ONroute

Key West Guide - Dining

Where to Eat

With 150 restaurants in Key West, there is no lack of variety or finding the ambiance you desire. Places to eat range from standard U.S. chain restaurants (mainly along the entrance highway) to unique and colorful local establishments that serve regional cuisine or offer fine dining while retaining the informal attitude that sweeps across the island. Here are a few of the most colorful cafes, and some romantic places for fine dining.

Bars with Food

Hog's Breath Saloon
400 Front Street
Designed to look like a surfer bar, this is one of several pubs with the same name owned by Jimmy Dorminy. You can eat indoors (it's hard to get a place at the bar) or on the patio. Fish sandwiches are big sellers here, featuring grilled lemon or blackened seafood. Hog's Breath Beer (not brewed in key West) is featured, and the place has a raw bar. Bands play during the day and evening. No reservations.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe
500 Duval St. (305) 292-1435
This is the Mecca for Jimmy Buffet fans, of which there are many. Although Buffet recently sold his Key West home, and rarely appears here, the place is packed much of the time. With Caribbean decor, the bar and cafe are very casual, and that carries over to the food -- the inevitable Cheeseburgers (In Paradise) and other comfort food -- served with margaritas and frequent Buffet music from the sound system. Other dishes served includes fish platters, and fried shrimp baskets. There's a waiting list but no reservations are taken. A Buffet souvenir store is next door.

Local Landmarks

Rusty Anchor Restaurant
Stock Island, 5510 Third Ave. (305) 294-5369
This casual seafood place is a great place for family eating. The seafood is incredibly fresh -- because it comes from the fish market in the back of the building, and the fish comes right off the boats. It's open for lunch and dinner, with the seafood served broiled or fried. To satisfy everyone, Rusty's also served burgers, steaks, and other such dishes. Closed Sundays.

Blue Heaven
729 Thomas Street (305) 296-8666
Caribbean and vegetarian cuisine are the specialties here, in the historic Bahama Village section of the city. The building served a variety of purposes over the years (bordello, ice-cream parlor, railroad water tower), but the Hatch brothers have turned it into a wonderful informal cafe serving Caribbean shrimp, jerk chicken, and a variety of seafood dishes. You can also get tofu burgers, and several other vegetarian entrees, plus appetizers, each day. Sunday brunch offer grits and shrimp, plus waffles and other delights, always draws a lineup to get in. Beer and wine served, open seven days a week for all three meals.

Dennis Pharmacy
1229 Simonton Street (305) 294-1577
There's a pharmacy, and adjacent cafe that have been local favorites for many years. The pharmacy opened in 1962 in what was formerly a grocery, complete with soda fountain. The cafe was expanded a decade later. The U-shaped counters are still here, augmented by a few tables. The cuisine is basically American, with a few Caribbean touches. It's open seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. Dishes include grilled steak and chicken, and the seafood dishes include dolphin sandwiches, roast pork, and meat loaf. Beer and wine are served. Off-street parking available.

Pepe's Cafe & Steak House
806 Caroline Street (305) 294-7192
Located in an ancient building in the old waterfront area, Pepe's has indoor and patio dining. While they serve burgers and steak, many people come for the seafood -- oysters done in several ways. However, the steaks are not to be sniffed at. You can fill your plate with a 15-ouncer, or choose a smaller steak (including filet), or order pork chops, or even less formal dishes such as patty melts. It's open for breakfast until noon, serves snacks and light meals for a few hours, and then opens for dinner at 4:30. No reservations.

Camille's Restaurant
1202 Simonton Street (305) 296-4811
Camille's is a true treasure. This is what happens when a husband and wife decide to open a small, friendly restaurant, using only the freshest ingredients. The range of food is wonderfully varied. Camille's has moved to a larger location and now boasts three dining rooms and two full bars (plus a banquet rooms with bar). At breakfast, especially on weekends, you'll live a gourmet dream (the choice of benedicts is amazing). Dinner entrees could include rack of lamb, stone crab cakes, or a tender filet mignon. Beer and wine are served. Reservations are taken for all meals. Open daily for breakfast and lunch (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with dinner served daily from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Louie's Backyard
700 Waddell Ave. (305) 294-1061
The restaurant's name doesn't give a hint as to the quality of the food. This oceanside place makes fine use of its large verandah for al fresco dining. Inside is a finely decorated dining room. Fresh seafood is the specialty here, at both lunch and dinner. Lunch offers salads, and the perfect conch chowder. Dinner costs more, with seafood and beef entrees, and key lime desserts to top off the meal. Louie's is open for dinner year-round, and serves lunch daily except from Labor Day to Columbus Day. There is also an oceanside bar, The Afterdeck, open daily.

El Siboney
900 Catherine Street (305) 296-4184
Head here for authentic Cuban cuisine -- shredded beef (ropa vieja), boliche (pot roast), and the traditional roast pork with black beans and rice. All of this is served with with hot Cuban bread, with the same menu for lunch and dinner. While the decor is simple, the food is superb and choosing a combination place offers you the chance to sample a variety of Cuban specialties. Top off the eating experience with flan or natilla. Wine and beer are served. Closed Sunday.

