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Oct 8, 2012 08:53 AM

Islamorada Recs Needed

Headed to Islamorada this Wednesday for a long weekend. First trip for the wife and I. Looking for some good recs for lunch and dinner. Looking for some fresh seafood...any pricepoint....and we will travel north or south as we have no set plans. Thanks in advance...

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  1. My grandparents used to live in Islamorada (across from the Ragged Edge Resort). and we always enjoyed Marker 88. Haven't been in years, tho, so I don't know if it's aged well.

    1. Would you recommend any of the places you went for lunch or dinner in Islamorada?

      3 Replies
      1. re: ccat3

        Ma's Fish Camp for Key Lime Pie. It is AMAZING!

        1. re: DaisyM

          Agree with Daisy. You can spend the big bucks for overly fancy food that has long gone from style in the food meccas, with prices as high or higher than Manhattan or other international cities (mains in the $30-$40 range) or you can go local and dine at Ma's, where the fish is fresh, the ambience is not fancy but the servers are as friendly as can be, and that key lime pie will forever spoil you for desserts.

          We have already booked our return for January 2014; will be staying on the sea just own the block from Ma's, and apart from the fried chicken at the gas station nearby (I forget the name) and perhaps a meal or two on the grill at our hotel, I expect to have most of my diners at Ma's, unless someone tells me otherwise closer to the date of arrival next winter).

          WShat I would love is recommendations on where to stock up on fish and vegetables en routge from the WPB area...unfortunately, the Homestead Latin markets will be shuttered on our day of arrival, Monday.

          <<<erica Mar 25, 2013 12:33 AM
          Four of took the ride south yesterday, a Sunday. The market has a great atmosphere and one could almost, with some stretch of the imagination, imagine that you were in a local market south of our border. The fresh produce seems to be concentrated in one, covered building, which is the only building we had time to visit. It is labeled as "Farmer's Market")

          While there are some rather unusual tropical fruits and vegetables (stacks of nopales, for example), the selection was not enough to make the long drive worthwhile for us. (NOTE: But if you are passing by for a stay in the Keys this is THE place to stock up--please tell me other options en route, as this market will be closed on the Monday when we pass through next January!! )

          Prices were on a par with those at The Boys in Delray (papaya; $1 per pound; Ataulfo mangoes, $1 per piece; I had not seen these yet this season; field tomatoes, $1 per pound but not appealing in appearance). Good selection of peppers.

          Dried peppers and spices were in good supply and seemed well priced; as were bunches of cilantro, epazote, etc.

          I stumbled upon a very amiable Central American vendor of cheeses..bought some excellent queso fresco; she also had panela and quite a few cheeses, along with a type of tamale stuffed with cheese that I am kicking myself for not sampling. There were other vendors that looked interesting at quick glance, and undoubtedly there are treasures here waiting to be discovered, but we were pressed for time and our gringo friends who were un accostomed to Latin maekets, or exotica in general, seemed uneasy about the sampling the prepared foods, which I would have liked to try. Note that there is NOTHING remotely threatening about this market and I would be happy to take my 80-year old relatives on a jaunt.

          Several vendors of aguas frescas in the usual flavors, from horchata to sandia, tamarindo, jamaica (also say many vendors selling the dried jamaica, which I believe are known here in English as hibiscus flowers). Good value aguas at $1 for a large cup.>>

          1. re: erica

            In key west. On white street and on duval street there is a grocerie store called faustos. It is alittle pricey but it has a nice selection of different cooking spices and good quality meat as well as homemade sausage and salsas etc....

      2. Please try the fish fry in islandmorada!! The best!!

        1. Since you are willing to travel, head south to Marathon and go to Keys Fisheries. Not the restaurant, but the outside bar. They have $1 stone crab claws, and $3 tuna tartar specials (at least those were the prices 2 years ago). Best stone crab deal i the state of Florida.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kimfair1

            Wow thank you do much! I'm actually headed there now! Lobster season is over but there are still great deals on the tails. $4

            1. re: Daniellehayat

              Looking for recent reports on eating in Islamorada. Nothing fancy, but must be excellent food. Not really looking for burgers or steak. (Last year we ate most of our meals at Ma's, as we were turned off by the fancy concoctions offered by the more upscale places on the island)

              This year, I hope to make it to Marathon for the bar at Keys Fisheries. How is the restaurant there?


              1. re: erica

                We've made it back after 4 glorious nights (weather withstanding) in Islamorada. I will port a report in some detail soon, but for anyone heading this way soon, I will give this advice:

                Ma's Fish Camp. I used to say "go for the Key LIme Pie!"
                I have now amended my recommendation to this, "Go for the Bahamian Conch Chowder, stay for the fish of the day (we had the mahi) and the Key Lime Pie." Not only the most economical place we found in the immediate area, but the best, by far, in quality and execution.

                In an area not known for a favorable price/value ratio, this one is worth a look. Just down the street from The Moorings Village, and a short walk from the ever-expanding Cheeca Lodge. Not a fancy place;we noticed many locals, and local workers at lunch. Worth noting that their Key Lime pie, topped with meringue, is the best we've sampled in two recent calorie-packed sojourns to this area.

                They charge $12 per person for fish you've caught and brought in....this comes with a selection of family style vegetables. (As note of comparison, Cheeca Lodge (where we did not stay and did not eat) charges $28 per person for cooking your fish).

            2. re: kimfair1

              Now $2 Stone Crab claws; $4 tuna sashimi. Still good.