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Sea Swirl, no no no. Closest clam shack to Mystic Seaport so gets a lot of walking traffic but a rip-off IMHO. Thanks to other posts on this board I discovered the COVE Fishmarket Wonderful. After one lunch there we went back every day. Their lobster roll had twice the meat of the Sea Swirl for $1 more. They also grill the roll in butter so it doesn't have that "plain old hotdog bun" taste. I hate spending $15 for a sandwich and getting it on a dull hotdog bun.Their clam bellies are great and so I'll bet that their strips are also. And the fried cod sandwich to swoon for (also choose cod for the fish and chips, the flounder was not so impressive). Cove - go! Sea Swirl - no!

Where do the locals eat in Florida Keys?

I'm back already. First a correction...the fritters I dissed were not from Calypsos but from Ballyhoo. Next, Keysrat's recommendation of Mrs Macs was a real winner. This Key Largo roadside diner provided the best lunch we've had not counting cafe Morada which is a "whole nother thing". My grilled wahoo was delicious, far better than the swordfish at The Fish House. In fact I am now a Wahoo fan. The key lime pie was really fine, creamy and tangy with a delicious crust, and they won't share the family recipe :-( Another "best" in my opinion. For such an unassuming place they have some nice touches like Perrier on the menu along with the Coke for only $1.50, and Champagne Brunch every day but Sunday. We'll be going back.

Feb 23, 2008
sherrylr in Florida

Where do the locals eat in Florida Keys?

I have to say I am really disappointed in the recommendations from the locals on this board. I've been in Key Largo for almost a month, walking distance from Calypso, and think their food is just OK. Very heavy breading on fried items for one thing. A glass of house wine for $4 is a bargain though. I will get back to try their tuna taco. Next door the Garden of Eatin is a good place to hangout if you like draft beer and again huge portions of mediocre food. How you can ruin a grouper sandwich when you are right next door to a fabulous fish purveyor is beyond me. Ballyhoo's has gone downhill since we first tried them just last year. They seem to be into pushing people through and give less attention to the food quality. Once again, extreme breading on things and so-so fries.
The Fish House...friendly service, huge portions of average food. Tuna was not really fresh, Overpriced. Biggest regret was the margaritas. They wow you with about a 10-oz glass with one shot of tequila so it's like drinking lemonade. We like the Hideout very much for breakfast but hold out for a seat on the porch to appreciate the old keys atmosphere. Home fries are the best! Blueberry pancakes a specialty, and when you make the mistake of ordering three, the friendly waitress warns you, "they're as big as a plate, !" Agree with Alabama Jacks , great back country ambiance, best to stop on your way into the Keys as it is almost in Dade County. Their conch fritter is good but is one big fritter with a sweet dough, more like a corn fritter dough with conch in it. Other conch fritters in Largo have been awful...Calypso's is all filling little conch, Garden of Eatin is a strange pink extruded thing.
In Islamorada I went to Cafe Morada and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Devine beachfront location, tables right on the sand if you wish, gorgeously prepared tasty food. The lunch portions are so large I recommend one salad and one entree and maybe 2 desserts...unless you have a huge appetite. Lovely desserts, genuinely home made. Not inexpensive but well worth it. Speaking of price, their dinner restaurant Pierre's is probably wonderful also but the prices are New York City. We're talking $17 appetizers and $36-$42 entrees with everything a la carte. For a special dinner I would try it.
As I write I am enjoying takeout from Athens Cafe and Grill, mm82.2 . What I've tasted is some of the best Greek I've had since I moved away from Chicago. Seems homemade. The proprietess said she was Czech. For some reason they also serve Squeeler's mesquite smoked BBQ and it's terrific. Served with a Mediterranean style potato salad with peas, olives and a vinaigrette type dressing. Nice puffy pita, not that flat dry kind. They also have a nice selection of imported cheeses, greek olives and Romanian wines. You can eat in a small informal seating area.
If I find some other places worth reporting on I'll get back.

Feb 22, 2008
sherrylr in Florida

Looking for the locals favs..the really good stuff

Why hasn't anyone mentioned Rocklands BBQ? They used to have the only BBQ north of Little Rock I thought was authentic and delish. Isn't it good anymore?

Wanted: A Cookbook To Curl Up With [Moved from Home Cooking board]

With the addition of MFK Fisher we've left the realm of traditional cookooks with pictures, so I'd like to add all of Ruth Reichl's books (former food editor of the NYTimes) which have recipes at chapter ends and are great reads, and also Jeffrey Steingarten's books: The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must've Been Something I Ate--- both are collections of fascinating essays on food which were originally newspaper columns, and all have recipes at the ends.

Nov 04, 2007
sherrylr in Food Media & News

Week-Nov 3-Bethesda Hyatt 4 days, Arlington

Dino, Dino, Dino. Didn't make your list. I don't know why more people aren't raving about this unassuming, fabulous place in Cleveland Park. Found it on the internet and went there last night. Plain marble top tables, no white cloths, no attitude, friendly earnest waitress, owner walks around like an owner should, excellent crusty bread from TriBeCa Bakery in NJ, wonderful food and a killer wine list. The owner personally selects the wine and provides a real value, not a ripoff. Go to their website where you will see the menu and winelist and learn about the $24 "earlybird" and the "bring your own wine without a corkage fee Tues and Thurs"...these factoids were not on the menu but his wines are worth tasting anyway. I can't recommend this place enough. Go.

Restaurants for steamed mussels and clams

I agree Elyssa, I got mussels pistou for the first time yesterday and they were seafood flavor, no garlic flavor, nuthin! I think the mussels must be frozen. Would never go there again.

Good place for dinner

Based on this recco we tried Bistro du Coin yesterday and found it very disappointing. The decor is cute and "French" but that's about all that is...definitely not the waiters. The food was mediocre at best. My mussels pistou (which implies garlic) had very little flavor and my husband's beef burgundy was heavy handed with no French finesse whatsoever. Definitely not on my recco list.