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Marathon for foodies... please guide our week!

We will be in Marathon for one week... the third week of may. We will be a group of 7... we will do some cooking at home (hopefully) with the fish we'll catch... and love to dine out as well. We prefer to frequent only local and independent restaurants and markets.

Please recommend:
Tasty lunch and casual dining.
Fun happy hour
Delicious seafood
Favorite dinner spots
Anything else we shouldn't miss...

Thank you so much for guiding our dining!

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  1. Try "Keys Fisheries" -- a few minutes away and not visible from the road. You can ask around to get the location, it's pretty well known. There is not a more casual and fun seafood place anywhere. They are famous for their lobster reuben but there is a huge list of unbelievably fresh choices. You order at the counter. Don't give your name, just your favorite movie/TV character. When your number comes up, they'll yell it out, Lots of fun, right on the water--get there early if it's busy down there.

    1. Head up to Islamorada and watch the sun set at The Lorelei. It is a tradition.

      Will you have a boat? Anchor out at the sand bar off Holiday Isle. It is about a mile off shore. A houseboat restaurant will drive out, drop anchor, and start serving burgers and such. Food not so hot but the experience is cool.

      http://www.bootkeyharbor.com/upperkey...

      1. Also in Islamorada is Marker 88. Go early for one of the shady seats to enjoy a view of the water, and order the yellowtail snapper with one of their wonderful preparations.

        I was just in the Keys last week, and the BEST meal we enjoyed by far was at Alice's on Duval in Key West. If you venture that far south, do NOT miss Alice's for a fab dinner.

        1. The best in Marathon is Frank's Grill (small and casual and reservations are usually needed). Also, The Butterfly Cafe is very good (more upscale and pricey). For lunch there is Fish Tales and Herbies (both offer an old Keys feel but are loved by locals). Barracuda's is loved by tourists and usually gets good reviews. Locals have found it very inconsistant but they step up tot he plate more often than not..

          If you're venturing to Islamorada I personally prefer Ziggie & Maddogs. I have never had anything less than superb at this joint.

          I concur that Alice's in Key West is very good as is 7 Fish and Michaels. Do Louies for for drinks (you can risk dinner and probably be OK but it can be hit and miss with somewhat arrogant service). Also try El Siboney for Cuban food (a real locals restaurant).

          4 Replies
          1. re: Keysmickey

            Been a Fish Tails Market and Eatery fan for many years. We use to go to Barracudas years ago. It was one of the more creative restaurants in the area. I've also heard that it suffers from inconsistancy.
            http://www.floridalobster.com/

            We always eat there when in the area or passing through. Favorite place to buy fresh snapper.

            I would certainly consider myself a foodie but when in the Keys my passion is for simple fresh fish done well. A piece of very fresh fish or shell fish cooked correctly is a beautiful thing. Usually when traveling by car in the Keys I have a cast iron skillet, cutting board and chef knife in tow along with the dive equipment.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Most restaurants in the keys will cook your fresh catch for you. Common practice because so many people fish.

              1. re: BlueHerons

                how do you go about having a restaurant cook your catch for you? (sorry if this is obvious in the keys, but seems so foreign here in Colorado!) any specific ones that you know do a good job?

                1. re: foodissexy

                  Most will cook your catch for you and charge like restaurants do for corkage fees. You will pay about as much as an entree but you know how fresh the fish is.

                  I have never done this since we usually stay in a condo with full kitchen.

          2. I would recommend The Island Fish, Co. in Marathon. They have a huge menu and daily specials. They have a website you can visit showing most of their menu. http://www.islandfishco.com/