Key Largo, FL

This Florida Dive has a Shabby Exterior, but is Said to Have the Best Conch Fritters, and an Old Florida Atmosphere

L. Cane

There's something to be said about a Florida restaurant that has been around since before the 1950s and hasn't changed all that much. Many people enjoy visiting "Old Florida" restaurants for a simple, but delicious Florida meal.

And if that meal includes delicious seafood and a chance to enjoy your meal looking at a water view, that's even better. An old, Key Largo restaurant that's been a Florida staple since 1947 called Alabama Jacks might fit the bill.

What's So Special About Alabama Jack's?: Restaurants in Florida come and go, but Alabama Jack's seems to survive and thrive mostly via word of mouth.

And some well-known people and publications have spread the word - including Emeril Lagasse and the New York Times. Kathie Lee Gifford is also a fan. Plus the restaurant was featured in several scenes of the Netflix show Bloodline.

Alabama Jack's has a unique and varied clientele. You'll often see motorcycles parked out front, while yachts are parked in the canal. People of all backgrounds can be found here, and the efficient staff serves everyone somewhat quickly, despite the fact that the restaurant is often crowded.

The decor is eclectic, with license plates covering the walls. There's nothing fancy here. Expect to use plastic forks and paper towels. It's an open-air establishment. People come for the food and the atmosphere, which is festive. The same band has been playing at Alabama Jack's for decades.

If you sit by the water, you can watch the boats go by, enjoy seeing birds in the mangroves, and see fish hoping that you drop some food in the waters below.

What to Order at Alabama Jacks: The restaurant is famous for its conch fritters, which have more meat than breading (and are huge.) Another surprisingly popular choice is the lima bean soup, and many rave about the fresh fish spread and the crispy, fried grouper sandwich and mahi Reuben. There's also some really good coffee and dessert, although that's generally not what you're going to Alabama Jack's for.

How are the Prices?: Many people consider a visit to this dive restaurant as a necessary stop for those who are going to the Florida Keys. For that reason, you might expect the prices to be somewhat inflated. That isn't the case on most menu items, however.

You can get a cup of the highly-rated lima bean soup for 3.75 and a cup of conch chowder for $4.25. A grilled dolphin sandwich is $8.25 and the fish sandwich will only set you back only $8.00.

The famous conch fritter plate (which includes two sides) is $10.75. The fried shrimp plate is $12.25.

You can get a seafood sampler that serves two for $32.00, which is the most expensive item on the menu (except for the sampler that serves 4 at $64.00.)

Most sides are only $2.00, and the key lime pie is $3.50.

You can find Alabama Jacks at 58000 Card Sound Road in Key Largo. Check the website for details about live entertainment times.

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