In describing the art of dining at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, one member noted each experience was simply, “a full palate of culinary delight, where food preparation is always a celebration of fresh and flavorful.” Sourcing from Ocean Reef Club’s own Chef’s Garden and nearby produce farms in Homestead, meals are prepared using local ingredients whenever possible: Heirloom slicing tomatoes, pineapples, limes, coconuts, edible flowers, fresh greens, and herbs are locally grown for members’ dining delight. Additionally, locally caught seafood is a staple at Ocean Reef Club restaurants.
Preparing authentic dishes using the freshest ingredients all started in 1960 when the Madeira Room (today’s Ocean Room) opened and began the culinary traditions that are central to Ocean Reef Club’s dining experiences today. At the time, the 225-seat Madeira Room functioned as the only dining room, and along with the neighboring Reef Lounge, represented the primary social gathering spots for members.
Fast forward 62 years, and not only has the Madeira Room been renovated and rebranded as the Ocean Room, but Ocean Reef Club now features more than a dozen restaurants and lounges that offer a daily celebration of fine food, wine, specials occasions, and choices for the “perfect night out.” Today, no matter what cuisine or libation Ocean Reef Club’s members crave, there’s invariably a restaurant lounge that serves up their favorite flavors in a setting that’s bound to inspire and delight.
Despite the new look and feel of the Ocean Room and adjoining Reef Lounge, hints of history can be found everywhere you look. Upon entering the Inn Lobby, framed historical photos line the wall, reminding members of the iconic role the Ocean Room has played in the Club’s traditions. A piano can be found in the Reef Lounge, reminiscent of a social heyday when members sang and danced the night way. As well, members will recognize the two 400-gallon Atlantic and Pacific aquariums as a piece of Ocean Reef history, that today, frame the renovated Reef Lounge.
The love of food at Ocean Reef runs so deep that the club has its own cooking school where members can learn shoulder-to-shoulder from cutting-edge chefs, cookbook authors, and Ocean Reef’s own master chefs. Beyond the restaurants and cooking school, Ocean Reef Club offers a moveable feast of buffets, festivals, street fairs, and culinary events for members’ wining-and-dining enjoyment.
From Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to the Vine to Table Dinner Series, Grand Seafood Buffet, and Food & Wine Weekend, every occasion presents a new adventure in dining. A sumptuous meal seems to star at every Ocean Reef Club event, from the Cook-Your-Catch Lobster Dinner during the July Lobstermania to the fabulous receptions and dinners at annual golf, tennis, and fishing tournaments. There’s always an opportunity to celebrate something delicious in the Ocean Reef Club’s treasured lifestyle.
Learn more at OceanReefClubLiving.com
- by Erin Byers Murray