If we had to pick the #1 place for food in all of the upper Keys, it would be Chef Michaels. I don't think many people would disagree with this one. The sign that greets you, "Peace, Love and Hogfish," is probably the perfect slogan for this restaurant. The menu offers a nice variety of everything, however, much of it is focused on fresh seafood. Hogfish being a specialty. The vibe is peaceful and is what you would want in a classy Keys restaurant. As far as the love....there is no doubt that every ingredient in every dish has been creatively crafted and cooked to perfection all the way down to the garnish. Nothing disappoints. They offer various ways to prepare their fresh fish, all of which are insanely good. My favorite being the "Mixed Nuts". Oh, and don't forget your starters.......the Tempura Lobster Tail and Bahamian Conch Chowder tastes as good as it could be imagined.
If you find yourself on our island and craving some meat, look no further than Ziggie's. They have the best steaks hands down. Aside from steaks, they have plenty more great options including chops and local seafood. The building is full of rich history which can be seen throughout the large dining area and fits groups of any size. I typically sit at the bar which is original since the "Ziggie Conch" days and has been beautifully refinished. I like to go when Kevin is bartending (which is most of the time) so we can reminisce about the days him and I worked together at Morada Bay. He always picks me out a nice scotch from their extensive whiskey menu. Check it out.
We didn't put Kaiyo on the list just because we felt the need to add a sushi place. No, Kaiyo has more than earned its way on here. As they call it, "Sushi and Asian Fusion Meets Wood-Fire Grill." This restaurant has some of the best and most creative dishes I have ever tasted. Literally, both the Stuffed Avocado (tuna stuffed) and Tiradito (3 spoonfuls of ridiculous deliciousness) puts my tastebuds in culinary heaven. Even their appetizers are something special. My favorite being the Candied Brussel Sprouts and Eggplant Chips (and I'm normally not much of an eggplant guy). Its simple, if you like sushi, it makes sense to stop into a well established sushi restaurant located on an island known for some of the best fishing in the world. Duh.
*Note: if you order the Tiradito and plan to share with someone else, order a 4th spoon. Otherwise, you will fight over that third spoon. It's that good.
If you are looking for straight-up fine dining with exquisite surroundings that are something you see in a movie, then Pierre's is for you. In fact, movies and TV shows are filmed here (Bloodline basically camped out their set at Pierre's and sister restaurant Morada Bay. When Hubert Baudoin built the extravagant two-story, bayfront building he may not even have had a budget at all. The moment you walk into front host area you see the craftsmanship. From the gorgeous deep woods of the staircase and lounge to the imported archways from South Africa, Pierre's is a place of beauty. Oh, and it's sitting on almost 4 acres of beachfront property looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. As far as the food, its what you should expect when entering a location of this caliber, on point. They describe it as "French Fusion Cuisine with Regional Influences." Yum. Pierre's is also known for their wine list and making some of the best liquor drinks in Islamorada. Don't sleep on Pierre's. Maybe just take a nap on one of their luxury outdoor couches after you finish your dining experience.
Lazy Days is probably the restaurant that consistently receives the most buzz from both locals and tourists. There is no denying that this oceanfront spot delivers on their expansive menu. Their signature "Lazy" style is a fan favorite and is available on pretty much any type of seafood or meat you prefer. If you are in the mood for pasta, I absolutely suggest coming to Lazy Days as they have plenty of options to choose from. Great food with pricing that is more reasonable than some of the other top tier restaurants in the area. You can enjoy dining both ground level or upstairs while being only a few feet away from the ocean. The outside bar is one of my favorite ways to enjoy some peel n' eat shrimp before digging into something great.
These restaurants are great spots to dine as well and could easily hold a spot in the top 5 from any local or familiar tourist.