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SLUG-AA/TASTE19—DATE-4/10/2001—LOCATION-Pussers’s Landing Photo by Marvin Joseph/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Where to Eat in the Florida Keys

Soak up those scenic views at these top spots

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Road trips have become the preferred mode of travel for many, and South Floridians are fortunate to have one of the most scenic drives in the country when heading to the beloved and quirky Southernmost city of Key West. The 113-mile trip on the famed Overseas Highway offers a restorative balance of scenery and great food along the way, and here are 19 restaurants that can’t be missed.

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Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe

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If the name rings a bell, it’s because this spot is one of the coast’s biggest fish exporters, making most of the meals “fresh off the boat.” The menu can be overwhelming with so much to choose from, but classics like conch fritters, peel-and-eat Key West shrimp, and smoked fish dip are good starts. Don’t miss the Key Largo lobster BLT and Cuban dolphin (mahi-mahi) sandwich.

Italian Food Company

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Husband and wife team Tony and Isis Wright are behind this Key Largo restaurant serving Southern Italian fare. Think Neopolitan-style pizzas, rigatoni bolognese, fiocchi di pera (pasta stuffed with pear and cheese in a light cream sauce with honey and almonds), and lobster ravioli with shrimp. Sandwich lovers won’t want to miss the Saltimbocca Boccas (made with pizza bread) like the Catania, featuring eggplant parmigiana, tomato sauce, and sliced mozzarella, or the Genoa, made with grilled chicken, pesto sauce, cheese, and tomatoes.

Marker 88

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Diners seeking sunset views and fresh seafood can’t go wrong here. The landmark spot has undergone a transformation that features two tiki bars, 10,000 square feet of beachfront dining, a retail space, and an expansive event space perfect for those memorable beachfront weddings. Diners can indulge in meals like Key Lime Seafood (shrimp, lobster, and crab with Tabasco butter and cilantro-lime rice) and catch of the day, grilled or fried, served with sauces like garlic butter cream.

Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar

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Come for the nightly sunset celebrations overlooking idyllic Florida Bay and listen to local bands while sampling favorites like Stone crab chowder, Key lime peppercorn snapper, and twin lobster tails. Don’t pass on Lorelei’s “Frozen” key lime pie for dessert, which is less tart than standard key lime pie and comes topped with mango sauce and whipped cream.

Pierre's Restaurant

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A popular date spot, this elegant Colonial-style restaurant sets the Florida Keys tone with its causal toes-in-the-sand vibe while serving dishes like a rack of lamb, Florida lobster curry, jumbo sea scallops, and truffle gnocchi. There’s also a lounge for a nightcap and dancing. For the ultimate experience, time the visit for a glorious sunset.

Chef Michael's

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Chef Michael Ledwith honed his culinary skills at some of New York’s top spots before being lured to Islamorada’s laidback lifestyle. Diners are privy to upscale seafood specialties in this New American hotspot — many of which are sourced fresh from the Keys each day. Other options include conch and shrimp fritters, roast duck with mango and mandarins, and filet mignon with smoky bacon and gorgonzola cream.

Robbie's

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Overlooking turquoise waters, this spot knows how to get the vacation vibe immediately. Serving freshly caught fish sandwiches like tuna sliders and mahi Reuben and an extensive cocktail menu that includes the signature Trailer Trash Bloody Mary. Afterward, head over to feed the tarpon, where over 100 large fish will grab bait almost from one’s hand.

Oceanside Safari Restaurant & Lounge

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Tucked away in Islamorada, this local hangout opened in 1982 as Safari Lounge. Now under new ownership — and a new name — diners can expect Key West classics like smoked fish dip, conch fritters, fish tacos, and a key lime pie. Of course, tropical cocktails, like the Rum Runner and Painkiller, make it a true Florida Keys experience.

Island Fish Company

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Slip right into the Keys groove with a tiki drink and appetizers like mango crabcakes, shrimp ceviche, and smoked fish dip. The menu is massive and accommodating to everyone, whether you want seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken, or a vegetable burger. Like most spots, Key lime pie is on the menu, but the deep-fried rendition is more intriguing, which is rolled in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with mango sauce.

South of the Seven

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Tucked inside the Sugarloaf Lodge, owners chefs Paul Kapsalis and Kris Kubik serve modern American fare like roasted barrelfish with lemon caper sauce, shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and pecan-crusted chicken stuffed with bacon and blue cheese. Carnivores are not forgotten either, with the menu boasting a generous selection of meat dishes like the 55-ounce Prime bone-in Tomahawk ribeye steak.

Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar

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A little removed from the party scene on Duval Street, this peaceful American restaurant inside the Perry Hotel Key West offers some of the island's best meals. Self-described as American coastal comfort food, appetizers like she-crab soup with blue crab sherry fritter and yellowfin tuna tartare are not to be missed before moving to other dishes like grilled pork chop with sweet corn and asparagus risotto, blackened mahi with blue crab succotash, and center cut filet of beef with goat cheese whipped potatoes.

