Author: Jesus Soto

15 Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys that Even the Locals Love

Here are the best restaurants in the Florida Keys for you to choose from as recommended by the locals. TBH, you can’t really go wrong! Like most of Florida, Key West is a lesson in living the good life. Visitors flock to island city for watersports and stunning coral reef dives, only leaving water for its lively nightlife. Others, like me, have a blast wandering through the conch-style architecture and its pastel palette. But do you know what really keeps people visiting the Conch Republic over and over again? Key lime pies, seafood fresh from the Gulf and a dab of Caribbean flavour. From old paint-is-peeling shops to revamped eateries, these 15 best restaurants in Key West will keep your mouths busy, stomachs full! Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys Here are the best places to eat in the Florida Keys – you definitely won’t go hungry! 1. Alabama Jack’s, Key Largo Don’t look at the ‘shabby shack’ exterior and dismiss it – Alabama Jack’s beach bar is a local favourite! Sitting along Card Sound Road since 1950s, Alabama Jack’s the only thing out on this alternate route from Key Largo to Key West. Coined one of Florida’s best fish shacks, the open-air structure was built over water, just large enough for an impromptu dance floor. It’s famous for its conch fritters! Catering to the casual and relaxed vibe of the place, expect steamed shrimps alongside burgers and fish sandwiches. There’s plenty of beer to wash down the comfort food too. 2. Snappers, Key Largo Like its name suggests, Snappers in Key Largo is all about fresh sea catches. Founded in 1989, it’s an old-school restaurant and bar with indoor seating and an outdoor deck. Why visit? Every Sunday is celebrated with a brunch featuring live jazz. What I love about the menu is the sheer variety! Sample their smoked fish spread and Applewood-smoked bacon wrapped scallops to start with; their mains include grilled filets, lobster tails and specialty tacos. You can even bring your own catch and have it prepped in several ways – beer battered, char-grilled, sautéed and baked. 3. No Name Pub, Big Pine Key For a pub with no name, it sure has a big reputation. Off-the-track, eccentric and literally loaded with money, this funky bait-and-tackle shop turned eatery is a brilliant story. The coolest thing about it is how every visitor contributes $1 to the interior! Literally every surface is covered with dollar bills […]

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Things to Consider When Choosing a Restaurant

My husband and I love trying out dishes in restaurants, something we can’t do better at home, so we choose a restaurant based on this. How Do You Choose a Restaurant? How do you choose a restaurant? Will the occasion itself shape your choice? Or, is food a major factor? Aren’t service, ambiance, and location important, too? Or, do you go for Michelin stars? Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have our reasons for choosing a restaurant. Which Restaurant to Choose? When you take the time to choose, oftentimes, you are rewarded with a great gastronomic experience built around the ambiance of the restaurant and the attitude of the staff serving you. In choosing a restaurant, one faces many considerations. Word of mouth or reviews is useful. They give you an idea of what the restaurant is like. Especially from people who had been to this place several times. That would be a vote for the restaurant. But why not take the risk and try out something new each time? This, too, could result in gastronomic surprises. Will You Choose This Restaurant? What Are Your Top Criteria? Best Guide in How to Choose a Good Restaurant Sometimes, all we want to do is get a table and eat. But once in a while, to make of our eating out an experience is quite enjoyable. Some of us know exactly what to look for. But for those who have not much clue in making your restaurant visit a memory to cherish, here are some tips for a great restaurant experience. Barcelona Restaurant 1. Location of the Restaurant Choose a restaurant you can walk to. When you want to have a great time, driving afterward can pose a real problem. So, get a restaurant that is close by where you can easily walk or where it is easy to get a cab. Another 50 bucks for a cab to go to a restaurant adds unnecessary expense. Of course, it is different when the location is truly superb: a lake, seaside, riverside, or a spectacular view of the mountain or an architectural gem. But food must be excellent to enjoy a $50 cab ride value. A Neighbourhood Restaurant? Beautiful Restaurant in Istanbul aesta1 2. Ambience Matters Sometimes, the restaurant may be beautiful but the décor is not to your taste. It jars your senses. Go to a place where you enjoy […]

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WHAT IS COASTAL CUISINE?

