Captain Dave Perkins’ Key Largo and Islamorada Recommendations

sunset - Tavernier - fishing - 2013



-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 40 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.

-The Hideout Key Largo

Lovely little off the beaten path, local restaurant. Sits on the water next door to Jules Undersea Lodge. South Florida’s only underwater hotel.

Doc’s Diner Key Largo

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

-High Tide Key Largo

Fantastic food and service. Killer omelettes. Be sure to get grilled biscuits as your bread and upgrade to hash brown casserole.

-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.

-Cafe Moka Tavernier

A quaint and tasteful French coffee shop with a great little vibe. A favorite of the local professional class. Great fresh french style sandwhiches and superb quiche that real men can in-fact eat.

-Over Easy Tavernier

For a higher-end gourmet breakfast and lunch, you’ve come to the right place. Fantastic food and interesting and creative menu. Not cheap, but worth the cost for sure!

-Harbor Cafe Islamorada

Awesome little spot with fresh ingredients, generous portions and friendly staff!

-Robbie’s  Southern Islamorada

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

Islamorada Shrimp Fishing


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 in the bar, instead sit outside by water looking out at the Atlantic..

-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.

-Dockside Raw Bar Islamorada

Downstairs from Old Tavernier. Great little waterfront restaurant. Good food and atmosphere. Beer and wine only.

-Enrico’s Pizza Islamorada

Best all around pizza joint in the Upper Keys.

-D Jao Restaurant Tavernier

Renowned Thai restauranteers brought their concept to The Keys and they did not disappoint. As good a Thai/Sushi place as can be found. wonderful staff, great service. Delicious!

-Italian Food Company Key Largo & Islamorada

Top-notch  Neapolitan, wood fired, pizza and other classic Souther Italian fare. Fresh ingredients, creative menu and good Italian wine. Decor and tables were shipped over from Sicily. Perfect attention to details.

Bayside Gourmet Islamorada

Fantastic Lunch. Fresh and delicious. Grouper Ruben, salads 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. Especially good for take out as the ambience there is minimal.

-Keys Bite Key Largo

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

-Twisted Shrimp  Islamorada

Really good food at a cool little spot on US1.

-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.

-Habernos Tavernier

Best Cuban food in the Upper Keys. Located directly on Tavernier Creek at the marina. Very cool spot to sit on the water and people watch and watch the boats go by.

-NumThai Key Largo

A Thai/Sushi place on Key Largo. Excellent from top to bottom. Great lunch specials and robots bring you your food!

-The Raw Bar Tavernier

On the property of Postcard Inn (formerly Holiday Isle/Tiki Bar) Beautiful bar/restaurant, thirty feet high, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Great food, beautiful atmosphere. One of the best views in the Keys.

-Bad Boy Burritos Islamorada

Fantastic food and this cute little venue. Wagyu burgers are to die for. Sushi and poke bowls are top-notch. Don’t forget about the delicious burritos.

-Buzzard’s Roost North Key Largo

-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.

-Calypso’s Tavernier

Great little hole in the wall with the best cheese steak sandwiches in the keys. In fact, everything on the menu is top notch.

Happy Hour:

-Island Grill Islamorada

Delicious appetizers and two for one drink specials.

-Mandalay Island Grill Key Largo

Tasty, inexpensive appetizers and drink specials.

-Lazy Lobster Key Largo

Excellent happy hour. Lots of great apps and half price drinks

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!

-Big Daddy’s Tavernier

Fun spot in a gorgeous setting at Mangrove Marina. Sunset, sand, palm trees, live music, dog-friendly. What’s not to love? Beer and wine only is the only downside, but their Mexican food truck  is a good as it gets!

-Mar Bar Islamorada

Cool little local favorite off Tavernier Creek. Known for stone crab claws and ice cold beers.

-Skipper’s Key Largo

A great spot. Sit out under the huge tiki bar over looking the basin. Great atmosphere and service. Friendly staff and good people watching.

-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 (weekends only)

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.

-Mar Bar Tavernier 

Cool little place, just south of Tavernier creek. Sits right on an ocean-going canal. Fun, local happy hour spot, known for their raw bar specials.



-Sundowners Key Largo

-The Big Chill  Key Largo

-The Lorelei Islamorada

A famous sunset in the Upper Keys, featuring live music, local artists, an AMAZING local magician on Wednesdays and Fridays, beach seating and  casual dining. Two bars including a waterfront tiki bar. Great location, but can be touristy. Don’t expect good customer service.

-Morada Bay Islamorada

One of the most beautiful settings in the Upper Keys. Beach sand and palm trees. A couple of really nice bars. Great food and on the sand dining. Live music.

-Pierre’s Islamorada

A nice 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.

-Papa Joes Islamorada (Coming soon!) *

An Islamorada classic  sunset/happy hour for MANY years. Was torn down twenty years ago, but recently rebuilt in the same footprint. Fantastic sunset view, vibe and location.

Marker 88 Plantation Key (Closed for Renovations) *

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.


Island Grill Islamorada

Great location, right off Snake Creek. Great little beach you can sit on and eat. Known for their great hogfish sandwiches. Be sure to try the tuna nachos.

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.

-Snappers Great atmosphere and a nice view of the Atlantic. Sit out buy the water if the weather is nice.

