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Key West Restaurant Reviews

the Key West restaurants

Island GenGennifer Lamp A.K.A. "Island Gen" your Key West Concierge. She loves to eat out at our many fine restaurants here in Key West and then tell everyone about her experience at each one. Here is her take on some of Key West's fine, and not so fine restaurants.

My husband is a Key West fishing guide, he and I enjoy great food of all types, especially seafood. And I have always enjoyed cooking. I even studied hotel and restaurant management in school many moons ago. Our clients were always asking us where to go to eat or where to find the best of something down here. So, we decided a few years back that I should parlay my knowledge and my love of food into our business and offer my opinions to visitors in order to help them decide where to eat.

Visitors will find all different types of eateries in Key West. From chains like Denny's to elegant, fine dining restaurants such as Michael's. We have little corner taco stands, sports pubs, sushi bars, coffee shops, and pizza places. Downtown dives and waterfront views. You name it, we probably have it here! So, just decide the type of food and the type of setting and atmosphere you want for the evening and then comes the hard part...picking where to eat out of one of the 100 plus restaurants on our island.

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Key West has so much cultural diversity, and one place that one can see this is in the variety of foods served at our local restaurants. There are many things that you can find on most menus in the Keys that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else. For instance, Florida lobster, conch, stone crab claws, authentic Key Lime pie, and the use of tropical fruits in many entrees. This mix of American, Bahamian, and Cuban fare is rampant and makes for a really delicious menu. With Key West being an island destination, one thing that I expect at a restaurant down here is fresh seafood. If the seafood is not fresh there is something tragic about that!

Service is another important aspect of a dining experience for me. I expect good service when I am out, and that is something that can be hard to come by in this day and age. I don't enjoy having a server or host look down their noses at me because their restaurant is so pretentious. And I cannot stand it when I have to wait forever for service, whether it is to bring me a menu or refill my water.

I feel that the restaurants of the Florida Keys and Key West should offer not only a great value, but awesome service and fantastic food. They should also reflect themselves as they are advertised. In my reviews you will read honest opinions of my experiences when it comes to both food and service. I don't sugar coat anything.


Reveiws From The Past.


The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. 1100 Packer Street 305-295-7970

We made reservations for 6:00 PM and glad we did since very shortly after that this small restaurant was packed. Besides a single palm tree decorating the room, it really did not have a tropical feel to the place. The setting was actually kind of wanting for atmosphere. The menu was promising; we went with our server's suggestions and ordered the lobster mac and cheese and the tuna and watermelon ceviche as appetizers. My husband and I ended up fighting over the mac and cheese which was devine as promised. But the ceviche was just okay; the watermelon was overpowered by the lime and the tuna was not the best cut. The wedge salad was very good as was the Caprese salad special. For an entree my husband got the seafood pasta special with swordfish, shrimp and marinara and I got the hogfish with banana salsa. We were very disappointed with the pasta; the sauce overpowered all of the seafood, so everything just tasted like tomato. On top of that, the seafood was overdone and tough. The hogfish was done perfectly. The balana salsa was not what I had expected though; the peppers overpowered the banana so much so that I would have never know that there was banana in it if I hadn't read the menu. We did not try dessert, but the otions were interesting. Our server was quick and we were never left with empty cups or anything like that, but we felt like she was just rushing through everything so that they could hurry up and get rid of us and get the next table in. I really don't think I would end up going back here because I just wasn't blown away by anything but the mac and cheese, and frankly, that in itself is not enough to get me back.



The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. 1100 Packer Street 305-295-7970

We made reservations for 6:00 PM and glad we did since very shortly after that this small restaurant was packed. Besides a single palm tree decorating the room, it really did not have a tropical feel to the place. The setting was actually kind of wanting for atmosphere. The menu was promising; we went with our server's suggestions and ordered the lobster mac and cheese and the tuna and watermelon ceviche as appetizers. My husband and I ended up fighting over the mac and cheese which was devine as promised. But the ceviche was just okay; the watermelon was overpowered by the lime and the tuna was not the best cut. The wedge salad was very good as was the Caprese salad special. For an entree my husband got the seafood pasta special with swordfish, shrimp and marinara and I got the hogfish with banana salsa. We were very disappointed with the pasta; the sauce overpowered all of the seafood, so everything just tasted like tomato. On top of that, the seafood was overdone and tough. The hogfish was done perfectly. The balana salsa was not what I had expected though; the peppers overpowered the banana so much so that I would have never know that there was banana in it if I hadn't read the menu. We did not try dessert, but the otions were interesting. Our server was quick and we were never left with empty cups or anything like that, but we felt like she was just rushing through everything so that they could hurry up and get rid of us and get the next table in. I really don't think I would end up going back here because I just wasn't blown away by anything but the mac and cheese, and frankly, that in itself is not enough to get me back.

Other Reviews Alphabetical Order

7 Fish 632 Olivia Street 305-296-2777

This tiny eatery is hard to find, but worth the search. As you can probably guess by its name, fresh, local fish is the specialty here. From sushi appetizers to seafood pastas, the fare is fantastic and at reasonable prices (entrees average around $17.00). But beware; when I said this place is tiny before I meant it, so with that in mind, don't eat here if you are claustrophobic, and if you aren't be sure to make reservations.

A&B Lobster House 700 Front Street 305-294-5880

This upscale, elegant restaurant overlooking the water (located upstairs from Alonzo's Oyster Bar) is a great place to eat when celebrating a special occasion. The classic menu features taste bud temping soups and stews, salads, fresh local seafood, and steaks. The food is very good as is the service and the ambiance, but the prices are high ($23.00 - $63.00 per entree). However, A& B's location is superb and free parking is available as well which in my opinion makes up for the cost of dinner. Reservations are suggested. Dress is casual.

Abbondanza ▪ 1208 Simonton Street ▪ 305-292-1199

Meaning "plentiful" in Italian, this restaurant is a fun place to go with friends. The food is good, but not impressive; and as the name implies the portions are large so you will leave full. Prices are fair and dress is casual. And there is free parking!

Alabama Jack's ▪ 58000 Card Sound Rd., Key Largo

Alabama Jack's has an outdoor bar atmosphere with a view of the water. It is always very busy here because it has been made famous by a few celebrities. Plus it is out of the way so finding it is an adventure in itself. But the food is totally overrated and the service could be much better. II can say that it is a fun place to stop just to say that you have been here.



Alice's ▪ 1114 Duval Street ▪ 305-292-5733 CLOSED

It is very likely that when dining here you will meet Chef Alice Weingarten and have pleasant conversation with her like we did. The decor inside, which Alice herself is responsible for, if fun and colorful. Alice's provides a comprehensive wine list as well as other delicious and potent potables. To start we ordered the queen conch, shrimp, and scallop ceviche martini and the flavors of fall salad, both of which were divine. Then we looked to the specials for our entrees ordering boar ribs and the tenderloin; however, both of these main plates left us wanting. The ribs were just okay but the filet was downright awful. At Alice's suggestion we then tried the tropical fruit shortcake which she made for Julia Child. How could we say no to that? It was amazing...light and refreshing yet delicious and a perfect end to any meal. So, I would say that if you do decide to eat here to stay away from the entrees and specials and try the appetizers and desserts. Dress is casual, but be prepared to spend some money on your dinner here. All in all I was disappointed with this dining experience.

Alonzo's Oyster Bar ▪ 700 Front Street ▪ 305-294-5880

Alonzo's is a great spot to sit back, relax, and people watch or look at the beautiful charter boats sitting in wait to possibly catch some of the fare served at the A&B Marina. Popular with locals for their happy hour and popular with visitors for its location, the food is no slouch. Serving more than just oysters, you can get a fairly priced, and more importantly, a tasty meal at Alonzo's. Naturally, seafood is their specialty with little for the land lover, but what does one expect in Key West? I find Alonzo's to be a great spot for lunch and dinner alike.

Annette's Lobster Steakhouse ▪ 3660 Overseas Hwy, Marathon ▪ 305-743-5516

Awesome place. My one complaint is that there is too much on the menu it makes it difficult to decide. Annette's is very nice but laid back at the same time. The meals are not cheap but the food is good as is the presentation.