(Source: Serea Coastal Cuisine Facebook page) SAN DIEGO COASTAL CUISINE Serea Coastal Cuisine is a sea-to-table restaurant specializing in coastal cuisine. But what does that mean, exactly? On the one hand, the term coastal cuisine is pretty self-explanatory. It refers to having a primary focus on foods that come from the sea. However, that doesn’t really tell the full story of our careful sourcing, high-quality products, and how these things reflect in the finished flavor of our food. In this post, we’ll explain what coastal cuisine means to us, how we maintain our stringent standards, what it all means in terms of your dining experience. (Source: Serea Coastal Cuisine Facebook page) what exactly is coastal cuisine? Coastal cuisine doesn’t refer to a specific type of seafood or recipe. Rather, it’s an overarching approach toward seafood. The name of the game is simplicity. That is to say: what can we do to maximize both sustainability and flavor? One of the key characteristics of coastal cuisine is freshness. When a product is superior, we believe that it doesn’t need to be doctored up very much. Our chefs try to maintain the natural flavor of the seafood in question by preparing it simply, so the vibrant flavors can shine through. Why mess with a good thing? On the Serea menu, you’ll see all manner of simply prepared dishes featuring the bounty of the sea, from raw and cooked options from the fresh whole catch to seafood towers and composed dishes. California cuisine is another important influence. To really understand Serea’s approach to seafood, it’s important to understand not just the idea of coastal cuisine but to have a grasp on the concept of California cuisine, too. California cuisine is like coastal cuisine in that it’s less about a specific recipe or flavor and more about a particular mentality and approach to food. California cuisine’s hallmarks include fresh ingredients, simple preparations, and an emphasis on sustainable and local ingredients. California cuisine is also characterized by global inspirations, including spices and techniques influenced by cultures including Asian, European, and South American countries. (Source: Serea Coastal Cuisine Facebook page) Serena: globally inspired coastal cuisine. At Serea, we want the natural flavor of our carefully sourced, high-quality seafood to shine. Yet we also want to offer creative cuisine that delights the senses and offers you a truly memorable dining experience. To do that, we combine aspects of both coastal cuisine […]

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13 Essential Travel Tips for the Florida Keys You NEED Before You Go

Here are my top travel tips for the Florida Keys to help you plan and make the most of your holiday in Florida. It’s an amazing place to be, but it helps to be prepared! The Florida Keys offers beautiful beaches and lots of adventures. There’s so much to do and see in the Keys though, that you need to read my travel tips for the Florida Keys before you go. I’ve answered all the main questions about the Florida Keys I’ve been asked over the years, and a few I’ve just made up that I thought you’d like to know. I want to help you have the best trip to the Florida Keys possible! So, here are all my travel tips for the Florida Keys for you to enjoy. Travel tips for the Florida Keys If the answer to your question isn’t here, just let me know in the comments below. I love to give travel advice for the Florida Keys! 1. Where are the Florida Keys? The Florida Keys are a series of tropical islands that are located off the southern coast of Florida. The islands begin about 15 miles south of Miami and continue for over 120 miles. Key West, Marathon, and Key Largo are a few of the most popular islands found in the Florida Keys. 2. How do I get to the Florida Keys? The fastest way to get to the Florida Keys is definitely flying to the islands from one of the Florida airports – either Tampa, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. However, there is another option… One of the most unique things about the Florida Keys is that it is possible to drive to the islands via the Florida Keys Overseas Highway which stretches 113 miles from the mainland of Florida well into the Keys. Travelling on the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West will give you the opportunity to see some of the most varied and beautiful scenery in the state of Florida. The highway includes 42 bridges that cross the ocean between each island. It also travels through an area of water-rooted mangroves and another area populated by grand pine trees. This would be great as part of a longer Florida road trip – click the link to find out the top spots to visit. If you want travel tips for the Florida Keys, then driving there would have to be the number one! 3. What are the […]

