Captain Dave Perkins’ Key Largo and Islamorada Recomendations

sunset - Tavernier - fishing - 2013

Restaurants:

Breakfast:

-Made to Order Tavernier

They have a fantastic menu and food. They’re pet friendly, on the water, boat accessible, and BYOB. Bring a bottle of champagne. They’ll put it in an ice bucket and bring out fresh-squeezed oj and glasses.

Harriet’s Key Largo

Open over 30 years. A little place with lots of charm. Look for the yellow building.

Midway Cafe Islamorada

A healthy, wholesome and tasty breakfast spot. Like something you’d find in Vermont or Colorado.

Keys Bite Key Largo

Great service, selection and food. Great Mexican flair as well.

Mangrove Mike’s Islamorada

A Keys favorite, a solid breakfast and a good, key’s-style menu.

Doc’s Diner Key Largo

They have a big menu and great food with huge portions. They are very friendly with super service.

-Chad’s Tavernier

Good breakfast. Great service and they open early.

-Sunshine Market Tavernier

Authentic Cuban food. Basic breakfast, but with cafe con leche or cafe colada (expresso), Cuban toast and fresh squeezed orange juice, you’ll be ready to start your day. They also open early.

Robbie’s  Southern Islamorada

Very good breakfast on the water. Solid service. Try the Trailer Park Trash Bloody Mary!

Islamorada Shrimp Fishing

Lunch:

Lazy Days Islamorada

Featuring very, very, good Keys-style food. They have high-end and expensive dinners, but a very reasonable lunch. Sit outside and you’re high-up, over-looking the bright-blue Atlantic.

Hog Heaven Islamorada

Best burgers in the Keys. Don’t sit inside. Sit outside by water.

Chad’s Deli Tavernier

Best subs in the Keys! They are not cheap, but they are very big and delicious with lots of different types of fresh bread to chose from. Get them cut into quarters and wrapped for the boat!

Key Largo Fisheries Key Largo

A working fish house on the water where the fishing boats come in. Needless to say, the seafood is top notch.

Bayside Gourmet Islamorada

Fantastic Lunch. Fresh and delicious. Grouper Ruben and soups are to die for. Carrot cake will blow your mind.

-Sunshine Market Tavernier

Cuban Food. Great selection of traditional Cuban food with daily specials. Be sure to try a Cuban sandwich or a media niche sandwich and a Cuban coffee.

-Keys Bite Key Largo

Very good and very reasonable lunch with solid service and an extensive menu.

-Ms. Mac’s Kitchen Key Largo

A Key Largo staple for years. Good eats. Waffle fries are the best around. Super Fishwhich is my favorite. Two locations.

Key Thai Key Largo

A new Thai place on Key Largo the is excellent from top to bottom. Great lunch specials and even a “happy hour” daily with great food specials.

-City Hall Cafe Plantation Key

A good, solid local’s lunch place with tasty specials. Be sure to get the pasta salad as your side.

-Puerta Vallarta  Mexican Restaurant Islamorada

Fantastic authentic Mexican food. Some of the best there is. Great service, atmosphere and tasty margaritas.

Happy Hour:

-Island Grill Islamorada

Delicious appetizers and two for one drink specials.

-Mandalay Island Grill Key Largo

Tasty, inexpensive appetizers and drink specials.

-Wahoos Islamorada

Go to the long and narrow upstairs bar (not the restaurant). It is open-air and catches the breeze. Sit and enjoy the comings and goings of the Whale Harbor fishing fleet and a spectacular view of the Atlantic. Good appetizer selection and drink specials. Be sure to get the hand-muddled Margarita!

-Skipper’s Key Largo

My favorite new spot. 4-7 pm happy hour time. Fantastic, half off food and drinks on the happy hour menu. Great atmosphere and service. Friendly staff.

-Green Turtle Islamorada

A Keys landmark for over half a century with a very nice setting and top-notch food & service.

Whale Harbor Sand Bar Islamorada

Upstairs from the brand new Whale Harbor Restaurant. Sit and sip a cold drink from high up with a GREAT view of the channel, flats and the Atlantic.

 

Sunset:

-Sundowners Key Largo

-The Big Chill  Key Largo

-The Lorelei Islamorada

The most famous sunset in the Upper Keys, featuring live music, local artists, beach seating and dining. Two bars including a waterfront tiki bar.

-Morada Bay Islamorada

Beautiful setting. Beachfront bar and dining. Live music.

-Pierre’s Islamorada

A great French restaurant next-door to Morada Bay on the north side. The building and bar are beautifully crafted and decorated with excellent art and hardwood. Martinis are super, but not cheap. Outside couches on the beach are nice and cozy.

-Zane Grey Islamorada

Next door on south side and upstairs from World Wide Sportsman. A very nice place with fish trophies and historic fishing relics on walls. It’s got the feel that Ernest Hemingway may walk in any minute. Good cigar selection. Nice view on balcony.

Marker 88 Plantation Key

Fantastic beach and bar seating. There’s a great view with a dock you can tie up your boat or walk out on. It’s pet friendly. They have a super appetizer selection. Try the ahi-avocado poke or the lobster pesto pizza.

Dinner:

Island Grill Islamorada

Superb waterfront dining on the south end of Snake Creek Bridge featuring casual vibe with amazing food. Live, but not too loud music. Be sure to try the tuna nachos.