Antonia's ▪ 615 Duval Street ▪ 305-294-6565

I had a friend or two rave about this regional Italian restaurant so I thought I'd try it out (I've mentioned in another review that I am Italian and I tend to stay away from Italian restaurants because I am frequently disappointed). Actually, I tried it twice thinking that since on my first experience I was left wanting perhaps it was what I ordered but I was left wanting once again. While the ambiance is nice, upscale and very dark, I found the wait staff to be a bit pretentious and the food overpriced and overrated. I must say that the Zuppa Di Pesce which my fiancé ordered was very good though.

Awful Arthur's Seafood Company ▪ 628 Duval Street ▪ 305-293-7663 CLOSED

I must say that in this instance, the name says it all. I brought my Dad (who was visiting me from Jersey) here for dinner one night for some fresh local seafood. Unfortunately, the fresh local seafood was neither fresh nor local but had clearly been frozen. The skirt steak that my dad's friend ordered was not bad, but out of four entrees ordered along with numerous appetizers, that ratio is pretty, well, awful! The best part about Arthur's is the location, just off of Duval Street with outdoor seating was a nice, tropical feel.

425 Grinnell Street, Key West, FL 33040

Azur was a restaurant that I had been looking forward to trying for a while as the menu looked devine. Located downtown Key West where parking is at a premium, I was thrilled to find out that they had parking avialable, and when we arrived we got a spot right away. We walked in at around 11am on New Years Eve for brunch and immediately liked the elegant yet relaxed atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating options (although a few of the chairs were rusting and the patio area could have used a cleaning). Azur was not crowded like most of the area restaurants are in season. Even so, after we were seated at an outdoor table and given menus, it took about fifteen minutes before anyone came over to even take a drink order! Then it took about another 15 minutes for them to bring us out coffees (in cracked cups). While we were waiting we saw the waiter actually take a couple of glasses of water off of a customer's table and give them to customers at another table. YUCK! And speaking of the waiter (there was only one for the entire restaurant) while he was not rude, he certainly was not pleasant either. This place is seriously understaffed and it really bleeds out into the diner's experience, overshadowing the food quality. I ordered the eggs benedict, my mother ordered the Portuguese sweet bread French toast, and my husband oredered a burger. They were all good entrees, but they were not out of this world. Perhaps we would have enjoyed our meals more if the service were not so lacking. Especially when paying fine dining prices for a less than mediocre experience.


Bagatelle ▪ 115 Duval Street ▪ (305) 296-6609

I have eaten here on a couple of occasions and enjoyed the experiences. The menu is predominantly seafood and the food is very good. Indoor and outdoor seating is available at this charming establishment. One thing to note though: if dining here in the summer it gets extremely hot and could make for an uncomfortable dining situation so try to get seating inside.

Banana Cafe ▪ 1121 Duval St. ▪ 305-294-7227

This French restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They specialize in crepes of course which come in large portions and I must say are quite tasty. Plus their wide array of sandwiches and salads are awesome. When dining here the problem is deciding what you want to eat because of so many options that tempt the palate.

Better Than Sex ▪ 411 Petronia St ▪ 305-393-1049

Open for about a month now, this new little dessert cafe is a fun and romantic way to extend your evening out on the town. Decorated in reds and golds with candles and big band sounds from the 30s and 40s playing in the background helps to set the mood for amore. "Sex" serves coffees, wines, and of course decadent desserts with names like pop my cherry cheesecake that further enhance the experience. The desserts are good but better then sex I don't quite agree with. The service is wonderful and the staff very helpful in helping you make decisions and suggestions. The owners, Len and his wife Dani who is also the chef are also on hand to make sure the diners are enjoying the experience. "Sex" is open from 6pm till ? Tuesday through Saturday.


Big Daddy Conch ▪ 511 Greene Street ▪ 305-292-0802 CLOSED

Formerly Crabby Bill's, this new downtown venue serves a menu of Cuban favorites like mojo chicken, ropa vieja, and picadillo along with some American favorites like spinach/artichoke dip and wings. The food was good as was our service, but the open-air downtown venue (just across from Sloppy Joe's) with a band playing made it very loud. If you want the party atmosphere come here, but if you want a relaxing dinner go elsewhere.

Big John's Pasta & Subs ▪ Key Plaza ▪ 305-293-9576
610 Green Street ▪ 305-293-0377

This is the only place I get pizza in Key West. And if that is not what you are in the mood for try one of their amazing salads or baked pasta dinners served with yummy garlic knots (be sure not to breath on anyone after you eat these bad boys).

Bistro 245 ▪ 245 Front Street, Westin Resort & Marina ▪ 305-294-4000

What better way to start off a Sunday than having a relaxing brunch overlooking the water? Bistro 245 is one place to do it. I don't think anyone on the island puts out a wider spread than the Hilton. From French toast and fresh Belgium waffles to a carving station and an omelet station to salads galore, sushi, seafood, and dessert you can find it here. And let's not forget the mimosas! Service is good and so is most of the food, but I would stay away from the seafood; one crab leg just about did me in. With that in mind, there are lots of other items to sample and enjoy, the best being the view. Reservations are suggested. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Blue Heaven ▪ 729 Thomas Street ▪ 305-296-8666

This Key West gem located in downtown's Bahama Village has been around since 1992 although the building is over one hundred years old. The atmosphere is the real Key West, very casual with chickens running around the place, tire swing hanging from the tree and all. While all the food served here is out of this world Blue Heaven is best known for its "breakfast with the roosters" served from 8am - 11:45 except for on Sunday when they serve breakfast until 2pm. And to memorialize your visit to Blue Heaven they even have a gift shop where you can purchase a t-shirt or a number of other souvenirs. Reservations are recommended, but you can always have a relaxing wait at the bar sipping a mimosa or another tropical concoction. And parking is a pain, so I suggest walking or taking a taxi.

Boardwalk Pizza ▪

Driving home to Key West one night I was starving and talked my husband into stopping here for Pizza. The grounds are very cute and you can sit inside or outside to eat if you want. We walked in and were greeted by a staff of teens that were very friendly. We ordered our pizza and carried it to the car so that we could enjoy it during the remainder of our drive home. The pizza was very tasty. I would definitely make this my regular pizza stop if I lived up the Keys.

Bobalu's ▪ MM 10, Big Coppit Key ▪ 305-296-1664

This casual southern food eatery is a favorite spot of locals, so there is a good chance you will have to wait a very long time for a table. But that says something about the quality. Bobalu's is family owned and operated, and while they are very friendly, the service can sometimes be left wanting just because it gets so busy. Portions are decent sized and your choices seem unlimited, but a favorite is the pizza, thin crust and delicious. Also, they only accept cash, so leave the credit cards at home.

Boondocks ▪ 27205 US Hwy 1, MM 27.5, Ramrod Key ▪ 305-872-4094

This is a fun and casual place to come for lunch or dinner as well as for entertainment. It seems as though there is always something going on here making life more interesting in the Lower Keys. The menu of this open-air eatery is pretty basic; salads, burgers, wings...but the fare is good. My absolute fav is the fish in the Keys! Plus, you can wash it down with a drink form the bar and enjoy the entertainment for the evening which is usually a great local band. Or, walk a few steps to their mini-golf course. What a hoot!

Buon Appetito ▪ 457 Drost Dr, Summerland Key ▪ 305-744-9800 CLOSED

Formerly Raimondo's on Summerland Key, the new owner is from Italy and has owned restaurants in the Tampa area. He has done a lot of work to the interior and transformed the formerly dingy atmosphere into what is now welcoming and refreshing. Other pros include: wonderful food and nice menu selection. Cons: high prices and bad service. The night we went the eatery was very busy and they seemed to be shorthanded. However, with a $200 bill for 4 people I expect to have an attentive server. I was served a frozen salad which I returned and my husband's glass was empty with him awaiting a refill at least three times during the meal. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. They do serve beer and wine but no liquor.

