It was the birthplace of key lime pie in the 1880’s then in 2006; the Florida state legislature designated Key Lime Pie as the official state pie of Florida. With that kind of gravitas, you have to try it early and often! Start the appreciation of all things key lime at Kermit’s in Key West and make sure you take home some key lime souvenirs (though in my case by take home I mean buy them and eat them before I get on the plane).
There may be more restaurants, bars and cafes than you can swing a cat at in the 150 isles of the Florida Keys, so loosen your belt, and try just a few of our favourites.
Scuba and Snorkelling are huge in the keys. After a day on the boat, you’ll have worked up an appetite, be sure to head over to Keys Fisheries and try their famous “Lobster Reuben”.
Sunsets, sand, Hemingway’s and Netflix? If you’re a fan of the show Bloodlines, you’ll notice scenes from where the show was filmed when you visit Marker 88. Let your kids play in the sand while the grown-ups embrace in a beautiful sunset. Then enjoy your dinner and what better way to recreate a delicious classic dish of mac and cheese than dressing it up with crab and lobster! The seafood dishes are incredible and let’s not forget about finishing your meal with key lime pie.
Originally from Burlington, ON, Craig, the owner of Florida Keys Brewing Co. brews his own beer and created all of the craft beer you can find on tap. Iguana Bait is their best seller, made with honey & hibiscus. The Beer Garden recently opened this year as a tasting room. So while parents sample delicious craft beer, the kids can enjoy time in the garden where they can hula-hoop, watch live concerts, play Jenga and more!
Having seafood is the obvious Florida Keys staple, and you may feel slightly guilty for eating a delicacy he’s added to the menu (especially after seeing it earlier in the day at Aquarium Encounters) but when in Rome (so to speak) you must try the lion head fish. Being one of the few restaurants in the Keys operated by their own chef, Chef Christian has spent 20 years as a sous chef. The freshly caught fish of Islamorada can be seen on his menu from Seafood pasta, hogfish, yellowtail and end the night right with the salted Crème Brulé cheesecake (just to break up all the key lime pie).
Big Pine Key
Stop into No Name Pub, where their slogan is ‘a nice place if you can find it.’ Opening its doors in 1931 as a general store and bait and tackle shop, it now stands as a pub, its walls covered with almost a half million dollars in dollar bills that people have signed and stapled to the walls. Featuring a menu sure to satisfy the whole family from coconut shrimp to shrimp pizza and of course, say it with me, key lime pie!
Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar offers coastal-inspired cuisine and an authentic, laid-back place to eat, just like a surfer’s lifestyle. There are so many menu options to choose from including the Sunset Shrimp Salad, Blackened Fish Tacos, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, the Mahi Mahi Sandwich and did I mention their key lime mouse?
Hemingway Rum Company
As the legend goes, of everywhere he travelled in this world, Ernest Hemingway chose Key West to call home. Papa was the nickname of Ernest Hemingway, and his wife, Pauline, he called Pilar. Hence the name of the rum that was created, Papa’s Pilar.
It comes as no surprise that Hemingway Rum Company is home to an interactive, educational and fascinating explanation of the distillation process. The entire process is all hands on, and the staff is fantastic; I think it comes from bearing their passion and soul in what they do. There’s something for everyone in this tour, but moms and dads will have the upper hand in sampling some dark and blonde rum. So make sure to leave room in your suitcase, because you’re going to want to bring some home.
Azur Restaurant offers mostly Mediterranean food with a twist on breakfast including their incredible key lime French toast! You can also get pasta carbonara, frittata with chorizo plus so many other great options to get you started on your day!
It’s in the name, Blue Heaven, a great breakfast spot in the historic Bahama Village neighbourhood, just a short walk to Mallory Square. Omelettes, eggs benny and fresh banana bread are a must have, while you take in this properties experiences from years past including cockfights and Friday-night boxing matches refereed by none other than Ernest Hemingway.
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