There aren’t too many places where you can hook and cook your own fish and lobster, but the Hungry Tarpon restaurant in Islamorada, Florida is one of those do it yourself with an assist type joints. It’s also a foodie hot spot with a rather unique view. From the Hungry Tarpon’s patio you can watch people hand feeding the dozens of of giant 100 pound plus tarpon that flock to the dock.
Islamorada is known as the village of islands. Six of the Florida Keys make up the village and most people hang a right at the Hungry Tarpon on their way out to Key West because it has an excellent view of Robbie’s Marina, a unique fish fanatic pit stop. At Robbie’s Marina you can hand feed massive flashes of silver, a.k.a tarpon, who leap out of the water for their grub.
If you prefer to chow down rather than luring in your own meal, Hungry Tarpon’s executive chef Ben Loftus has whipped up a menu filled with Southern favorites like creamed chipped beef and biscuits with sausage gravy for breakfast. During lunch and dinner you can conch yourself out into a food coma with everything from a bowl of conch chowder to a cracked conch basket (which comes with fries, chips, coleslaw or potato salad, but we’d recommend adding the sweet potato waffle fries for an extra $1.00).
Since the patio is pretty popular (and often has a lengthy wait for tables) we made a beeline for the Hungry Tarpon Bar instead. We decided to give the appetizers (Or shall we call them appe-teasers?) a whirl. While offerings like the trailer trash burger (which for the record consists of chorizo, bacon, jalapeño beer cheese sauce, haystack onions and, as if that weren’t enough already, a fried egg) sound amazing, we weren’t sure we’d fit in our rental car after that kind of a food festivus.
Conch was pretty high on our Florida Keys to-do list, so we order the conch fritters. Light and tasty they were the perfect option for hand feeding humans after hand feeding all those hungry tarpon.
Stopping at the Hungry Tarpon also gave us an opportunity to taste test a local beer. Key West Sunset Ale is apparently the, “Beer of the Conch Republic,” so it seemed like the natural companion for our conch fritters. Brewed by the folks over at the Florida Beer Co. out of Cape Canaveral, Florida the Key West Sunset Ale tasted a bit like toasted caramel. If you find yourself in Cape Canaveral, you can tour Florida Beer Co.’s brewery at 4pm Friday through Sunday.
While you’re waiting for your check, or putting in an order for dessert, you might want to try the tiki toss (also known as the ring on a string or Bimini ring game) at the Hungry Tarpon bar. The Caribbean classic has been occupying island bar goers for ages. Helpful Hint: A fellow bar mate clued us in. Getting the ring on the hook is best done by swinging the ring slightly out to the left or the right. (This video from Tiki Toss shows you how it’s done.)
If you’re on a road trip through the Florida Keys, there’s no shortage of amazing places in Florida to test out key lime pie. The Hungry Tarpon is worthy of a pitstop not just because of its grub, but because of its proximity to the fishy (in all the right ways) tarpon and its laid back island vibe.
77522 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, Florida 33036
Hours: Open Seven Days a Week 6:30am to 9:00pm
Phone: (305) 664-0535
Pricing (All in U.S. Dollars or USD): Breakfast Sandwiches $7.50 to $13.95, Kids Breakfast $4.95, French Toast and Pancakes $5.95 to $7.95, Breakfast Burritos $9.95, Frittatas and Scrambles $8.95 to $13.95, Soup and Salad $8.95 to $12.95, Appetizers $9.95 to $14.95, Sliders $15.95 to $16.95, Burgers $12.95 to $16.95, Hot Dogs $6.95 to $9.95, Tacos $13.95 to $16.95, Quesadillas $8.95 to $16.95, Burritos $15.95, Entrees $19.95 to $32.95, Sandwiches $8.95 to $14.95, Wraps $13.95 to $16.95, Desserts $7.00