I think that TXConnie has been and come back from when she originally posted this..
Maybe a new thread regarding the Half Shell would be warranted.
I am curious, as I do know the keys and Key west-having lived in the area for almost 10 years, but, not having been there in a few years, would like to know also..
Bluemaxx, sorry the Half Shell has been in decline. We’ve only been there once, and don’t have anything to compare it to. My wife and I had a late dinner and only had appetizers…the conch ceviche and baked oyster samplers as I recall. They were very good.
I DO understand where you are coming from. Once you get spoiled food OR see something dreadful in a restaurant (I can only guess), it becomes a permanent boycott.
Sorry Stanpnepa about this but I am going to have to strongly disagree with you on The Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West. I began going to this place in 1992 for my 21st B-day and it was absolutely GREAT then!! It was listed in the 1991 Roadfood book and rightfully so. But since then, I have eated there about 4 times and each time, I figure I will give it another shot since last time was absolutely TERRIBLE! The last time I went there was last October (2005) and that was the final staw. I won’t get into the details with everyone here but TRUST ME, not one person on these forums would disagree with me that this was an aweful experience! Total bummer because it is a great atmosphere but definitely BAD food (not just bad tasting but spoiled and not just me but our entire table if you can believe that!), REALLY BAD Service and god aweful drinks! Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and RETURNED IT!! No thanks, please drive through…[:(]
Check out Mangrove Mama’s on Mile Marker 20 (MM20) headed south on the right headed to Key West. Great funky little place set back in off the road. [8D]
We hit the Keys a few months back.
1. Breakfast with the Roosters at Blue Heaven (Key West).
2. Lunch or Dinner at El Siboney (Key West)
3. The Key Lime Pie at the Crack’d Conch (Key Largo).
Also…clams in garlic and sherry broth at Alonzo’s (or A & B) on the water were heavenly. Half Shell and Dennis Pharmacy are recommended as well (though Dennis is relocating).
B.O.’s Fish Wagon was overrated.
I found Joe’s Stone Crabs expensive and not worth the $70 lunch for two—especially considering we ate at the take-out place (the main restaurant had just closed). The potatoes are like chips…and come in a similar bag. Nothing special.
Have fun. Eat lots!
Big Pink is a great place on the south end of Miami Beach, with a huge menu of diner-style food and giant portions like 10 oz burgers. It is open late. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a website I found when I was researching my trip to the Keys:
We ate at Camille’s. It was wonderful – expensive(although not too bad for KW) but worth every penny. Blue Heaven was very good as well and you should visit for the atmosphere alone. El Siboney was incredible. I had never had cuban food before and what a great introduction. Inexpensive and lots of food. We took our leftovers from lunch back to our B&B, picked up a slice of Key Lime pie at The Blonde Giraffe and had a great dinner.
Bahama Mama’s Kitchen, Mangia Mangia, Cafe Sole and Alice’s also were highly recommended but we ran out of time. If you need a place to stay, I highly recommend the Angelina Guest House. Wonderful owners, reasonably priced and a gorgeous pool. Plus homemade cinnamon rolls in the morning for breakfast. [:D]
We also ate at a great place in Marathon – Keys Fisheries Market & Marina. Lots of locals eat there. Really great food.
Hope you have a great time – I fell in love with the Keys on our visit. [:)]
We had a great time in Florida. I never made it to News Cafe, but we did breakfast at Jerry’s. The corned beef hash was wonderful!
(Also found a great bar with CHEAP prices– Club Deuce. Much better than the $11 drinks at Lowe’s).
We ate at Fish House in Key Largo on the way south. Had the Groupe Matecumbe and the best conch fritters. We did make it to Blue Heaven in Key West– it was great and what atmosphere. Also ate at BO fish wagon. Cool place, mediocre food. Ate at La Carretta on Calle Ocho. Wonderful! Ate at Papa Joe’s (I think that is the name) on the way back to the mainland.
I am ready to go back to Key West tomorrow.
Need one more piece of advice, please. We are staying Saturday and Sunday night at the Hilton near the airport. We have a car, so don’t have to stay in that area. Also, my sister and her mom will be staying somewhere north of town near Ft Lauderdale, so any recommendations there would be appreciated also.
I just read a wk or two ago that Wolfie’s was closing for good. Can anybody verify that?[?][?]
Bonita Springs, FL
Can somebody tell me what is the allure of the Rascal House? I have eaten there pre and post fire and have found that it has gone downhill. I also find it expensive for the quality of the food that they serve.
IMO, Rascal House is not that close to Lowes. Granted they are both on Collins Ave but it is pretty far north and given the traffic I don’t feel that it is worth drive.
I do agree with suggestion of the News Cafe, great food.
One other item of note. Miami Beach is a very international city, hence it is filled with Europeans and South Americans who, as a tradition, do not tip the waitstaff. Thus, many establishments in the area add a 15% gratuity to the bill. Therefore, before you leave a tip you may want to double check the bill to see if one has already been added for you.
