Still planning our vacation to Key West and where to bring the newbies. And we definitely don’s want to forget about the food (and drink)! Key West is renowned for its international restaurant scene and offers up dining experiences from 5-star to casual waterside eateries. One thing they all have in common though is the delicious way they prepare the fresh local seafood. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Breakfast is usually fixed leisurely in our timeshare unit but, when Sunday rolls around, we head to Blue Heaven. This restaurant has become an institution to all who venture this far south and reflects the casual, laid back atmosphere that everyone has come to expect on the island. Grab a seat outdoors under the canvas and on top of slate that once graced the tops of pool tables when this establishment was a billiard hall, and enjoy the breeze, laugh at the antics of the free-range chickens, usually with a gaggle of chicks somewhere in the vicinity, and dine on a breakfast that is divine and delicious. Order the breakfast special, which is usually some sort of shrimp, crab or lobster Eggs Benedict, and don’t miss their homemade banana bread and fresh squeezed orange juice. Take time afterwards to visit their small gift shop and don’t miss the sign by the ladies room which states $1 for a shower and $2 to watch! lol You can also stop by for lunch or dinner and savor some delicious Caribbean style cuisine that will make your mouth water.
I have to mention one more for breakfast that is always a favorite – Pepes Cafe! Located in a 100 year old Spanish home, this restaurant is definitely worth a stop. Don’t miss the thick french toast with sweet cream cheese sauce & topped w/ fresh fruit, served by a super friendly staff. They have inside dining but sit outside and enjoy the garden patio, lots of character and lots of shade.
Our lunch time favorite has to be the Hogfish Grill on Stock Island. I still remember thinking the first time we found it that, after wandering and twisting our way through side streets and dirt roads, that we would find a gem that not many people knew about it. HaHa! It is usually jam packed and we always feel lucky to find a seat on the patio overlooking the harbor and shrimp boats. The atmosphere here is totally Keys 1970s and the perfect place for a beer, some fish dip and one of their scrumptious fish sandwiches. If you stop by around dinner time you will also find some great local entertainment and lots of friendly people.
If we are in town for lunch, we head over to Dantes for a great meal and a dip in their pool. (They also cook our fish when we come back from our fishing trips) During the week it is always relaxing and not too crowded but, come the weekend, you won’t find a place to stand in the pool – popular it is! Another choice might be the Southernmost Beach Cafe with a great view over the beach and water.
As night approaches and after searching out all the new acts at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration it is time to head to dinner. It is always hard to decide where we want to go as there are not too many places that we don’t like in town. Bagatelle is always good, especially if you can get a seat on the upstairs balcony and watch all the antics on Duval below, or a bite of top notch Italian food at La Trattoria (the one on Duval), Colombian Grace for our Colombian food fix, Roof Top Cafe for a gourmet Caribbean meal under the stars on their patio or, for a smaller dinner, a tapas and wine night, we would head for Louie’s Upper Deck.
There are other places that I haven’t been to yet and am salivating to try – Better Than Sex dessert restaurant, a little scandalous concoction for the crowd, Garbo’s Grill, a quick bite from a food truck with some of the best fish and Korean BBQ tacos, Incas, a new Peruvian treasure, and the Kojin Noodle Bar, where they say you must try the steamed pork buns. I’ll see how many I can get to and report back and let you know how they rate.
For more information on Key West’s dining scene check out www.Vacationplanit/keywest.