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Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
160 posts
61 reviews
Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

We will be staying one night in Key Largo on the way to Key West. I have read lots of reviews and have narrowed down our choices for restaurants, but need some opinions.

We will be leaving Melbourne Beach in the morning, stopping at Alabama Jack's for a bite in early afternoon, then checking into Sunset Cove. After relaxing for a bit, we will go out for seafood.

I'm thinking The Fish House for dinner since the menu looks great and reviews are very good.

For an after dinner drink, music, and some fun, Skippers Dockside looks good.

For breakfast, planning to go to Mrs Mac's Kitchen, although Harriett's has good reviews also.

So, my questions are: Since we only have one day in Key Largo-

Is The Fish House the best place to go for seafood? Do we need reservations?

Mrs Mac's or Harriett's?? Base advice on who has better Eggs Benedict, etc

Is Skippers Dockside the place to go to end the night? Music, drinks, walk on the marina, watch the boats.

Does anyone know what the Happy Hour specials are at Pilot House marina? I read on TA that it had the "Best Happy Hour in the Keys" but there wasn't anything on their website about it.

Thanks in advance!

Berkshire, United...
Level Contributor
19,683 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

The Fish House is a great restaurant IMHO and the food is very good indeed. You can't make reservations as far as I know. I would get there early and be prepared to wait for a table as it is very popular.

I have only eaten at Harriett's for breakfast and again, the food is very good and it is really popular and very busy.

Key Largo, Florida
Destination Expert
for Key Largo
Level Contributor
1,993 posts
205 reviews
2. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

As was already said, you can't make reservations for Fish House and during season, there is usually a wait after 6pm. The inside is small and it will be loud. Their food is excellent.

For breakfast my go-to is original Mrs. Macs on the right hand side out south bound US1. Their prices are very reasonable and they have a very large menu and the plates are generous. You will see a lot of locals as well as tourists. I have had breakfast at Harrietts, too. If Mrs. Macs is full, you will have the option to drive a mile further to Harrietts.

After dinner, I would definitely pick Skippers Dockside. The management and chefs are from the Marriott. It has a fun up beat atmosphere. In the evening, you won't see much, if any, boat traffic. There are larger private boats docked on the marina as well as dive boats. Pilot House is the same scenario. Commercial fishing boats docked there don't go out at night. Both have nice views and live music. Pilot House may offer a happy hour, but I would not let that determine where I was going. Personally, I would go to Skippers.

Florida Keys...
Level Contributor
2,249 posts
25 reviews
3. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

One thing I'd recommend doing is catching sunset somewhere. None of the places you've mentioned have a sunset view. Down at the 'center' of Key Largo (MM99 to 100 area) you have Snooks Bayside and Bayside Grille. Both are restaurants with bars, but I'm not crazy about Snooks food or prices. Sunset is great from both places as they're almost neighbors.

Up at Mm104 area you can catch sunset at Carribean Club bar, Big Chill, Sundowners Restaurant or Breezers Bar at the Marriott hotel. There's nowhere in between those areas with a sunset view.

While I agree that the Fish House does have good food, I feel the experience is noisy and rushed. Weekends and even some weekday evenings this time of year it's packed. It's not somewhere to linger and enjoy a meal. They are constantly busy and it feels like they want to get you in and out again ASAP. Their sister restaurant Encore next door is a bit less like this, so worth considering. There's often a lot of people waiting outside for tables at weekends. Not sure what day you'll be in town.

Snappers down at MM93 is also worth considering. It's in a beautiful spot on the water and the food seems to be pretty good more recently. It's nice to sit out with a view when you can.

Skippers have a happy hour mon to fri only. It just changed times, it's now 3 to 6. They have well drinks, beers and house wine at half off, and also have some nice small happy hour snacks.

Pilot House's happy hour is good too. It's one of few places that have happy hour 7 days a week and it's 4 to 7. I'm pretty sure it's only $1 off beers, but their prices are cheap to start with so the HH prices are still low. I can't recall the deal on well drinks and wine, but I know there is one. That also have HH food, such as sliders, tacos etc but the best deal is 1/2 pound of peel n eat shrimp for about $6. I think being 4 to 7 and 7 days a week make it the 'best', not that it's necessarily the best deal in town.