The Cafe ▪ 509 Southard Street ▪ 305-296-5515

This new Vegetarian eatery is located spitting distance from Duval St, and with such a bustling location you may find yourself waiting endlessly for a table or for service. Not being a vegetarian myself, I still enjoyed the fare; they make tasty vegan and non-vegan dishes including soups, salads, and sandwiches. But if you are in a hurry or looking for good service, this would not be the place to dine. I was particularly distressed by the fact that a lady that was seated after me was already eating her lunch before a waitress even came to take my order.

Cafe Sole ▪ 1029 Southard St. ▪ 305-294-0230

You know the old adage "never judge a book by its cover"? Well that surely applies here; from the outside Cafe Sole appears to be a ramshackle little building. However, the inside is a romantic garden setting which creates the perfect atmosphere for the delicious fare served here. The staff is friendly while serving up food with a mix of French and island flair. They also have a very extensive wine list so there is a match for every menu item. Prices are a bit high, but a 3 course, $27.00 fixe price menu helps to make some of their more popular dishes more affordable. I have to say that while the staff was pleasant I was not super impressed by the service; as the restaurant became busier, the service became more lacking. I ordered off of the standard menu while the couple sitting with us ordered off of the fixe price menu. Their dessert was brought to them and we were never even asked if we wanted anything. However, that would not stop me from coming back again. CLICK HERE for a coupon for Cafe Sole.

Camille's Restaurant ▪ 1202 Simonton St. ▪ 305-296-4811

Formerly located on Duval Street, the restaurant recently reopened in this larger new location to better serve the hoards of people that flock here for meals, especially their breakfast. While the inside looks a bit dated the menu features delicious, down-home food with some Key West flair. Be sure to come here with an appetite and try one of their specials like their yellow corn cashew waffles topped with fresh mango, passion fruit and coconut milk sauce.

Capt. Bob's Seafood Bar and Grille ▪ 220 North Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-294-6433 CLOSED

For the non-discriminating seafood pallet Capt. Bobs offers an over-priced version of Long John Silver's serving well frozen seafood entrées and less than fresh salads. However, the atmosphere was decent and the wait staff one of the friendliest and attentive we had seen (I think she was new). This place could not even meet the low expectations we had when we walked in the door. Please see our Tourist Beware Section for more details.

Caroline's Cafe ▪ 310 Duval St. ▪ (305) 294-7511

This is a fun place to grab a bite and/or a drink while people watching on Duval Street. The food is good and reasonably priced with several healthy menu items to choose from such as the yummy Boston Lettuce wrap. Great lunch or dinner spot. Plus, the staff is really helpful and attentive which is a real treat in Key West.

Cheeseburger Key West ▪ 217 Duval Street ▪ 305-296-9466

Located in the hopping section of Duval, this eatery has indoor and outdoor seating available. While by the name of the establishment you can probably guess what they serve, they also offer seafood entrees and salads as well. The atmosphere is fun with Hawaiian influences, but the service is SLOW. And while they do have some unusual burger choices such as one topped with avocado and grilled pineapple, the food is not impressive. Cheeseburger serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Chico's Cantina ▪ 5230 US Hwy 1, Stock Island ▪ 305-296-4714

This is an all-time favorite spot for locals, namely because the quality and the service are consistently wonderful. You can relax and have a fairly inexpensive, always delicious meal inside or out at Chico's. The authentic Mexican food is so good that I have never had room for dessert afterwards. Start of with some homemade chips and salsa-- the best I've ever had-- and then onto a mouthwatering entree. Serving everything from Mexican soups and salads to BIG burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and more the choices may overwhelm you, but everything is tasty. And you must try one of their Margaritas made with a wine-based tequila...Wow!

China Garden West ▪ Searstown Shopping Center ▪ 305-296-5618 or 305-296-5619

I am not a huge fan of Chinese food, but China Garden serves up some great crab rangoon and other favorites. It is literally the only place I'll eat Chinese food in the Keys. The staff is very friendly too. They also offer free delivery in Key West. But if getting take out make sure your order is correct because I have taken home the wrong order before.

The Commodore Waterfront Restaurant ▪ 700 Front Street ▪ 305-294-9191

Located on the second floor overlooking the harbor, the Commodore is an upscale restaurant known as the "most beautiful dining room in Key West." The decor is imaginative yet sedate and the food is delicious. Local seafood and land fare is moderately priced. Parking is free and dress is casual.

On our last visit I was quite put off by the lack of professionalism by the manager. They seated a very large, very loud party in the main dining room (right next to our table) after the party had requested a private room which was avialable. But since the manager did not want to take up that room the rest of the diners here had to deal with a really unpleasant dining experience. I literally could not hear the person sitting right next to me without yelling at them. Trying to have a business dinner in these conditons and spending good money (our diner was around $200) really was not working for me. We asked if we could be moved to another area and we were actually told by the manager that that was not possible (even with several empty tables) and that he really didn't care how the large group of customers acted or how it effected the rest of hte diners since the restaurant was going to make a lot more money off of them than he would off of us. How rude!

The Conch Flyer ▪ Key West International Airport ▪ 305-296-6333

I've eaten here a couple of times while waiting for a flight and it is always a good time. The staff is friendly, especially the bartenders, and the food is diner style fare. The best part is the people watching and the view of the tarmac. There is room for improvement on the decor which is a bit outdated, although it kind of feels like stepping back in time, and the place could use a good dusting. I would stay away form the burgers as I am not sure what type of mystery meat they use but the fish is fresh.

Conch Republic Seafood Company ▪ 631 Greene Street ▪ 305-294-4403

I must say that I am not a huge fan of this place even though I can occasionally be found enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Located at the Historic Seaport, the location could not be better; views are wonderful, watching the boats sail around the harbor, and you are walking distance from so many great things to do. But drinks are expensive here and the food is below average, but I guess you are paying for the Key West atmosphere.


Formerly the Key West Bar and Grill and more recently Monte's, Conchy Joe's Tackle has opened up a restaurant above their new shop that serves really good food with friendly service. The burgers are delicious, and the people next to me eating soft shell crab and grouper sandwiches were moaning with delight as well. So, whether you are in need of fishing gear or a tasty meal, Conchy Joe's seems to have the market cornered.

Crabby Dick's ▪ 712 Duval Street ▪ 305-294-7229 CLOSED

Getting a seat outside might be difficult but it is worth the wait; overlooking Duval Street you never know what entertaining happenings you may witness. The food here is alright, though not impressive, and a bit pricy too. And if salad is what you crave they only serve a house vinaigrette so you do not have the option of being choosy. Free parking located in the back of this establishment makes it easy for those driving into Old Town, as parking is at a premium.

Croissants de France ▪ 816 Duval St. ▪ 305-294-2624

Opened since 1984, this bakery has become a favorite eatery of Key Westers. Eating outside makes one feel as though they are overseas eating at a little cafe. Serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch items such as quiches, eggs, crepes, sandwiches, pastries, and croissants of course you are sure to find something (or more likely lots of things) you'll love.

Damn Good Food to Go ▪ 700 Front Street - CLOSED

I grabbed a sandwich here the other day with my girlfriend and it was pretty good. I wasn't super hungry so I got the BLT which came with chips. It was tasty. My girlfriend got the BBQ sandwich which she gobbled up and said that it was very good; hers came with fries. You can get eh food to go or dine outside, which is what we did, overlooking A&B Marina. It was a very pleasant experience. Keep in mind though that they accept cash credit cards!!

Dolphin Deli 5600 Mc Donald Ave. Stock Island (305) 293-0707

Lots of locals get breakfast and lunch here. The food is decent, but not impressive. However, they do deliver to certain locations which is a nice feature. I have had them deliver both breakfast and lunch and I have to say that breakfast was definitely a better buy.

Duffy's Steak & Lobster House ▪ 1007 Simonton Street ▪ 305-294-4900

Just steps from busy Duval Street, Duffy's is a safe dinner spot for both the land and the seafood lover. The airy atmosphere provides wonderful ambiance for the casual diner to enjoy a delicious meal at an affordable rate. Be sure to try the Fried Alligator Tail tastes like chicken!

El Meson de Pepe ▪ 410 Wall Street ▪ 305-295-2620

Family owned and operated serving authentic Cuban food for over 20 years. And there is often entertainment in the form of music and/or dancing going on. However, the service is very inconsistent; sometimes it is good but more often it is not.

