Thanks to Carol, Keys Dweller and Janet for your recommendations! We spent a great week in Marathon with a side trip to Key West one day and found some new "favorite" places.
We absolutley loved the Keys Fishery! Ate there three times and waddled away each time. I had the Lobster Reuben on our first visit. Wow! It was great (and HUGE). Took half home for lunch the next day. It had nice big chunks of lobster, just the right amount of kraut and dressing and grilled to perfection. My hubby had the grilled Yellowtail which was wonderful. Those garlic mashed potatoes were good too. Only disappointment with the meal were the steamed veggies. They had been steamed within an inch of their lives and lacked flavor.
Our second visit there found us with the Lobster Fra Diablo and the Grilled lobster tails. I was a little disappointed with the Fra Diablo. I thought the lobster would be added to the pasta and sauce, not minced up in it. But that aside, it was very tasty and quite filling. Even with hubby's help, we couldn't finish it. His lobster tails were decadent. We didn't realize they came with such a rich sauce and were swimming in butter. But they were very tasty. Then we got a slice of Key Lime Pie to go which was ok but not the best we had while on our trip.
For our last visit we had the Stuffed Lobster and the Grilled Hogfish special. The Hogfish was spectacular. That has to be the best fish ever. It was grilled nicely and seasoned well. The stuffed lobsters were equally yummy but the shrimp stuffing could have use d some shrimp. If it was in there, I didn't see it.
Another favorite place was Burdines. We loved that place! We never ate there, only had pre-dinner drinks but the staff were the friendliest around and the view was spectacular. I loved their version of the Pina Colada. It was made with wine, an orange wine and an agave wine. It made the drink much lighter than the traditional version. We went there a couple of nights before dinner to have a drink and watch the sunset. My hubby loved sitting there looking out over the mangrove.
We did try the conch fingers at the Cracked Conch Cafe and they were very good. They reminded me of fried clam stips, only supersized. My husband really enjoyed his cracked conch sandwich there too. The kitchen staff did a good job at tenderizing the conch so that it didn't taste like you were eating a rubber band. We tried their Key Lime Pie which was very rich and one of the best we had.
We also tried the Key Colony Inn one night. The food was very good and leftovers were good the next day. I had mangrove snapper sauteed with mushrooms and white wine. Very tasty. Hubby had the Hogfish Oscar. It was a big meaty piece of hogfish served with shrimp and asparagus and Bernaise sauce. Rich, rich, rich, but oh so good. A mishap with my husbands order was quickly fixed and a new one brought out within minutes. Key Lime Pie for dessert was too sweet without much lime flavor.
We also liked the Cabana Breeze Bar on Key Colony. It was on the ocean, had a great view and good prices on their beer.
And of course we were fortunate enough to eat at Herbies on the day we were leaving. They were closed for vaction and re-opened the day we were leaving. THe conch fritters are still our favorites and I'm very fond of their blackened fish sandwiches. It was a great way to end our trip. Although their Key Lime Pie was lacking in flavor.
There were some disappointments though. We tried Mangrove Mama's and Castaways and weren't as thrilled with them. Mangrove Mama's was so-so and Castaways was overpriced.
Mangrove Mama's was a bit of a let down. This may have been in part to the fact that it was the first day there for our waitress. She was a bit confused by my husbands order but figured things out along the way. We each had a salad. Mine was the Blackend Catch Ceasar Salad. The catch that day was Dolphin that day. When it arrived the fish was VERY blackened. No, I take that back, after the first bite I realized it was burnt. After we scraped off the burnt seasoning it was ok. A little smoky tasting but ok. The ceasar salad was good and garlicky. My husband got the special which was Grouper on a bed of greens with a mango-starfruit dressing. The dressing was light and slightly tart. He liked it enough but wasn't something we would brag about. We were glad we stopped there on our way back from Key West and didn't make a special trip just to go there.
Another somewhat disappointing meal was at Castaways. For the price, it was not a good value. By far the most expensive meal we had but by far not the best tasting. I'm not saying the food was bad but for the money, Keys Fishery had them beat hands down. Our meal at Castaways consisted of Hogfish for the hubby and I had yellowtail (I think). We had a piece of Key Lime Pie to go. The pie was pretty good.
We did find that our favorite Key Lime Pie was from the Blonde Giraffe. I was skepical at first, was it really as good as they touted. Yes, yes it is. I would have prefered the graham cracker crust over the regular pie crust but boy was it good. The balance of sweetness and tart lime flavor was perfect. I think next time we visit, we'll skip the to-go piece of pie we get at the restaurants and just go the the Blonde Giraffe.
Never made it to the Barracuda Grill but there was always a crowd. Maybe next time.
And before I forget, breakfast. We tried the Stuffed Pig. Very filling. But a little too greasy for us. We also tried the 7-Mile grill. Good solid food, great waitresses. We'd go back (oh, had lunch one day there as well, yummy). The last place we tried for breakfast was a little dive of a place called the Wooden Spoon. I think it was my favorite place for breakfast. They know how to make a biscuit. Big, fat cat's head biscuits. And the grits were firmand flavorful, not runny and bland. Good solid meal.
So, we found some new favorites which we will be sure to go back to again. Thanks again to those who gave us some ideas of places to try.