Conch Republic Seafood (Key West, FL)

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the problems with cruise ship tourism is that you get off the ship with several thousand other people, which really tends to swamp the local economy. And it also allows all sorts of lousy t-shirt shops, bad bars, and really bad restaurants to flourish.

We were looking for a place to eat that (a) wouldn’t be overly busy, and was (b) good. We asked a few locals, including our kayaking tour guide, and they recommended Conch Republic.

Conch has a lot of things going for it. The restaurant itself is right by one of the harbors, and has nice open sides, so it’s a very nice environment to enjoy a beer or a meal while enjoying the weather or taking in the sights.

We grabbed beers (Sunset, one of the local beers), and, while not being terribly hungry, two items on the menu did jump out at us: Conch fritters (Carol was interested in trying other conch fritters than the ones we had in Nassau) and one of the specials, a yellowtail BLT sandwich.

The conch fritters weren’t nearly as good as the onces I had in Nassau, but were still rather good. The dipping sauce was key lime, which gave it an interesting difference in flavor from the typical spicy dip. The different flavor made it interesting enough that we enjoyed the fritters.

The yellowtail BLT was a very good sandwich: the fish was fresh, nicely spiced and breaded, and complemented by some good bacon and tomatoes on a Cuban roll. We were both quite happy with our sandwiches.

Overall, a nice respite from the cruise, and a nice meal.

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