THE FLORIDA KEYS WHERE TO EAT
When you think "Florida Keys" one of the first things that comes to mind is probably its famous Key Lime Pie. Almost every restaurant offers this local gem as a featured desert, however if you ask around, locals will tell you the very best places to find the "perfect" version of this well-known pie. Because the Keys are surrounded by water, most of the local fare consists of classic and original recipes for the local fish and shellfish. Being so close to the Caribbean, some of the menus are infused with spicy Caribbean flavors, as well. Aside from the freshest seafood around, the Florida Keys offer numerous gourmet restaurants serving anything from rack of lamb to spaghetti and meatballs. Whether you are in the mood to fine dine, or just want to kick back in a local bar or grill, your palate will always be satisfied.
Below is a list of a few local restaurants, for a more extensive list try keysdining.com and fla-keys.com.
- Snook's Bayside Restaurant and Grand Tiki Bar
Award-winning menus, dining in or out and nightly entertainment
- Key Largo Conch House Restaurant & Coffee Bar
Award-winning coffee, nationally recognized, local seafood and vegitarian dishes, wi-fi and pet friendly
- Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar
Live entertainment, daily happy hours, water front dining
- Old Tavernier Restaurant
Waterfront dining, local favorite for over 20 years, Greek and Italian fare
- Island Fish Co.
Local food, casual bayside dining, travel by boat, dock and dine
- Butterfly Café at Tranquility Bay Beach Resort
"Tropical World Cuisine," fresh, local produce and seafood
Big Pine Key (and the Lower Keys):
- Parrotdise Waterfront Bare and Grille
Waterfront, live entertainment, great wine list
- Boondocks Grille & Drafthouse
Full bar, live entertainment daily inside the "Largest Tiki Hut in the Keys"
- Hog's Breath Saloon
A famous tourist spot with a guided tour of the saloon and entertainment
- Conch Republic Seafood Company
Voted the "Best Happy Hour in Key West," waterfront view, daily live entertainment
- Camille's Key West Restaurant
A local favorite for over 20 years
- Alonzo's Oyster Bar
Great selection of warm water and cold water oysters
- Turtle Kraals Bar & Restaurant
Southwestern fare, waterfront dining, fresh local seafood and a full bar
Local Favorite Recipes:
Key Lime Pie Supreme
1 pound butter
4 cups sugar (plus 2 tablespoons)
12 whole eggs
12 separated eggs
2 cups key lime juice
4 baked 9" pie shells
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream the butter and 4 cups of sugar. Add 12 whole eggs and 12 egg yolks, one at a time and beat until smooth. Add the lime juice. Place mixture in pie shells. Bake 30-35 minutes until filling is firm.
To make meringue, beat 12 room-temperature egg whites with 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Heap on pies and return to oven until brown.
Broiled Florida Lobster
4 Florida lobster tails
1/2 lb. butter
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare lobster-thaw, split down back (not all the way through so it can be butterflied).
Place butter, parsley, and the rest in a bowl. Blend. Spread mixture over tails. Cook 6-8 minutes in oven depending on size (large tails may take 15-20 minutes). Serve with rice. Serves 4.
Florida Stone Crab Claw Recipes
A Florida Keys delicacy, the stone crab actually inhabits both coasts of south Florida as well as the Florida Keys . This is the largest of the mud crabs, and the source of the famous seafood dish, stone crab claws. Its catch is carefully regulated and in Florida it is illegal to take the whole crabs. The large claws are broken off and the live crab is returned to the water so that it can regenerate new claws.
All you have to do is bring it home, crack the shell and serve with melted butter - or if you insist, another type of sauce. You can heat the meat prior to serving, but it is not necessary. It's hard to resist something that tastes this good and requires so little preparation.