El Siboney ▪ 900 Catherine St. ▪ 305-296-4184

This hidden gem of Key West serves cheap, delicious, and authentic Cuban food in a rustic atmosphere. While you do not come here for the atmosphere, you do come here to eat well; portions are large and sure to fill you up. And the Sangria is the best on the island.

Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub and Eatery ▪ 320 Grinnell St. ▪ 305-293-0222

This is Key West’s only genuine Irish pub. The menu is quite extensive, filled with Irish comfort food such as bangers and mash, Shepard's pie, and of course Guinness and Killian’s Red. The food is rich and filling. I split a delicious sandwich with my girlfriend and was stuffed. While the food is tasty, the service can be better. But hey, you are coming here for a relaxing and casual meal and not elegant four-star service.

The Fish House Encore ▪ MM 102.4, Key Largo ▪

We liked this place so much that we ate here twice in one week during a short stay in Key Largo. You get an old Keys feel when stepping into this restaurant. Our servers on both occasions were very nice and helpful and the food was delicious. It was a little bit pricey but well worth it for the food we were served. They have a large menu including raw bar and sushi options as well as a kids menu so that the whole family is happy. And Friday and Saturday nights you will find live jazz and contemporary music.

Flamingo's Cafe ▪ 703 1/2 Duval St. ▪ 305-295-6411

A small, casual, diner-type atmosphere decorated with flamingos, playing soothing island tunes for their diners listening pleasure, Flamingo's Cafe serves up really good food with a smile. The wait staff is friendly and everyone there from the bus boy to the waitress genuinely seem to care about if the customers are enjoying their dining experience. What was really surprising was that we went there on a holiday morning (Memorial Day) for breakfast and we had a great time whereas most places are hurried on such busy occasions; we even talked with the owner complimenting him on the cafe. Another benefit to dining here is that Flamingo's is one of the few places on Duval Street serving up a tasty breakfast and at reasonable rates. Try the meat lovers omelet with a cup of won't be disappointed.

Geiger Key Marina & Tiki Bar ▪ 5 Geiger Rd, Geiger Key ▪ 305-296-3553

Very laid back, you'll find your share of salty locals and their pets gathering here for a beer and some grub. Sit at the outside bar or one of the picnic tables overlooking the water. Each night has a theme, with Sunday being the famed BBQ night. However, I prefer fish night where I can get an awesome fresh fish sandwich with fries. Try to get Kelly as your server...she is great.

Goldman's Deli ▪ 2796 N Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-294-3354

This small and always busy deli located in the Overseas Market strip mall serves up good New York style deli favorites like lox and bagels along with Key West favorite like Cafe con Leche. The food is delicious and I've never had a bad meal here, but the service is sometimes lacking. On a cold day, try their Matzoh Ball Soup for lunch!

Guy Harvey's Island Grill ▪ 511 Greene St. ▪ 305-295-0019 CLOSED

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this place. I stopped in for lunch with my sister who was visiting and expected that since most people would be coming in because of the Guy Harvey name that the food would suffer. That was not the case at all though. The food was delicious and fresh. The crab cake sandwich was very tasty, although a little too bready. The fish sandwich was fresh and the portion size was good too. My sister did not like the slaw because it had raisins in it but I thought it was a nice touch. Not only was the food good but the atmosphere was really neat. Especially the large TV's over the bars which were showing fishing related shows such as the Saltwater Experience with local guides Tom Rowland and Rich Tudor as well as Guy Harvey films and documentaries. I have to say that there was one slightly sour note. Our server. While he was not exactly rude, he was not exactly friendly or helpful and he really didn't seem to care about us at all. It was like he was just going through the motions. I would certainly eat here again though as we had a good lunch on Duval for about $30 with tip. Not too bad in Key West.

Half Shell Raw Bar ▪ Lands End Village at the Historic Seaport ▪ 305-294-7496

This indoor/outdoor bar is a great place to have a drink while milling around the boardwalk. The food is good, though not impressive; try a local favorite like smoked fish dip and I am sure you will be happy. But make sure you have your server clean off the tables for you; our table was covered in grime.

Help Yourself!
829 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040

Help yourself is a small eatery downtown Key West that offers limited outdoor seating as well as delivery service.  They serve a wide variety of tasty foods, all made with natural and organic ingredients.  From coffees, teas, juices, and smoothies to breakfast , lunch, and dinner items, you’ll find a healthy meal for any time of day.  Some of the menu items are fairly traditional, like Caesar Salad, Veggie Lasagna, French Toast, and Chicken Salad Wraps. But there are plenty of more exotic menu items too such as a Quinoa Salad, and selections with Tempeh and Goji berries. My sister had the Breakfast Wrap made with organic scrambled eggs, veggies, and salsa on a whole wheat wrap and it was amazingly flavorful. The homemade granola is very good as well, served with organic whole milk or coconut milk. While the setting is very relaxed, the prices are very reasonable too.


The Hickory House Restaurant ▪ 5948 Peninsular Avenue, Stock Island ▪ 305-292-2211 CLOSED

Located on Stock Island directly behind Oceanside Marina, this is a nicely decorated establishment with indoor and outdoor seating available. Thursday nights this is the venue for a great jazz ensemble. You can sit back, relax with a drink, and enjoy the music. Diners will find the service to be good and the prices to be fair at this establishment; however, the food is not impressive in the least, the frozen drinks are awful, and you may find a dog or two walking through the restaurant as you eat, making for three reasons this diner won’t be returning.

Hobo's Cafe ▪ 101691 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo ▪ 305-451-5888

My husband and I decided to take a little day trip this past weekend up to the Key Largo area. Hobo's was our lunch stop. We had driven by Hobo's a bunch of times in the past but never stopped so we decided to finally give it a try. The place was packed so we took a seat at the bar. We were immediately greeted by a friendly bartender and given menus. My husband and I both opted for the Hobo's Fish Sandwich and slaw as our meal with a basket of fries. As we waited for our food we talked to some of the staff who were all friendly and happy (quite a departure from what we are used to seeing in Key West) and admired the interior which was very nicely decorated with wood ceilings, tropical fans and widescreen TV's playing everything from incredible local dive footage to sports games for the regular bar crowd. It was a little bit loud in the restaurant but not obnoxiously so; what do you expect with a full house anyway? Because it was so packed the wait for our food took a bit longer than what we bargained for, but it was worth the wait. The sandwich was awesome. It was a great Upper Keys dining experience and we'll defiantly go back next time we are in the area.

Hogfish Bar & Grill ▪ 6810 Front St. ▪ 305-293-4041

Laid back and Keysey, this is a locals favorite in downtown Stock Island. The food is really good and served in nice sized portions. The hogfish sandwich is what made the bar famous and for good reason too; this sandwich with a huge piece of hogfish can be grilled, blackened, or fried and is covered with cheese and sautéed mushrooms and good. The pulled pork sandwich is out of this world too. Definitely a must for a casual lunch while in Key West. Sit outside by the water and feed the fish for added entertainment for the kids.

Hong Kong Restaurant ▪ 2796 N Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-296-8608

I am not a huge fan of Chinese fare, but this place has cemented that idea in my head. The staff is very friendly, but the food was not very flavorful. On the upside, there is plenty of free parking and they do serve sushi at reasonable rates, which I did not order so I cannot speak to the quality.

Hot Tin Roof ▪ 0 Duval St. ▪ 305-296-7701

Located at the Ocean Key Resort Hotel and Spa, a luxury Nobel House Property, I must say that I was disappointed with the experience, although not entirely. I had heard many good things about the food here and I had not had the opportunity to dine here until my anniversary this December, 2007. Anyway, I have eaten at the Little Palm Island dining room, also a Nobel House property, on several occasions and I am always blown away by the food, the service, the get the picture. Suffice it to say, I was expecting similar quality here. We pulled our vehicle up to the main entrance, entered the reception area of the hotel, and had our vehicle valet parked which was convenient. The woman at the front desk was genial and directed us to the restaurant. We made our way upstairs and were greeted by John who was very pleasant and seated us at a lovely table outside overlooking the water. Great beginning...great view. The menu looked promising. Our waiter, Dan, came to introduce himself and take our drink order...Pina Coladas all the way around. When he brought them they looked great but they were nothing special. I ordered the lobster bisque to start, the paella for my entree, and a ginger banana cheesecake for dessert. My husband ordered tuna tataki, the paella, and key lime pie. I have to say that the amount of food served was ample and the presentation was spectacular. However, the quality was lacking. The bisque was average, as was the tuna. The paella was overcooked and greasy, very disappointing. I am not a Key Lime Pie connoisseur but Steven said that it was mediocre. My cheesecake was different but delicious. Service was good, although we did have to ask for certain things multiple times such as bread, soy sauce, and water. I am glad that we dined here as we had a nice time listening to the music and conversing. The atmosphere was just wonderful with a relaxing decor, beautiful water views, and friendly staff, but this will not be a place that I likely dine at again, especially with the pricy $125.00 dollar check for a meal that I honestly did not enjoy.

