Sunday, October 13, 2019

Key's Locals Restaurant Review - Ziggie & Mad Dog's Restaurant

Okay.  The name sounds a bit strange, but I'll explain that.  In the meantime, just know that the food and the atmosphere are wonderful!

We are back to trying out local eating establishments, even the ones that have been around for a long time.  So watch my blog and join our journey!

A bit of history about Ziggie & Mad Dog's Restaurant:  
The structure was transformed into a small restaurant in the 1950's after serving as an outbuilding for a pineapple plantation back in the 1930's.  In 1962 it was turned into a restaurant and the legendary Ziggie's Conch was born.  But there is more history here that just that!

The Miami Herald, back in 1948, reported stories of police shoot outs with gamblers and shady characters referred to as "the new Capone gang".  It was said that Al Capone was a part of the high-stakes card games and casino action held in the back building.  Ziggie himself was a notorious gambler and drifter.  Rumer has it that John Huston got the idea for the movie "Key Largo" while gambling at a casino Ziggie was known to have frequented.  Ziggie's Conch became quite popular as a fine food establishment throughout the Florida Keys.

Then in 2005, Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich of Miami Dolphin fame, and his long time business partner purchased the legendary Ziggie's.  After some extensive renovations, Ziggie & Mad Dog's was born.  The original bar, the slate wainscot and terrazzo have all been refurbished with great care.

Today, Ziggie and Mad Dog’s has become a destination steak house… one of the finest in South Florida! Ziggie and Mandich’s culinary influence are on display even today with some of their favorite dishes still on their menu.
My Review:
We stopped in to check out this restaurant a couple of nights ago.  We had been here many, many, many years ago and weren't terribly impressed, but so many people highly recommended it that we thought we would give it another try.  I'm so glad we did!
We arrived without reservations, but were politely seated anyway.  I would highly recommend that you have reservations, especially during the "season".  The tables were covered with white linen and looked quite inviting, but so did the bar area with the happy customers standing around having a few drinks.  The menu looked great and it took us a while to make our decisions.  Our waitress, a delightful young lady named Becky, told us the night's specials and I chose filet mignon, served with a whole tomato stuffed with brie cheese and spinach.  Oh my goodness!  It was sinfully delicious!  
My husband chose Big Ben's Smothered Medallions, filet mignon medallions topped with carmalized onions and stilton blue cheese with an awesome au poivre sauce poured over it.  Again, although I am not a blue cheese fan, my husband absolutely loved it!  The Au Gratin Potatoes he ordered as a side dish was large enough to share... and then some!  Oh!  And the bread!  We were served a whole round loaf of warm bread, right out of the oven. It was served with soft honey butter.
The restaurant is a bit pricey, but definitely worth it for a nice night out. The service was impeccable!  Becky, our server, was wonderful and the young man filling the water glasses and clearing the table was definitely on the ball, never letting that glass get empty.
You can find Ziggie & Mad Dog's at 83000 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, Florida.  Check out their website at 


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