-C&C Key Largo

Superb food. Wood-fire pizza and wings are to die for. Really fine menu, super staff, fun place to hang out. Keep an eye out for their happy hour beer/wine & food combinations from 4-6 pm.

-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.

Key Thai Key Largo

A Sushi/Thai place on Key Largo. Good little sushi joint.

-Hobos Key Largo

A local’s favorite that I shouldn’t even be sharing! Top notch menu, food & service. Family owned and run with lots of attention to detail. Renowned for their awesome seafood, huge salads and phenomenal wings.

-Alfredos Key Largo

Your basic, run-of-the-mill Keys restaurant setting, but with fantastic food! Biggest and best tuna nachos in the Keys, great seafood and good Mexican dishes. Full bar service.

-Dockside Raw Bar Islamorada

Downstairs from Old Tavernier. Great little waterfront restaurant. Good food and atmosphere. Beer and wine only.

-Dillon’s Pub Tavernier

A local’s favorite! Really tasty, very reasonably priced food. Good sports bar.

High End, Good Eats 

-Chef Michael’s Islamorada

-Kayo Grill and Sushi Islamorada

-Lazy Days Islamorada

-Pierre’s Islamorada

Shima Islamorada

-Ballyhoos Key Largo

-Ziggy & Mad Dog’s Islamorada

-Bayside Gourmet Islamorada

-Lazy Days  Islamorada

-Square Grouper Islamorada

-Marker 88 Plantation Key

-Snappers Key Largo

-Island Grill Islamorada

-Pilot House Key Largo

-Fish House Key Largo

-Ballyhoos Key Largo

-Chef Rolf’s Tuna Islamorada

-Green Turtle Islamorada

-Marker 88 Islamorada (Closed for renovations) *

*Hook & Cook: Bring Your Catch and They Cook It! Almost every restaurant in the Keys will cook your fish. Bring them your filleted fish, pick the preparation and sides, and enjoy!

Fun and Not So Fancy Options

-Shipwrecks North Key Largo

One of the last of the dive bar/restaurants in the Upper Keys. Great food, nice spot on the water, semi-reasonable prices. Whats not to love?

-The Caribbean Club Key Largo

Where they filmed Bogart’s classic, 1948 film, “Key Largo”. Fun and seedy spot on the water. Lots of live music, cold drinks and seedy folks.

-Sharkey’s Key Largo

One of my favorites. A popular scuba diver’s bar on an active salt water canal. Extensive menu and everything on it is good. I usually sit outside, looking out over the water and listening to the occasional live music.

-The Ocean View (The OV) Islamorada

An old smuggler’s den on the water. Now it’s a fun, no frills sports bar. I usually sit out back. it’s got basic bar food, but everything is good.

-The Whistle Stop Islamorada

An iconic Islamorada hot spot that had quite the reputation in the old days. Now its just a fun place to drink, play pool and stay out late.

-Buzzard’s Roost North Key Largo

Local favorite with inside and outside seating, friendly staff, fantastic food and strong drinks!

-What the Fish Tavernier

Nice little local spot, just off Tavernier Creek. Nextdooe to a seafood market, so you know it’s fresh!

-Blackwater Siren North Key Largo

If you know, you know kind of place. Very local and very cool spot. Halfway across the bridge as you come into or leave Key Largo. Rustic and hidden in the mangoes. Nice staff, great food. Did I mention, rustic. How the Keys used to be.

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.

Holiday Isle (Postcard Inn) Islamorada

Lay out, drink at one of the three bars, rent jet skis, swim in the 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.

-Founders Park Islamorada

A large community park with soccer fields, softball fields, tennis, a dog park, a track, a pool, a skate park, a marina, a boat ramp and a beach.

-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

Great shop for souvenirs and gifts.

-Friendship Park Key Largo

Pet-friendly park with picnic tables, a trash, tennis, basketball, racquetball, a playground, basketball, and a frisbee golf course.

-Eddy’s Bait & Tackle Islamorada

Pick up some shrimp, go find a bridge and soak a bait for an hour.

-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. Features a boardwalk, “beach” and wading area. 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, Explore and Glassbottom Boat Pennekamp State Park Key Largo

-Rowell’s Waterfront Park Key Largo

Bayfront park that is dog friendly. Features picnic tables, a swimming area and boat ramp

-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. The taco truck out front is top-notch!

-Little Founder’s Park  Tavernier

Beautiful little waterfront park with a gazebo, a nature trail and a hardwood hammock. It sits right on the Atlantic Ocean.

-Jules Undersea Lodge Key Largo

Become certified to dive and while you’re at it, stay in a two-bedroom underwater lodge! Sleep twenty-one feet down, in the only underwater hotel in the US!

-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 Key Largo

Great facility 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!

-Discovery History Museum Islamorada

Really well put together and interesting little Keys history museum located on the beautiful Islander Resort property

Full Moon Party at Morada Bay Islamorada

It’s held on the beach on the 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.

-Keys Cable Park Grassy Key

Wakeboard without a boat! Great, friendly staff and super-cool vibe at this one of a kind location. Novice? No problem! The guys and gals there will get you on your feet and on your way!

-Fish with Captain Dave Perkins Tavernier

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