The Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys
The Florida Key, with several tropical islands that run the bottom 120 miles of Florida’s Southernmost tip, s is one of the best tropical destinations in the country, maybe even the world. The Keys lie between the photogenic Gulf of Mexico to the West and the mesmerizing Atlantic Ocean to the East. Some of the most well-known towns in this unique area are Islamorada, Duck Key, Marathon, Key Largo, and iconic Key West.
People come to the Keys for various reasons, such as fishing, scuba diving, relaxing, sunbathing, and food. On a recent visit to the Florida Keys, I was on a mission to find the best restaurants in the towns between Islamorada and Key West. I indulged in amazing dishes with fresh ingredients, all for the sake of research, of course. I found so many to share with you!
Check out my guide to the best restaurants in the Florida Keys. See which restaurant makes your mouth water.
(this article was originally published in December 2018, and updated in May 2020)
Marker 88, Islamorada
As you drive through beautiful Islamorada, you must stop at Marker 88. Not only did we eat there once, but we came back again for dinner because it was so good. The restaurant sits on the water and affords some of the best views we had of the entire trip.
Start your meal with Lobster & Mango Guacamole. It is creamy, decadent, and worked well with the salty tortilla chips. I loved the richness of the flavors paired together.
On our second visit, we ordered Onion Crusted Mahi-Mahi and Filet Mignon with key-lime hollandaise dinner entrees. The Mahi-Mahi was sautéed with toasted onions (creative!) and finished with a key lime beurre blanc, key lime juice, and butter. Be still my beating heart! Peyton had the juicy Filet Mignon Oscar with asparagus and key lime hollandaise. She chose a side of macaroni and cheese to accompany her succulent steak. Both dishes were spectacular!
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Prior to dinner came warm-baked bread with olive oil and herb dipping sauce, which we sopped up in seconds. Peyton and I both 10/10 recommend Marker 88 for a palate-pleasing dining experience.
Angler & Ale, Duck Key
Angler & Ale is a sophisticated-looking upscale restaurant that sits on the waterfront in Duck Key. The number of fantastic sounding dishes they have on one menu will astound you! While you are deciding on your meal, enjoy a cold draft beer (many local choices), a creative cocktail, or a glass of wine from the great selection.
If you like seafood, start your meal with the Caribbean Conch Fritters. These tasty little numbers were light and had great flavor. They came with a side of tangy key lime aioli. If you are a fan of shrimp, the Key West Peel and Eat Shrimp has excellent flavor and was so fresh that it almost melted in our mouths.
For dinner, I went light after all of those appetizers and had the Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Salad. The salad was topped with toasted prosciutto and drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette. I’m a big fan of Burrata and the prosciutto was a nice touch. The salad was so darned good! I also added a side of the over-the-top delicious macaroni and cheese. This is creamy goodness right here. You will want to have a taste of it, too.
Peyton ordered the fish tacos with a side of Caribbean slaw. Both items were spectacular, and a craft-beer flight was perfect for washing them down with.
Ask your waiter about Angler & Ale’s the hook-and-cook options if you had a productive day fishing in the Florida Keys.
Better Than Sex, A Dessert Restaurant, Key West
A risqué dining option in Key West is the Better Than Sex Desserts restaurant. Known for suggestively named desserts and drinks, this establishment almost always requires a reservation because it is so popular. Try the Kinky-er Key West Cream Pie, light and airy with a tart lime cream on top. The crust is that of a brown sugar orange blossom shortbread cookie—genius! Other creative dessert names include Double Stuffed, Between my Red Velvet Sheets Cheesecake, and Italian Stallion.
A must-try at Better Than Sex is the Gang Bang, a four-way of candy-inspired shooters. Among those included are the Honey Bunny, Fiery Fornicator, Cotton Panties, and Key Lime Krack. They were all delicious and fun to drink.
No matter what you choose, you are sure to have a good time at Better Than Sex Desserts. Keep in mind; this may not be the place for you if you are easily offended or prefer to avoid sexual innuendo.
