During my family’s recent week-long vacation in Key West we visited a number of fantastic and tasty restaurants. Here are just a few reviews of our favorites.
Camille’s Restaurant – one of the top restaurants for breakfast. The saying always goes “eat where the locals eat” for a great meal and this couldn’t be truer than for Camilles in Key West. The restaurant is located just a block off Duval Street and has an interior filled with odd knick knacks (look for the cute ceramic pigs and kooky Barbies) placed right alongside French posters and Marilyn Monroe pictures. Don’t let this quirky décor fool you because their breakfasts are out of this world with an ever changing menu that keeps things fresh.
On one particular Sunday morning we lucked out in beating the crowd and got seated immediately in their bright and sunny front room. (Note: Get there before 11AM) Our server immediately came over and asked if we wanted their special drink of the day – a Bacon Mary, or in layman’s terms, a Bloody Mary made with bacon vodka. Spicy and with a hint of bacon it was the hit of the morning – delicious! We ordered another special for breakfast, their French Toast with Bourbon Maple Syrup and my husband ordered their well-known and loved Crab Cake Benedict. Both dishes arrived, with portions big enough for two, and looked heavenly. The French Toast was covered in more pecans than a pecan pie and was made even more delicious by their special bourbon syrup. It was hard to share any with the hubby. LOL His Eggs Benedict had the most lovely Hollandaise sauce over a large crab cake filled with lump crab meat. (I hate those crab cakes that are mostly bread!) We bargained together and each shared half of our meal with the other and couldn’t have been happier. Definitely a place we will go back to again and again.
Note: We also love Blue Heaven for Sunday Brunch, Sarabeths and Pepe’s Cafe for breakfast.
Fogarty’s – great place for lunch and a to-go bottle of their famous rum runners.
After a morning bike ride through town my sister and I met our spouses here for a late lunch. It was a hot day and the shade of the umbrellas and the mist sprayers were a welcome relief. Add in their delicious rum runners in a souvenir bottle, perfect for carrying around with us on our return trip, and it was the perfect choice.
Located on downtown Duval Street it is also a great place for people watching especially in the evening. We ordered from a very friendly waitress and when the food arrived, in prompt fashion I may add, we were even more delighted. Two of us ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wraps which were awesome. The chicken was seasoned perfectly and served with carrots, cucumber salad and coconut curry noodles and the largest lettuce leaves I have ever seen. It was accompanied by two sauces, one a Thai ginger-soy sauce and the other a peanut sauce. We would both order the dish again. My sister had the Chinese Chicken Salad, of which she could only eat half it was so large, with crispy chicken covered in a sesame sauce, almonds, mandarin oranges and bean sprouts atop tossed greens and served with an Asian vinaigrette. Lastly, my husband tried one of their sandwiches, a Shrimp and Bacon Club, and it was simply packed full of shrimp accompanied by bacon, Swiss cheese and a tomato basil dressing. It also had fries which came nice and hot and he willingly shared with me. We are sold on this restaurant and would definitely return for their great food, reasonable prices and ambiance.
Note: Also love Hogfish Grill, Dantes, Half Shell Raw Bar and Southernmost Beach Cafe for lunch.
Columbian Grace – good place for dinner. My husband had really been wanting to try this restaurant for quite a while. Last time we visited Key West during September it was closed for vacation but this time around we hit it right.
We made reservations for 7:30PM and, after searching for a parking space (free by the way), found one several blocks over and arrived right on time. The waiter was extremely friendly and talkative and seated us immediately.
It is not a very large restaurant, and very casual, but it was not very crowded on this night so we had our choice of seating, either indoors or out on the porch. We decided on appetizers, both the meat empanadas and the arepas with chorizo on top. The waiter graciously offered to make the appetizers the right size for two people and we agreed. The empanadas were a little light on the meat and really did not have much flavor but the arepas with chorizo were very good. However, we should have stuck with the single portion as we filled up too fast to enjoy a large dinner. Again the waiter said that we could share one of the entrees and we settled on the Petronia Chicken. This dish features a chicken breast, sliced and glazed in orange juice, rosemary, brandy and sugar cane syrup and is served with rice and plantains. This dish was excellent and more than enough for two.
Overall it was a nice restaurant with reasonable prices, great service and delicious entrees!
Bagatelle – fantastic for dinner! By far one of the better restaurants in Key West. Request a seat on the upstairs balcony overlooking Duval Street and Hogs Breath Saloon and you will get entertainment for your entire meal. The service is very upscale and efficient and they seated our family of 6 plus a toddler very quickly. They have a full bar and a nice selection of wine so a cocktail was definitely on the agenda. They also allowed us to order the toddler meal ahead of time while we relaxed with our drinks.
Their menu largely contains local seafood with a few exceptions such as lobster and steak but when a member of our party, who does not eat fish, requested grilled chicken they happily obliged.
Among the outstanding dishes were the spiny lobster with saffron mango risotto (to die for), the grilled swordfish and asparagus over roasted tomato coulis, the pan-seared grouper over a crispy potato cake and sauteed spinach and the ahi tuna served with a seaweed salad, Udon noodles and spicy peanut sauce.
This restaurant has become one of our favorites on the island and, although pricey, it is definitely worth every penny.
Note: Also love Louie’s Backyard/Upper Deck, La Trattoria (downtown), Roof Top Cafe and Seven Fish Restaurant for dinner.