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15 Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys that Even the Locals Love

Here are the best restaurants in the Florida Keys for you to choose from as recommended by the locals. TBH, you can’t really go wrong!

Like most of Florida, Key West is a lesson in living the good life. Visitors flock to island city for watersports and stunning coral reef dives, only leaving water for its lively nightlife. Others, like me, have a blast wandering through the conch-style architecture and its pastel palette. 

But do you know what really keeps people visiting the Conch Republic over and over again? Key lime pies, seafood fresh from the Gulf and a dab of Caribbean flavour. 

From old paint-is-peeling shops to revamped eateries, these 15 best restaurants in Key West will keep your mouths busy, stomachs full!

Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys

Here are the best places to eat in the Florida Keys – you definitely won’t go hungry!

1. Alabama Jack’s, Key Largo

Don’t look at the ‘shabby shack’ exterior and dismiss it – Alabama Jack’s beach bar is a local favourite!

Restaurant in Key Largo

Sitting along Card Sound Road since 1950s, Alabama Jack’s the only thing out on this alternate route from Key Largo to Key West. Coined one of Florida’s best fish shacks, the open-air structure was built over water, just large enough for an impromptu dance floor. 

It’s famous for its conch fritters!

Catering to the casual and relaxed vibe of the place, expect steamed shrimps alongside burgers and fish sandwiches. There’s plenty of beer to wash down the comfort food too. 

2. Snappers, Key Largo

Like its name suggests, Snappers in Key Largo is all about fresh sea catches. Founded in 1989, it’s an old-school restaurant and bar with indoor seating and an outdoor deck. Why visit? Every Sunday is celebrated with a brunch featuring live jazz. 

What I love about the menu is the sheer variety!

Sample their smoked fish spread and Applewood-smoked bacon wrapped scallops to start with; their mains include grilled filets, lobster tails and specialty tacos. You can even bring your own catch and have it prepped in several ways – beer battered, char-grilled, sautéed and baked. 

3. No Name Pub, Big Pine Key

For a pub with no name, it sure has a big reputation. Off-the-track, eccentric and literally loaded with money, this funky bait-and-tackle shop turned eatery is a brilliant story. The coolest thing about it is how every visitor contributes $1 to the interior!

Restaurants in Florida Keys

Literally every surface is covered with dollar bills – imagine a dollar bill ceiling, every piece carrying messages, names and doodles. 

While the prices are a tad high for its casual menu, the portions don’t disappoint. The pizzas, nachos and seafood plates attract families, while the stacked BBQ Pork Sandwich lure in hungry tourists. 

4. Barnacle Barney’s, Marathon

Tucked away behind a resort is Barnacle Barney’s, which really expresses itself as a tiki bar and grill!

Waterside, featuring hammocks, tiki torches, palm trees and other island feels; you don’t want to miss out on its ambiance. Best yet, the view is amazing – catch the Gulf of Mexico over the docks! 

The menu serves your typical American pub and diner food. Expect standard breakfast sets, burgers, roll ups and a standout: its mahi mahi. The fresh fish fry is all-you-can-eat on Friday nights. 

5. Island Fish Company, Marathon

Another Key West best is the waterside Island Fish Company, featuring the classic tiki bar and fresh seafood combo. Visit for the spectacular ocean views and their extended outdoor seating! There are benches right up against a small pier. Attached is a gift shop with original artwork and the restaurant’s very own merch.

Best Florida Keys restaurants

Happy Hour will net you frozen cocktails and beer on tap everyday but their breakfast treats you to homemade buttermilk pancakes, made-to-order sandwiches, poached egg benedicts and other comfort goods. Lunch and dinner is seafood based; think raw bar, crab claws, seafood tower, fish dips and Caribbean specials. 

6. Hogfish Bar and Grill, Key West

Hogfish Grill is hands down one of the best restaurants in Key West! Locals love the old Key West flavor of this locally owned shop – no hype, just panoramic waterfront views, outdoor dining, strong drinks and fresh seafood. It’s parked literally on the docks. It’s full of character.

The chef’s recommendations blend seafood and Mexican goodies; mixed ceviche, cheese-heaped nachos, conch and grouper, crab cakes and battered wings. Of course, you have to try their house specialty – fried hogfish served on fresh Cuban bread. 

7. BO’s, Key West

BO’s Fish Wagon looks like a shack that had fallen apart… because it had. True to the owner’s “no rules, just food” philosophy, the food truck-turned-eatery had survived several hurricanes and whimsical patch ups. Visitors come for budget eats and casual dress; they stay for its character and flavour. 

best restaurants florida

Locals have long declared the menu to boast the best fish sandwiches and conch fritters in Key West. Expect fast food alongside its most famous item. It’s cash only so line your pockets with change! 