In South Beach you can get great Cuban at Puerta Sagua on Collins Ave at 7th – It’s practically an institution and the prices are good. Very near to your hotel is Jerry’s Deli at Collins and 15th. It’s open 24 hours and under the same ownership as Rascal House, which is not near your hotel. A longtime favorite, not trendy watering hole, again just around the corner from your hotel, is Mac’s Club Deuce on 14th between Collins and Washington. Biker attire preferred. Just across the street in like a little alley is a late night sandwich shop. Very popular.
Connie, GREAT location! Definitely hit News Cafe for breakfast. It is also a "LIFE SAVER" after a long night in the clubs because it is open until 4AM. Also check out Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House for breakfast since it is close to your hotel.
Oh, by the way I just realized that my website was not given in my previous post. Sorry about that!
Also, a buddy of mine has an ultra-cool website that has alot of Florida food joints as well. Check it out at
Have a great time and remember, DON’T LIFT!! [;)]
Oh man– you guys ROCK!
Bluemaxx- we are staying at Lowe’s in South Beach or somewhere close to that.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Hey Connie, as a Florida native who graduated from the Universtiy of Miami in Coral Gables and then married a "Conch" girl from the Keys, I have a TON of suggestions for you. First, where are you staying in Miami because it is a HUGE town and some of my suggestions may take a while to get to, but definitely worth a drive (in my opinion). Also, are you travelling all the way down to Key West? If so, do you plan to stay the night along the way? The reason I ask this is because there are quite a few good places for Breakfast as well as Lunch/Dinner places along the way too!
OK, here goes….we’ll start in the Miami area….
My Breakfast Favorites in Miami area:
News Cafe on Miami Beach (http://www.newscafe.com/)
Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House (17190 Collins Ave., Miami Beach (305)947-4581
Bagel Emporium (located in Coral Gables directly across from the Univ or Miami. Don’t know the # – Sorry!)
My Lunch/Dinner Favorites in Miami Area:
Joe’s Stone Crab (227 Biscayne Street, Miami Beach (305)673-0365) They don’t take reservations so be prepared to WAIT. Sooo worth it though!
Malaga (740 S.W. Either St., Miami (305)858-4224)
Shorty’s Bar-B-Q Ranch (9200 South Dixie Highway [US1], South Miami (305)665-5732. Definitely the BEST BBQ in Miami!! Alot of fun to eat there too!
~~~> For authentic Cuban food, mine and my wife’s favorite is La Carreta. Just ask anyone in your hotel and they will surely know this mainstay in the Miami area (here is a little right-up with all 6 locations for you: (http://www.gocitykids.com/browse/attraction.jsp?id=13115). I also love to head to Little Havana and check out their cafeterias down there. Everyone is super nice. Another suggestion is to drive out to Key Biscayne. After the beautiful drive over the bridge, you will come into a more conjested area. Immediately on your right is a Cuban Restaurant that is exceptional. I forget the name though??
Now, for the Trip down the Keys:
Downtown Homestead – EL TORO TACO….The best Mexican I have had east of the Mississippi and south of NYC.
Florida City – CAPRI Restaurant….absolutely incredibly fresh authentic Italian. The best I have had in Florida actually. Open for Lunch and Dinner but best time to go is definitely Dinner!
Top of the Keys (Key Largo, Tavernier & Islamorada)
HARRIETTE’S – (95710 Overseas Hwy [Bay Side of US1], Key Largo (305) 852-8689). Only open for Breakfast and considered by many locals, including my wife and me to be the BEST breakfast in the Upper Keys
THE CRACK’D CONCH (Mile Marker 105, Ocean Side, Key Largo (305)451-0732) – Personally, one of my top-two favorite places to eat in the Upper Keys, along with The Fish House. Although not located on the water, definitely a typical Keys place with outstanding food! Small enough to have fantastic service too.
THE FISH HOUSE – (http://www.fishhouse.com/). Definitely check out there website. It reflects them perfectly! As QFan said above, try the Matecumbe style when ordering from here. Just a fun loving place with outstandingly fresh seafood. They know me by name in there. Just tell them Rich sent you and you will surely get a good seat.[:D]
TOWER IF PIZZA – Mile Marker 100.5 in Key Largo on the Bay Side of US1. (305)451-1461. Simply put, the best pizza in the Upper Keys!
SUNDOWNERS – 103900 Overseas Hwy [Bay side of US1] Key Largo (305)451-1592. In addition to having outstanding food, this place has one of the BEST view’s for a sunset in the Upper Keys. I like to end my trips in the Keys here. Definitely a thought on your way back to Miami
MRS. MACK’S KITCHEN – 99336 Overseas Hwy [Bay side of US1] in Key Largo (305)451-3722. As my wife says, this is as local an atmosphere as you will get in the Keys. GREAT for Lunch!
132252,132250,132250,2005-03-29 19:03:03,RE: Miami and the Keys in May”
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