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EAT&DRINK RESTAURANTS (LOWER,MIDDLE KEYS) claws, lobster and shrimp to hand-cut aged steaks, they cook your catch or sell you theirs. $$

Galley Grill, 24862 U. S. 1, Summerland Key; (305) 745-3440 The Galley Grill has a welcoming, casual atmosphere, and its crab cake Benedict is not to be missed: It’s made with blue crab and served with two poached eggs and hollandaise $$ sauce. Geiger Key Marina Smokehouse Restaurant , burgers, sandwiches,

seafood, 5 Geiger Road, Geiger Key; (305) 296-3553; geigerkeymarina. com The Sunday special at Geiger Smokehouse is the barbecue dinner, starting at 4 p.m. The bar and deck are the perfect spot to watch the sunset, right next to the mangroves. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. The Smokehouse also has great-tasting burgers and fish $$ tacos.

Island Fish Co. , Italian, Mexican, raw

bar, seafood, 12648 U.S. 1, Marathon; (305) 743-4191; Sit at the longest tiki bar with a stellar sunset view in the Florida Keys. Sip one of the bar’s frozen favorites, a mixed drink or a cold draft beer while pondering the extensive menu. Sunday, there’s a Mexican lunch $$ menu.

Island Time Diner, 5187 U.S. 1,

Marathon; (305) 204-4825; Serving deli sandwiches, pressed Cubans, gyros and quiches, or choose from the 1.5 pound “Triple Burger” (with three patties), the barbecue bacon burger or other styles from their menu, all made with hand-pressed patties. The fries are hand-cut as well, and available in nacho or other cheese-smothered varieties. They’ll also prepare sack lunches to go. Don’t forget to try their ice cream or browse the bakery case. Gluten-free items available. $$

Juice Paradise Cuban Café, Latin

American, 2603 U.S. 1, Marathon; (305) 735-4051; cubanfoodmarathon. com Authentic Cuban food as well as sandwiches and tropical juices make Juice Paradise a great place for breakfast and lunch. The tortillas are freshly cooked with crunchy vegetables and savory cheese. The toasted Cuban bread and butter go well with one of the best cups of café con leche in the Keys. $$

Keys Fisheries Market & Marina ,

seafood, 3502 Gulfview Ave., Marathon; (866) 743-4353; For many Key Westers, a trip to the mainland is also a reason to stop at this seafood restaurant, where customers order at the window and eat on the deck. Enjoy watching the commercial fishing fleet while you dine. The lobster Reuben is justifiably famous; the smoked fish dip is also without parallel. $$

Little Palm’s Dining Room , French, seafood, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, 28500 U.S. 1, Little Torch Key; (305) 872-2551; littlepalmisland.

com—check for reopening date. The resort’s eclectic, seasonally fresh menu has a vibrant blend of French and pan Latin flavors. Try the yellowtail snapper ceviche, with passion fruit and coconut gelée, or the roasted pork tenderloin with corn, blackbean, sweet-plantain and bacon hash, $$$$ served with a mango mojo.

known for its good food and friendly service. There’s live music every night, happy-hour food and drink specials, as well as daily dinner specials. Locals head to Porky’s for the smokehouse barbecue and the beef brisket, pulled pork and smokehouse BBQ pulled $$ chicken.

Looe Key Tiki Bar, burgers, seafood,

American, seafood, 22658 U.S. 1, Cudjoe Key; (305) 745-8880; This environmentally friendly restaurant serves innovatively prepared fresh local seafood, a Winter 2016 large selection of earth and ocean small plates as well as entrées such as seared sea scallops with bacon mushroom vinaigrette, chicken-fried chicken livers, flashfried conch and burrata caprese. Square Grouper also has seasonal, homemade desserts, a boutique wine list and craft beers. Head upstairs to SqGr2, My New Joint, also listed here. $$$

traditional American, 27340 U.S. 1, Ramrod Key; (877) 816-3483; Locals and serious dive tourists frequent this open-air tiki bar where talented bartenders often perform fiery tricks. The smoked fish dip is sure to please, with tomatoes, onions, black olives, jalapeños and Cuban crackers. There’s also live music and a groovy dance $$ floor.

Mangrove Mama’s , Caribbean, Creole,

traditional American, seafood, 19991 U.S. 1, Sugarloaf Key; (305) 745-3030; mangrovemamas20. com Mangrove Mama’s has been a landmark restaurant and bar on Sugarloaf Key for more than 30 years. It serves fresh local seafood, succulent steaks, specialty drinks and delectable desserts. Stop in for breakfast (brunch on Sunday), lunch or dinner. $$$

My New Joint , American, seafood,

22658 U.S. 1, Cudjoe Key; (305) 7458880; Head upstairs at The Square Grouper to the new lounge, My New Joint, for fresh shucked Winter 2016 oysters from the East and West coasts as well as a variety of grilled oysters, a full liquor bar with a specialty cocktail menu, 16 draft beers, and 150 canned and bottled beers. Its innovative tapas menu includes burgers, steak and fish dinners, salads, vegetarian options, cheese and chocolate fondue and lots $$ of yummy desserts.

