When one thinks of Key West dining, inevitably, fresh seafood comes to mind. D.J.’s Clam Shack, a little hole in the wall location on Key West’s famed Duval Street, serves some of the freshest seafood around. Just ask celebrity chef, Guy Fieri, who has featured this location on his show, Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives, twice now, so I guess he really likes the food!
The relatively small menu at DJ’s, which includes favorites like Maine lobster rolls, garlic steamed clams, conch fritters, clam strips, and fried shrimp, allows all of the items to be great rather than having a large menu where the food suffers. If you are not a fan of seafood, don’t worry, there are a few menu items to make you happy such as grilled hotdogs, chicken or roast pork tacos, and sides like fries, onion rings, and garlic bread. DJ’s owners say they owe their success to homemade, casual recipes and fresh ingredients.
I stopped by DJ’s with my friend Kay this Veteran’s Day for a snack as we were walking along Duval Street playing tourist and waiting for the Veteran’s Day parade to start. We were greeted immediately and after taking a few minutes to decide what to get, we went with the conch fritters (I had to try this Key West favorite and compare them with other places) and the steamed clams (since this is literally called DJ’s CLAM SHACK). This came to around $30, so we paid and sat down at the bench overlooking Duval Street. Our food was brought out to us shortly afterwards.
The garlic butter clams had a kick thanks to the jalapeños used to spice the dish up. Served with garlic bread to soak up the buttery, garlicky goodness, it made a nice meal. The conch fritters were really good, fluffy and moist with so much flavor. And the mustard dipping sauce that they were served with was the perfect pairing. I even dipped the fries into it because it was so yummy!
Two days later, after hearing me talk about the food, my husband wanted to go and get some seafood for lunch, so I headed back to DJ’s Clam Shack with him. Once again, I sat where we could people watch those walking by Duval Street and when I went up to order our food, the staff was just as friendly as they were a few days before. This time we got the conch fritter again, fried shrimp for him, and a shrimp roll for me.
My husband took a bite of the fritter and said, “Holy smokes, these are amazing and I don’t even like conch fritters!” So there ya go! To me, shrimp can be one of the most fabulous things to eat. But if overdone or over seasoned, they can be a real turn off. The fried shrimp were light and perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. The shrimp roll was absolutely spectacular; served on garlic bread, the lightly seasoned shrimp paired with that and some slaw for one of the best seafood sandwiches I have ever eaten.
We will definitely be going back for lunch soon. Next time I head over I might have to try out the Maine lobster roll.
If you are looking for a very relaxed atmosphere for some really fresh and delicious seafood, this is a great spot. Plus, people watching from this location is great! You can find them at 629 Duval Street.
And to see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events.
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