Key Lime Pies in the Florida Keys, Ranked by My Husband

I've only been saying this post has been on it's way since the end of June...better late than never? I let my husband TJ take over the blog to share the ratings of all of the Key lime pies we tried while on our honeymoon in the Florida Keys. The rankings were mostly based on taste, crust, and presentation. Now I'll let him take it away! In case you forgot what he looked like, here is he very excited to take down some pie.

 When in the Florida Keys, you MUST try their staple dessert, the famed Key lime pie. You'll see it on every corner, every shop and every restaurant, all claiming to be "the best Key lime pie in the Keys!" Well, we thought, certainly they ALL can't be the best. So, this is how our pie rating story began. Who better than a bunch of amateurs on their honeymoon to bring you the official rating. And so we begin!

#11) The Southernmost Key Lime Shop is where every tourist must stop...if they want a very average Key lime pie. This place was a tourist trap, where they clearly crank out the pies for quantity versus quality. This pie ranks the lowest on our list. I'm not sure there's a such thing as a "bad" Key lime pie, but when you see the others, you'll know why this one is lower on this list. This one has the standard store bought vibe, described as textured, flaky crust, less tart than others and simple presentation. 

#10) I might get some flack for this one since it's chocolate covered..but in at #10 is a Chocolate Covered Key lime pie on a stick from a street stand in Key West. I do love chocolate, but this one is similar to #11 - touristy and made by the dozens and packaged in plastic. The chocolate addition is the reason this one ranks one above #11. But I was here for the pie, so this one was more about the chocolate than the pie. Also, when eating it, you're liable to drop half the pie on the ground. We know from experience...

#9) Coming in a number 9 is the Key lime pie from the Four Marlins restaurant at The Reach Curio Hotel. The meal at Four Marlins was fantastic, and the restaurant is ocean side, so we recommend the food in general. With this level of experience, we had to order a Key lime pie! When delivered, the pie had a perfect whipped cream top with zested lime flakes on the top, akin to a well manicured lawn. The crust was very good - the good ones have a crumbled graham cracker taste. Some of the crust even fell off the table, but in the interest of rebuilding our immune system, we still ate it because it was that good. The actual pie itself though, has significantly less lime flavor than others, and the pie was the most expensive of all we tried. The texture was in the middle between creamy (like pudding) and textured (which we tended to like more). For the price, we have a much better suggestion in Key West. Stay tuned. You can pass on this one, unless you want inspiration for your lawn. 

#8) Number 8 on the list is the Key lime pie from Evelyn's in Key Largo. The pie ranks higher on the list than previous ones both because it seems to be made in their kitchen and because the lime flavor comes though. There was no whipped cream on this one, unlike many of the others. This pie is pretty tart, so if you like a strong lime flavor, you might like this one. This was one of the first pies we tried, so at the time we had little to compare it to and did like it. After trying many others, we found this one was more creamy texture, almost like a pudding. These pudding texture pies were not nearly as good as their textured counterparts, and my guess is it has something to do with less ingredients. This is a very middle of the road option, and we forgot to get a picture. 

#7) Number 7 on the list has a soft spot in our hearts since it was the first key lime pie we tried in the Keys at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Key Largo. This restaurant was pretty cool also and definitely worth a stop. Like #8, the texture was very pudding-like and I will say the whipped cream was straight from the a can, which is definitely not as home made feel as the (spoiler alert) meringue topped pies closer to the top of the list. Also, I'm almost convinced that Evelyn's used the same recipe from Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, or vice versa, as these two pies were almost the same. Many "top Key lime pie" lists have both places making the ranks, so it makes sense.

#6) As we get higher on the list, the race becomes closer. All of the pies 6 and above are certainly good and it takes a connoisseur of pies to distinguish between the top selection of pies. It's really a good thing you picked our list to follow because after 11 pies in 9 days, I think we're experts in the pie trade. Hobo's Cafe in Key Largo brings to you number #6. This pie was less tart, but was where we found the right texture in a pie. This was not of a pudding texture and it seemed like it was a secret recipe passed through the generations, or maybe just from a cookbook. Who knows. The texture may have been a little too much though, on the "gritty" side with what seemed to be graham cracker bits in the actual pie. It was good, but it would be one of the reasons this didn't make top five. The crust was excellent and the presentation with a half lime slice, strategically placed whipped cream and cherry drizzle makes this one worthy of the 'gram. For a while, this was top of the list in Key Largo, but as you will see, it'll be soon be dethroned. 

#5) Coming in at number 5 on this list is the Fish House in Key Largo. This place is featured on Diners Drive Ins & Dives, so you know if Guy Fieri likes it, it must be pretty solid. Well, I'm not Guy Fieri, but I have taste buds too. And these taste buds tell you that this pie had almost everything you look for in a pie. For starters, this is the first pie on the list with a white flamed meringue topping, which was top notch like Guy Fieri's hair. Cara's opinion was that this one had the best crust of all the ones we tried - with a more brown sugary taste coming through. I thought the flavor was the perfect level of tartness - definitely lime flavored without being too sour. The texture was middle of the road between pudding-like and textured. This is a solid pie - the only things missing is the pizzaz you'll see in the next few pies.

