Florida Keys HIDDEN EATING SPOTS
- Brian Apr 2, 2005 07:53 AM
We are planning our 1st trip to the Florida Keys and will be taking an RV. We are staying at mile marker 14. Any suggestions for places to eat that have good food, cold drinks and not a tourist trap? We plan on day trips to some of the other islands also. Any suggestions for islands to visit and things to see? Plan on leaving the 'diet' behind.
Mangrove Mama's is right at MM20, just across a bridge as you are going south (don't remember the bridge name at the moment).
No Name Pub: going south, take a right at the only light on Big Pine. Road forks immediately, take the left fork. Go approx 1.5 miles to a right onto N Watson (first "big" intersection you come to). Follow the signs to No Name Key, about 1.5 after the turn. Pub itself is just before you cross the bridge You can take the right fork and find it just as easily by following signs.
In Key West some local eating spots are B.O.'s Fish Wagaon at Caroline and William (a funky place for good conch fritters and fish sandwiches) and Dennis Pharmacy at Simonton and Truman (diner type food). In Key West there is a good self guided walking tour from the visitors center which takes you to some of the interesting neighborhoods and the cemetery and away from the bars and tee shirt shops found on most of Duval St. There are some interesting homes to explore--Hemingway House, Truman's Little White House, the Audubon House, the Oldest House. You could also take one of the trolleys for a tour of the area--the Old Town Trolley has on-off that lets you get on and off at different stops for one trip around the island. Be careful because Key West is very touristy and can get very crowded. Parking can also be a problem so you could park for free at the Key West Welcome Center when you first enter Key West and take the Old Town Trolley around. Sunset at Mallory Square is beautiful with all sorts of street performers putting on shows.
Hope this helps.
If local and basic is what you want, try the Rusty Anchor on Stock Island. It's across from the old abandoned dog track (or abandoned something).Near the marina on 3rd Avenue. Full of locals, the food is your basic fried fish in a basket, but it's always fresh and good - not to mention CHEAP. Been going there for about a decade.
Since you have an RV lots of tourists don't know that you can get some great fresh locally caught fish at Publix, much more reasonably priced than at stores on the mainland, and cook it up yourself. The fish clerk can even usually suggest recipes.
If you want to spend lotsa money one night, Louie's Backyard in Key West is fabulous (but you'll pay). Lastly, if you're looking for good Key Lime pie, stop by the Blond Giraffe. It's pretty good.
I will second both Bobaloo's and the Gieger Key Marina. Bobaloo's for the Sunday Brunch, the whole fried yellowtail, ANY Hogfish special, and the garlic and shrimp pizza. Gieger Key for the "hidden" aspect, the great burgers & fish sandwiches and an awesome view.
I'll ad a few other "hidden" treasures...
Schooner Wharf at Key West Marina for Dolphin Burrito's & beers at sunset with some good local live talent usually on stage.
Hogfish Grille on Stock Island for Hogfish Sandwiches.
Blue Heaven for another great (& funky) breakfast.
The Cracked Egg on Big Pine Key for a breakfast worth driving for.
And, The Hickory House on Stock Island for the Chicken or Snapper Picatta over Pasta and another outdoor dining area with a great view.
Chicharrones at 1223 White Street in Key West is on the edge of the old town across the street from a laundromat. The food is well-prepared Cuban, and many locals go there. Call ahead and find out the day of the pig roast. They serve huge portions of slow-cooked, tender pork redolent with garlic. While the pork is the star of the show, the vegetarians in our group were very happy with their gooey yet crisp plantains and rich black beans (I suspect pork in the beans, but I didn't have the heart to tell them).
Have to try Mangrove Mama's at Mile Marker 20. Not on the water but it's great food. It is on the bay side. Look for a little green house. It's easy to miss it.