The Mandalay Island Grill Key Largo

Waterfront dining. Good food. Excellent prime rib.

Pilot House Key Largo

Well-done, waterfront dining. Good food. It features a unique bar with a glass floor and illuminated water. There are slots at the bar to drop food to the many fish underneath you.

-The Fish House Key Largo

Great Seafood. Stellar service.

-Sundowner’s Key Largo

Top notch Keys cuisine with a beautiful waterfront setting. What’s not to love?

-Bayside Gourmet Islamorada

Absolutely fantastic food with an Italian flair. Great seafood. Super-friendly staff. Lobster bisque is delicious!

-Num Thai Key Largo

Surprisingly good Thai cuisine and sushi.

-Turtle Club Key Largo

The same property and next door to Snapper’s Restaurant. *Local spot and my go-to bar.*

Great atmosphere, pet friendly and a nice view of the Atlantic. Live music and a fun ring game. Okay food, but nothing fancy. Drinks are cold and breeze is nice. Good place to watch sports in their captain’s chairs.

-Old Tavernier Tavernier

An Upper Keys tradition. Splendid place. Very good food. The bar area where you first walk in is a very cozy atmosphere and where I always eat and drink. Their pizza is not on the menu, but is the best around. You can get it to go as well.

-Dillon’s Pub Tavernier

Really tasty, very reasonably priced food. Good sports bar. It can get smoky, so if that bothers you, skip it or get take out.

 

High End, Good Eats 

-Chef Michael’s Islamorada

-Kayo Grill and Sushi Islamorada

-Lazy Days Islamorada

-Pierre’s Islamorada

Encore Fish House Key Largo

-Ballyhoos Key Largo

-Ziggy Mad Dog’s Islamorada

-Bayside Gourmet Islamorada

Hook & Cook: Bring Your Catch and They Cook It:

-Lazy Days Islamorada

-Marker 88 Plantation Key

-Snappers Key Largo

-Dillon’s Key Largo

-Pilot House Key Largo

-Fish House Key Largo

-Ballyhoos Key Largo

Bring in your filleted fish. They are reasonably priced and fantastically prepared. Good, solid side options. Many other places will prepare your fish for you.

To Do:

World Wide Sportsman Islamorada

Shop and look around. Be sure to check out the big fish tank and Hemmingway’s boat. Grab a cold, $2 beer at the bait shop outside or go upstairs for a drink.

The Tiki Bar (Postcard Inn) Islamorada

Lay out, drink at one of 9 bars, rent jet skis, swim in pool, people-watch at the beach.

-The Sandbar in front of Tiki Bar (Postcard Inn) Islamorada

Park a boat, kayak or paddle board at the sandbar. Relax, people watch, swim, drink beer.

-Rent Paddle boards and Kayaks at various places.

-Parasail at various places throughout the Keys.

Island Dolphin Care Key Largo

-Dolphins Plus Key Largo

Theater of the Sea Islamorada

Turtle Hospital Marathon

A cool place dedicated to rescuing and rehablitating endangered turtles and other creatures.

-Robbie’s South Islamorada (mm 79)

Get a bucket of fish, feed the giant tarpon and watch people’s reactions to them. Sit at the cool little bar there and take in the scene. Awesome time! Check out the artist village as well.

Rain Barrel Islamorada

You cant miss the enormous lobster out front.  A cool little local artist village.

-Shell World Key Largo

Shop for souvenirs and gifts.

-Hooked on Books Islamorada

For local reading.

-Key Largo Princess Key Largo

A neat way to see the reef. Do not go if the weather is rough. It is a flat bottomed boat as well as a glass one.

-Anne’s Beach South Islamorada.

Nice little spot. Nothing fancy. Dog friendly.

Wild Bird Sanctuary Key Largo

A place worth seeing with lots of resident and rehabilitation local birds. Beautiful grounds and friendly and informative staff. Tours are free, but donations are appreciated.

Snorkel Pennekamp State Park Key Largo

-Florida Keys Brewing Company Islamorada

The Florida Key’s first brewery. Head in and enjoy a couple of their nine fantastic, hand crafted beer. Relax in the funky bar and chat with the husband and wife proprieters while you sip your suds. Cant decide which one to try? Get a sampler with four ounces of each.

-Founder’s Park Islamorada

Nice, big park with fields, baseball diamonds, pool, skateboard ramps, docks, gazebos and beach.

-Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory Tavernier

You can not visit the Florida Keys without having some Key Lime Pie! I’m not going to say it’s better than my mom’s, but it’s damned good. Get a slice, a whole pie or even on a stick!

Key Largo Yoga Tavernier & Key Largo

Two locations. Great facilities and instructors. Check their schedule on line.

-Key Largo Fisheries Key Largo

Best fresh seafood market in the Upper Keys. Eat there and then bring some home with you!

Full Moon Party at Morada Bay Islamorada

It’s held on the beach on Saturday nearest the full moon. Do not miss it. There is an admission cost, but it covers a gorgeous setting, live performers, a band, Bahamian Junkanoo parades and a super fireworks show.

Spa Day

There are great spas in the Upper Keys. Cheeca Lodge and Playa Largo are the nicest.

-Islamorada Art Walk Near Kayo and Chef Michael’s Islamorada

Third Thursday of Every month.

-Fish with Captain Dave Perkins Tavernier

Back Country and Ocean Charters