Seafood

A Foodie’s Guide to Key West

To travellers for whom the dining is the best part of a destination, Key West delivers an exciting and enticing array of dishes to try, from the most casual take-out to fine dining and everything in between. The city has long been at the centres of a mix of cultures, and you’ll find those flavours reflected in appetisers, entrees, desserts, and drinks. If you’re planning a trip to Key West, here are some of the places you’ll want to make sure are on your itinerary.

Cuban Coffee Queen

The menu features a great mix of Cuban and American favourites, like rice and beans, grilled cheese, and BLTs. The Cuban breakfast burrito is the standout dish, filled with chorizo, eggs, rice and beans, and cheese stuffed into a tortilla. Chase it with a cup of strong, black coffee to start the day off right.

Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant

Located in Old Town Key West, this former gas station is now a bustling fresh seafood market that makes several dishes available for takeout, delivery or patio seating. Conch fritters, grilled lobster, and crab cakes sandwiches are among the favourites, here. And if you can’t get enough of their fresh seafood, they even offer to ship to your home.

Hot Tin Roof

This restaurant is located at the Ocean Key Resort and Spa. It’s an elegant place for dinner or Sunday brunch, with harbourside views or deck seating. Enjoy custom cocktails, a robust wine selection that complements the filet mignon, tuna, and lobster dishes, and highly attentive service. For something different, try the espelette-dusted double bone lamb chop

Caroline’s Cafe

This is a great place to stop on Duval Street. Patio dining has lovely views, and the menu servers everything from burgers to fried fish, salads, and sandwiches. Finish off your Cajun sandwich, Caribbean steak or conch fritters with a slice of their key lime pie. Don’t feel like heading out? The restaurant offers delivery within Old Town Key West.

Garbo’s Grill

If the name of this restaurant or its shady Caroline Street location sounds familiar, you may have seen it profiled on the cult favourite Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives. Lunch and dinner options include specialty hot dogs, tacos, burritos, and food truck favourites.

DJ’s Clam Shack

Feel like a local with counter service at DJs, where northern and southern seafood favourites share the menu space. Get the garlic steamed middle neck clams, cracked conch tacos, and beer-battered onion rings for a culinary journey in a single sitting.

Banana Cafe

Enjoy breakfast all day long plus additional light fare in a charming French bistro-style cafe. Sweet and savoury crepes, quiches, crepes, breakfast sandwiches, omelettes, and salads fill the brunch menu, plus New York strip steak and half roasted duck for dinner. The cafe offers French wines to accompany your meal. The house-made pesto is the star ingredient of the vegetable pesto risotto.

Southernmost Beach Cafe

Dine al fresco on the beach for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Brunch, in particular, is amazing, with brunch burgers, crab benedict, and breakfast burritos, plus their famous steak, cakes, and eggs dish. And with their tropical brunch cocktails and classic brunch drinks like the bloody mary or mimosa, you can’t go wrong.

Date and Thyme

Ideal for an on-the-go breakfast or lunch, this organic market and juice bar carries lots of take-out options, including wraps, soups, salads, and smoothies. Lots of picks are vegetarian and gluten-free, too. There’s patio dining if you’d like to stay and people watch for a while, too. Try the vegan breakfast bagel, hummus wrap, and the spirulina bowl full of fruit and granola.

Kennedy Cafe

Just a few miles from Duval Street puts you in the middle of a Mediterranean oasis. Get authentic kabobs, falafel, and pitas, hot and cold sandwiches, and gyros with Mediterranean, Greek, and Turkish flavors. If you’re traveling with less-adventurous dinner companions, there are several cheese and specialty pizza menu items, too.

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe

This is the place to go for the best key lime pie in the city. It’s made fresh every day, from scratch. Get your slice and sit right down at their patio to enjoy a piece of heaven. Kermit’s has been an institution in Key West for decades; one bit of pie and you’ll quickly understand why. The shop also has a full cafe menu and serves breakfast all day.

No matter how much fun you have on a chartered fishing boat, snorkelling expedition, or a tour of historic landmarks like Ernest Hemingway’s house, Truman’s Little White House, or the Key West Lighthouse Museum, there’s nothing like tucking into a great meal in Key West. These are among the best restaurants to choose from, representing the greatest variety of flavours, cuisines, and seafood dishes.

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Pauline is a mother of four, when she isn't cooking up new dishes for her family and friends, she likes to dine out at newly-opened restaurants (especially tapas!) and review them in her blog posts.
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