Cuisine & More

Kelly's Caribbean Bar & Grill
303 Whitehead Street (305) 293-8484
Kelly is actress Kelly McGillis, who owns this restaurant and lounge, contained in the original headquarters building of Pan American Airways. There is Pan-Am memorabilia on the first floor, including seats contrived out of old airplane seats. You can eat indoors, or on the patio. Kelly's Clipper Club Lounge offers an open-air style atmosphere on the second floor. The cuisine is a combination of American and Caribbean, with upscale versions of jerk chicken, barbecued pork, and fresh seafood dishes. Also in the building is the Southernmost Brewery, which provides several unique brews, including Southern Clipper (wheat) Beer, and Key West Golden Ale. Kelly's is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Reservations are taken for groups of more than six persons.

Bagatelle
115 Duval Street (305) 296-6609
Conch steaks, fresh tuna and snapper with a tropical twist, and fine salads are some of the specialties of this renowned two-story restaurant that occupies an old Key West home. You may dine inside, or on the balconies on both floors. You have to reserve up to long in advance if you want a second-floor table on the night of the Fantasy Fest parade, or on many weekend nights for that matter. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Dinner reservations are recommended.

808 Duval -- A Restaurant
808 Duval Street (305) 293-0006
The rich decor of this restaurant sets the scene for memorable dinners. With continental cuisine as its hallmark, lunch and dinner offer classic European dishes including lamb (try the grilled rack), stuffed filets, and seafood. Beer and wine are available. Reservations are accepted, and recommended during the busy winter season.

Banana Cafe
1211 Duval Street (305) 294-7227
If crepes are to your liking, this is the place! A raft of crepes (at least 40) are served at breakfast and lunch. Dinner is also available, with an expanded menu, during the winter season. Daily specials, salads and sandwiches are also available. You have a choice of dining indoors, on a balcony at the front of the building, or on a side deck. Entertainment on weekend evenings.

Cafe des Artistes
1007 Simonton Street (305) 294-7100
For more than a decade, this restaurant has been receiving awards from the big food and wine magazines. Chef Andrew Berman has created a distinctive menu that includes classic French dishes but adding his unique tropical touches. The two dining rooms are exquisitely decorated, providing different atmospherics. Berman creates nightly specials, which can be served inside, or on the outdoor patio. Open daily, for dinner only.

Asian

Dim Sum
613 Duval Street (305) 294-6230
This Chinese cafe is open daily for dinner, providing a light-colored decor, a calm atmosphere, and a fine menu which includes some of the fresh local seafood, as well as classic Chinese dishes, and often a fusion of Chinese with Caribbean, sometime with a touch of Japanese. Beer and wine are served. Parking is available, and winter reservations are suggested.

Dynasty Chinese Restaurant
918 Duval Street (305) 294-2943
Concentrating mainly on Szechwan cuisine, Dynasty offers a range of spicy dishes (Kung Pao Chicken, Szechwan shrimp) and other Chinese regional dishes -- Peking & Cantonese -- which are not so spicy. Patio dining is available. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations suggested during the high season.

Siam House
829 Simonton Street (305) 292-0302
Dinner is served in this fine Thai restaurant, seven days a week. A buffet lunch is offered every day except Sunday. On Sundays, a special menu is offered, with six dishes featured, including noodles, curries, beef, chicken, and pork. The owner, Suriya Siripant, has decorated the restaurant with Thai paintings, sculptures, and other imported art.

Thai Cuisine
513 Greene Street (305) 294-9424
Another fine little (actually very very small) Thai restaurant, this one specializes in red and green curries, and Pad Thai -- noodles with seafood, egg, and other ingredients -- plus other traditional Thai dishes. scallions and bean. Beer and wine are available. The restaurant is open daily for dinner, and serves lunch Monday-Friday. Take-out and delivery (in town) are also available.

Where to Stay - Hotel Guide

Reserve a hotel room in the Keys

or phone (toll-free) 1-877-669-9330
(8 am to midnight eastern time)

To search hotels around the world,
go to the Hotel Guide

Key West Guide

Home | The City | Where to Stay | Where to Eat
Nightlife | What to See & Do


Hotels 

Make Your Florida Keys Hotel Reservation On-line - Click Here

Key West Guide:

The City
Nightlife
Hotels
Restaurants
Events
Things to Do

Other Guides:

Las Vegas Guide
Reno Guide
Lake Tahoe Guide
San Francisco Guide
Destinations

Onroute Home


 © 1997/2006
Onroute
Travel & Recreation



Inside Onroute.com

Vacation Guides: Las Vegas | San Francisco | Reno | Lake Tahoe | Key West

Onroute Home | Hotels | Destinations | Vacation Guides | Features | Great Drives