Stone crab claws offer sweet and scrumptious meat that’s among the Florida Keys’ most popular delicacies. Once the stone crab harvest season begins each Oct. 15, the savory claws appear prominently on Keys restaurant menus — triggering a veritable stampede of eager seafood fans. There’s even an annual Stone Crab Eating Contest in November.
Some people who come to the Florida Keys are hungry for adventure in the island chain’s turquoise waters. Some are hungry for time to recharge in nature, or share sun-splashed romance with that special someone. And others are hungry for something more elemental: the chance to enjoy the Keys’ enticing seafood-based cuisine.
In the Florida Keys, fresh fish and seafood are menu staples at most popular restaurants. It’s easy to find just-caught snapper, grouper and mahi-mahi served grilled, blackened or fried. In addition, many chefs and restaurateurs in the island chain enjoy showcasing “only in the Keys” dishes, unusual species or innovative preparation techniques.
For foodies seeking authentic Keys-style dining experiences, Upper Keys food trucks present creatively prepared fare that provides a quick and fun alternative to boring fast-food joints. Operated by hands-on local residents, the venues serve personalized, freshly made specialty dishes. The colorful trucks offer a convenient, inexpensive way for visitors to sample Keys-crafted cuisine.
From shrimp to traditional Cuban food to Key lime pie, the Florida Keys have a wealth of unique culinary treats to sample. Fish and seafood dishes are a standout on many restaurant menus, for good reason: the incredibly fresh fish diners are served at night was probably unloaded at the docks that morning!
Indigenous Florida Keys cuisine typically means fresh fish and seafood harvested from local waters, headlining nearly every restaurant menu. To tempt the taste buds, check out some small, off-the-grid and new-location eateries — including a Key Largo spot with “toes in the sand” sunset dining — that Keys locals favor for their flavors.
Florida Keys restaurants range from gourmet hotspots to dockside seafood “shacks” and trendy food trucks where guests can choose from a variety of fish, seafood and other options. Many eateries along the historic Florida Keys Overseas Highway provide tasty temptations — but if diners venture into less-explored areas, the culinary possibilities become virtually endless.
Foodies can sample tasty temptations and savor the subtropical flavors of Key West through “Taste of Key West 2021 Reimagined” — a dining card that takes the place of the “Taste of Key West” in-person charity fundraiser traditionally held each April. The pocket-size dining cards are usable for a year beginning April 19, 2021.
The Aquaplex (formerly known as the Aqua Bar and Nightclub), located in the heart of Key West’s LGBTQ entertainment district, has debuted a new look and enhancements. Along with the addition of an on-site Hawaiian-themed restaurant in its open-air backside bar and patio area, it now has five unique venues to delight patrons.
With Valentine's Day approaching, couples tired of winter blues might be daydreaming about escaping to the Florida Keys for a romantic getaway. The island chain has some of the warmest winter temps in the nation, and there's nothing better than snuggling up with your sweetheart and rejuvenating your soul in the welcoming sunshine.