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THE (FLORIDA) KEYS TO YOUR HEART
 
(2023 - Fall/Winter Issue)

Writer: CHARMAINE NORONHA



Off the southernmost tip of the continental United States, there’s another world of culinary wonders that awaits. Flanked by ocean on all sides, the Florida Keys and Key West’s access to the freshest seafood lends itself to a unique dining scene. Go for dockside dining, hit the seafood shacks, check out the food trucks or consider the array of historic locally run properties and gourmet hotspots that can be found only in this mighty archipelago of coral and sand islands.

Explore some of these standout menu choices that start in Key Largo and continue in Islamorada, Marathon and, of course, the most southerly eats in Key West.

A TASTE FOR LIONFISH

The exotic, overly abundant lionfish has caught the attention of some local chefs. Avid lionfish diver and chef Robert Stoky has created a tasty recipe for butter-baked lionfish at his Marker 88 Waterfront, a beachfront eatery in Islamorada. You can also try lionfish in Marathon at Castaway Waterfront Restaurant and Sushi Bar, where you’ll enjoy this seafood delicacy as the owner, John Mirabella, has often been crowned the “Lionfish King” of the Florida Keys. Ask for it “wrecker” style, as a sashimi or nigiri sushi roll, or as a ceviche appetizer. 

CRAB CLAWS CRAWL 

Welcome to stone crab season! The Florida Keys is Florida’s leading supplier of delicious stone crab claws, which are uniquely sustainable as these feisty crab claws regrow. Indulge in this buttery-flaky delicacy at Key Largo Fisheries, an old-time fish market where commercial fishing boats pull up to the dock for fishers to unload their catch. The stone crabs are processed immediately, so dine at this dockside restaurant for the freshest crab claws.

For more finger-licking, head to The Stoned Crab in Key West. The open-air restaurant has two private fishing boats that deliver daily catches of stone crab, lobster, Key West shrimp and local fish. Sip on an organic cocktail while clawing your way through your meal at Key West’s first organic and sustainable eco-bar. 

PINK SHRIMP PARTY

Sweet, delicate Key West pink shrimp ranks among the Florida Keys’ most popular natural resources. Named for the rosy shell colour, foodies consider them sweeter than other types of shrimp. Find them on many local restaurant menus, including Alonzo’s Oyster Bar in Key West, where they’ve been serving up pink shrimp since the ’40s. This legendary waterfront oyster bar is also famous for their warm crab and shrimp dip as a starter, which is capped off with a meal of local pinks served buffalo style, battered with coconut, or peel-and-eat as part of its multi-story seafood tower. 

Get ready to dive into some of the most unique eateries with even more unique menu items—found only in the Florida Keys and Key West.

TRAVEL PLANNER

For more travel inspiration on the Florida Keys and Key West visit fla-keys.com/food-drink

 
 
 
 
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