U.S. Highway 1 is dotted with plenty of Old Florida food joints that serve up the freshest local catch and a whole lot of character. Here are some of our favorite stops along the way to Key West.
Step into this seafood restaurant and market for a taste of the Florida Keys. Fresh, locally-caught fish are all fileted on-site. This is THE place for authentic seafood in the Keys and a ceremonious little start to your drive down US 1. Try anything on the menu with smoked fish – chances are it’ll still be on your mind when you’re in the Lower Keys. Open 11:30 am to 10 pm daily. 102401 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo, FL
If you didn't have an appetite back in Key Largo, maybe once you hit Islamorada it's time for a stop. This low-key shrimp shack features highlights like shrimp and grits, gator tail, and classic cracked conch. It also appeared on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives so you know the folks in the kitchen are doing something right. Open 11:30 am to 9 pm; closed Wednesdays. 8190 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada, FL
Stop in for a light beer at the Florida Keys Brewing Co. for a local brew made by masters. The friendly vibe in the taproom and selection of creative beers are totally à la Florida Keys, including a hibiscus-infused beer called "Iguana Bait" (local iguanas love hibiscus). Open 11 am to 10 pm daily; later hours on Fridays and Saturdays. 81611 Old Hwy., Islamorada, FL
This charming stop along US 1 is a glimpse of the old days. Seven Mile Grill has been open since 1954, feeding an endless stream of customers passing through the keys. If the weather's nice, enjoy the fresh air out on the patio. Greek fare and locally-caught grouper are excellent. The Key lime pie is a must. Open 7 am to 9pm daily. 1240 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL
Go big or go home. This open-air tiki bar is a world in itself, with dozens of televisions, plenty of seating, and a big menu to choose from. Did we mention mini golf? Boondocks is one of those places bursting with character that's endemic to the Florida Keys. Open 11 am to 11pm daily. 27205 Overseas Hwy., Ramrod Key, FL
Looking for more tips along the US-1? Read about great stops for animal lovers along the way, like a turtle hospital in Marathon or key deer refuge in Big Pine Key.
Book your stay on the best island in the US. See the best rates at Gates Hotel Key West here.
… We know, there are dozens of more food stops worthy of your appetite along US 1. Share your favorites for other readers in the comments below.