For a couple years, I had been hearing about a great tiki bar and fresh seafood joint in an out-of-the-way location in Key West. It was what all travelers seek: An inexpensive spot with great regional foods that the locals love and the tourists havenâ€™t discovered.
I finally got to Key West to visit this place — Hogfish Bar & Grill on Stock Island. And while I loved the food and ambiance, I missed out on â€œdiscovering itâ€ –Â the week before my trip, TravelÂ & Leisure named Hogfish one of the 30 best seafood spots in America.
I canâ€™t say whether it deserves that award, butÂ I would say itâ€™s well worth visiting when youâ€™re in Key West. Fortunately, itâ€™s so hard to find that thereâ€™s no danger of Hogfish turning all “Duval Street.”
Hogfish opened 10 years ago in a working marina on Stock Island, named because this island immediately east of Key West once was home to herds of livestock . Today half the island is the Key West Golf Course and half is full of marinas and trailer parks. Campers know Stock IslandÂ as home to Boydâ€™s Campground, the closest campground to Key West.
With a waterfront setting, a big chickee hut and open-air dining, Hogfish is casual and unpretentious; a t-shirt and flip-flops place with seating at long picnic tables. Those sitting dockside get a kick out of feeding the fish. (This is the best use of shrimp tails youâ€™ll ever find.) On weekends, there is live music (and it can get loud.)
Surrounded by fishing boats, you expect and get it fresh here.Â Hogfish is famous for two specialties â€“ fresh Key West pink shrimp and a sandwich called the Killer. Neither disappointed.
The World Famous Killer Hogfish Sandwich ($14.95) is made with fresh hogfish, mushrooms and Swiss cheese on Cuban bread. Hogfish is a mild white fish caught with a spear. It’s common on Caribbean reefs, where it uses its long pig-like nose to rootÂ for buried crustaceans. (That’s how it got its name.)
You can get your fresh shrimp prepared a variety of ways, but we tried and recommend the Fried Coconut Shrimp. The appetizer ($9.95) is six big beautiful shrimp.
The menu had a good variety of moderately priced options, from the $9.95 veggie burger to the $13.95 shrimp po boy to the $9.95 Grouper Cheeks. The fish tacos (lobster or hogfish or shrimp or blackened tuna; $10.95 to $13.95) have their fans and then there are the dinner specials from $16.95 to $23.95. Folks rave about the lobster bisque and Havana Roast Pork, too. You can wash it down with craft beers.
6810 Front Street
Stock Island, FL 33040
Directions from Key West: Â Take US1 north out of Key West and across the Cow Key Channel Bridge. At the third stoplight, bear to the right and onto MacDonald Avenue. Follow this for approximately Â 1 mile and make a right on 4th Avenue (across from Boydâ€™s Campground). Take your next left on Front Street and drive almost to the endâ€”youâ€™ll see the Hogfish Bar and Grill on the right.
More things to do in the Florida Keys
- Print outÂ this mile marker guideÂ to enhance your road trip to the Florida Keys.
- Eight Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor
- Best beaches in the Florida Keys
- All about those Key West chickens
- Find peace atÂ Key West Butterfly Conservatory
- Historic Key West Cemetery is full of stories
- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Hidden gem in Key West
- Florida Rambler guide to the Lower Keys
- Feed the tarpon at Robbieâ€™s Marina
- Tiki bars:Â Soak up the Keys atmosphere
- Biking or walking the Old Seven Mile Bridge
- VisitÂ historic Pigeon KeyÂ in Marathon
- Kayak or canoe toÂ historic Indian Key
- No Name Pub worth finding on Big Pine Key
- Key West Tropical Forest and Botanic Garden: It will charm plant lovers
Camping and lodging