I love the Florida Keys. And what's not to love, eh? The beauty of the Caribbean with the comfort of being 'home'. On a ten day road trip I did no research on restaurants but instead decided where to eat based solely on recommendations from locals.
Of course, I couldn't try everywhere that was suggested and sure didn't get to ask every local (not for lacking of trying, though) their favorite restaurant. Nonetheless, the list was varied enough to give me a good taste of what's cookin' in Key Largo & Islamorada. (Key Largo & Islamorada are small so pretty much every restaurant has both local and tourist diners.)
So here you go; the locals said eat here:
* * *
(list is in alphabetical order by location)
(pink = I ate here) (green = I didn't eat here this trip but have before & know they are good eats)
(** great sunset views)
🍴 Buzzard's Roost - Key Largo
🍴 Harriette's - Key Largo
🍴 Hideout - Key Largo
🍴 Sol By The Sea - Key Largo **
🍴 Snappers - Key Largo
🍴 Mrs. Mac's - Key Largo
🍴 Islamorada Fish Company - Islamorada **
🍴 Mangrove Mike's - Islamorada
🍴 Marker 88 - Islamorada **
🍴 Midway Cafe - Islamorada
🍴 Morada Bay - Islamorada **
🍷🍳 🍷🍳 🍷🍳 🍷🍳
Harriette's, Key Largo
Key Lime Muffins, Maple Bacon Muffins, Red Velvet Muffins (and at least 10 other flavors) ... Harriette is famous for her scrumptious muffins. And, oh my goodness. You have to go to Harriette's and get a muffin!
We went for breakfast and ordered an omelet; and the corned beef hash with eggs. Both of those meals were good solid breakfast grub. (As a side note, they make their own hot sauce and it's great!)
We got a Key Lime Coconut muffin to split. That puppy was something to write home about! So much so, that we each then chose a different flavor muffin to go. You can get the muffins by the dozen. Obviously, I think it's worth a visit to Harriette's for one of those muffins!
(Lines can get crazy and the restaurant is small so go early if you don't want to wait. You'll know where to stop by the gingerbread man out front.)
Hideout, Key Largo
The Hideout is appropriately named as it's hidden at the end of a road. And even the name on the restaurant is hiding behind a tree.
Went here for breakfast and it's a solid little spot to get your day started. Nothing fancy but decent enough food served by friendly folks. The biscuit was the best part of the meal for me!
While here we picked up the local paper and saw that someone in Key Largo has a real sense of humor. (I only circled one ad but several more were also funny.)
Sol By The Sea, Key Largo
Sol By The Sea is in the Playa Largo resort. We had dinner here and the food was as delightful as the sunset was gorgeous.
After taking our drink order the server brought over fried plantains with a house made 'salsa' that was yummy. We shared the meal which was plenty of food. Added bonus - the kitchen didn't fuss about splitting up the entree.
For starters, we had the tropical fruit salad (Seasonal Tropical Fruit, Keez Beez Honey, Greek Yogurt) - that honey really added something special to the yogurt.
Entree was Black Grouper in Coconut Curry (coconut milk, madras curry, lemongrass, fish stock, jasmine rice). As I've mention in other posts - I'm a huge fan of Indian food so definitely wanted to try this dish and it did not disappoint. The grouper was cooked to perfection and the curry was very enjoyable. (The noodlely looking item on the plate was something mangoish - thankfully, it tasted better than it looks in this photo.)
Islamorada Fish Company, Islamorada
Islamorada Fish Company is another easy going casual restaurant with a phenomenal view of the sunset.
I was headed to a different location when the Uber driver said he preferred Islamorada FC so I said take me there then!
Besides the decadent (and photogenic) key lime pie I also had the Smoked Wahoo Dip (Islamorada original, crisp cucumbers, crackers) and the World Famous Islamorada Fish Sandwich (today's fresh catch grilled or fried, sautéed onions, American cheese). Everything was super good and I'll definitely eat here again!
Mangrove Mike's, Islamorada
Mangrove Mike's is just an all around cool place with really good food. I like it here!
When you step inside Mangrove Mike's you know you're on vacation. Bright and 'islandie' painted and always buzzing. Everyone here is super friendly too.
The grilled cheese sandwich is so yummy it ain't even funny. It's Brie cheese with a house made cranberry jelly. Yum Yum
Next visit - I'm trying a tater tot tower! Don't forgot the photo op with the shark out front. (Also, there are some very cool artsy stores (selling only local made crafts) in the same complex as Mangrove Mike's.)
MidWay Cafe, Islamorada
Midway Cafe is a coffee bar/cafe with a fun vibe, good food and a great little retail shop area. The folks that work here just seem happy which makes it's the kind of place that you'd come back to all the time. And it's clear folks do because the baristas knew the coffee orders for regulars.
I had breakfast here. Two eggs over medium with crispy bacon and toast. Really tasty. (Don't know how but I completely forgot to take a picture of the breakfast.)
Did get a couple of pics of the groovy outdoor seating area though!
Morada Bay Beach Cafe, Islamorada
Morada Bay Café is the perfect place to literally have dinner on the beach and, yes, watch the sunset.
There is a real island flare to Morada Bay Café; the tables and chairs are colorful; the outdoor string lights are festive; and the Adirondack chairs are positioned just right for comfortable sunset viewing.
I started my dinner and sunset watching with a "Man Overboard". (Four flavors of Cruzan and Captain Morgan rums, Blue Curacao, and tropical juices.) It was too good and for extra fun it had a glow stick in there - guess so you don't lose it after the sun goes down. 😉
Starter was Caribbean Crispy Tostones served with guacamole. The guac was very nice but I thought the tostones were a bit bland so I put a little salt on them and they were all better.
Next up was the pasta of the day which was a crab & mushroom stuffed pasta with brown butter. Yeah, that was some kind of good!
The gift shop at Morada Bay is cool too! And, here's a couple more photos.
Hope you get to the Florida Keys at some point in your travels and give some of these restaurants a try. If you have a favorite restaurant in Key Largo or Islamorada that wasn't on the list please let me know for next time!
For more Florida Keys info gathered on my road trip read:
Five Luxury Resorts and Hotels in the Florida Keys
Eat Like a Local in Key West, Florida
Happy & Safe Travels.
Come along with this southern girl on my fun travel adventures! I’m taking the tours; seeing the sites; trying out the hotels; dining at the restaurants; cruising on the cruise ships; and sharing the experiences on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my travel escapades and that they will be inspiring and helpful when planning your own fabulous adventures.