Hurricane Joe's ▪ 5114 Overseas Hwy. ▪ 305-294-0200

Located at Hurricane Hole Marina on Stock Island, Hurricane Joe’s is a diversely decorated dining room with vaulted ceilings which is cool and welcoming, but outside seating is also available for those who do not mind the Keys heat. Menu items vary from land lover’s fare to seafood dishes. The fare is priced economically, ranging from about $7.00 to $14.00. The food here is tasty, but the service is inconsistent.

In Kahoots ▪ 3850 Roosevelt Boulevard ▪ 305-294-9986

Formerly Chili's, this new eatery served the same type of foods but at much higher rates. While my burger was good, it was not great, and it certainly was not worth the $11 I paid for it! The atmosphere was dull and the service was wanting.

Islamorada Fish Co. ▪ 81532 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada ▪

Located on the water behind the World Wide Angler Shop (Bass Pro Shop), you will find the Islamorada Fish Co. The whole experience of visiting the shop and the restaurant is kind of like visiting a theme park; the store has a replica of Hemingway's boat the Pilar, a large fish tank, an art gallery, books, trinkets, snacks, and lots of fishing gear and garb for purchase usually at astronomical rates. There is usually a wait time to be seated at the restaurant as the people dining here are generally shoppers in the store and the store is always packed. Seating is outdoor picnic style and very casual. Service is not that good and the food is average and like the goods in the store, grossly overpriced. I think that it is a fun experience if you do it once but it is not something to be repeated.

Islamorada Restaurant and Bakery ▪ 81620 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada

This is our regular breakfast stop when we are driving in or out of the Keys. This is a cute diner-like little eatery that serves a great breakfast and makes the best breakfast pastries like sticky buns and cinnamon buns!

Island Dogs ▪ 505 Front St ▪ 813-380-6996

Located on Front Street just steps from Duval, Island Dogs offers a limited menu with good food. And mixed drinks are quite pricey at about $8 each. Unfortunately, the food was the only good experience at this establishment. There was no hostess at the door when we approached although there was a sign that said seat yourself, which we did on the outside patio. The hostess appeared about a minute later and started flirting with another employee. After sitting there for about 8 minutes watching her flirt and having no one come over to us I tried to get her attention but to no avail. It took about 12 minutes before someone came over to offer us any service. There was one waiter doing all of the work and one bar tender inside. When we asked for some clarification on one menu item the waiter looked at us like we had horns growing out of our heads and spoke to us in a very condescending manner. I won't be dining here again.

Jack Flats ▪ 509 1/2 Duval Street ▪ 305-294-7955

A dining surprise. Jack Flats offers good food at reasonable prices with decent service. The burgers are huge and tasty and the other fare, such as the shrimp club, is also delicious and served in good sized portions sure to fill you up. Typically a relatively quite spot on Duval Street, if you are coming here during a football game be prepared for loud screams of excitement from the bar crowd.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville ▪ 500 Duval Street ▪ 305-292-1435

Margaritaville is a great place to buy some souvenirs, but I would think twice about eating here. The service is not bad; I would go with average here mostly because even though our server was friendly and knowledgeable we had to wait 13 minutes to get a beverage while our glasses sat empty. With the exception of the smoked fish dip, the food is awful...the salads are tasteless, the sandwiches taste anything but fresh, the desserts were served frozen (and I'm not talking about ice cream!) and the burgers which aren't anything special (I can get a tastier burger from Wendy's) have made me sick on two separate occasions now so I will not be chowing down here again anytime soon. And to cap it all off I was served probably the worst pina colada I have ever had anywhere! At least we didn't have to wait to be seated...oh, I guess we all know why that is, now don't we.

Kaiyo ▪ Key Largo

This is one of those places that I had to be dragged to. I really am not a fan of sushi, but my husband is a connoisseur. From the outside the restaurant is very modern looking and fresh. Inside it was very elegant and modern. I enjoyed my meal as much as I could enjoy sushi; but my husband and our friend Mark chowed down and thoroughly enjoyed their choices, so much so that they returned the next night for more! This is THE choice for sushi in Islamorada.

Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill, and Brewery ▪ 301 Whitehead St. ▪ 305-293-8484

When I first moved down here Kelly's was the place the locals went. Plus, it was neat that you might actually run into Kelly's own Kelly McGillis. But things have changed. Kelly is no longer around, service is just ok, prices are high and the food is overrated. However, if you want to have a drink at the bar the atmosphere here is a lot of fun, located in the old Pan Am building with a tropical courtyard and foliage all around. And for beer connoisseurs the microbrewery is definitely a bonus.

Key Deer Bar & Grille ▪ MM 21, Big Pine Key ▪ 305-872-1014 - CLOSED

SWhen I first moved down to the Keys and had dinner here I had a problem. There were stuffed animals everywhere looking at me. It still creeps me out a bit but this is Big Pine, not the Big Apple. The food is decent and affordable at this causal restaurant and bar that caters mainly to local Big Piners. Capt Dan is known to make a pretty mean pizza.

Key West Diner ▪ 2811 N Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-292-8002 - CLOSED

I am a Jersey girl so I love diners as they are a staple for us up there. However, on the couple of occasions that I ate at the Key West diner I was not impressed. It lacks that hometown diner feel. On the positive side, if you enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet, there is a rather large buffet area filled with breakfast and lunch/dinner choices and lots of extras too.

Kingston's Clam Bar ▪ 19269 Bad George Road, Sugarloaf Key ▪ 305-745-2289 CLOSED

Opened just recently, this New York eatery has made its way down to the Keys. I am always excited when a new place opens up to eat in the Lower Keys because there aren't a whole lot of options there. Usually I am less than impressed though...will Kingston's be an exception? Located at the Sugarloaf Leisure Club, a pleasant locale but hard to find for non-locals. Our waitress was friendly and told us of how wildly successful the restaurant is up north and how great their chefs are. So, we asked her what Kingston's was noted for, what it was we had to try, and she had no idea. I figured since it was a clam bar maybe clams would have been an appropriate answer? Two times while we were speaking to our waitress she was pulled away by another waitress. While our service was pretty good, I thought that this was kind of tacky, especially with prices of $20 an entree and up. Anyway, we started off with a cup of New England Clam Chowder and a cup of Seafood Bisque. Both were served in huge quantity in large bowls, so they are skimping on the food. Unfortunately, while they were not bad tasting, both were watered down and not thick like these favorites are famed for being. We were off to an okay start at least. We then ordered the calamari which had a strange tinge to it and we let it sit on the table. My husband ordered the broiled seafood platter and I ordered the shrimp and scallops ala vodka. With the exception on my shrimp being overcooked, my meal was tasty. But the platter was not; it tasted as though they seasoned it with Comet cleanser. We told the waitress and she sent over the owner who was very concerned and even tasted the food off of our plates and agreed that the calamari had a funny taste to it. He took the calamari and the platter off of out bill which was extremely fair of him.

Kyushu Japanese Restaurant ▪ 921 Truman Ave. ▪ 305-294-2995 CLOSED

I have eaten here on several occasions with my husband who is a sushi lover; me, not so much. But Kyushu has good sushi and other delicious menu items such as tempura, salads, soups, teriyakis, and such. Also, the atmosphere is very pleasant with a beautiful coy pond and waterfall and friendly staff.