Cuban Coffee Queen

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Several outlets throughout town make it easy to get a regular caffeine fix, breakfast sandwiches, and plenty of merch like t-shirts with cheeky messages like “Drink More Cuban Coffee and Do Stupid Things Faster.” Coffee is available by the pound, meaning the caffeine party can continue at home.

B.O.'s Fish Wagon

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Epitomizing the relaxed vibe of Key West, this colorful venue made from driftwood welcomes diners with a junk car swathed in bumper stickers. The menu is a straightforward array of fresh seafood caught from the docks a few blocks away, along with the prerequisite burger. The fried conch sandwich is a must, as is an order of gigantic onion rings.

Azur Restaurant

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This local favorite is the ideal brunch spot within walking distance from all the action on Duval. Grab a table on the lush outdoor patio and indulge in Key lime French toast (yes, there’s pie in there!) and the crab cake Benedict served on a flatbread or Roesti potato pancake with brie, prosciutto, arugula, and hollandaise.

Eaton Street Seafood Market & Restaurant

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Primarily a seafood market for the locals, this spot also serves one of the best lobster rolls south of Maine. The secret is the lobster-to-bun ratio. While many lobster rolls are guilty of overdoing it with carbs, diners are treated to a tidy, buttery, toasted bun generously packed with chilled lobster salad heavy on lobster meat. There’s no real seating inside, so snag one of the spots outside.

5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop

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This tiny corner grocery has been doling out some of the best Cuban sandwiches and Cuban coffee for several generations. There’s the traditional Cuban sandwich, or better yet, the Cuban mix (ham, pork, salami, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.) Feel like ending the meal with a cigar? No worries, 5 Brothers sells those too.

Little Pearl

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A meal here will leave diners feeling like they’ve stumbled upon a gem or, true to this place’s name, a little pearl. Dishes are thoughtful and well executed, with a rotating tasting highlighting locally caught seafood, among other items. Wine pairing is also available — reservations are required.

Blue Heaven

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Known as one of the top brunch spots in town, this Key West staple offers bites like Florida shrimp omelet, lobster and grits, or Good Morning Bruschetta (chevre, avocado, scrambled egg whites with fresh tomato salsa and jalapeno atop a crunch bruschetta). Sit in the courtyard where chickens and cats roam free.

Four Marlins Oceanfront Dining

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This lovely, beachside spot in the Reach hotel boasts dishes with creative flair along with impressive wine and cocktail offerings. Guests can indulge in the Tide to Table dining experience: a six-course chef’s tasting menu that kicks off with a glass of prosecco and takes diners on a culinary journey that often includes fish caught fresh that day.

Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe

If the name rings a bell, it’s because this spot is one of the coast’s biggest fish exporters, making most of the meals “fresh off the boat.” The menu can be overwhelming with so much to choose from, but classics like conch fritters, peel-and-eat Key West shrimp, and smoked fish dip are good starts. Don’t miss the Key Largo lobster BLT and Cuban dolphin (mahi-mahi) sandwich.

Italian Food Company

Husband and wife team Tony and Isis Wright are behind this Key Largo restaurant serving Southern Italian fare. Think Neopolitan-style pizzas, rigatoni bolognese, fiocchi di pera (pasta stuffed with pear and cheese in a light cream sauce with honey and almonds), and lobster ravioli with shrimp. Sandwich lovers won’t want to miss the Saltimbocca Boccas (made with pizza bread) like the Catania, featuring eggplant parmigiana, tomato sauce, and sliced mozzarella, or the Genoa, made with grilled chicken, pesto sauce, cheese, and tomatoes.

Marker 88

Diners seeking sunset views and fresh seafood can’t go wrong here. The landmark spot has undergone a transformation that features two tiki bars, 10,000 square feet of beachfront dining, a retail space, and an expansive event space perfect for those memorable beachfront weddings. Diners can indulge in meals like Key Lime Seafood (shrimp, lobster, and crab with Tabasco butter and cilantro-lime rice) and catch of the day, grilled or fried, served with sauces like garlic butter cream.

Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar

Come for the nightly sunset celebrations overlooking idyllic Florida Bay and listen to local bands while sampling favorites like Stone crab chowder, Key lime peppercorn snapper, and twin lobster tails. Don’t pass on Lorelei’s “Frozen” key lime pie for dessert, which is less tart than standard key lime pie and comes topped with mango sauce and whipped cream.

Pierre's Restaurant

A popular date spot, this elegant Colonial-style restaurant sets the Florida Keys tone with its causal toes-in-the-sand vibe while serving dishes like a rack of lamb, Florida lobster curry, jumbo sea scallops, and truffle gnocchi. There’s also a lounge for a nightcap and dancing. For the ultimate experience, time the visit for a glorious sunset.

