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It's been a while and we are big fans of Snapper's, Island Grill, Morada Bay, and a few other waterfront spots whose names escape me. Any must eats or drinks in Islamorada to check out right now?

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  1. I had a good time at Lazy Days - and if you get the right seat the ocean view is spectacular.


    In Tavernier my wife and I love Made to Order for breakfast. Pancakes with some outrageous orange butter!

    1 Reply
    1. re: CFByrne

      Love Lazy Days! Will have to check out Made to Order next time. Also, I noticed a new (since I've been there ages ago anyway) spot called Chef Michael's--his tagline is intriguing : "Peace, Love and Hogfish"
      Has anyone been there?

    2. I had a bad experience at Made to Order last year...It was very warm outside and it took at least 40 minutes to get our simple breakfast order. Those kind of things really put me off.. I will never go back just because of that. I may be jumping the gun ...BUT... I give one chance and that is it.
      I just got back from the keys yesterday... Here is a short critique.
      I was with my spouse and my 10 year old grandson. First day we stopped at Snappers in Tavernier... $17 for a so-so Ceviche and a so-so fish sandwich. My grandson wanted a burger Sunday night... We went to Chilli Willies to get the burger....To my suprise the food was quite good.. I had 10 very good wings and my grandson and spouse had burgers.....They were both pleasantly surprised ,and the prices were reasonable... Looks like a place you wouldn't expect in the keys but was quite good.
      Last night we stopped at Mandalay Bay at MM97.5....Everything was very good. Had the calamari app and fish tacos. It was way to warm outside to do the Lorelei waterfront .
      For a quickie burger I would rec. Chilli Willies... Never thought I would say that ,but it is true

      2 Replies
      1. re: HotMelly

        I think food and service in the Keys can be more hit and miss than normal in other areas... due to the super laid-back aspect.

        I also suspect it's hard for chefs to maintain high enthusiasm in largely tourist locales.

        My sister has been in the restaurant industry down there for over 25 years.

        She says: "If an employee simply shows up for work on any given day, that's considered a pretty good start."


        1. re: HotMelly

          I am so glad you told me about chili willie's because every time we pass it, I comment and say I wonder how that place is! Good to know! We had lunches at Islamorada Fish Co., Lorelai and Morada Bay. Best food of the three was Morada Bay but all in all it's pretty much the same fish and fish sandwich, I think. Agree with you on Snapper's too.
          My big gripe with the Keys, or Islamorada at least, is that they all stop serving breakfast (except Islamorada Bakery in which I found a hair in my hash browns, so see ya never again to that one) at 11. For a tourist-driven place that's supposed to be on its own slow time clock, why not serve breakfast at least until noon?! Especially on weekends. Oh well.
          Island Grill has a terrible breakfast buffet with overcooked food.
          A good breakfast spot for a change was Key Largo Conch House. Good Cajun Omelet.
          Anyone been to the Green Turtle lately?

        2. Jane....Chili Willies is very kid friendly....A big game room in the back dining room. I would suggest you eat in the front room when you first come in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HotMelly

            My favorite place in the Upper Keys now is Tasters Grill in the Tavernier Town shopping center (in the back near the movie theater).


            I think it is technically just north of Islamorada, but close enough. Not a typical Keys menu -- but with a few Keys standards. The food is very interesting and very good. You wouldn't know it when you enter the center or the restaurant, but there is waterfront seating in the back too and they have had craft beer tastings back there when I have been there. Definitely worth checking out.

          2. I will soon be spending 3 nights in Islamorada and am wondering if there are any updates to this thread. Particularly interested in dinner places offering local fish and seafood, but will eat almost anything. Food is more important than the decor or setting and would prefer to avoid restaurants featuring overworked "fancy" dishes. To give an idea of what I've liked in South Florida in the 2 weeks plus that I've been here: Max's Harvest, in Delray, and Yardbird in Miami Beach.

            Also, any additional suggestions for simple breakfasts with good bread in Islamorada?

