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. Angler and Ale

    $$$

    If you're a fan of vibrant coastal decor and fresh local seafood, you'll gush over this restaurant and bar overlooking the water and Hawks Cay...Read More

  • 2. B.O.'s Fish Wagon

    $ | Old Town

    What started out as a fish house on wheels appears to have broken down on the corner of Caroline and William Streets and is today...Read More

  • 3. Buzzard's Roost Grill and Pub

    $$

    The views are nice at this waterfront restaurant, but the food is what gets your attention. Burgers, fish tacos, and seafood baskets are lunch faves....Read More

  • 4. Café Marquesa

    $$$ | Old Town

    You'll find seven or more inspired entrées on a changing menu each night, including anything from yellowtail snapper to seared duck breast. End your meal...Read More

  • 5. Calusa

    $$$

    Nestled on the third floor of the main building of Baker's Cay Resort, this waterfront spot offers panoramic views of the gulf and a creative...Read More

  • 6. Chef Michael's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key

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

  • 7. Hideaway Café

    $$$

    It's easy to miss this café tucked between Grassy Key and Marathon, but when you find it (upstairs at Rainbow Bend Resort), you'll discover a...Read More

  • 8. Il Postino

    $$

    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 spacious...Read More

  • 9. La Grignote

    $ | Old Town

    An authentic French bakery run by husband-and-wife team Joel and Babette Odou, this is the place to come for any manner of French-pastry craving---from the...Read More

  • 10. Latitudes

    $$$ | Old Town

    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...Read More

  • 11. Little Palm Island Restaurant

    $$$$

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

  • 12. Matt's Stock Island Kitchen and Bar

    $$ | Stock Island

    This casual-yet-stylish haven of "American coastal comfort food" has garnered plenty of local and national accolades for its eclectic seafood-focused menu and industrial-cool design featuring...Read More

  • 13. My New Joint

    $

    Atop the famed Square Grouper restaurant is a secret spot that locals love and smart travelers seek out for its tapas and well-stocked bar. Sit...Read More

  • 14. Nine One Five

    $$$ | Old Town

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

  • 15. Pierre's

    $$$$ | Upper Matecumbe Key

    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 verandas....Read More

  • 16. Santiago's Bodega

    $ | Old Town

    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 local...Read More

  • 17. Sol by the Sea

    $$

    This is the spot you might imagine when you think of dining by the water in the Keys. The Caribbean-influenced menu includes things like grilled...Read More

  • 18. Square Grouper

    $$

    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 with wasabi drizzle or...Read More

  • 19. Alabama Jack's

    $

    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, mountainous, free-form creations...Read More

  • 20. Azur Restaurant

    $$$ | Old Town

    In a contemporary setting with indoor and outdoor seating, welcoming staff serve original, eclectic dishes that stand out from those at the hordes of Key...Read More

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