    $ | Historic Seaport | Seafood

    Smack-dab on the docks, this legendary institution gets its name from the oysters, clams, and peel-and-eat shrimp that are a departure point...Read More

  • 9. Hogfish Bar and Grill

    $ | Stock Island | Seafood

    It's worth a drive to Stock Island, one of Florida's last surviving working waterfronts, just outside Key West, to indulge in the freshness...Read More

  • 10. Island Grill

    $ | Windley Key | Seafood

    Don't be fooled by appearances; this shack on the waterfront takes island breakfast, lunch, and dinner up a notch. The eclectic menu tempts...Read More

  • 11. Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill

    $$ | Seafood

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

  • 12. Marker 88

    $$$ | Plantation Key | Seafood

    A few yards from Florida Bay, on one of the Keys' only natural beaches, this popular seafood restaurant has large picture windows that offer...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Salute on the Beach

    $$ | Old Town | Italian

    Sister restaurant to Blue Heaven, this colorful establishment sits on Higgs Beach, giving it one of the island's best lunch views—and a bit...Read More

  • 15. Snappers

    $$ | Seafood

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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Sunset Grille and Raw Bar

    $$ | Seafood

    Treat yourself to a seafood lunch or dinner at this vaulted tiki hut at the foot of the Seven Mile Bridge. For lunch, try the Voodoo grouper...Read More

  • 18. Turtle Kraals

    $$ | Seafood

    Named for the kraals, or corrals, where sea turtles were once kept until they went to the cannery, this place calls to mind the island's history...Read More

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