Most people expect their dining options in a seaside resort town to consist of their choice of seafood battered, deep fried and served up with a side of mystery sauce.f is a gigantic exception to that rule. Just as millions of people around the world fall in love every year with its beauty, unique charm and slowed down pace of life, so do internationally renowned chefs. They choose to make the Southernmost City their home and open up kitchens that defy people's expectations.
There are over 300 Key West Restaurants to choose from, and while each of them has their own distinct atmosphere and menu, among them there is a recognized style of cooking that was developed in Key West. Known as New Island Cuisine, it takes the traditional methods of food preparation that have been followed by master chefs for hundreds of years and applies them to the food that is indigenous to the tropical islands and the surrounding waters.
One of the most popular fish in Key West is known as Hogfish. Members of the wrasse family, these fish are prized for their rich delicate flavor. What makes it a special treat for people down for an island vacation is that unlike other fish, it does not freeze or travel well, meaning the only time you can get it is when it is fresh, and one of the few places to enjoy it is in Key West.
If your vacation does not happen while Hogfish is in season, no worries. There are plentiful fishing stocks in the Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico so no matter when you come, there is always something special on the menu, from Stone Crab and Lobster to Yellowtail and Snapper. Best of all, aggressive restrictions and limits on harvesting mean that all of these creatures will be around for generations to come.
No meal in Key West is complete without a slice of the signature island dessert: key lime pie. Made from the native key limes, no two are alike and everyone claims that theirs is the best. The only way to know for sure is to try as many as you can while on your vacation.
A tropical island may not seem like a typical destination for a person whose first concern is making sure that they will have memorable meals, but Key West is not just any tropical island. Many of the chefs that call it home have won national awards and been featured in various cooking magazines. And just in case you happen to travel with someone who really wants their seafood fried, no need to worry: the conch fritters are to die for.
Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who lived in Key West for several years. http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.com