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How to Choose the Best Seafood for Your Restaurant

Eating seafood dishes can be an incredible taste experience. The flavors are unlike anything else on earth. The waters where your fish was sourced suffuse your entrees, appetizers, and hors d’oeuvres with a fresh essence. It doesn’t matter if you buy your fish fresh or frozen – you can still get the best of the best. This will result in superior flavor for your restaurant dishes. Learn how to choose seafood for your restaurant and get the best bang for your buck. How to Choose Seafood for the Best-Tasting Dishes For the uninitiated, picking restaurant seafood can be a bit intimidating. Use these tips to navigate the waters. Tips for Purchasing Fresh Seafood Purchasing the catch-of-the-day can be beneficial for your business in a lot of ways. Customers respond well to “fresh seafood” advertising, and it appeals to the growing “eat local” movement. Especially if you live in a coastal town, perusing your local fish market could be a great method to support the local economy and sustainable fishing. These are positive aspects diners like to hear about and can be a great draw for your restaurant. Here’s what to look for when purchasing fresh fish: 1. Fish should smell fresh and salty, like seawater or even cucumbers. If they smell fishy, sour, or have an ammonia scent, stay far away. 2. The flesh should be firm and unmarked, except for the animal’s natural coloring. When you touch the flesh, it should spring back. Avoid fish with flesh that looks brown. 3. Check that the eyes are clear and slightly bulging. Don’t purchase if they look cloudy. Seasonal Catches In general, when purchasing fresh fish, look for seasonal catches. These will be readily available and taste delicious. For example, some varieties of salmon are available fresh in Alaska during the summer months. Freshly-caught blue mussels are available from January to March in the Pacific Northwest. Research your area and find out what’s in season during each month of the year. Seasonal menus are a big trend with restaurants, so you could tap into this market and emphasize local, seasonal, sustainable cuisine. Tips for Buying Frozen Seafood If you need to buy your product in bulk or require flexibility for the day you cook it, frozen seafood may be the better option. In fact, frozen fish can taste just as fresh as varieties purchased at a fish market. This is because […]

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Florida Keys Travel Guide

The Florida Keys are like a coral kingdom: a 125-mile-long arcing chain of islands flung south from the tip of Florida with the ultimate island — Key West — resting just 90 miles from the shores of Cuba. And with one narrow road (and 42 bridges) connecting the isles, just to travel the Florida Keys is to feel on a magical, water-surrounded journey. While it’s possible to hop in a car in Miami and make it to Key West (and the southernmost point in the continental United States) in less than four hours (traffic willing), that defeats the charm and richness of Florida Keys. Every few miles there’s a discovery to be had: a tiki bar, a seafood joint, a beachy resort or boutique hotel, a gorgeous nature preserve, or just a thrilling turquoise vista across the famed saltwater flats toward a blue horizon. So, make a trip of it — spend a few days in Key Largo or Islamorada near the upper end of the archipelago, dally on Marathon or Big Pine Key, then settle in for some serious quirky culture, history, and bohemia in Key West. Take time to snorkel, dive, and fish, walk the beach and eat lots and lots of seafood (and Key lime pie). And don’t worry if you don’t get to everything that there is to love and explore in the Florida Keys — you’ll be back. Time Zone Eastern Standard Time (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally) Best Time to Go Peak tourist season in the Florida Keys starts right after the holidays in late December and lasts through May. During the winter months, it almost never rains, and even if clouds do push through with some showers, they’re gone that day. The Keys’ subtropical climate means balmy temperatures year-round (January’s high temperatures are typically in the 70s), making it a superb destination when even Central Florida can be experiencing frosts. In the summer, when temperatures get into the hot range (July’s average high is 86°F), the crowds disperse a bit, and hotels tend to lower their prices, which makes this a great time to visit if you’re looking for better deals and don’t mind heat and humidity. Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, which means more turbulent weather and the possibility of dangerous storms (peak hurricane months for the Florida Keys are between Aug. 15 and Oct. 15). […]