No Name Pub, pizza, pub food, seafood, 30813 Watson Blvd., Big Pine Key; (305) 872-9115; This spot is worth tracking down when visiting Big Pine Key. Funky island décor make for a fun atmosphere, and the pizza is renowned Keyswide. Add the draw of its chili, smoked fish dip and sandwiches—served on paper plates in an authentic, old rustic bar plastered with autographed dollar bills—and you’ll agree that this Big Pine Key haunt is worth the drive. $$ Plaza Grill , Italian, seafood, steak,

5101 U.S. 1, Marathon; (305) 7437874; The menu at Plaza Grill showcases steakhouse favorites and creative daily preparations of local seafood, such as the catch of the day and Florida Keys lobster, as well as grilled steaks and fresh seasonal salads. Try the Classic House Seafood Paella. $$$

Porky’s Bayside Restaurant and

Marina , barbecue, seafood, 1410 U.S. 1, Marathon; (305) 289-2065; Porky’s is

40 key west magazine spring–summer guide 2019

The Square Grouper Bar & Grill , New

Sunset Grille & Raw Bar, 7 Knights Key

Blvd., Marathon; (305) 396-7235; Sunset Grille & Raw Bar looks like a thatched tiki huta and has an oceanfront deck with one of the largest pools in the Keys. Customers love the local seafood, steaks, chicken, burgers, raw bar, sushi and salads. The Hogfish Martinique is a favorite, baked with a fresh topping of tomatoes, capers, olive oil, lemon, shallots, garlic and $$ fresh basil.

Upper Keys Bitton Bistro Café, 82245 U.S. 1,

Islamorada; (305) 396-7481 Bitton, the area’s only French café, serves breakfast and lunch that includes crêpes with various flavors, pastries, soups, salads and housemade gelato. Free Wi-Fi. $$

Bob’s Bunz, 81620 U.S. 1, Islamorada;

(305) 664-8363; Serving breakfast, lunch and baked goods, pastry chef Robert Spencer also bakes special occasion and wedding cakes on-site. $$

Breezer’s Tiki Bar, traditional American,

Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort, 03800 U.S. 1, Key Largo; (305) 4530000; The bay, beach and incredible sunsets make for the ultimate open-air experience. The tiki bar is on the north end of the Marriott Bay Beach Resort, just over the pedestrian suspension bridge from Gus’ $$ Grille.

The Buzzard’s Roost Grill & Pub, seafood, chicken, steak, Garden Cove Marina, 21 Garden Cove Dr., Key Largo; (305) 453-3746; buzzardsroostkeylargo. com Named for Key Largo’s high ground, called wachula, which mean’s “buzzard’s roost” in the Seminole tongue. The housemade smoked fish dip (cold-smoked mahi blended with cream cheese and spices) is a local favorite. Famous for local seafood

(or your own catch) prepared to your choice: grilled, blackened, Jamaican jerked, broiled, fried or sautéed with lemon butter and white wine. Or try a certified Black Angus steak, or chicken prepared as you like it. Scrumptious desserts include housemade Key lime pie and Grand Marnier crème brûlée. $$$

Café Moka, 91865 U.S. 1, Tavernier;

(305) 453-6271; Café Moka’s French owners have combined the casual Keys lifestyle with the French cafe tradition. They also serve a special coffee blend their family has roasted in France for four generations. There’s also breakfast, lunch, dinner, a wine bar, gift shop and special events including dinner and live jazz performances. Oh, and there’s Wi-Fi! $$

Chef Michael’s, the New American, 81671 U.S. 1, Islamorada; (305) 6640640; New York City- and Caribbean-trained owner/ chef Michael Ledwith specializes in hogfish, but also serves up yellowtail, cobia, lionfish and other locally sourced seafood, to rave reviews. Try the tempura Maine lobster tail with buttery ginger and garlic dipping sauce. And don’t overlook Michael’s gourmet meat dishes, including lamb, New York strip steak and chicken. $$$$ Craig’s Restaurant, American, seafood, 90154 U.S. 1, Tavernier; (305) 8529424; Craig’s Restaurant has been dishing up breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1981. Try the “world famous” fried super fish sandwich. Other favorites include shrimp scampi, fried chicken, seafood omelets and stuffed mushrooms with crabmeat and shrimp. And don’t forget the Key lime pie. $$ The Fish House Restaurant, 102401 U.S. 1, Key Largo; (305) 451-4665 The Fish House Encore, 102341 U.S. 1, Key Largo; (305) 451-0650; The Fish House specializes in fresh local seafood, including yellowtail snapper, mahi-mahi, grouper, Florida lobster and stone crab claws served in a casual atmosphere. The smoked fish is made right on the premises. Come for dinner and watch the sunset. Start with one of the homemade chowders. Encore is an extension of The Fish House Restaurant, serving the same fresh seafood but adding a selection of premium meats and specials, with a sushi menu and live music. Try one of the signature infusion martinis, and save room for rich desserts. $$$ Green Turtle Inn, seafood, steak 81219 U.S. 1, Islamorada; (305) 664-2006; An Islamorada institution for more than 70 years, Sid and Roxie’s Green Turtle Inn serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Signature dinners include Fresh Catch à la Roxie (daily fresh local fish, seared and topped with jumbo lump crab, tomato and sweet onion beurre blanc) and Fresh Catch à la Sid (daily fresh local fish, seared and covered in a Maine lobster, orange and vanilla butter sauce). Or try a Black Angus steak, or Bacon Wrapped Love (chef ’s own mushroom-stuffed meatloaf

Profile for Key West Magazine

Key West Magazine Spring/Summer 2019 Issue  

Here's 565 Reasons You’ll Love It Here in Key West, including in-depth listings and reviews of our 31 Beaches, 296 Bars Cafés and Restauran...

Key West Magazine Spring/Summer 2019 Issue  

Here's 565 Reasons You’ll Love It Here in Key West, including in-depth listings and reviews of our 31 Beaches, 296 Bars Cafés and Restauran...