La Trattoria ▪ 524 Duval St. ▪ 305-296-1075

This romantic Italian restaurant has a wonderfully authentic menu and the food is just wonderful. Opened in 1984, the same Sicilian family has run it ever since. You have to try the cannoli! And next door you will find Virgilio's Cocktail Lounge which is a fashionable martini bar with great live jazz music and more!

Little Palm Island Dining Room ▪ Mile Marker 28.5 Little Torch Key ▪ 305-872-2551

Located at the luxurious Little Palm Island Resort and Spa accessible only by boat or seaplane if you happen to have one, you will find an ever changing menu filled with delicious items. Sunday brunch is my favorite with everything from pastries to seafood on the buffet and entrees from eggs to lamb on the menu. And most diners will really enjoy the unlimited mimosa and bloody mary bar. Reservations are necessary and children 16 years of age or older are welcome. Cell phones are not permitted on the island and proper attire is necessary. Meals here are pricy but you are paying for the ultimate dining experience with great food, wonderful atmosphere, and superior service. It istruly a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" experience. I was a bit taken aback on my last visit by people not abiding by the dress code and the staff allowing these infractions. Little Palm was the one place in the Keys that you needed to get dressed up to go and dine there, but it seems that it too is falling into mediocrity. I hope that they tighten up on this again because it does add to the whole experience for all of the island's visitors.

Lobo's Mixed Grill ▪ 5 Key Lime Square ▪ 305-296-5303

If you are in the mood for a wrap this is THE place to go. With 30 different "roll-up sandwiches" to choose from you may have a hard time making a decision. In addition, Lobo's also serves salads, burgers, quesadillas, and a few other delicious side items. Seating is outdoor on picnic tables and the prices are good. And, if you are relaxing at the pool of your hotel and you don't feel like moving, Lobo's provides free delivery service as well.

Louie's Backyard ▪ 700 Waddell St. ▪ 305-294-1061

One of the most stunning dining views in Key West, Louie's has indoor and outdoor seating. The drinks and the food have gone downhill in quality yet they are still very pricey, especially with inconsistent service and a sometimes snobby staff, which I don't appreciate, particularly when I am spending a pretty penny on dinner. Our server who has been with Louie's for years was loud, inattentive, and rude to us our last visit, and I do mean our last visit.

Mangia Mangia Pasta Cafe ▪ 900 Southard Street ▪ 305-294-2469

This cozy eatery may not be on the main drag but you wouldn't know it by the people waiting to get in, and with good reason. The food is some of the best on the island and the price is right at around $10 - $17 a plate. House specialties such as their Picadillo Pasta and their Bollito Misto di Mare are exciting and delicious, giving pasta a Key West flare. And if you happen to have room for dessert, the chocolate mousse cake is awesome; smooth as silk and a chocolate lover's dream! On a sour note, I did find the staff to be hurried and a bit rude; however, I would dine there again because the food was excellent although I may have a difficult time dragging my husband back here after the host's rude display.

Michael’s Restaurant ▪ 532 Margaret Street ▪ 305-295-1300

Michael’s is fine dining Key West style with indoor and outdoor seating available. The atmosphere is very romantic but you’ll have just as great a time dining there with friends. Michael’s is best known for its steak (which by the way is wonderful), but they also have fabulous salads, hors devours, fish, chops, pastas and fondue as well (although you can only do the fondue at the outdoor bar for fire precautions). But for me, the best part was not the food even though I left satisfied by the delicacies I put in my tummy; it was the attention to detail and service, truly first class which is very rare now-a-days, especially in our little island community. Every effort was made to ensure our entire dining experience was more than satisfactory. Each time we got up from the table we would return to find our napkins neatly refolded and waiting for us on our seatbacks. And when we asked our waiter questions he answered honestly and not with the customary “everything on the menu is just fabulous;” he made truly helpful comments, like the fact that several of the salads and appetizers were large enough to share and they could plate them that way for us as well. Perhaps this is why Michael’s has such a high rate of regulars and repeat clientele and reservations are most definitely needed.

Mrs. Mac's Kitchen ▪ MM 99.4 Key Largo ▪ 305-

We stopped here for lunch with some friends and we are glad that we did. This is a cozy and fun...very casual Keys place. The walls are decorated with all types of trinkets and license plates to keep you entertained. As the name of this eatery suggests, Mrs. Mac's serves up home style dishes such as meatloaf as well as island favorites like coconut shrimp. You can sit at their counter or at small tables. Parking can be a hassles here as Mrs. Mac's is almost always packed. Servers are friendly and prices are reasonable.

New York Pasta Garden ▪ 1075 Duval Street ▪ 305-296-6706

Being an Italian I tend to steer clear of Italian restaurants as they never seem to measure up to my Nana’s cooking. Recently, however, I have changed my tune. The New York Pasta Garden, conveniently located in Duval Square where there is plenty of free parking, has thoroughly impressed me. Not only is the food just phenomenal, but the atmosphere is wonderful as well, reminiscent of sitting at a little outdoor café in the Old Country itself where you can relax with a glass of wine and a delicious meal. The moderately priced menu includes fares from awesome salads to steaks and seafood to, well what else, pasta! And, for dessert you must try their cannoli; they are to die for! Sorry Nana, but you finally have some competition.

No Name Pub ▪ MM 30, N Watson Blvd, Big Pine Key ▪ 305-872-9115

A good place to eat, if you can find it. At least that is their motto. Set back and away from everything this locals hangout is also a sought after destination for tourists who want to stick another dollar bill on the cluttered up walls and buy a T-shirt to say they've been to the elusive No Name Bar. The food (pizza, burgers, chili) is good, but I have eaten here on several occasions and gotten sick so I avoid No Name now.

Old Town Mexican Cafe ▪ 609 Duval Street ▪ 305-296-7500

I like the atmosphere here and the service was good too, once we actually got someone to come over and bring us a menu. But after being spoiled by Chico's I was unimpressed with the food. The chips and salsa were okay, but they did not taste fresh. I ordered the cilantro chicken which was alright but my taste buds weren't exactly doing back flips over it. And my friend got veggie quesadillas which were good, but she asked for no peppers and guess what, they still came with peppers. If you are in down town Key West without a car and you crave Mexican come here. Otherwise take 15 minutes and drive up to Chico's on Stock Island.

Opera ▪ 613 Duval Street ▪ 305-295-2705 CLOSED

After reading reviews and listening to praise I thought that Opera would be a slam dunk. Tucked away in an alley next to Antonia's is Opera, a beautifully and romantically decorated eatery. We were greeted and seated by the owner at a nice little table next to the bar. The menu was promising and the bread that they brought out with an assortment of pairings (olive oil, truffle butter, hummus, and olives) was divine. We started off with some yellowtail ceviche, fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, and Carpaccio. Everything was fabulous with the exception of the ceviche which had to be sent back. Something was very, very wrong with it so it was taken away and replaced with tuna tartar. The tuna was okay; my complaint is that when I get something like this I want to be able to taste the fish and it had so much other stuff going on with it that you could not experience the main ingredient. For the entree we ordered spaghetti and meatballs which was the special for the evening, and the filet. I have said it before and I am going to say it again. I don't mind paying big bucks for my food, but it better be good and I prefer that it exceeds my own cooking otherwise I may have just stayed home and cooked for myself and saved some money. That is how I felt about the spaghetti. It was done al dente so no complaints there but the meatballs were tough and lacking taste. As for the filet, it was delicious, however, it was so small that when my sister who only weighs about 100 pounds sopping wet finished it she was still hungry. For dessert we got the cannoli and the bread pudding. Personally, I am not a fan of bread pudding although this was not bad. The cannoli were different than what I am used to but still good. Throughout the meal our service was good. The server was attentive and we never needed to wait for anything or ask repeatedly for water or anything else for that matter. But, for the $200 we paid for the meal (we had no alcoholic beverages, just sparkling water) I was very disappointed and will most likely not return.

