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Key Largo, Key West Restaurant Recommendations


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My fiance and I are going to be married in Key West on Valentine's Day. We're having dinner that night at 912 Duval.

There's another Key West dining thread here:

Key West dining

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I've been to Key West a few times. My favorite place is Bahama Mama's - their coconut shrimp with the rum sauce is awesome. My friends have had other great meals there. Blue Heaven is good and fun. There is a great crepe place on the opposite end of Duval from Mallory square - can't remember the name of it - it's a French place and has all kinds of delicious crepes. We always go there as well.

On the way to the keys, my favorite is Islamorada Fish Company. (Around MM 80s, I think).

"God give us good taste, why bother?" Captain Jim's Sushi Chef
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We just spent Christmas in Key West, so my reports are fairly current! I've been intending to write about our good meals, but haven't yet. I'll start by saying that the restaurant at our hotel was wonderful (!). We stayed at the Hilton Resort and Marina, which is right at Mallory Square where the sunset celebration is each night. Their restaurant, Bistro 245, has been really good every time we've eaten there, and was great during this trip as well.

Besides our meals there, which were on the upscale side, we bummed around and stuck with old favorites and ate a lot of bar food... The Half Shell Raw Bar, Margaritaville, Sloppy Joe's, etc. Nothing was bad. We drank three good meals a day. :smile:

I hope to get back to this post soon with more info.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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The Husband and I were in Key Largo in Novemeber for our birthdays.

We had a wonderful dinner at the Fish House for my birthday and for his birthday we went to Snapper's Saloon. We ate outside and were able to watch the kids feeding the fish on the dock....the fish were practically jumping out of the water! It's definitely more casual, at least sitting outside, and they have a Tiki Bar a little further down the dock so it was a little loud. I don't remember everything we ate, but they do have some extraordinary shrimp fritters and very tasty crab cakes.

Snapper’s Saloon

(305) 852-5956

139 Seaside Ave.

Mile Marker 94.5

Key Largo, FL 33037



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The family and I do a week in the Keys almost every year for the last 10+ years to dive and relax. I've been from Key Largo to Key West and everywhere in between. My experience is that the food is mediocre to my taste and we usually stay in condos with kitchens. I bring a cast iron skillet, a cutting board and a chef's knife. With that basic equipment and some good local fare I can whip up better meals than most of the restaurants we have been to. Now back to you need for recommendations. This is by no means a complete list but a few I can remember. By far Key West has better restaurants than most areas in the Keys. There are so many restaurants that I'm sure I've passed up some very good ones and can only comment on ones I've been to.

Key Largo- The Fish House for conch style dinning, Harriet's Hideout and Hobos are also popluar. A note, service in the Keys can be real hit or miss. Mostly miss.

Islamorada-Stay far away from the Islamorada seafood co. unless you are there to buy fish from the counter. They cater to the tourist and the food poor and the service is terrible the worst I've ever had anywhere. They use to be good when they first opened and were small. Now the place is big and with a mega water sports and apparel store next store, the lines are long and the food and service certainly not worth the wait or the price.

Marathon-For a great fish sandwich try a little place called Fish Tales Seafood Market and Eatery. It's under new hands but still good. We stopped in years ago to buy fish and got the know the owner. He would be standing at the stainless cutting table in high white rubber boots while the fisherman were unloading the days catch just behind him. Now that's fresh and turn over was very fast so fish didn't sit in the cases long. Fantastic Yellow Tail Snapper at a very good price. We made eating and picking up fresh fish at Fish Tails a tradition.

The Barracuda Grill is a nice place with a more upscale menu. Recommended!

Key West-Our favorite place it The Turtle Krawl. There is a place next to it that serves traditional Florida cracker style seafood. Along the board walk in the same area are several restaurants that are okay.

Mangoes, Louie's Back Yard, Bahama Mama's Kitchen, Blue Heaven are all popular and I've had good meals there. El Siboney Restaurant for inexpensive standard Cuban fare. Too many good restaurants in Key West. A lot of mediocre ones as well.

Have fun!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just returned, here are our favorites from the trip.

Key Largo/Tavernier

Returned to the Fish House for a great lunch and some wonderful take out smoked tuna and amberjack. http://www.fishhouse.com/ As mentioned here, Snappers is a fine place for a waterfront beverage. http://islandfun.com/snappers/page2.htm We found the food to be OK and served in pro linebacker sized portions. Biggest chicken wings I ever saw. Breakfast at Harriette's was OK, we were disappointed in the oleo spread and McDonald's style hash browns. Their delicious biscuits deserve real butter!

Big Pine Key:

Tried the No Name Pub after seeng it in a Wash Post travel article recently. http://www.nonamepub.com/ Packed at lunch, good fish sandwich, conch fritters and nachos. Pizza looked great, next time I'm doing pie. Lots of attitude, walls and ceiling covered in autographed dollar bills. Tough to find, heading towards Key West, turn right on Key Deer rd (I think) at the light about mile marker 30.5. Follow to Watson and turn right. When Watson ends, turn left (on Watson again!) Pub is about 1/2 mile on left.

Key West:

Returned to opera for great homemade pasta. http://www.operarestaurant.com/

Found terrific fish sandwich, burgers, and the BEST conch fritters ever at B.O.'s fish wagon, corner of Caroline and William near the marina. http://www.foodreference.com/html/kbo_sfishwagon.html More good Keys attitude here. They take their simple food seriously, I like that.


Went for a birthday dinner to Joe's Stone Crab in South Beach. http://www.joesstonecrab.com/ Had heard about Joe's for years, heard that it was maybe too touristy, expensive, but had great stone crabs. All somewhat true, but the food was really good. Steak house style a la carte, had wonderful chopped salad (with peanuts, weird, but it worked) Maine lobster claws, decadent potatoes Lyonnaise (basically mashed potatoes and onion fried brown in a pan, yum), and the BEST stone crab claws ever. Best claws, best sauce, no competition. No reservations taken, we went early (at 5 PM opening) and walked right in, supposed to get really crowded and have long waits later in the evening. With cocktails about $10 each, don't want to wait too long in the bar unless you're on expense account.

A fun trip and some good eats.

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