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Benefits of Enjoying Seafood from a Restaurant

Taking a night off from cooking dinner yourself to instead enjoy going to a restaurant is always nice. After all, eating out allows you to partake in a delicious meal without having to worry about burning the food, seasoning it perfectly, or washing dishes afterward. However, aside from all these basic perks, there are many reasons why you should let the seafood experts prepare your favorite dishes for you. Here are 4 benefits of enjoying seafood from a restaurant, rather than your home. You Get the Freshest Seafood Available While we can’t speak for all seafood restaurants, we can speak for ourselves in saying that our restaurant only offers the freshest seafood available. This is because we purchase large portions of seafood each day that is delivered straight from the North Carolina coast to our restaurant. So, not only do we provide our customers with the freshest seafood available, but also options that are locally sourced. Generally, seafood options found in everyday grocery stores are not nearly as fresh as what we offer, nor locally sourced. Rarely has the seafood purchased in stores been caught just a day, or maybe a few days, before, as ours is. Ultimately, we guarantee the freshest seafood available via our daily shipments, which is something that is uncommon in typical grocery stores. You Get the Highest Quality Seafood Consistently At NC Seafood, we operate under highly detailed, standardized, and consistent processes, which routinely grant our customers high-quality, fresh, properly prepared seafood every time. From our cooking conditions to storage procedures and beyond, our strict regulations and standards ensure that we serve top-quality seafood, meaning each time an individual orders seafood from our restaurant, they will receive an exceptional, well-prepared meal. Consuming seafood that is unproperly cooked or prepared can result in several health issues; eating at a seafood restaurant with detailed standards and procedures ensures that your meal is delicious, fresh, high-quality, and ready to eat every time. You Get Cheaper Pricing for Higher Quality Seafood Unless you regularly purchase large amounts of fresh seafood from local fishmongers, typically you can receive cheaper pricing for higher quality seafood in eating at a restaurant than you would at your ordinary grocery store. In other words, because we buy our goods consistently and in bulk, we receive better pricing on our fresh, local seafood, meaning we are able to offer our high-quality seafood at a cheaper […]

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ways sustainable seafood can benefit people and the environment

Oceana works to save the oceans and feed the world, and we can’t do that without sustainable seafood. We help our oceans thrive by promoting fishery policies that follow science-based quotas, reduce bycatch, put an end to overfishing and protect fragile habitats. These tactics not only help marine life flourish – a win in its own right – but also ensure that our oceans can continue to nourish the people who need it most. Seafood is an indispensable part of many people’s diets, livelihoods, and cultural traditions. This is especially true for populations that don’t have access to an alternate source of healthy, affordable protein. In staying true to Oceana’s mission, here are five ways that seafood can sustain and support communities around the world. 1. Seafood can provide a healthy source of protein to a growing population. Right now, 821 million people around the world are living in hunger. This problem isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, especially with the population projected to grow by 2 billion people over the next 30 years. But by ensuring that fisheries are managed sustainably, and within scientifically sound parameters, we can restore ocean abundance and put enough fish in our waters to feed a sizable portion of the planet. If we look after our oceans properly and avoid overexploiting their resources, they could provide a nutritious meal every day for 1 billion people. 2. Seafood could fill the micronutrient void that exists in many developing countries. A woman carries fish in Nauta, Peru. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Christian Vinces Enough fish are caught in many developing countries to nourish their populations, and yet malnutrition remains a persistent problem. How can this be? A team of researchers, including Oceana Science Advisor Dr. Eddie Allison, found that the fish being caught in tropical countries are chock full of important micronutrients – including calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, omega-3 and vitamin A – but they don’t always end up on local people’s plates. That’s because much of the catch is exported, sometimes for the sole purpose of being churned into fishmeal and fed to carnivorous farmed fish like salmon, which are ultimately consumed by people in higher-income countries. This has consequences for both local people and the economy. “A lack of fish-derived nutrients has been found to have a large effect on public health, notably infant mortality and hence GDP,” Oceana Board Member and fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly wrote in a response to […]