Origami ▪ 1075 Duval Street ▪ 305-294-0092

Situated in Duval Square, Origami has indoor and outdoor seating available and provides a pleasant dining atmosphere. I will admit that I am no sushi expert nor do I particularly enjoy it; however, my dining partners the other night were all sushi connoisseurs and I did actually enjoyed my sushi without resorting to ordering chicken teriyaki or shrimp tempura. But, the service was extremely lacking. Our server seemed to forget that we were there, leaving us thirsty on several occasions and then left us waiting for our check for about thirty minutes after our plates had been cleared. Origami has the reputation for being one of the best sushi restaurants in Key West, and while the food was quite enjoyable it is an embarrassment for one of our best known establishments to have such shoddy service. I really hope that our dining experience was an isolated experience.

Outback Steak House ▪ 3230 N Roosevelt Boulevard. ▪ 305-292-0667

Anybody who has ever eaten at an Outback will know what to expect here. Outback is a chain restaurant, but one can always be sure that the service you receive here will be good and the food is the standard tasty fare served at its other locations. Because you know what you are going to get every time makes Outback a favorite for my hubby and many other locals too. Note: I always enjoy my meals here, but if you are getting a chicken dish make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Parrotdise Waterfront Bar & Grill ▪ 183 Barry Avenue, Little Torch Key ▪ 305-872-9989

Formerly the Sandbar, I have to say that the owners of Parrotdise have created a bright and cheery atmosphere from what was once a dark, lifeless eatery. The grounds of the property are beautiful and they hold many events here such as casting competitions for a local radio station. The property includes a 300 foot dock where you can pull up your boat to eat if you don't feel like taking the car, tropical fish ponds that offer shark feedings to entertain diners and onlookers, and a sandy beach with hammocks and volleyball. Inside you will find a pleasant dining atmosphere with live music set up by the bar which serves anything you can think to drink including their signature Big Pecker Wine (which seems just a tad inappropriate for a family restaurant). I found it to be a bit loud in the dining area though which made it difficult for conversation. Our server and the rest of the staff were pleasant and helpful. The menu is quite extensive with lots of interesting options although if you are not an adventurous eater you may have some difficultly finding something pleasing to your palate; to me, the unusual options was a pleasantry. We started out with the dolphin fish dip (don't worry...we don't mean Flipper) which was very good, so much so that we ordered another serving for the table because we went through the first one too quickly. The fresh bread and dipping oil was tasty and a nice compliment to the soups and salads; the conch chowder was average and the salads were fresh and had a nice mixture of greens. I was not impressed with the entrées. The coconut lime shrimp with mango peanut sauce was certainly fresh but the coconut and lime were difficult to taste over the rest of the seasonings, especially when using the overpowering mango peanut sauce. The tropical fried rice lacked the "tropical" as I was expecting something lighter and tastier. The "Cheeseburger in Parrotdise" was a typical burger and fries with nothing to make it stand out. In the end, our dinner was quite pricey and I don't think that it was worth it for the quality of the food.

PT's Late Night Bar & Grill ▪ 920 Caroline Street ▪ 305-296-4245 - CLOSED

Home of the weekly "Blue Plate" Specials in Key West, PT's is a fun place to get a bite. This casual sports pub has good food reasonably priced. But the best thing about this establishment is that it is open from 11am - 4am every day so if you are looking for a late night you know where to go.

Paradise Cafe ▪ 1000 Eaton Street ▪ 305-296-5001 - CLOSED

Noted as the home of the "Monster Sandwich" this family run establishment really does serve up huge and tasty sandwiches for breakfast and lunch; and unless you are really hungry, chances are you'll have leftovers. My personal favorite is the Cuban Cooked Pork...Yummy! You know the food and the service has to be good because Paradise has been around for over 12 years; that must be a Key West record!

Prime 951 ▪ 951 Caroline Street ▪ 305-296-4000

This place serves steaks the way they are meant to be served...tender, delicious and on a wooden cutting board. We had the Filet Mignon and the Porterhouse, both of which melted in our mouths. The bread was warm and crusty yet soft inside, the potato was cooked just right, and the au jus was amazing. But lets not stop there; everything about Prime 951 could not be more right. The atmosphere is utterly romantic; low light and candles set the mood with the help of crooners like Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. playing softly in the background. The ala carte menu has wonderful choices yet it is not too extensive as to make ordering a chore. And the service is top notch. Not once did we have to stop out server to ask for a drink or anything else for that matter. Everything was right on the money. Speaking of money, to dine here it will take some, but it is well worth the price for the quality of service and food that you receive. We will definitely be coming back to Prime 951 again and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a first class dining experience in Key West.


Quizno's is giving Subway some competition down here. Since its opening there hasn't been a day without a line out the door waiting for a sandwich. However, if you time it just right you may be one of the lucky ones in the front of the line. I am not a huge fan of the setup. The place is small and crowded and so it is hard to move around. However, even with the long lines the wait time is not bad and the soups and sandwiches are very good and definitely fresher than the average chain sandwich shop.

Rob's Island Grille ▪ 31251 Avenue A, Big Pine Key ▪ 305-872-3022 CLOSED

I have not eaten at this new location because both times I went I sat down and waited 25 minutes and when no one came to even offer us a menu we left. I understand being busy but at least some acknowledgement would have been a start! However, at this last location Rob's served good burgers, wings and other similar fare.

Rooftop Cafe 308 Front Street ▪ 305-294-2042

This place is great! The atmosphere is "Keysy" yet elegant, the service is first rate, and the food is delicious. Not to mention the convenient location just steps away from Duval Street and Mallory Square! The outdoor rooftop seating provides wonderful views of the downtown area. With this in mind, reservations are highly recommended for the daily brunch and dinner crowds. Entrees include soups, salads, sandwiches, local succulent seafood recipes, and dishes to please the carnivore's palate such as filet, rack of lamb, duck, and chicken, all of which are reasonably priced. And for dessert, trying their key lime pie (recently featured in Gourmet Magazine) is a must.

Rusty Anchor Seafood ▪ 5510 3rd Avenue, Stock Island ▪ 305-296-2893

Part fish house part restaurant, this establishment has been around for over 20 years. Rusty Anchor is a favorite among locals for its fresh seafood and its relaxed atmosphere. You probably won't have stellar service, although last time we dined there we had a very attentive server, but the food is decent and you can relax with a few drinks. Seafood entrees priced around $20.00 can be cooked in a variety of ways (deep fried, pan fried, baked, grilled, blackened...) and come with your choice of two sides, so make sure you bring an appetite and a sweater because the AC is always blasting in here. Note: Meal quality is not consistent here. For instance, I have gotten prime rib here on two separate occasions; the first time it was the best piece of meat I had in awhile but the second time it was awful.

Sailfish Club at King's Pointe Marina Key West ▪ 5952 Peninsular Ave, Stock Island ▪ 305-294-CLUB CLOSED

Because one must be a club member or a guest of a member to drink and dine here, we had not been before until our friend and Sailfish Club member Rob Harris invited us for dinner one night. I do believe, however, that anyone can utilize the premises for parties and private gatherings (please check with the management for more details). This private club, located at the former Oceanside Marina, is absolutely gorgeous inside and overlooks the yacht basin for stunning views outside as well. The staff was very friendly and professional, rarities in Key West. We were off to a good start. But how was the fare? I was skeptical but must say pleasantly surprised. Not only was the presentation beautiful but the portion size was perfect and the food delicious, especially the appetizers to which the chef seemed to put extra special care into. For dinner, the filet was fabulous, my gnocchi were the perfect consistency although they needed something to kind of pep them up, and the paella was decent. We were much too full for dessert but I would have loved to splurge on that too. Perhaps next time...What I must warn everyone about is that while the Sailfish Club is a great location with wonderful service and food, the acoustics are pretty bad. There was a particularly large crowd at the bar the night we were there due to a function and it was very, very loud and difficult to hear the person right next to you. We did retreat to the outdoor patio while we waited for a table to escape the noise; it was beautiful and calm outdoors but then we had to combat the heat and mosquitoes. I can see this place being quite romantic in the dining area as long as the crowds are not there to disrupt the mood. Even so, this should still be a top dining choice to anyone able to dine here as you will find the experience well worth it.


