Key West is an island city that makes up the southernmost point of the American state of Florida. Given its coastal location, the city is an expectedly great place to get seafood, but there are also some more diverse culinary offerings to be had. If you’re curious about where the best places to eat in Key West are, you’re reading the right article! Join us as we try to track down the best restaurants in Key West.
The Southernmost Beach Cafe
Given that Key West forms the southernmost point of Florida, it only makes sense to start this article off by looking at the Southernmost Beach Café! The Southernmost Beach Cafe is so proud of its Key West location that it references it in its name. The restaurant touts itself as putting you as close to Cuba as you’re liable to get while standing on American soil. Those that sit down to dine at the eatery will be less than 100 miles away from Cuba, but they’ll feel like they’re even closer once they start eating!
There are many restaurants in Key West that pride themselves on their Caribbean cuisine, and there are many restaurants that utilize fresh-caught seafood from the waters surrounding the island city. However, there are few that do it with the flair of the Southernmost Beach Cafe. The eatery takes inspiration from all over the Caribbean with its cuisine. The most popular dish would be the drunken scallops.
Hot Tin Roof
Hot Tin Roof is a restaurant named after a Tennessee Williams play, and it’s open for breakfast and dinner. On Sundays, the eatery serves brunch. Readers may be curious to know what kind of food is worthy of this Tennessee Williams-inspired name. Though Tennessee himself was born in Mississippi and died in New York City, the cuisine served at Hot Tin Roof is Caribbean inspired, like that of the aforementioned Southernmost Beach Cafe. As with that eatery, locally sourced seafood is the name of the game here. The restaurant is known most for its curried grouper.
First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery
First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery is a themed restaurant commemorating a historic moment in Key West history. The restaurant also happens to be located in one of the island city’s most notable historical buildings. The building housing the diner just happens to be the very same building that Pan American World Airlines began operating out of in 1927. The restaurant offers American food, including chicken wings, burgers, and, of course, beer.
Eaton Street Seafood Market
We’ve taken a look at a couple of restaurants in the island city of Key West that feature locally sourced seafood on their menu, but both of the aforementioned options had a Caribbean slant. Eaton Fresh Seafood Market is a location that offers some more traditional seafood offerings, with the eatery being known best for its crab-cake sandwiches and fish tacos. If you’ve had crab cakes before, you likely haven’t had ones as good as those served here. The crab cakes are full of crab meat, with minimal use of binders. All the seafood offerings here are great, and you won’t be disappointed!
Pepe’s Cafe is a laidback Key West institution, having served the island city for well over a decade. The cafe was founded in 1909, and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you like large portions of tried-and-true staples in a classic atmosphere, this is the place for you. They’ve got a full menu of soups and sandwiches for lunch, with steaks and oysters for dinner! You don’t have to dress up or break the bank to eat here, but you might have trouble finding the place. The location is so small that it barely stands out.
Cuban Coffee Queen
If you’re looking for Cuban cuisine in the island city of Key West, then Cuban Coffee Queen is where to get it! The eatery is named after its famous Cuban coffee, but there’s far more than just coffee on the menu at its three Key West locations. The original Cuban Coffee Queen can be found on Margaret Street, though all of the locations offer a great experience. Cuban sandwiches are the things to order at Cuban Coffee Queen, and they can be decked out with a variety of meats and condiments. There are also breakfast sandwiches, which go great with the namesake coffee!
El Siboney Restaurant
A more intimate Cuban-style dining experience than the one offered at Cuban Coffee Queen can be found at El Siboney Restaurant. The restaurant is housed in a building made of red brick, and it’s hard to tell that it’s open to the public if you don’t already know. Once you’re inside, you’ll be treated with an array of authentic Cuban cuisine. Though the experience is a bit more intimate and subdued than the one offered at the aforementioned Cuban Coffee Queen’s three locations, it’s no less casual.
You’ll feel like you’re at home while you’re dining at El Siboney Restaurant, even if that home isn’t in the United States! One of the most popular dishes is the whole fried fish, and the restaurant also offers some great sangria.
Sometimes couples need to go on a romantic getaway, and there’s a restaurant in the island city of Key West that has them covered! So long as you’ve got the money to spare, there are few romantic excursions in the state of Florida that match the exquisiteness of a dining experience at Latitudes. The eatery is technically located on its own private island of Sunset Key, and couples will have to take a small boat ride to get there. This boat ride sets the stage for a dining experience that they won’t forget, replete with locally sourced seafood, Wagyu beef, and out-of-this-world wine pairings.
There are few dining experiences in the island city of Key West more upscale than the one offered by the aforementioned Latitudes, and there are few dining experiences more laid back than the one offered by Blue Heaven. Blue Heaven is another Caribbean-inspired restaurant, and eating there will make you feel like you’ve wandered into an authentic Jamaican eatery. From the atmosphere to the food, Blue Heaven will transport you to the Caribbean. Don’t forget the classic Key lime pie!
Little Pearl is a restaurant that’s named after the pearl of an oyster, and it’s a unique seafood eatery with kitschy decoration. There’s always something interesting on the menu, and diners have the option to simply hand their menus in and let the kitchen staff serve up whatever’s cooking. The menu includes more than just seafood, and there are always fun and tasty surprises in store. Like many eateries in Key West, the cuisine has a Caribbean slant.
Cafe Marquesa is notable for its serene location within the historic district of Key West. Key West’s historic district is always bustling, but Cafe Marquesa always seems secluded thanks to the bountiful gardens that surround it. One of the favorites at Cafe Marquesa is the shrimp and grits.
Bad Boy Burrito
We’ve taken a look at several Key West eateries that offer some decidedly momentous dining experiences, but there are also places to grab a bite to eat that don’t require a significant time investment. If you’re on the go, you might want to stop into Bad Boy Burrito. Though Bad Boy Burrito serves up it’s food relatively fast, that doesn’t mean that it’s not high quality, as the ingredients are locally sourced.
It’s understandable that Key West is known predominantly for its seafood restaurants, but Florida also has a firm tradition of great BBQ. If you’re looking for BBQ in the island city of Key West, look no further than Smoked BBQ! The eatery may be unassuming with its traditional picnic tables covered in cheap tablecloths, but the food is incredible. In addition to the classic pulled-pork sandwich, other favorites at Smoked BBQ include the deep-fried pork-and-collard-green spring rolls.
Garbo’s Grill is a food truck in Key West that has a permanent location, and it was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The restaurant’s appearance on the show made it more famous than ever, but it’s still worth facing the crowds to try out the Korean fusion cuisine for yourself.
The Lobster Shack Key West
It only makes sense to end this article with a choice as fundamental to the island city of Key West as the Lobster Shack Key West. If you want traditional seafood, there are few better places in the island city to get it! From Key lime pie to lobster-salad sandwiches, the Lobster Shack Key West is just about as emblematic of the island city as you can get.
Now that we’ve explored the best restaurants in the island city of Key West, it’s time for you to choose which one you’re going to try out first! Whether you’re interested in traditional American cuisine or something more adventurous, Key West offers up a rainbow of culinary experiences to its guests.