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Are you bored of eating the same cuisine time and time again? Learn which factors you should consider when choosing a restaurant…

Visiting a restaurant is a great way to catch up with a friend or loved one over some great food. But with so many eateries to choose from, a growing number of diners are choosing to return to the same restaurant time and time again. Continue reading to familiarise yourself with four things you should consider when deciding where to dine next. Location Location is a key determining factor when it comes to deciding where to eat. Whether you are looking to support a brand-new local bistro or don’t mind venturing further afield, you must establish geographical boundaries ahead of time. By doing so, you can narrow down your search and limit your options. Location is also a key element for diners reliant on public transport or that would prefer to be within walking distance. Different locations may also offer different cuisines. For example, seaside restaurants tend to provide high-quality seafood whilst restaurants located in city centre locations tend to focus on a wide range of cuisines or fast food. Budget As with any purchase or investment, you must budget accordingly. Still, opting for the cheapest option possible is unlikely to prove the wisest decision; rather, finding a good balance means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. We do this all the time, even outside of restauranting. When we go online shopping, we pour over comparisons that weigh up cost against quality. When we go online to find games, we look at features like RTP. The highly popular Dragon’s Luck Megaways, for instance, boasts a Return to Player rate of 95.69%, which means that players can take advantage of a strong opportunity to win. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a case of doing your research in order to get the most enjoyment out of your money. If you are dining with friends, it may benefit you to choose a restaurant that will give you value for money. This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing a cheap restaurant but a good meal that everyone will be comfortable and happy to pay for. While some high-end restaurants may offer prices that reflect the quality of the food on offer, you may also be able to get the exact same meal from a local food stall for a fraction of the price. Cuisine Choosing a particular cuisine ahead of time can streamline your restaurant search. Whether you are craving your favourite Japanese dish or are […]

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Don’t be fooled by the smiles; some of our restaurants are still on the edge

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at one of the coastal restaurant, a (very) tiny spot in Fenwick Island known for exceptional food and service. Though I was ecstatic with the quality of our dishes and the service, I was saddened by the very few people that owners Carlie and Scott Carey were “allowed” to seat. I was even more saddened by the number of potential guests – and income for their little family – they turned away at the door because of indiscriminately imposed limits on seating. With a polite nod to the old saying, it was almost like “the harder they worked, the behinder they got.” Delaware Restaurant Association President Carrie Leishman will appear on my radio show this Saturday and Sunday. When I asked her what she wanted to talk about, she said she wanted to emphasize that the great majority of our small, local eateries are putting on brave, smiling faces, but are still suffering financial and emotional loss every day. Last Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of “just two weeks to flatten the curve.” Local restaurants did their best to pitch in – blissfully unaware that they’d be even more crippled 50 weeks later. During that time, I interviewed One Coastal’s owner Carlie Carey. She and her husband were scrambling to keep their dream alive. During our on-air exchange, her eyes teared up as she revealed her true feelings. I was so moved that I transcribed it and printed it word-for-word on this page. That was then. This is now. In an attempt to point up the one-year anniversary of increasingly capricious rules, lockdowns and “mandates,” I’m reprinting a portion of Carlie’s soliloquy. Who knows … perhaps it will add a personal perspective to remind fellow restaurant lovers that some of our favorite spots – many of which are owned by friends and neighbors – might not be around when (and if) this ever comes to an end. Take it, Carlie: “Our team is like our family.  And I mean that in every sense of the word. Something we’ve really tried to concentrate on in the restaurant, with it being this small, is that we expect a lot from our team. And we try our best to give it back to them as well. They’re more than just employees to us. We know them as a mom, or an aunt, or a […]

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