Turtle Kraals, Key West
Turtle Kraals is not only a fun Caribbean-inspired restaurant and bar, but it also has tremendous sunset photo opportunities due to its stellar historic seaport location. Try the Kalik & Aji Amarillo Beer Steamed Shrimp, served with orange and key lime cocktail sauce. You have the option of one pound or half of a pound–go for the big one as they are addictive! I was surprised at how well the orange and key lime worked together for the sauce. Another tasty dish at Turtle Kraals is Oysters Rockefeller with spinach and cheese.
Fancy fresh fish? This is your place to order the freshest on the island, though the sandwiches, fajitas, and wood-fired grill items are pretty awesome, too. Peyton swears by the lobster and her two side dish choices of black beans and corn-on-the-cob.
Turtle Kraals is known for its Key West Ceviche, which is prepared Peruvian style. Don’t miss the impressive bar menu, featuring many great margaritas, cold beers, and mojitos.
Wear your stretchy pants to this restaurant. You’re going to need them!
Hog Heaven, Islamorada
Coming in on the list with a bar you can’t miss in the Florida Keys is Hog Heaven Sports Bar & Grill. The restaurant makes a dreamy Key Lime Margarita. Yep, just the little tweak of a classic recipe has turned into a fantastic creation that you can’t drink only one of. If margaritas are not your drink, the sweet, but creamy Bushwhacker is another great choice.
Peyton and I chose to sit at the bar and enjoy our cocktails. The other guests were friendly, and between the two bartenders and us, there was the banter of lively conversation going, as well as sporting events on the TVs to watch. Though we did not have any food (this was pre-dinner drinks for us), the food being served around us (Smoked Fish Dip, Peel and Eat Shrimp, and The Hogster, spicy sausage sandwich) looked tasty. We would easily come back for the excellent service and friendly staff at Hog Heaven.
Hog Heaven has live music, a fantastic happy hour, 21 TVs, and serves food until 3 AM.
Marathon Grill and Ale House, Marathon
There is more to the Florida Keys than just seafood, which Peyton and I confirmed from a quick lunch at Marathon Grill and Ale House. Located in a strip mall, the level of food quality and tasty eats blew us away.
I opted for the Cobb Salad, with blue cheese, bacon crumbles, avocado, egg, and tomatoes, while Peyton had the Buffalo Wings. My salad was topped with a homemade dressing, and it was exceptional. Peyton’s wings were meaty and juicy, she loved them…and she is a wing expert.
You are in the South, so be sure to add a sweet tea to your meal or a cold draft beer. Marathon Grill and Ale House have over 100 beers from the most extensive selection South of Miami. I must mention that our server was excellent, another reason it makes the list of best restaurants in the Florida Keys.
The Galley Grill, Summerland Key
Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, and we found a budget-friendly spot in the Florida Keys that you won’t want to miss. The Galley Grill serves a delightful breakfast with choices such as Benedicts, Quiche, 3-Egg Omelets, Pancakes, and Waffles.
I chose Biscuits and Gravy, the half order size, which is one biscuit. Peyton had scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, home fries, and toast. Our meals were tasty, and half of the price they would have been further south in the Keys.
Galley Grill is only open for breakfast and lunch.
Chico’s Cantina, Key West
Situated right off of the main drag in Key West on a side street is Chico’s Cantina. It is a great place to indulge in a top-shelf margarita or glass of sangria, or dive straight into the good stuff, fabulous Mexican cuisine, all while enjoying the garden patio setting.
Peyton and I started with an order of Chico’s Cheese Dip and Tortilla Chips. Yum, so creamy and delicious. For lunch, I had the Enchilada Suiza, with tender chicken strips and veggies covered in a sour cream sauce, served with rice and a side salad. Oh my, I could eat at Chico’s Cantina every day if it were in my town.
Peyton had Beef Tacos, which came three to an order. As small as she is, she still polished off every one of them. They were that good!
I recommend taking a seafood break and enjoying the tastes at this Mexican bistro, operating since 1984, and voted the best Mexican restaurant in Key West 12 years in a row.
Eat Your Way Through the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys has many great places to dine. We hope you will pop in one of our best restaurants in the Florida Keys and try them for yourself.
Tell us about your vacation in the blog comments or tag us with your best eats in the Florida Keys on Instagram at @wherever_i_mayroamblog.
Thanks to the Florida Keys and Key West Tourism for hosting my travels to the area. Other than accommodations and food, I did not receive any other compensation for this post. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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