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Restaurants & Bars

Everglades City/Keys Report (somewhat long)

Zephyr | Apr 1, 200202:51 PM

Just back from 5-6 day trip.

Everglades City is a small fishing town with only a few eating spots. We sampled the two most popular it seems. The first night we ate at Seafood Depot, a spacious place with a mostly seafood menu and steaks for those so inclined. I had blackened grouper, very nicely prepared by people who do this all day I guess. Professional but not memorable. Ms. Zephyr had wonderful conch fritters, the area specialty.

On night 2 we went to The Oyster House, which I preferred. Very friendly, a little more like a bar and grill. I had pompano (served whole) which was very good but the clam chowder I had as a starter was better. I, and Lady Zephyr, also had some beers, though we were dismayed by the choices in this area.

We had lunch one day at Seafood Grill (?) a small, dockside market/cafe near Ivey House B&B. The grouper sandwhich there was fried and covered with a delightful tartar sauce. The atmosphere was nice also, practically in the water. Pelicans and egrets as your partners.

On the way to the keys we stopped at Alabama Jack's which is also right on the water. The grouper sandwich was grilled but the cheese they advertised was a processed kraft slice. That was disappointing. The waiter said "too easy" after everything we ordered. The beer choices there were satisfactory.

On the keys we ate at B&D Dairy (?) on Grassy Key. Excellent steak but lousy and insolent teenaged service. The chefs/owners are two brothers who work slavishly hard in the kitchen but should pop out once in a while to see who they've hired as waitstaff. Oh well. The food was good.

Also, Islamorada Fish Company. Fresh seafood, vibrant atmosphere. Outside seating. Lots of fish in the water off the dock. My little son greatly enjoyed that. I again had the grouper sandwhich which was bigger and fresher than anywhere, with a flavorful tartar sauce. We also had raw oysters which we noticed are different (inferior we think ) to cold water oysters. Less briny, more fishy - if that makes sense. We are told that Florida lobsters are also lesser than Maine ones but we didn't try.

Then we ate at Bobalu's near Key West (MM 10, or so) mainly because it's our son's nickname. Southern cooking. We had a perfectly passable chicken fried steak.

We ate a Cuban Mix sandwich at Johnson's in Key West. Mr. Johnson is probably the nicest man alive so I recommend the place to meet him, if nothing else. He said the sandwich was the best anywhere. We liked it OK but think he overrates it. The place is located across the street from Blue Heaven in the Bahama Village (?) section of town. Everyone who passed by had a nice word for Mr. Johnson, who sat with us as we ate the sandwich. As we left he said that he'd like to refill our sodas as we walked around town, "but my fountain ain't that long..."

We also ate at Manny & Isa's in Islamorada. Now that's a good sandwich. We each had a roast pork. MMMM MMMM. The key lime pie is also top notch.

Breakfast was great at both The Stuffed Pig (MM 35 in Marathon) and also Stout's (opposite the airport in Marathon).

That's it for now.

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