What is Florida Keys’s dining scene like?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Stephanie Goldberg Glazer

When you think dining in the Florida Keys you should be thinking one thing: seafood. Fresh fish, shrimp, lobster and more. From the simplest peel and eat shrimp to more elaborate presentations, the restaurant scene in the Keys is dominated by individually owned establishments.
Locals crave mainland staples like The Olive Garden (don’t ask me why – when I recently said I was glad we didn’t have one I was told that I haven’t lived here long enough yet and I would change my mind. I doubt it.) But the island fare is, generally, fresh and tasty. Here are just a few examples of the many wonderful dishes you can get throughout the Keys:

1. Mahi Mahi (Yes, dolphin. No, not Flipper.) Matacumbe at The Fish House in Key Largo (mile marker 102) is prepared with fresh tomatoes, capers, basil and shallots, and it is divine. Truly. Go there and get some, you will thank me.

2. Lobster Reuben at Keys Fisheries (mile marker 53, in Marathon). This walk up window and paper plate joint serves up fresh, unique seafood, like the Lobster Reuben. They also have a fun contest to rename their bar every year.

3. Gratinee at Sparky’s Landing (off Sadowski Causeway in Marathon) is fish sautéed with mushrooms in a sherry cream sauce and smothered in mozzarella cheese and served with grilled garlic bread. It is an appetizer, and a heart attack on a plate, but it is awesome.

4. Fish preparations at The Flaming Buoy (1100 Packer Street, Key West) bring out all the island flavors with a flair. From key lime butter sauce to banana salsa topping fresh catch of hogfish (or whatever is fresh that day) you know you are in the tropics.

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