a waffle with a scoop of ice cream on top of it
Chicken and waffles topped with bacon ice cream.

Nestled in the serene shores of Duck Key is Angler & Ale. Checking a map, you’ll see this restaurant is on the Hawk’s Cay resort property but it is very much open to the public. 

Brace yourselves for a culinary voyage as Angler & Ale unveils a new brunch menu available every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Whether you choose to dine al fresco in the sunny waterfront terrace or in the relaxing air-conditioned indoors, there’s not a bad seat in the house. The warm, nautical-inspired décor invites you to unwind for a leisurely and indulgent brunch experience. 

The culinary team at Angler & Ale have crafted a menu that seamlessly blends classic brunch favorites with innovative tropical twists, and the picturesque marina backdrop only makes it that much better. For those who wake up extremely early, let’s clarify what brunch is exactly. Brunch is the delicious union of breakfast and lunch, usually on a weekend, and shared among good company and sunshine (that is a Florida Keys Eats definition, not Merriam-Webster). This menu hits that definition right on point. 

Cue the first thing I tried: the BLT. I’ll preface by saying I’m already very partial because I absolutely love BLTs, but I’m going to make a bold statement. This is the best BLT I’ve ever had. Imagine sinking your teeth into thick toasted slices of challah bread with brown sugar bacon all crispy and caramelized. The bacon is complemented by a layer of smooth sliced avocado followed by the ripest heirloom tomato on earth. The heirloom tomato is the gold standard of tomatoes, in my opinion. 

Just when you thought you were done, the refreshing cool crunch of iceberg lettuce and a generous smear of Duke’s mayo ties it all in together. It’s a towering delight and your taste buds will thank you. 

a mason jar filled with food next to a body of water

The “wow” factor of the day was the chicken and waffles; it was unlike any I’ve ever experienced before. Tender fried chicken is perched atop a fluffy waffle. Get ready for this … it was topped with bacon ice cream. The ice cream was smokey, slightly sweet and such a great unexpected twist on a classic comfort. The contrast of the warm waffle and cool velvet frozen treat was nothing short of paradise. This was drizzled with a bourbon barrel maple syrup with hints of caramel and vanilla, which really added a sophistication and depth to this Southern comfort. The finishing touch at the tippy-top was a honey stick that I opted to keep for later. 

For a savory side of things, I tried the crab cake benedict, which again was some of the best I ever had. It had a fried egg as opposed to poached with a perfectly cooked yolk that mingled with every bite. My favorite part was the Key lime hollandaise. That tropical twist is what made this addicting. This hollandaise is a revelation. It had bright citrusy notes of Key lime that added a tangy zing to the richness of the crab cake. It was a match made in brunch heaven. The piece de resistance was the croque madame. It really brought France to the Keys. Smoked ham and gruyere is topped with a fried egg that was cascading yolk over the sandwich like liquid gold. Blanketing that entire ensemble was mornay sauce which was silky, cheesy and decadent. 

a plate of food on a table next to a pool

For those who prefer a boozier brunch, boy, do they have you covered. They have an absolutely gorgeous mimosa flight with such unique options as blueberry lemon, kiwi and ginger peach. They have a drink called the Castaway Bloody Mary. It feels weird to even call it a “drink.” I feel like this thing was made for a Transformer or maybe King Kong. It’s a colossal glass rimmed with spice seasoning with a veritable cornucopia of delights. I’m talking conch fritters, shrimp, pearl onions, mozzarella pearls, celery, bacon, olives and pickled green beans — picture-worthy is an understatement. My favorite drink of the day was the mangrove mojito, which is made with Pilar blonde rum with fresh watermelon and mint. It felt so invigorating on a warm Keys day. 

a wooden tray topped with drinks on top of a table

In all honesty, this was one of the tastiest brunches I’ve had in quite some time. Every meal came with a side of stunning waterfront views and the flavors of the Keys. They really elevated the brunch game. Visit Angler & Ale brunch for your mid-morning escape.

Samantha Dellilo
Samantha Dellilo has been in the Keys since she was 1 day old, so definitely consider her a Conch. Holding a passion for food since she can remember, while most kids were watching Barney, she was watching Emeril. "Being half Cuban and half Italian, food in those cultures is considered a love language. It's a total experience whether eating out or cooking." She's been with her other half, Marky, going on 17 years. The two met when they were 9 years old at Key Largo School. Samantha owns Florida Keys Eats, which is a blog of "must eat, must see, and must dos" from Key Largo to Key West.