JENSEN BEACH
Level Contributor
11,310 posts
51 reviews
4. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

Pilot House has a great Happy Hour. Lots of locals go and order a few of the appetizers for dinner. The shrimp is excellent. If I only had one night..meh. I would skip it. Not a great view. Fish House never has appealed to us.Crowded and on the Highway. Skippers is ok but no sunset.. I would go to Snapper's for dinner. Or the Island Grill. Both are ON the water and have the casual Keys feel Both have bars and I am not positive but probably have Happy Hour..can't remember. We have never had a bad meal either place. For Sunset our "Go To" is Bayside Grill. Snook's is overpriced and we have had Rude, very Rude service there...we are not really "see and be seen" folks...Bayside has a great sunset, good prices and friendly service..often live music at sunset.. The Original Mrs Mac's is always our first choice for breakfast. Great menu, great food, great service. We tend to go early and get in no problem. I always get fresh fish even for breakfast there...my Husband is a breakfast lover and has enjoyed every meal for years, they are known for a hash brown casserole. Our second choice for breakfast is Doc's Diner about 1/2 mile North on the same side of the road. Equally as good imo.

SOooo my choice would be..enjoy Alabamba Jacks. We like to have a cold beer or two, relax and maybe smoked fish app...I don't like their conch fritters...too greasy..good conch chowder and sandwiches. We go for the atmosphere and a break. Ck In and relax, head to Bayside Grill for Drinks and Sunset..After that Head to Snapper's or Island Grill. Enjoy dinner and the views (oceanside, no sunset) and bar. If you still want to enjoy the night end up at Skippers! *If Bayside Grill has a great band, they often do, dinner upstairs there is very good.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
160 posts
61 reviews
5. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

Great advice! Thank you all.

Yes, Robert, we definitely want to catch a sunset, so your locations are very helpful.

Snappers and Snooks Bayside were also on my list of potentials, but I thought Fish House had more positive reviews here. I will look at the menus again.

We are staying on a Friday night in late April, so I'm guessing it will likely be crowded. We will just get into the Keys relaxation mindset and have a drink while we wait!

JENSEN BEACH
Level Contributor
11,310 posts
51 reviews
6. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

I don't think anyone is saying Fish House does not have good food. It's just that it is on the Highway with no view and tends to be "rushed". It is always packed and has been there a long time so they are doing something right..just not our choice for a relaxed fun night.

Colorado
Level Contributor
2,560 posts
142 reviews
7. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

Skippers is great for Happy Hour due to watching boats and live music

Snooks for sunset sundowner

Fish House or Encore for a splurge dinner

Florida Keys...
Level Contributor
2,249 posts
25 reviews
8. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

Yes, agreed. Nothing wrong with Fish House food at all. On a rainy or one of our rare cold days it's fine. If I only had one day here and assuming the weather will be nice I'd want to be outside with a view. I rode past on my bike about 6pm today and the parking lot was jammed and there were maybe 20 people outside waiting to be seated. Anyone with a wait list early on a Wednesday evening must be doing something right !

Bayside Grille does indeed have live music, every night. Mostly good local bands or solo musicians. Occasionally they have 'Blues' bands from out of town at weekends, who are sometimes OK, but usually just way too loud to enjoy. The downstairs bar has happy hour 4-7pm and bar food. The upstairs restaurant has a nicer menu and food has mostly been pretty good for us. I would definitely go there above Snooks also. Totally agree with obxpat's comments about Snooks.

Snappers does have a decent happy hour, at the bars only and Monday to Saturday. It used to be 4-7pm, but I heard the new owners may have changed it. Good deals on drinks and a small selection of HH food (peel n eat shrimp, chicken wings...) There's a more casual fun bar out back they call the Turtle Club. More of a bar food type of food menu, but a huge selection of draft and craft beers, Happy Hour, on the waters edge with a nice view and great bartenders. Hard to beat that spot on a nice day.

I also like Skippers, for drinks or a snack. It's a nice spot and beautifully done, but I find their food menu very limited.

Union, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,107 posts
439 reviews
9. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

We like Island Grill. Food is really good and they have the best homemade keylime pie!!

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
160 posts
61 reviews
10. Re: Key Largo Restaurant Decisions..help needed please

More great advice. So helpful for first time visitors. Thank you!

Do the restaurants and bars allow smoking? That would also influence whether we would choose inside or outside tables. We don't smoke and do not like eating where others are smoking.

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