‘Tis the Season: 10 Best Restaurants to Eat Key West Pink Shrimp
Key West pink shrimp season is here! From November to June, locals and tourists are privy to some of the tastiest shrimp in the country, known on the island as “pinks.” These delicious decapods get their color from feeding on the island’s pink coral sands off the coast.
Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the United States, and Key West pinks make up 85 percent of the country’s shrimp harvest. Valued for its mild flavor, sweetness, and size, they’re also wild-caught, which is becoming a rarity due to competing overseas markets offering farm-raised varieties.
Support your local Key West fisheries! Enjoy “pink gold” for the better part of the year, whether you like it stuffed, topped with coconut, in alfredo sauce, or served chilled, peel-and-eat style.
Here are some of the best local seafood spots to get a taste of real, local pink shrimp.
The dockside eatery has a few shrimp dishes not found elsewhere on the island. Their warm Crab and Shrimp Dip is a house favorite, and the Shrimp Flatbread with a garlic cream sauce is an excellent shareable plate. Plus, get tasty local pinks at Alonzo’s served buffalo style, battered with coconut, or peel-and-eat as part of their enormous Seafood Tower. 700 Front St.
2. Blue Heaven
Key West pinks aren’t limited to dinner menus. Try the Pink Shrimp Eggs Benedict, Pink Omelet, or Shrimp and Grits plate at this popular restaurant in Bahama Village. Blue Heaven’s Caribbean BBQ Shrimp appetizer is also “heavenly,” cooked with Red Stripe beer and served with cornbread. 729 Thomas Ln.
Spearing Key West pinks on hand-held skewers is always a fun way to enjoy them, backyard BBQ style. Bo’s Fish Wagon grills up wonderfully juicy and flavorful shrimp skewers. 801 Caroline St.
You can get plenty of peel-and-eat pinks alongside raw oysters and clams from Conch Republic’s raw bar, but their blackened shrimp dish is exceptionally delicious. Local shrimp is blackened and served with key lime garlic cream sauce, island rice, and fresh veggies. 631 Greene St.
Eaton Street always pays special attention to selling local. Buy Key West pink shrimp raw by the pound, pre-steamed from the counter, or prepared from the menu. Grilled, blackened, or fried shrimp salad and shrimp tacos are just some of your options. Eaton Street is foremost a seafood market, but there is limited streetside seating available. 801 Eaton St.
The sassy bistro on Eaton Street caught the attention of The New York Times with its reinterpretation of classic seafood dishes. Get your Key West pink fix in dishes like the Red Thai Curry, Spicy Szechuan Noodles, Seafood Marinara, or Marinated Grilled Key West Pink Shrimp with a spicy lime chutney. 424 Eaton St.
Originally built as a shrimp warehouse, the Half Shell Raw Bar on the Key West Bight also offers local fare from its seafood market - so you know it’s fresh. Visit for daily happy hour from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. for a great deal on peel-and-eat shrimp and drinks. 231 Margaret St.
The permanent food truck on Truman Avenue prepares the local shrimp in almost every way you can think of: in tacos, bowls, wraps, burritos, and sandwiches. Plus, Pescado has a fresh shrimp ceviche on the menu and a fried shrimp basket with key lime aioli and chipotle sauce. 1126 Truman Ave.
Create your own shrimp fettuccine masterpiece with the local pinks in either an alfredo, scampi, or marinara sauce. Or, enjoy pinks in all their peel-and-eat splendor, served crispy and breaded in coconut, and in their savory Seafood Paella with lobster, mussels, clams, squid, andouille sausage, buttermilk chicken, and saffron. For added flavor, The Stoned Crab prepares their pinks with heads on. 3101 N Roosevelt Blvd.
10. Thirsty Mermaid
Green gazpacho is the perfect light, fresh, cold soup to enjoy year-round in Key West, and Thirsty Mermaid has a mouthwatering one on their appetizer menu made with blackened shrimp and crème fraîche. 521 Fleming St.
Looking for more seafood eats? Check out some of the best seafood restaurants in Key West.
Check rates and special offers at The Gates Hotel - a Condè Nast award-winning hotel in Key West. Our on-site food truck Blind Pig serves up tasty shrimp dishes of its own, including a Shrimp Caesar Salad and the widely popular Firecracker Shrimp Tacos.