On the way to Key West on Highway US-1 you come through Islamorada, the “village of islands” spreading over 5 of the islands known as the Florida Keys. Located at mile marker 81.7 of Islamorada’s famed Old Highway there is Kaiyo Grill & Sushi, a popular dinner restaurant for locals and travelers alike.
The restaurant offers typical diner/grill dishes and a selection of sushi delicacies. Although not a all sushi restaurant, Kaiyo Grill & Sushi comes with high praises for sushi aficionados in Southern Florida. The menu ranges from specialty rolls such as hogfish to a decent tuna selection and offers several vegetarian dishes as well.
Since I only stopped at Kaiyo Grill & Sushi for quick lite dinner on the way back to Miami from Key west, I opted for a 5 piece sashimi plate. I got some decent hotategai (scallop). sake (salmon), hamachi (yellow tail) and walu (white tuna a.k.a. butterfish). The hamachi definitely was amazing and was only topped by the walu, which might very well have been the first time I had white tuna of this quality. I never was into white tuna before but this time it had an amazing texture and taste.
Sushi Guide Verdict
Unfortunately it wasn’t as great as expected at Kaiyo Grill & Sushi. Also the restaurant is nicely located with views of the ocean from the terrace, it is also close to the highway and rather noisy. The decor is that of an average American restaurant with a nice and cozy touch to it. The restaurant has a small sushi bar which seems squeezed into the main dining room and doesn’t quite fit the rest of the ambience. The sushi menu is quite ok, offering a good variety of fish and vegetarian options. The quality is good as well, but far from amazing. The drink menu is of average size, quite ok for an American diner. Prices are as high as to be expected on the Florida Keys and the service seems to be accustomed to tourists rather than locals. The overal feel of the service was rather disappointing, making me wonder about all the locals that seem to like the place. All in all it was worth the stop, I might come back one day, but certainly not because of the sushi.
Review date: December 29, 2015