Key West’s Best Bars, Dining, Eats and Treats
We love Key West the best…. This southernmost Florida island is a delicious slice of Key Lime Pie, bright, fresh, rich, and tart. See our review of what to do in Key West, about its tumultuous history, beautiful Bahamian architecture, best beaches, parks, biking and boating, and where to stay at this cool vacation town at Mile 0.
Key West Best For Dinner
The best dinner spot is on Sunset Key, a small island 500 hundred yards off Mallory Square, a very short boat ride from Key West. Reserve an outdoor table at Latitudes at sunset, take their resort ferry to this island from Margaritaville Resort at Mallory Square for a romantic escape. The cuisine of fresh fish, snapper, grouper, cobia, is as stellar as the waterfront setting under torches by candlelight. Glass in hand, toes in the sand (yes your table is truly on the beach), paradise found at Latitude, 24N.
Michael’s is off the beaten path, and magical, a secret garden with a waterfall courtyard setting on Margaret Street (near the old Key West Cemetery). Sit at the bar, and enjoy Chef’s delicious steak and seafood creations. Michael’s meatloaf is mouthwatering (he’s Morton’s Steakhouse trained). Bartender Suzette is friendly and efficient. We hear the Volcano chocolate dessert is the bomb, next trip…
Santiago Bodega on Petronia is THE place for Spanish Tapas in the heart of the eclectic Bahama village of Key West. Each island inspired small plate bartender Emily brought was more delicious than the previous, paired with generous wine pours. “Santiago” name is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, a nod to the local author’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel in 1954.
Key West Best Breakfast or Lunch…
Pepe’s Cafe is Key West’s oldest eating establishment, since 1909. The old-school menu of eggs and grits is as classic as the funky atmosphere at this Caroline Street shack. Pepe’s home fries are outstanding, so are the crowds awaiting a table here, though most are chill while waiting and sipping on fresh squeezed boozy breakfast beverages. Pepe’s also serves cheap delicious Gulf Oysters at dinner time.
Harpoon Harry’s next door is a Key West’s best blue plate diner style eatery with friendly crew and fun memorabilia, perfect if Pepe’s is overflowing. Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Omelettes and Eggs Bene are a few satisfying staples, with Bloody Harry. Harry’s is also a liquor store, pretty handy… you never have to sober up here.
Blue Heaven is heavenly for home cooked Key West breakfast or lunch, or dinner “under the stars”. Local lobster and shrimp, grits, you name it – there’s even live music on the outdoor stage while you savor your repast in the casual courtyard under a canopy of mahogany trees. Don’t mind the roosters, the cats, everyone is welcome at this heaven. Blue Heaven is beyond casual, and multi-cultural, like its delicious menu, with a true Caribbean vibe, in Key West’s Bahama village.
For a Bloody Mary with a view, Schooner Wharf Bar is a divey outdoor bar at Key West Bight, overlooking the docks and a few dreamy yachts at the historic seaport. Live music is frequent at Schooners, so are locals – always a good sign.
Garbo’s Grill is a great go-to for bbq shrimp or grouper burrito served from an air stream food truck. The homemade food is so good, you will agree with the Food Network’s feature. Inside Garbo’s is a cool casual bar where you can order a cocktail.
La Te Da on Duval for Sunday lunch and Tea Dance is a gay old time, with great people watching on the southern Duval strip and flamboyant local dancers and singers. Sunday can be a Drag here… pun intended.
Key West’s Best Hotel is H20 Suites, this luxury hotel opened in December 2016, H20 Suites is on the southern part of the island, its posh, with perfect service and a great location, just a block from Duval Street, two blocks to the beach, the Southernmost Point, and the Key West Lighthouse. This all-suite hotel is more South Beach Miami art deco than old world Florida, it is sophisticated with top concierge service to complement the chic vibe. Our suite was swank, with modern lighting, a beautiful bathroom, our own pool, luxurious bedding and two big screen TVs.
The highlight of H20 Hotel is the rooftop pool, where you are served complimentary Mimosa and Bloody Mary’s late morning, wine and snacks in the afternoon. Oh, there is also a fitness room – we opted for bike rides, beach walks, the rooftop deck and a dip instead! We could reach Duval Street, or the sandy beach – where chairs and towels are provided to H20 guests, and we could walk to dozens of great dining spots, see above, yet our H20 serene suite was so private at night.