Chef Michael's

Chef Michael Ledwith honed his culinary skills at some of New York’s top spots before being lured to Islamorada’s laidback lifestyle. Diners are privy to upscale seafood specialties in this New American hotspot — many of which are sourced fresh from the Keys each day. Other options include conch and shrimp fritters, roast duck with mango and mandarins, and filet mignon with smoky bacon and gorgonzola cream.

Robbie's

Overlooking turquoise waters, this spot knows how to get the vacation vibe immediately. Serving freshly caught fish sandwiches like tuna sliders and mahi Reuben and an extensive cocktail menu that includes the signature Trailer Trash Bloody Mary. Afterward, head over to feed the tarpon, where over 100 large fish will grab bait almost from one’s hand.

Oceanside Safari Restaurant & Lounge

Tucked away in Islamorada, this local hangout opened in 1982 as Safari Lounge. Now under new ownership — and a new name — diners can expect Key West classics like smoked fish dip, conch fritters, fish tacos, and a key lime pie. Of course, tropical cocktails, like the Rum Runner and Painkiller, make it a true Florida Keys experience.

Island Fish Company

Slip right into the Keys groove with a tiki drink and appetizers like mango crabcakes, shrimp ceviche, and smoked fish dip. The menu is massive and accommodating to everyone, whether you want seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken, or a vegetable burger. Like most spots, Key lime pie is on the menu, but the deep-fried rendition is more intriguing, which is rolled in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with mango sauce.

South of the Seven

Tucked inside the Sugarloaf Lodge, owners chefs Paul Kapsalis and Kris Kubik serve modern American fare like roasted barrelfish with lemon caper sauce, shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and pecan-crusted chicken stuffed with bacon and blue cheese. Carnivores are not forgotten either, with the menu boasting a generous selection of meat dishes like the 55-ounce Prime bone-in Tomahawk ribeye steak.

Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar

A little removed from the party scene on Duval Street, this peaceful American restaurant inside the Perry Hotel Key West offers some of the island's best meals. Self-described as American coastal comfort food, appetizers like she-crab soup with blue crab sherry fritter and yellowfin tuna tartare are not to be missed before moving to other dishes like grilled pork chop with sweet corn and asparagus risotto, blackened mahi with blue crab succotash, and center cut filet of beef with goat cheese whipped potatoes.

Cuban Coffee Queen

Several outlets throughout town make it easy to get a regular caffeine fix, breakfast sandwiches, and plenty of merch like t-shirts with cheeky messages like “Drink More Cuban Coffee and Do Stupid Things Faster.” Coffee is available by the pound, meaning the caffeine party can continue at home.

B.O.'s Fish Wagon

Epitomizing the relaxed vibe of Key West, this colorful venue made from driftwood welcomes diners with a junk car swathed in bumper stickers. The menu is a straightforward array of fresh seafood caught from the docks a few blocks away, along with the prerequisite burger. The fried conch sandwich is a must, as is an order of gigantic onion rings.

Azur Restaurant

This local favorite is the ideal brunch spot within walking distance from all the action on Duval. Grab a table on the lush outdoor patio and indulge in Key lime French toast (yes, there’s pie in there!) and the crab cake Benedict served on a flatbread or Roesti potato pancake with brie, prosciutto, arugula, and hollandaise.

Eaton Street Seafood Market & Restaurant

Primarily a seafood market for the locals, this spot also serves one of the best lobster rolls south of Maine. The secret is the lobster-to-bun ratio. While many lobster rolls are guilty of overdoing it with carbs, diners are treated to a tidy, buttery, toasted bun generously packed with chilled lobster salad heavy on lobster meat. There’s no real seating inside, so snag one of the spots outside.

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5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop

This tiny corner grocery has been doling out some of the best Cuban sandwiches and Cuban coffee for several generations. There’s the traditional Cuban sandwich, or better yet, the Cuban mix (ham, pork, salami, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.) Feel like ending the meal with a cigar? No worries, 5 Brothers sells those too.

Little Pearl

A meal here will leave diners feeling like they’ve stumbled upon a gem or, true to this place’s name, a little pearl. Dishes are thoughtful and well executed, with a rotating tasting highlighting locally caught seafood, among other items. Wine pairing is also available — reservations are required.

Blue Heaven

Known as one of the top brunch spots in town, this Key West staple offers bites like Florida shrimp omelet, lobster and grits, or Good Morning Bruschetta (chevre, avocado, scrambled egg whites with fresh tomato salsa and jalapeno atop a crunch bruschetta). Sit in the courtyard where chickens and cats roam free.

Four Marlins Oceanfront Dining

This lovely, beachside spot in the Reach hotel boasts dishes with creative flair along with impressive wine and cocktail offerings. Guests can indulge in the Tide to Table dining experience: a six-course chef’s tasting menu that kicks off with a glass of prosecco and takes diners on a culinary journey that often includes fish caught fresh that day.

Related Maps