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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

PERRY'S
KEY LARGO, FLORIDA


Is this greatest restaurant in the Florida Keys?  No.  Is it the fanciest?  Certainly not but it's been around a long time and offers up good, reliable, well prepared food.

They've got some great appetizers including conch fritters, and all the "usual suspects."

When it comes to the main course, for me, it's a no brainer.  I always head right for the seafood section and ask the waiter what's fresh.  Actually that's a bit of a fib.  I usually order the cracked conch (technically the queen conch) which comes in from another country.  It used to come from Florida waters but they were vanishing in astonishing numbers until the DNR put the kabash on harvesting conch from state waters.  The conch Floridians eat today usually comes from one of three places -- the Turks & Caicos Islands, Jamaica or Haiti.  After I get my conch craving whipped, I'll go with fresh fish on my next visit.

In the fish department, I can highly recommend two local favorites.  One you're probably familiar with.  The other one might be a newcomer to you.  Grouper (gag or red) is now widely available throughout the U.S. but it won't be any fresher than the filet you get at Perry's.  Yellowtail snapper is a great tasting fish that doesn't travel well.  So you don't see it on very many menus outside of Florida.  It's not a true snapper but a pretty fish with a yellow stripe.  We see 'em all the time while diving.

Another popular fish caught locally (and around the tropical world) is mahi mahi, which is dorado dolphin and not Flipper from the old t-v show.  You'll also find red snapper on the menu, too, along with lots of shrimp dishes.  I can personally vouch for all of them.  And they put together some excellent seafood platters if you have only one visit and would like to try a little bit of everything.

There's quite an ambitious sandwich list and many large salads are offered.  I've never gone with a sandwich here but other diners at our table have tried them and they got good reviews.

The wide ranging menu also features steaks and some pasta dishes.  So everybody at the table should be able to find something that suits their needs.  And save room for homemade desserts including--what else--Key Lime Pie.

Perry's of Key Largo is located along the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) at Mile Marker 102.5.  You can ring them up at (305) 451-1834.