Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spanish Gardens Cafe

Mile marker 80.9
Every once in a while, I love taking a drive down to The Florida Keys. Sometimes, I just make it a day trip, going as far down as Marathon and then return. I have a little routine I usually follow, stopping at shops and having a drink at the bar of some of the local hotels. There is one hidden gem I always stop in for lunch at, that has a combination of charm, friendly ambiance and delicious food. This place is the Spanish Gardens Cafe in Islamorada, situated at 80925 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036. Located in a shopping strip, it is easy to miss if you are not paying attention but once you have had the pleasure of eating here, you will not forget the experience. I've been enjoying Chef Jose's magical cuisine since his place was located in the Rain Barrel-Artisans' Village a few years ago. He had a small counter with outdoor seating he had set up in the gardens, with patio tables and chairs he made himself. The first time I tried his tuna salad sandwich, I was hooked! Using organic ingredients, everything he uses is so fresh and tasty, you can relish it in every bite. From there, he became a staple on all my Keys getaways. Now, he has a quaint little restaurant, where you can have indoor or outdoor seating, and admire all the beautiful paintings, also for sale, on his walls. It's a feast for the senses as you get a feeling you're having a great meal in a museum gallery! The decoration is old world charm, and the service is both friendly and familiar. You will see Chef Jose preparing his delicious fare in his signature colorful pants, and he will probably step out of the kitchen and come say hello. On his menu, you will find tapas, sandwiches, salads and a world class paella. Aside from the wine list, he can make a mean Sangria and Lemonade, depending on what you are in the mood for. The portions are all generous and the experience something to look forward to on the drive down to Islamorada. Whether you're a tourist or a local, if you're in the mood for some Spanish cuisine, or just a refreshing gourmet salad or sandwich, stop by Spanish Gardens Cafe. I bet you you'll be glad you did! Call them at 305 664-3999.

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1 comment:

  1. The sandwiches, salads, and lemonade are excellent!