Lionfish Dishes to Please Your Palate and Your Conscience

Along the Atlantic Coast and into the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, there’s a new fish in town. It’s not exactly welcome in the waters, but it’s finding a wider fan base among diners and restaurateurs.



    Lionfish has venomous, feathery spikes that can make you sick.  But once the fish is caught and cleaned, the white, delicate meat makes for good eating.  
    Bill Watts


    Originally from the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, lionfish have been recently spreading throughout the Caribbean and the Atlantic coast.  With no natural predators, they proliferate at great rates. In order to curb the lionfish population, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are trying to educate the public about capturing, handling and preparing the fish.
    Big Game Club/Guy Harvey Outpost


    Chefs typically use scissors and surgeon’s gloves to remove the offensive spines before cleaning and filleting the fish. But the Fish House Encore restaurant in Key Largo has developed a specialty fried whole lionfish appetizer with the spines still intact – an impressive presentation.
    Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau


    Panko-Crusted Lionfish Nuggets is one of the many ways to eat this unusual fish.
    Bimini Big Game Club/Guy Harvey Outpost


    Another way to eat Lionfish is served with Eggs Benedict, available at the Key Largo Conch House in Florida.
    Key Largo Conch House


    The Key Largo Conch House also serves Lionfish Tacos and special dinners such as Grilled Lionfish with Avocado Salsa.
    Key Largo Conch House


    Another Keys restaurant, Kev’s Café in Islamorada, serves a Southwestern-style Lionfish Chowder. The Lionfish Cookbook gives instructions for such dishes as Lionfish Nachos, Spicy Lionfish, and, Akins’ favorite, Lionfish Ceviche.
    Keys Largo Conch House
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