Best Places for Stone Crab in Southwest Florida

By Laurén Ettinger

From October 15 to May 15 in south Florida, seafood lovers delight in the coming of stone crab season. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Southwest Florida during stone crab season, they are a treat you should enjoy. Read below to learn everything you need to know about stone crabs from where to get them to how to eat them!

Best Places in Southwest Florida to eat Stone Crab. Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman. Must Do Visitor Guides.
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Stone crab claws are a delectable treat comparable to the sweet, firm meat of lobsters. They are sold fully cooked to prevent the meat from sticking to the inside of the shell. This makes them an excellent choice to buy and serve the same day, with little to no preparation necessary. Look to buy claws that are already cracked unless you are unable to eat them the same day–then you can store them uncracked in your fridge on ice for up to a week. 

To crack a stone crab claw, wrap them individually in a clean towel and hit them with a heavy spoon. You’ll want to aim for the rounded side of the claw and use the amount of force used on a soft-boiled egg. Once you begin to peel off the shell and remove the meat, you’ll notice that there is a hard center membrane in the claw that you’ll need to pull or scrape the meat off of. 

Stone crab claws are typically eaten cold but can be warmed up in boiling water if desired (as long as claws are uncracked). Dip your stone crab claws in a mustard sauce, drawn butter, or lemon juice. 

Fresh stone crab claws with mustard and butter. Everglades City, Florida Stone Crab Festival.
Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Where to Eat Stone Crab Claws in Southwest Florida

Sarasota, Siesta Key and Venice

Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant – The Wallin family has been fishing the Sarasota area and selling their catch for over 100 years, it doesn’t get any fresher than this! Eat inside or outside at the chickee bar or pick up from the fish market to take home.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar – S.K.O.B is a local favorite on Siesta Key with both indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and excellent Happy Hour specials. 

Fins at Sharky’s – This Venice, Florida restaurant offers beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico in an upscale casual atmosphere. 

More spots for great seafood in Sarasota

Best Places to eat Stone Crab in Southwest Florida including Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples and Everglades City. Must Do Visitor Guides |
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Island

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille – With three great locations on Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and in Fort Myers Beach, you can’t go wrong with grabbing a bite at Doc Ford’s! 

Dixie Fish Co. –  A waterfront restaurant with a friendly down-to-earth atmosphere. Make sure to try some of the amazing appetizers like fried green tomatoes and smoked fish dip.

Naples and Everglades City

Truluck’s – An upscale steak and seafood house with a focus on sustainability. Their team of crabbers has been sustainably harvesting stone crab claws for three generations. 

Captain & Krewe Seafood Market & Raw Bar – A laid-back market and restaurant with incredibly fresh fish and seafood. Stone crabs can be eaten on site or purchased for takeaway.

Fresh stone crab claws Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, Everglades City Florida.
Photo credit Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Everglades City makes for an excellent day trip from the Sarasota or Fort Myers areas or a quick drive from Naples. Known as the “Stone Crab Capital of the World” there are many options for eating delicious fresh stone crab claws in season. 

Best Places to eat Stone Crab in Southwest Florida including Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples and Everglades City. Must Do Visitor Guides |
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Written by: Laurén Ettinger | Author Website

Laurén Ettinger runs the travel and vanlife blog Flit Float Fly Away where she shares travel tips and stories from life on the road with her dog. She is the Assistant Editor at Siesta Publications for Must Do Visitor Guides where she manages social media, writes blog articles, and assists in editing print and online copy. Laurén also works as a freelance copy editor and proofreader. She holds a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Global Studies from Appalachian State University. Follow her adventures on instagram or her blog