Salute Restaurant ▪ 1000 Atlantic Beach ▪ 305-292-1117

This is a fun little restaurant right on Higgs Beach. Indoor and outdoor seating is available with misters going in the hot summer months to make your outdoor dining experience more enjoyable. The food here is wonderful. It is a bit pricey for dinner (although the food is great), but I find it makes a fabulous lunch spot. This is a place I bring my family when they visit from up north because I know the food will be good and the view of the ocean can't be beat.

Sarabeth's ▪ 530 Simonton Street ▪ 305-293-8181

With several successful restaurants already in New York, Sarabeth's has made its way to the Southernmost City. And I'm glad they did. The ambiance is fresh and the wait staff friendly and helpful (what a departure for Key West). The food is home-style with a modern flair, and very tasty. Like the chicken potpie with a touch of spice. Prices are reasonable too; there wasn't anything on the menu over $20. Sarabeth's also serves a nice selection of beer and wine's, and although you won't find any white zin for those diners without a discerning wine pallet the staff is more than happy to make recommendations that are sure to fit your fancy. Sarabeth's serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Closed on Tuesdays. Indoor and outdoor seating available.

Schooner Wharf Bar ▪ 202 William St. ▪ 305-292-9520

Although this is a favorite hang out for many locals and vacationers alike because of its very laid back atmosphere I personally dislike this spot. I find it to be loud, dirty, difficult to find seating, and the service is almost non-existent. The food is not fresh and on top of that it is overpriced. However, if you are there partying it is a great place to be overlooking the water.

Seaside Grocery & Deli ▪ 3835 Seaside Dr. ▪ 305-295-0108

My friend Michelle had told me about hits place which is located adjacent to the Doubletree Grand Key Resort and their famous little berky burgers (you'll have to visit Seaside to try them out and find out what these are) which she likes to get. Then another friend gave me a menu and said that they deliver around town. So, I decided to finally try this place out for lunch. They don't have any tables to dine-in but the place is very clean inside and the owners are friendly and efficient at getting your order to you whether you stop by or order delivery. I have to say this is the best deli I have been to in a long time and possibly the best I have been to on the island ever. It blows away all of the other sandwiches I have tried on the island primarily because they use quality meats and bake all of their own bread and pastries fresh daily. Sandwiches run about $9 each and come with a side or your choice (fries, pasta salad, or potato salad). They also have salads, dinner specials, and many, many other things to try. Their monster chocolate chip cookies are awesome! This is going to be my lunch place of choice from now on, especially for delivery. Seaside is open Mon - Fri from 9am - midnight, Saturdays from 10am to midnight, and Sundays from Noon until 6pm.


The Shrimp Shack ▪ 6840 Front St, Stock Island ▪ 305-294-6465

Located in downtown Stock Island behind Fishbusterz Fisheries, you know that the seafood just doesn't get any fresher than this. This dockside grill is a great little casual lunch spot with outdoor seating and the freshest seafood worthy of a fine dining establishment. The menu is pretty extensive with everything from salads and soups to sandwiches and platters. A must try!

Square Grouper ▪ 22518 La Fitte Dr, Cudjoe Key ▪ 305-745-8880

This is one of my favorite places to eat in the Lower Keys. Square Grouper is located on US 1 in Cudjoe Key below a beauty salon. While there are no dazzling waterfront views here, the "keysey" ambiance indoors and delicious food are well worth the short drive from Key West. It seems that no matter when we decide to go we must wait for a table; however, you can always relax with a cold beer or glass of wine at the bar (they do not serve liquor). My favorites include any fish special, the seafood stew which has a great bite to it, and the calamari. Plus, they always have special homemade desserts like the traditional Key Lime Pie or their pineapple coconut cheesecake. I always leave this place full and satisfied. Prices are moderate, but no where near to cheap and the service is typically very good.

Stuffed Pig ▪ 3520 Overseas Hwy, Marathon ▪ 305-743-4059

Serving breakfast and lunch, this little eatery has indoor and outdoor seating and a loaded menu. The waitresses are lifers and on the ball serving good home style food. I had the Texas French toast which was good but I had my eye on the yummy looking cinnamon bun...I may just have to go back there next time I am in town...

Sugarloaf Lodge ▪ 17075 Overseas Hwy, Lower Sugarloaf Key ▪ 305-745-3741

Another locals hangout serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Lower Keys. This place is in dire need of updating. The service and the food are both decent but the menu is overpriced. I do enjoy having an occasional cocktail at the tiki bar and watching the sunset over the water though.

Tavern N Town ▪ 3841 Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-296-8100

Totally unimpressed. Located at the newly renovated Beachside Resort, the inside is impressive: very nice and very trendy; however, it feels as though this eatery belongs in South Beach instead of Key West. Service was v e r y , v e r y s l o w. It took two hours for us to have lunch. The food was just okay and overpriced for what it was. While it was fresh, it just wasn't put together all that well. The fish sandwich was okay and the pizza was soggy and bland. When I can get a lot better for a lot less (which I can many places elsewhere on the island) I will so I most likely won't be coming back here again.

The Twisted Noodle ▪ 220 North Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-294-6433 - CLOSED

Why Bother? Formerly Capt. Bob's which served substandard seafood, the Twisted Noodle now serves substandard Italian food. Honestly, you would be better off with a can of Spagettio's. Warm bread with huge hunks of garlic and a roasted red pepper hummus are served as you await your food; the bread was not bad but I was not impressed. I ordered a fish sandwich which was served pannini style which made it impossible to eat with my hands; so I used my fork to try my first bite which I promptly decided was not worth eating. Plus, my tarter sauce had a green film over it which I can promise you was not Key Lime Juice. My husband got a traditional dish of spaghetti and meatballs. The spaghetti was not awful but the meatballs were tasteless. Noodle has an extensive martini menu, although I cannot speak to the quality of these drinks as I did not try one. As for the ambiance, it is relaxing with good old boys like Sinatra playing just loud enough in the background that conversation is not drowned out; however, I am not a fan of the faux marble that decorates the inside to give the place that Italian feel. The staff was nice but not overly friendly or helpful. At least my fish sandwich was taken off of the bill without me having to ask for any favors.

Uncle's ▪ MM 81, Islamorada ▪

This was a great dinner experience. I had to talk my husband into this one because from the outside it looks a bit run down. But the outdoor seating area is so cute and the inside is really cozy and elegant even. Our server was wonderful, very helpful with recommendations. Yes, it is a bit on the pricey side, but you really get what you pay for here.

Walter's Bar & Grille ▪ 3100 Flagler Avenue - CLOSED

I went here with some friends for dinner the other night; we hadn't seen each other for awhile so we were looking forward to catching up. However, Walter's was pretty loud so that part was a little difficult. We moved to the front of the restaurant which was slightly quieter and ordered. The menu had many choices, from mozzarella sticks and other similar appetizers to dinner salads, steaks, fish, sandwiched, and more. I ordered a salad with tenderloin which was very tasty. My friends both got the fish sandwich and enjoyed it. While the food was surprisingly good, the atmosphere was not what I was looking for; Walters seems like it wants to be an upscale establishment with the decor and very high prices but it has sports bar attitude written all over it with service that was very lacking.

Wrecker's ▪ 3800 N Roosevelt Blvd. ▪ 305-293-6876 - CLOSED

This building has housed Perry's, El Meson de Pepe's, and now Wrecker's. And I can tell you that Wrecker's is by far the best restaurant to occupy that spot. We were greeted with a friendly face and seated promptly. My husband ordered the cheeseburger and I ordered the fish sandwich. Wow! We were both impressed. Great atmosphere and friendly service makes this my new favorite lunch spot. And when they open for dinner too Wrecker's will be a new upscale dining option for the New Town area.




Sunset Culinaire Dinner Cruise ▪ 5555 College Road, Sunset Marina

This has got to be the best dinner experience Key West has to offer. First off, there is nothing like a Key West sunset, and seeing it from the water is even more amazing. Then there is the food...perhaps the best meal I have had since I moved to Key West six years ago. The entire cruise lasts approximately three hours and costs $75 a person (that covers food, drink, and cruise). Chef Kirkpatrick offers a menu selection for you to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert from (beer and wine is also available and included in the price). I had the crab bisque which was loaded with crab and extremely delicious. For more information on this dinner experience please CLICK HERE. For reservations please call 888-362-3474.

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