Our weekend in Key Largo began with lousy lunch of fish and chips at Sundowner (recommended by our hotel—we did not seek further suggestions from them).
Next came a really lackluster, bordering on unpleasant meal at Marker 88 which we tried thanks to a plethora of good reviews on this site. We sat outside, which was nice, but our server couldn’t seem to remember we were there. Taking our order took an age and then our wine came after the appetizers—an annoyance for sure. Apps were unremarkable conch fritters and a fried crab sushi roll. The latter I found truly awful (mushy, greasy) but my husband didn’t mind it. Our dinners—fish in a piccata style and another fish, blackened—were not at all special. The fish was fresh enough but the preparations were just not interesting nor were the sides—a scoop of lukewarm mashed potatoes and generic vegetable medley. This was a disappointing stop and not worth the prices.
Breakfast at Mrs. Mac’s began to redeem Keys cuisine. This place has kitschy, really friendly staff, and reasonable fare. Good orange juice too. Lunch and dinner menus looked promising as well but we moved on.
Day two continued to improve with a “famous” fish sandwich at Craig’s restaurant which was surprisingly good though the décor in this place was a bit off putting (no awards for cleanliness here). The fried snapper was fresh and the serving very generous. An odd regional thing: I notice fish sandwiches on menus here tend to be served with cheese and tomato on wheat bread. Not what a New Englander expects in a fish sandwich at all. I was able to get mine on a Kaiser roll while DH tried this wheat bread style. We’ll both stick with the roll as the wheat bread gets pretty soggy.
Best of the weekend was dinner at Ballyhoo’s. We started with a buffalo shrimp appetizer which, though a small portion, was memorable. DH had a snapper prepared “Nassau style” which meant topped with herbed crumbs. Our meals came with ample side salads, very fresh. The fish and his side of beans and rice were great. I had a blackened tuna alfredo which was really tasty and not at all as heavy as I was anticipating. The tables around us were all indulging in “all you can eat” stone crab (in season now). A friendly patron at the bar told us this is where locals eat—I don’t know about that but I know I would definitely return.