8. Hungry Tarpon Restaurant, Islamorada

Robbie’s Marina isn’t just home to the Hungry Tarpon Restaurant – you also get to feed actual hungry tarpon before hopping on a yacht or touring the open-air market. Robbie’s can be a whole day endeavor if you’re about on-water activities.

Breakfast is served as early as 6:30AM at the restaurant, so you can nibble on the standards while watching people feed the fish. Lunch and dinner signatures include fish tacos, shrimp burritos, cracked conch and lobster frittata. Its mahi fish fingers are also a banger; or, you could fish your meal of the day and have them prep it for you! 

9. Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen, Key Largo

Speaking of great food and reasonable prices in Key Largo, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen is a local favorite. Decorated with license plates, mint-painted trim and offering 4 outdoor tables, it’s been operating since 1976. The generational family recipes have won the restaurant titles like ‘Best Hometown Café’ and ‘People’s Choice Awards’!

 

Best Moments of the Florida Keys

The menu is loaded with variety: burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, baskets all span land and sea. Brekkie choices like Mrs. Mac’s Famous Mornwich and house favorites such as their Homemade Chili and “Konk” Chowder keep the locals coming. There for a treat? They serve excellent Key Lime pie. 

I loved Mrs Mac’s. So much in fact, it made it onto my list of the best moments in the Florida Keys.

10. Lunch at Castaways, Marathon

Voted as best restaurant by the locals in 2008, Castaways continues to serve as the oldest restaurant in Marathon! The waterfront location is a plus but you only need one reason to visit: the food. 

The chefs expanded the menu to offer the bet sushi in the Keys. Lunch in particular features an amazing range, from conch fritter appetizers to snapper sandwiches and delicious sushi combos. Pair your meal with any of the 52 beers on tap for ultimate comfort food. 

11. Better Than Sex, Key West

When it comes to dessert, Better Than Sex Desserts is aptly named! Deep red walls, curtain-wrapped booths and low lighting make this dessert bar speakeasy flavoured. It’s moody and intimate, a far cry from the other restaurants on our list so far. 

restaurants key west

I love that the menu balances sweet and savory. The house made cocktails and chocolate rimmed wines match perfectly with the heavier treats. What better than chocolate chip bakes, sugared toasts and buttery crumbles with cheeky names like Cookie Nookie Pie, Morning After and Missionary Crisp? 

This is a top choice if you only have a day in Key West to chill.

12. Mattheessen’s Candy Kitchen, Key West

On the other hand, Mattheessen’s Candy Kitchen is a bright pop store. Originally a small kiosk named after their daughter, the Mattheessen’s family business later became a fudge and cookie store. Now the menu has expanded to include: ice cream, cookies, fudge and key lime pie. 

I loved their refreshing key lime pie dipped in chocolate! The ice cream selection is also superb, ranging from classic flavors to Cuban coffee, Kahlua almond fudge and Turtle Crunch. Definitely grab their marble slab fudge slices too – they’re extremely creamy. 

13. Square Grouper, Cudjoe Key

A touch more modern than the fish shacks we love, Square Grouper is nonetheless a must-visit! What I appreciate about this bar and grill is their dedication to being environmentally friendly, using corn products and green accents. It’s incredibly homey too.

Square Grouper, Cudjoe Key

American mains and seafood characterise the menu, alongside seasonal specials. Visitors can also enjoy a boutique wine list and microbrews.

14. Lorelei Restaurant, Islamorada

Enjoy awesome views of Florida Bay when you stop for lunch at MM82, also known as Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. Seeing is believing, but trust me when I say the views on the outdoor dining terrace are serene and calming. Sunset is especially beautiful – pull up by boat or car for some jazzy tunes.

Lorelei Restaurant, Islamorada

The menu is seafood heavy, offering flavourful appetisers like raw tuna nachos and bacon wrapped shrimp. Lorelei’s World Famous Fish Sandwich is a lunch must; the Key Lime Peppercorn Snapper an interesting take on the region’s key lime addiction. 


READ MORE: My TOP TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS


15. Midway Café, Islamorada

Between Miami and Key West is the hip counter-serve Midway Café! It’s a great place to take a break and bask in the sun thanks to the outdoor patio. Its road-signs post is extremely easy to spot and there’s even a gift shop for souvenir hunters. If you’re driving from Miami to Key West then this is a definite must stop.

Florida Keys restaurants

Grab coffee and light lunch here – their full bakery and in-house coffee bean roasts are loved by the locals. Don’t worry if you have diet restrictions either, the pastries and bread come with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free variations.

A personal recommendation? Try the Ghirardelli White Chocolate and Caramel Frappe! 

Best restaurants in Key West

The restaurants in Key West are one of the many reasons it’s so popular among tourists and ex pats. The seafood, the chilled vibes and the awesome beach bars are just some of the reasons why your holiday in the Florida Keys is guaranteed to be amazing.


PIN THESE RESTAURANTS IN KEY WEST FOR LATER

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