Conch fritters are a staple of any self-respecting seafood restaurant in the Florida Keys. If conch fritters are what you’re looking for, there’s no place on Earth better than Key West. What are conchs?
Well, they’re a kind of sea snail. Don’t let the word “snail” put you off, though. Conchs are undeniably tasty, and conch fritters are conchs deep fried in batter.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and with a wonderful hint of spice, conch fritters are a must-try. Here, we’ll guide you through some of the best conch fritter joints in Key West. Get ready for a delicious vacation!
1.Conch Republic Seafood Company
631 Greene St, Key West, FL 33040
It’s got the word “conch” in its name, what more do we need to say?
This place is a great bet for seafood in general, but if nothing but conch fritters will do for you, then you’re very much in the right place – the conch fritter appetizer here might be good enough for you to skip the entrees entirely (though, by the way, they’re great too).
The food here is all freshly caught and then delivered straight to the restaurant from the docks where the ships come in.
2.The Conch Shack
118 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040-6506
Another place that isn’t shy about its love for the conch. The Conch Shack has its own secret recipe when it comes to preparing its famous conch fritters and you’d best believe it’s fire.
You can order three, six, or twelve per portion, depending on how hungry you’re feeling. They’re served with your choice of key lime aioli or pink sauce. Oh, and if that’s still not enough conch for you, why not try the conch trio?
This baby is a platter of conch fritters, cracked conch and ceviche, all served with hand cut fries. How could anyone say no to that? One thing to note is that this place takes cash only; you won’t be able to pay by card.
700 Waddell Ave, Key West, FL 33040-4729
The waiters at Louie’s will recommend the conch fritters to you, and for good reason. They are beyond reproach, fluffy and flavorsome, and come with an out-of-this-world spicy jelly that makes them go down a treat.
If you’re all about the conch, then you’ll also want to try the Bahamian conch chowder with bird pepper hot sauce.
If the weather’s good, you’ll love sitting outside on the patio where you can look out over the water. The elegant yet beachy atmosphere is perfect for a great evening.
4.Conch Flyer Restaurant
3491 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040-5295
This is an airport restaurant so it may well be either your first or your last chance to get your conch fritter fix in Key West. Don’t pass up either opportunity!
The combo platter of conch chowder, conch fritters and key lime pie is a particularly good option for hungry travellers on the hunt for conch.
The Conch Flyer has a fairly long history with the airport and actually started as a dive right by the runway. It’s come up in the world since its humble beginnings, but the food is still killer.
5.B.O.’s Fish Wagon
801 Caroline St, Key West, FL 33040-6642
This place doesn’t look like much from the outside. Some travelers are put off by its humble appearance and walk right on by to go somewhere a bit ritzier instead. Don’t be like them!
There’s a sign here that says “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” and that perfectly sums up the vibe in this hidden gem of an eatery.
The menu features a couple of different sections called “landwiches” and “seawiches” for people who want to keep their surf separate from their turf.
The conch fritters themselves come in orders of three, six, or twelve and are divine. Don’t forget to stop by on a Friday night for great live music as you eat!
6.Two Friends Patio Restaurant
512 Front St, Key West, FL 33040-6619
This place started as a saloon in the 1880s and has managed to keep that relaxed barroom atmosphere as part of a high-quality dining experience.
The meals are served on the patio, where you can watch the world go by as you talk about how awesome the food tastes. Or, if you’d prefer, you can eat in the bar itself, where live music is a fixture every night of the week.
The conch fritters, needless to say, are excellent, and are joined by a galaxy of star seafood dishes from coconut shrimp to pan-fried snapper. You might even want to come for a few different meals, as this place has separate menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
7.DJ’s Clam Shack
629 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040-6554
DJ’s has a well deserved reputation for great seafood in Key West. While it’s not easy to pick just one of their dishes as being better than the rest, the conch fritters are definitely up there.
They’re served with your choice of fries or coleslaw and are large, packed with flavor, and perfectly fried. They’re pretty rich, too, so make sure you’re hungry enough when you order them!
They also have another location in Indian Shores, FL as well as three more in NY so you might be in luck if you’ve still got a hankering for DJ’s conch fritters when your vacation’s over.
Best Conch Fritters in Key West: Final Thoughts
As you now know, conch fritters are all over Key West. You won’t have trouble finding any, but there’s nothing worse than ordering a platter and having them arrive under-seasoned or too bready.
You don’t need to worry about anything like that spoiling your trip, though. You can trust any of the spots on this list to satisfy your conch fritter cravings but if we’re being honest, you’re not going to limit yourself to just one, are you?
Don’t miss out on this delicacy!