Taste the Florida Keys

Where to Sip & Dine

Indigenous Florida Keys cuisine incorporates diverse and delicious influences with an abundant array of fish and seafood harvested from local waters. Fresh fish and seafood that graces a restaurant table headline nearly every restaurant menu.

Cuisine & Drinks Crafted in the Florida Keys

A chef preparing a dishA seafood dish with full wine glasses in the backgroundA seafood dish garnished with flowers

Among Florida Keys favorites:

Key West pink shrimp, among the most popular of our “natural resources,” are considered sweeter than other crustaceans. Savor Key West pinks sautéed in scampi, battered and fried, nestled atop salad or pasta, or simply steamed and served with savory sauces.

A couple looking at shrimp boats in a harborA dish of shrimp and scallops

Fresh fish preferred by chefs: yellowtail snapper, hog snapper, mutton snapper, grouper, dolphin or mahi-mahi, and lionfish, one of the healthiest and most necessary to remove from Keys waters. All are prepared sautéed with a variety of sauces and accompaniments, fried, broiled or blackened, as well as in sushi or ceviche.

A chef preparing a dishA seafood dish held by a chef

Stone crabs, renowned for their sweet and succulent claw meat, are a popular delicacy served warm with drawn butter or chilled with mustard sauce, and the meat of the claws also can be used in crab cakes, fritters and stuffing. Stone crabs are also a renewable resource, as after one of the crab’s claws is removed the crab is returned to the sea where the claws regenerate. Florida’s stone crab season runs from Oct. 15 to May 15.

Taste the Florida Keys

Hungry? Watch clips from ‘Taste of the Florida Keys’ with Chef Michelle Bernstein, her exploration to discover the sea-centric ambiance, multicultural heritage and creative spirits that influence the Keys' distinctive cuisine, along with the local people who harvest and prepare the foods that help define the destination. Click here to view all nine segments, or click any of the videos below.

A fish and several shellfish and shrimp on iceA couple dining dockside while a man in the background holds up two freshly-caught fish

Keys Cuisine in the News

A couple having cocktails on a beachfront patio

Fans of craft beers, ales, rums and more can find plenty to tempt them in the Florida Keys, with the island chain fast developing a reputation for innovative, high-quality brewing and distilling.

Florida Keys Brewing Company

Locally owned and operated with brewing done on site, Florida Keys Brewing Company is located at 200 Morada Way at MM 81.6 in the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District. The craft production outfit produces tasty seasonal and barrel-aged beers including light, reds, ambers and browns available only in the Florida Keys.

Beer flight

A brightly colored yellow-and-teal tasting room draws visitors to the Islamorada Beer Company at 82229 Overseas Highway at mile marker (MM) 82.9. Among the top-selling craft brews is Sandbar Sunday, that exudes the Keys’ weekend lifestyle of wading in the water with a cold one, while IBC’s Islamorada Ale and Channel Marker IPA are available throughout the Keys at grocery stores, bars and restaurants. The tasting room is open for in-brewery-only beers, too.

Islamorada Distilling

Islamorada Beer Co. also has launched Islamorada Distilling, creating on-site spirits branded as Islamorada Distilling gin, vodka and dark barrel-aged and spiced rums. Spirits tastings are offered daily. The 450-square-foot distillery also has a 400-square-foot gift shop and tasting room. Two of five founding partners grew up in Islamorada and attended college together. On a fishing trip in the Bahamas, the partners came up with the idea of a beer to complement the Keys’ boating, fishing and island beach lifestyle.

The Waterfront Brewery

The Waterfront Brewery, located at 201 William Street in Key West’s Historic Seaport, offers American cuisine, homebrews — including the award-winning Key Lime Witness and Crazy Lady honey blonde ale — and a variety of other drafts from Florida breweries.

Rum distillery

Key West First Legal Rum Distillery at 105 Simonton Street is a historically significant site, once a pre-Prohibition-era bar named Jack’s Saloon. Tour the plant and enjoy free rum samplings among at least a dozen different styles and flavors. Private guided distillery tours and rum-tasting sessions feature quirky stories about Key West’s rum-soaked past.

Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery

The Hemingway Rum Co.’s Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery, an 8,200-square-foot brick attraction, was once a tobacco warehouse that now houses the Papa’s Pilar Rum production facility, experience center, tasting room and trading post. It stands at 201 Simonton St. in Key West. A 350-gallon still produces up to 80 gallons of rum daily from molasses, yeast and water. Visitors also can see the on-site bottling of the company’s Papa’s Pilar rum, which takes place about every six weeks.