10 Best Florida Keys Restaurants to Watch the Sunset (Slideshow)
December 26, 2013
1. Sunset Tiki Bar & Grill (at The Galleon resort) — Key West
You don’t have to hole up in one of The Galleon’s penthouses to take advantage of its clear views of your favorite shimmering celestial body descending into the sea. Simply take a seat at the Sunset Tiki Bar & Grille, order yourself an icy beverage, and relax as the sun melts away before your eyes. South Florida snacking staples, such as conch fritters and shrimp poppers, are the perfect complements to an awe-inspiring visual experience, and two-for-one Bloody Marys (from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday) and margaritas on the rocks (4 p.m. until 7 p.m.) will only enhance it.
2. Morada Bay Beach Café/Pierre’s Lounge & Restaurant — Islamorada
Morada Bay features two restaurants where orange and purple sunset-gazing is as much a part of the experience as the exquisite cuisine. The Beach Café offers fresh seafood along with simple snacks like quesadillas and salads with tables situated in the sand and surrounded by walls of surfboards, sails and boogie boards to evoke the feeling of a Californian-Hawaiian surfer paradise. Pierre’s is more refined, offering French-fusion fare (like blue crab vichyssoise and local hogfish meunière) inside a West African colonial-style plantation house and its surrounding veranda, with an elegant, romantic interior influenced by Indian, Moroccan, and African design and filled with ornate artifacts.
3. Sunset Pier (at Ocean Key Resort & Spa) — Key West
enjoying Caribbean-inspired culinary delights at this world-renowned resort’s private pier restaurant, you’ll have a hard time
leaving the island. Snack on peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters on the half-shell,
and Latin-style crabcakes as you bask in the ethereal glow of the sun’s
descent; then, revel in the sounds of live music and the excitement of watching
local entertainers performing remarkable routines you’ll have to see to
4. Latitudes Restaurant (at Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin Resort) — Key West
Helmed by executive chef Todd Holender, Latitudes pays homage to Ernest Hemingway, Key West’s most famous historical resident, with the walls of its interior dining room covered in photos of the author (who was also a passionate boatsman). If you prefer outdoor dining, take a seat on the alfresco patio surrounded by tiki torches and views of the Gulf of Mexico. Highlights include Sunset Key shrimp (stuffed with crabmeat, wrapped in prosciutto, and served with apricot barbecue sauce, green tomato and watermelon chutney, and passion fruit-jicama slaw), butter-poached Florida lobster tail, and coconut-crusted grouper.
5. Strip House (at Reach Resort) — Key West
The Reach Resort, owned by the Waldorf-Astoria, features this sexy steakhouse serving chef Mark Van Schaick’s upscale takes on American fare, including filet mignon, New York strip, veal porterhouse, and both Maine and Florida lobster. Sides like goose fat potatoes and black truffle creamed spinach crank up the classiness, as does lobster bisque crowned with a crisp red pepper ravioli.
6. Sundowners — Key Largo
Since 1985, this oasis surrounded by palm trees, azure skies, and the waters of Florida Bay has provided the perfect base for Keys visitors and locals to eat, drink, and soak up scenic sunsets. Sit indoors and watch the magic unfold through the glass-walled dining room, or hang outside on the covered deck if you prefer to feel the balmy air on your skin. Try the three-course tasting menu, or go à la carte with dishes like cracked conch in coconut milk, seafood paella with alligator sausage, or Portuguese pan roast with clams, chorizo, pulled pork, and calamari sautéed in light stock with spinach and rosemary.
7. Market 88 — Islamorada
Opened in 1967, Marker 88 serves quintessential Keys classics like conch chowder, crispy yellowtail snapper meunière, and onion-crusted mahimahi paired with wines from one of the largest collections on the archipelago. With appetizers like cracked conch with wasabi aioli, lobster and mango guacamole, and hot blue crab dip, you might just miss looking up from your plate to catch the gorgeous sunset over the glistening Gulf. Once the "show" of natural wonder is over, end your eating affair sweetly with Market 88’s heralded Key lime baked Alaska.
8. Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar — Islamorada
If the idea of cracking into succulent stone crabs and jiving to nightly sunset celebrations kindles the flame of your soul, head to Lorelei, conveniently nestled in the Upper Keys. Live music is performed every night, with mainstays like The Dana Collins Band, Mr. Nice Guy Band, and The Jesse Brown Band bringing down the straw tiki hut with rocking rhythms. Don’t miss out on the backcountry yellowtail snapper, encrusted with Parmesan and kissed with a coating of citrus-spiked beurre blanc for a true taste of the Keys. If you’re feeling adventurous, hire one of Lorelei’s licensed captains and charter a fishing boat to try your hand at reeling your meal in.
9. The Island Fish Company Tiki Bar & Restaurant — Marathon
Marathon, found at mile marker 54, is home to The Island Fish Co., one of the premier places in the Keys to indulge in fresh seafood and picturesque sunsets. Smoked fish dip, oysters Moscow (freshly shucked and dolloped with horseradish sour cream and red and black caviar), and Key lime-marinated conch ceviche will synergize any sunset, but VIP diners should consider opting for The Island’s Seafood Tower, loaded with a pound of local peel-and-eat pink shrimp, freshly shucked Gulf oysters and Indian River clams on the half-shell, another pound of Florida stone crab claws, and all the accoutrements you’ll need for a flavor-fueled oceanic feast.
10. Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant — Islamorada
Part of the Bass Pro Shops family of restaurants, Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant offers unparalleled views of sunsets over the Florida Gulf Coast and mouthwatering renditions of classic Keys culinary creations. House favorites include squid rings, smoked fish dip, and a grouper Reuben on grilled, thick-cut rye bread, along with seasonal specialties like stone crab claws and Florida lobster stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and herbed crabmeat.