Florida Keys cuisine typically means fresh fish and seafood harvested from local waters, and you’ll find it on nearly every restaurant menu. For a delicious bite to tempt your taste buds, check out some small, off-the-grid and new-location eateries that Keys locals favor for their flavors.
In Key Largo, you can kick off your shoes, dip your toes in Florida Bay and have front-row seats for stunning sunsets while enjoying locally caught seafood for dinner at Playa Largo Resort & Spa (an Autograph Collection Hotel located at 97450 Overseas Highway). Offered at the luxury resort’s signature restaurant, Sol by the Sea, the Water Table is an immersive and exclusive experience. Visit playalargoresort.com or call 305-853-1001 for reservations (and please note that seating is limited).
Adventure lovers and casual diners are enjoying a bit of a renaissance along Grassy Key in the Middle Keys, with local-centric eateries to satisfy any taste. Not only is the new Grassy Flats Resort & Beach Club adding more rooms, but inside its neighboring The Lagoon on Grassy Key, foodies can seek out the 2,000-square-foot Bongos Café & Tropical Beer Garden and Lagoon Saloon at 59300 Overseas Highway.
Bongos Cafe’s’ weekend brunch, available Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is getting really popular with go-to menu items like lobster truffle mac-n-cheese and eggs Benedict — but try the “Pappy Van Waffle,” a buckwheat waffle with crispy Kentucky fried quail and bourbon syrup.
Breakfast with uber-fresh items and cage-free eggs is served 7-11 a.m. on weekdays. And don’t miss the all-day menu from noon to 7 p.m. with a yummy French onion grilled cheese, full-flavored sandwiches, burgers, vegetarian and vegan bites — washed down with one of the Saloon’s craft brews on tap. Visit RideTheLagoon.com/bongos-cafe.
Unpretentious island cuisine with a Latin flair defines the adult dining experience at Milagro Restaurant and Bar, now located at 1402 Simonton St. at the Santa Maria Suites Resort in Key West. (Milagro, FYI, means “miracle” in Spanish.)
Owner-chef Kevin Montoya and his wife Maggie both have backgrounds in food service and cooking, and Kevin is a four-time winner of Key West’s renowned annual Master Chefs Classic.
Milagro is open 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, featuring a menu rich in fresh local fish and seafood items with intriguing bites like grilled octopus over Applewood-smoked bacon polenta (yummy!). Pork, beef and chicken dishes are prepared on a wood grill, and signature items such as blue corn enchiladas are a real treat. Visit milagrorestaurant.net or call 305-440-3534.
And although Islamorada Coffee Roasters isn’t an eatery, its new outlet is becoming a magnet for coffee fans and lovers of sweet treats. Known in the Upper Keys for its roving coffee van with air-roasted organic coffee, the company now has a retail location at 80925 Overseas Highway, just south of Islamorada’s Morada Way Arts District.
Snacks to be purchased include scones, Key lime macaroons, coffee brownies, cinnamon streusel cake, granola and hot oatmeal. The roaster features its custom I.CARE Blend, a mix of small-batch beans from dive destinations Bali, Costa Rica and Honduras. For each $25 1-pound bag of I.CARE Blend beans, $10 is donated to the nonprofit I.CARE for coral restoration efforts in Islamorada.
You’ll also find coffee classes, coffee-scented soy candles, Pirate Hat exfoliating soap made with ground coffee, and house-made masala chai and hot cocoa. Visit islamoradacoffeeroasters.com or call 305-572-3001.
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