Where to get the BEST Key West Pink Shrimp
Don’t skimp on shrimp.
We don’t call our local shrimp “pink gold” for nothing. These babies are sweet, juicy, succulent, and bigger than normal. On top of that, while most shrimp come out of the water white or brown (and turn pink while cooking), our local Key West pink shrimp come fresh out of the water bright pink–gaining their gorgeous color from the pigment in the coral sand they call their home.
While most of our lovely Gulf red and pink shrimp live in waters from 1000-2000 ft deep, Key West’s personal brand of prawn were found living it easy in the shallow depths of only 100-200 ft of water! Easy to catch and quick to reproduce, shrimpers swarmed to our Historic Seaport and the “Pink Gold Rush” began.
Though the shrimper frenzy has since died down due to competitive pricing from Asian seafood, the love of shrimp lives on! As our most popular seafood in the US, shrimp and shrimping are still a vibrant part of our economy here in the Southernmost US, and though most of the local shrimp boats now reside in Stock Island (one key up), you can still find these local delicacies on many menus about town.
So, while dining in paradise, only the pink, pick-of-the-litter will satisfy the discretionary palate. You can treasure hunt through menus to find these juicy gems, or take our word for it and hit these top places to find our round-up of Best Pinks in Key West!
Blue Heaven, the gold star of Bahama Village, is a glorious and gluttonous hidden paradise whose comfort-Caribbean dishes keep tourists and locals alike returning frequently for more. It’s their Key West Pink Shrimp and Grits which make our list. This cheesy, warm, buttery bowl of your “grandma’s-cooking-meets-grade-school-love” equals something that happens both equally in your heart as it does your mouth. These Key West Pinks are first sauteed in White Wine, Butter and Scallions, and then pooled over Grits and White Cheddar, served with a side of homemade Banana Bread from their award winning bakery.
Go full throttle and finish it with a slice of Key Lime Pie. It’s the best on the island…no contest.
It’s without a doubt Flaming Buoy’s use of the Thai flavors mixing sweet, sour, spicy, and salty that makes their Pinks stand out so well. As an appetizer, they offer grilled and marinated Key West pink shrimp with spicy lime chutney, but don’t get too full! You’ll want to save room for the main show: Grilled Key West pink shrimp in Red Thai curry over ginger-fried rice and carrots. It’s flavor concoction that only gets better with each bite.
If you judge books by their cover, or wines by their label for that matter, then you may have passed by this hidden-gem-in-plain-sight multiple times…It’s a food truck and it sets up shop on the corner of Truman at a Chevron gas station.
But it’s Pescado that comes in at #3 for it’s Key West Pink Po Boy. The fried shrimp come laid on top of lettuce, tomato, bacon, marinated onions, and chipotle mayo inside cuban bread, served with a side of coleslaw and fries. Oooooweeee, this street food will make you wanna slap yo grandma!…or just take her with you next time.
EATON STREET SEAFOOD MARKET
This old art deco gas station has the freshest catch to “fuel” your seafood desires. Eaton Street Seafood Market has an entire case full of local fish, lobster, scallops, stone crab claws, conch salad, and (that’s right, you guessed it) pink shrimp. They serve up the pink prawns a few ways, but the best is in their naked glory…Steamed Pink shrimp paired with their homemade cocktail sauce.
BAD BOY BURRITO
A featured stop on our Southernmost Food Tour, Bad Boy Burrito prides themselves on their “fresh is best” motto. Crisp fresh cabbage, radish, and jalepenos add a crunch to the soft, tender Key West Pink Shrimp “Phattie” burrito or tacos with roasted pineapple habañero, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and cilantro. This fresh express in an explosion of flavor every bite.