Restaurants and Bars in Key West
When you go someplace on
vacation, it is always difficult to know where you should go to
eat your meals. Key West has hundreds of choices with varying
levels of quality. But, as you will probably only be here for a
short period of time, you want to experience the best you can. You
may be interested in “local specialties”, gourmet food, or ethnic
meals; or maybe atmosphere is very important to you. Even when a
restaurant has great food, the service one receives could spoil an
otherwise wonderful dining experience.
Many of the local
newspapers publish restaurant guides with descriptions of an
establishment’s atmosphere and food, many times with accompanying
sample menus. These guides can usually be found at the airport and
in hotels, motels, and guesthouses. The descriptions in these
books will give you an idea of what you can expect, but they are
not a review by a food expert. The restaurants you read about in
these magazines may be very good, but keep in mind that the owners
are paying to advertise in the restaurant guides.
Many vacationers rely
on recommendations from friends, and some want to return to a
restaurant they patronized on a previous visit to this area. Key
West has an ever-changing population; some restaurants quickly
fail and someone new is always trying to make their mark on the
scene. Eateries often change hands and new management, and even
new chefs, can mean a drastic change to food offerings and
All that being said,
great food and dining experiences are there for your enjoyment.
All of the major hotels have their own in-house eateries; some of
them have two or three. There are also many fantastic restaurants
spread throughout the town, many of them on small streets side
streets and lanes, and several away from the main commercial area
of town. Most of the familiar chain or franchise, and fast food
restaurants are in the “new town” area of North and South
will offer dolphin (mahi-mahi), yellowtail, grouper, snapper,
cobia, conch steak and fritters, tuna, shrimp, and local crab and
spiny lobster, when they are in season. In addition, they will
usually have choices featuring scallops, oysters and clams.
There are several
ethnic style restaurants, including Italian, French, Mexican,
Chinese, Japanese, German, Slavic, and Polish. Cuban food is tasty
and inexpensive and something you may not find back home.
Some restaurants do
not welcome children. If you need booster seats or highchairs, it
would advisable to call ahead of time and make arrangements.
The height of the
dinner rush is at 8 p.m., although many restaurants start at 7 pm.
Several of the large hotels have great Sunday brunches with
complimentary champagne or mimosas.
Enjoy your Key West
eating experience! And, don’t forget to pick up a cookbook or two
along the way.
Where To Stay
Bed and Breakfasts,
Camping & RV Parks,
Gay Friendly Accommodations,
Accommodation Booking Services
Things to Do & See
Attractions & Activities,
Restaurants & Bars
Places of Worship,
Calendar of Events,
Local Daily News
Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is a Florida favorite. A flavorful sweet and tart,
yet smooth and creamy. A great desert available on all the
islands of the Florida Keys.
It is the official
dessert of Key West. Restaurants around the country serve Key Lime
Pie in many forms, some true to the original and some truly
bizarre variations. Everyone has their favorite restaurant
version, and usually their own favorite home version. Key limes
are very sour, and Key lime juice can be used to make a perfect
custard-like filling for pies. Because of the Keys isolation
before the railroad was opened in 1912, fresh milk was hard to
come by. So Gail Borden's invention of sweetened condensed
(canned) milk in 1859 came in handy. It also meant that you could
make a custard pie without the necessity of cooking it. The Key
lime juice by itself was enough to curdle the condensed milk and
egg yolks. No one knows who made the first one. They were probably
made with pie crusts at first, but soon the Graham cracker crust
became the standard.
The basic recipe is
simple, Key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk
(preferably Borden's) and sugar, with a Graham cracker crust.
Topped with meringue or whipped cream. The Key West Lime Pie Shop
makes an eggless version for some restaurants and for mail order.