Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Jun 26, 2009 12:42 PM

Key Largo restaurants

My husband and I will be going to Key Largo, in two weeks, for some snorkeling. Any recs for good restaurants? The last time we were there we tried Sundowners (so-so) and Ballyhoos (also just OK) We'll be there for two nights. We like almost all cuisines, except Asian. Need advice. Thanks, Amy

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I always get confused with Key largo and Islamorada, but they're close enough and here are my picks:

    Ziggie Mad Dog's for excellent steaks and chops.
    Green Turtle for classic and contemporary Florida cuisine. Chef Andy Niedenthal is a real talent
    Snapper's for great, simple seafood on the water.

    1. oh and for lunch, Island Grill! also on the water. a locals' fave.

      1. Thanks HJ. Key Largo is before Islamorada going toward Key West. I've heard about Snappers, but wasn' t sure how good/bad it is. We really enjoy being on the water for dinner. Thanks again. Amy

        3 Replies
        1. re: amyr

          The Fish House in Key Largo is always a solid choice. Mrs. Mac's is a casual luncheon spot that's very reliable. Hobos is also a reasonably good place for a casual bite to eat. Pickins are Slim in Key Largo!


          1. re: LargeLife

            Thanks for the advice. Mrs. Mac's is on our list for breakfast as well as Henrietta's Cafe. You're right about the slim pickings in KL. However, we'll have a lot to choose from in South Beach, which is where we're going after Key Largo. Thanks again. Amy

            1. re: amyr

              We had dinner at Mrs. Mac's and were very happy. After a day snorkeling, kayaking, etc. a simple dinner was right for us. I had very good crab cakes, my husband had great divers scallops. Nice pinot grigio for $20 a bottle. Very cute dive.

              Dinner at Sundowners was very mediocre to poor. View was nice, but any bayside place on the water would have that view. The restaurant at the Marriott is supposed to be excellent, but we took off for Key West and didn't get to try it.

        2. Good morning amy... I am about 2 hours north of Key Largo and make monthly snorkel, eating, & partying trips to Key Largo. May I make a suggestion about a place I love that is on the verge of being a "dive" but has great food. It is also on the water.On the ocean side
          at mile marker 97.5(acroos from Shell World) is a little place called Mandalay Bay. You cannot see it from the road. Try the Hog Fish sandwich. Best I have ever had.

          7 Replies
          1. re: HotMelly

            Thanks everyone. I'm glad you agree with me LiMsFoodie, concerning Sundowners. The last time we were there (two years ago) ,the view was great but the food was just OK.
            Hot Melly - thanks for the rec on Mandalay Bay. I think we'll give it a try.
            We'll be leaving in two weeks - can't wait. We're from northern New Jersey and the weather here has been horrible. I want sun and hot.

            1. re: HotMelly

              HotMelly- just a question....I've been doing a search for the restaurant and I come up with a Chef Lupe's Mandalay Restaurant. It's at 9950 Overseas Highway and is noted as being very good. Is this the place you're talking about.? The chef is from Lazy Days restaurant. Thanks, Amy

              1. re: amyr

                amy...When I read your post I became flushed and started to sweat profusily.I thought I was having one of my blonde moments, but thank goodness I had a Bud Light Lime and realized I was OK. No, Mandalay Bay "IS" at 97.5. I don't know the one of which you speak. Sorry, I also have Dyslexia, 5 out of 4 people have it. I tried Lazy Days one time and thought is was way overated.

                1. re: HotMelly

                  HM, it looks like I might have had a "what was I thinking of" moment. Yes, the Mandalay Bay restaurant that you told me about is at 97.5 MM but it is now called Chef Lupe's Mandalay. It's at 80 E. 2nd St. I must have looked up something else. I called them, this morning, and they told me that it's on the water, outside dining only. The menu looks pretty good. Now, I hope this is the right place.

                  By the way, what do you think of Alabama Jack"s? I thought that after we land in Miami, and are on the way to KL ,we'd stop there for lunch. Heard it's a good local place for good food...........

                  1. re: amyr

                    amy..Alabama Jack's is a very nice stop into the keys.It is on Card Sound rd. That is the "Other" way to get to the keys. It is kinda a biker place., but it is worth a stop. The "Rage" at Alabama Jacks" is the Conch Fritters". Myself, (and my male friend) found them very good, but not outstanding..I have been to the keys many ,many times. If I had to choose a place to spend the night and relax and party, I would choose the Drop Anchor Resort in Islamorda. It is within walking distance of Hog heaven, and the Island Grill.

                    1. re: HotMelly

                      Oh dear, am I going to drive my husband crazy going to Alabama Jacks?
                      I thought that if we're on the way to Key Largo from the Miami airport we could make a turn on Card Sound Rd and go for lunch. What is the "other" way you're talking about? Amy

                      1. re: HotMelly

                        Important driving/traffic note that may (or may not) be still valid.

                        When I was in the Keys 2 weeks ago (June 20) US1 was open SOUTHBOUND only. (Apparently due to some major issue with all the construction they’ve been doing last few yrs).

                        This meant on Sunday afternoon, heading north on Card Sound was a 3 HOUR PARKING LOT (since that was the ONLY way out of the Keys).

                        Things may have changed but anyone heading to or from the Keys, especially on busy times like Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon, may be wise to check FL Hwy department or whatever… for the foreseeable future.

              2. amy..The usual way to the keys is US #1 out of Florida City.The other way is Card Sound Rd...By the way.All husbands are crazy.(just my opinion) If you take Card Sound you can stop at Alabama Jacks...US #1 , there is nothing until you get into Key Largo... Make a stop at Robbies at mile marker # 77 and feed the Tarpon.It is very cool and cheap entertainment

                2 Replies
                1. re: HotMelly

                  Oh boy, I'm going to drive you crazy .....usually when we get out of the Miami airport we just go on US#1 ( I think) to our hotel, the Holiday Inn at Key Largo. Are you saying that if we want to go to AJack's we'll have to go another way.? As you can see I don't do the driving from the airport to the hotel. The hotel is at MM 100.3. Is Card Sound Rd before that or after that????? Sorry for the many questions. I guess I could just go on google and get the directions. .....but I thought I'd run it by you again. Yes, ALL husbands are crazy -known fact throughout the world. Amy

                  1. re: amyr

                    HM, pertaining to my last post - I went on google maps and did a search. I didn't realize that AJacks is about 40 minutes from the hotel. It doesn't matter if we go directly there from the airport ( map says l hour, 21 minutes) or directly to the hotel from the airport (1 hour 19 minutes). Either way ,getting to AJacks is about 40 minutes from the hotel.
                    Somehow, in my mind, I thought it was closer to the hotel. Maybe I'll rethink going. I'm not too sure if my husband is going to want to do all that driving just for "lunch". We arrive in Miami about 9:45 AM.I hear Mrs. Mac's has good food........we'll see. amy