#4) We're down to the final four and this is where it really starts to get intense. If you want an excellent Key lime pie and you're on the go, Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Factory in Key Largo is your place. Take a look at this thing - it literally looks like a giraffe, with the chocolate river flowing over the top of the pie. This pie was decently priced and was also a larger piece than most of the others we tried. Maybe the best balance of price, flavor and size. We didn't have time to check it out, but this place also had a really cool garden in the back to enjoy your pie, so experience must be factored into the overall total package here. Cara and I both loved the chocolate on top. It was almost like taking the only good thing from #10 on the list and actually doing it right, with the perfect presentation. This pie had great lime flavor - tart without being overbearing. The texture was middle of the road - smooth, but not like others we considered to be like pudding. Also, points for the cool name Blonde Giraffe too. 

#3) Top three - it's the final countdown. Cue the music. Coming in with the bronze medal is actually one we could argue is a tie for second. But for namesake, and a little bit of bias, I'm calling this one third. Number 3 is actually the very last pie we had in the key at Keys Bite in Key Largo. This is the kind of pie that on the last day that makes you want to stay longer...or go back and steal your new wife's blog post. This pie had a rippled surface on top, which looked like the ocean. It was storming outside while we were eating this, so the whipped cream unfortunately blew off in the wind, but it was appropriate for this pie that looked like it was tossed about in a storm. While not presented as smooth on the outside (though I did like the looks), it was so smooth going down into the stomach! The texture was described as "spot on" and the flavor had the perfect level of tartness. One of the best parts was that the crust tasted like a cookie. 

#2) Coming in a #2 is truly what I would consider a "Dive" find, and the name should tell it all. TJ's Tiki Bar in Marathon is our #2 recommendation. Again you could argue this is on par with #3, but I told you I was biased on the name! We actually ended up at this place because it was next to our hotel, walking distance, had good mixed drinks, and was ocean front...oh and because Cara saw the name was TJ's Tiki Bar! What more can you ask for, you say? Good pie! That's what. Well, we ordered it and it came in a bowl to protect it from the wind. Smart choice. It was topped with a strawberry which was held in place by some whipped cream. It was a pretty nice sized pie too. Right off the bat, we were pumped to eat this one. This one had the perfect level of lime taste and the texture was more pie-like, thicker, versus pudding like.  The crust was on point as well. This one took the top spot for most of the trip, until we got to Key West where it was bumped down a spot...

#1) We have arrived at the moment you've all been waiting for, drum roll please!!!! You may have heard the legends, you may have seen it in the tabloids, you may have seen it in a dream, but I'm here to tell you it's real. And it's the best Key lime pie we had in the Florida Keys at Salute by the Sea - Key West. This is Blue Heaven's sister restaurant, so it is technically their Key lime pie. This one had the wow factor and a mountain of toasted meringue on top. We took a 360 degree panorama picture, this one had the perfect lime flavor without being too tart and also a great crust. This pie was more expensive than many others on the list, but definitely worth it. This was the total package and I would say this is the fastest I have ever converted a $10 bill into a little pep in my step. Would recommend if you're in Key West looking for the most unique and tasty pie you'll find in the Keys. It's either this, or buy one of those touristy dime-a-dozen pies up the street in Key West. Salute, I salute you!

Honorable mentions 
We have some honorable mentions as well. If you don't like pie, I'm surprised you got this far in this post, but that's OK, we've got you covered with a few alternative options worth a try:

Islamorada Brewery and Distillery: Try the Key Lime Pie frozen cocktail. You are literally consuming a frozen key lime pie, complete with pie crust rim on the glass. You can get packaged cocktails to go. This was a cool drink - though make sure if you get the cocktails to go, that you can keep it cold! Cara's edit: not that we bought one on our way to a hotel without a freezer. Nope, not us...

Viva Argentinian Steakhouse: They have a relatively affordable cocktail version of all of the best flavors of a pie. Also, this steakhouse had my favorite meal in Key West. 

Hariette’s: The best key lime muffin you will find in the Keys, as we have nothing to compare it to - it might be the ONLY key lime pie muffin in the Keys.  Served warm with a gooey underside of the muffin that hits the spot The powdered sugar on top easy to inhale as you are gasping at the deliciousness of the muffin. Priced at 4.25, one of the best values of a key lime experience in the Keys. Also, the shirts in the store are hilarious. 

So, how did he do? Should I let him take over the blog again?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great job TJ!! I've never had a key lime pie with meringue on it, those ones look amazing!

    xoxo Annaliese

  2. Love it!! Key lime pie is my FAVORITE of all pies so I was here for this post! Can't wait to go to Key West to try some of these in person!