            Will take a day trip to Key West one day, so looking for fresh, simple lunch spot. (Paseo looks good, but does not seem to be open during our days there, Monday/Tuesday) What about BO Fish Wagon? Other ideas?

            Many thanks!

            1 Reply
            1. re: erica

              I was just down there for New Years weekend. We were at family events so did not dine out much.

              But my hotel was right near a place that caught my eye:

              Chef Michael's
              Peace, Love and Hogfish

              I have no idea if it is any good. But you've got to give them credit for a great tagline! I would definitely want to at least investigate such a place.

              PS: A quick look elsewhere on the net shows a lot of highly favorable reviews.

            2. I haven't eaten there in a very long time....but Bentley's in Islamorada was very, very good....and for a very long time.....Ziggy and Mad Dog's has been an Islamorada favorite.....as is The Lorelai.....especially on a Sunday afternoon.....

              Ft. Pierce, FL

              1. The folks from Tasters also have a lunch spot called MEAT which has great beer selection and good casual food.

                1. Just returned from three nights on Islamorada. We checked out a couple of local places near our hotel, but ended up eating all three nights just down the street at Ma's Fish Camp, a no frills place popular with locals and long-term winter visitors. Nice, fairly priced list of wines by the glass, too.

                  Highlights there were the addictive cracked conch, served with a very good bottled sauce from Jamaica, and the incredibly fabulous Key Lime pie, made in house. Right up there with the best desserts I've ever had, this one was topped with both meringue and home-made whipped cream. Tempting to forgo all other food and just gorge on that.

                  We also sampled Ma's Conch Chowder (good enough); hamburger (reportedly "very good'); mahi mahi tacos and hogfish special of the day. Hogfish is mild and lacking in much texture; next time I would opt for another fish but that is just my personal opinion..it seems very popular in the area.

                  Next time, and I hope there will be one soon, I will come prepared with fixings for home-cooked dinners, and return to Ma's for cracked conch and that pie.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: erica

                    We really loved Ma's. It's not a pretty place, it's not a place with much fluff or people watching. You might want to go across the street to the Sporting goods-fishing store- Island grill place for a beautiful setting, sunset cocktail as we did before you have dinner.

                    At Ma's, the menu is simple, with different dishes prepared with similar ingredients (fresh fish, conch, shrimp and I think the occasional meat and chicken). But everything was super fresh, including a salad that came with a shrimp and cheese grits dish flecked with spicy andouille. The conch fritter appetizer were served piping hot, cooked perfectly golden and crispy with plenty of conch meat inside- with a side of tangy remoulade. My husband loved his bbq shrimp app, which unlike the New Orleans spicy peel and eat version is really peeled, seared shrimp (perfectly cooked) with a sweet bbq sauce. I'm not a lover of any bbq sauce, but I have to agree. It was delicious.

                    I had the fish taco's and opted to have the hogfish for an additional $3. I actually loved this fish. It was mild, flaky, and sweet.

                    Had to sample the Key Lime pie. It was delicious. The graham crust was buttery and moist, the filling was super limey and tart, not super sweet and tart as if it were made with the bottled stuff found at stores like Trader Joe's. You could tell they actually squeezed their key limes themselves. I could have done without the meringue which needed a few more minutes to crisp up. Not my personal favorite, but I was able to scoop it off to the side. The whipped cream, tasted as if it were made a la minute. I loved it.

                    2 beers, 2 appetizers, 2 main dishes, 1 dessert: $71 plus $15 tip.

                    1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                      So glad you liked Ma's. We will return to Islamorada in January for the third year now; while I may bring some food for BBQ-ing at our cottage, I plan to eat most dinners at Ma's, just down the street from The Moorings, where we stay.

                  2. Best is the Spanish Garden cafe. Also excellent is Ma's Fish Camp.

                    1. You might want to check out MEAT at MM88. The owner/chef just opened a sister restaurant in Boca and they're doing some interesting things there.


                      George Patti also has a another place in the Keys at 82.7 I've not been but it does look interesting: