Just returned from 4 nights on The Keys. (The Moorings Village in Islamorada). Although weather was close to terrible (rainy and windy, temps far lower than the norm most days) we had a marvelous time and were so thankful just to be there when the rest of the country suffered near zero temperatures.
BEST DINNER IN ISLAMORADA:
MA'S FISH CAMP:
The two of us were warmly welcomed by Captain/Waiter Winston who sets a congenial and knowlegeble tone to the evening. Ma's is what some might dub a "no frills" eatery,."
Akin to a fishing-themed diner up north in decor, Ma;s sits on the ocean side of Highway #1(a block to the north of The Moorings Village and a few steps southwest of convention-central-Cheeca Lodge--both hosterlies are within easy walking distance)
Cooking and general conviviality more than make up for the lack of a water view (not to mention that prices here are fair, in comparison with $40 entrees that have become the norm at more trendy spots in the area; see my subsequent report on the legendary Ziggy's which we visited on an unusually torrential January Wednesday, closing day for Ma's)
Before I delve into specifics of our meal, I wil mention that the kitchen at Ma's charges $12 per diner to cook fish that you have caught; this more than fair price includes an array of vegetables, served family style and well cooked based on the offerings we received with our dinner that evening... (as a price comparison, the nearby convention mecca (name badges and leis much in evidence throughout the day and evening hours) Cheeca Lodge charges $28 per person to cook fish brought in from local forays; not clear if this includes any sides or extras.)
erica about 8 hours ago
We've made it back after 4 glorious nights (weather withstanding) in Islamorada. I will port a report in some detail soon, but for anyone heading this way soon, I will give this advice:
Ma's Fish Camp. I used to say "go for the Key LIme Pie!"
I have now amended my recommendation to this, "Go for the Bahamian Conch Chowder, stay for the fish of the day (we had the mahi) and the Key Lime Pie." Not only the most economical place we found in the immediate area, but the best, by far, in quality and execution.
In an area not known for a favorable price/value ratio, this one is worth a look. Just down the street from The Moorings Village, and a short walk from the ever-expanding Cheeca Lodge. Not a fancy place;we noticed many locals, and local workers at lunch. Worth noting that their Key Lime pie, topped with meringue, is the best we've sampled in two recent calorie-packed sojourns to this area.
They charge $12 per person for fish you've caught and brought in....this comes with a selection of family style vegetables. (As note of comparison, Cheeca Lodge (where we did not stay and did not eat) charges $28 per person for cooking your fish).