Despite being a tiny island off the coast of Florida with an extremely small population, Key West is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and as you would guess, is home to some excellent restaurants. Not only is Key West one of the best towns in the country for fresh seafood, but due to it being a major travel destination and home to an eclectic and varied population base, you are sure to find a wide variety of culinary options in Key West. After a long day of lounging on the beach, and before a long night partying it up on the famous Key West bar circuit, there’s nothing like a good meal, and we’re here to help you locate the best food in the city.
You can’t discuss dining out in Key West without an emphasis on seafood, and Schooner’s Wharf Bar enjoys pretty much legendary status as one of the top seafood restaurants and locals hangouts in Key West going back many years. Bo’s Fish Wagon is in appearance a rather shabby-looking fish shack, but the food is well known as some of the best in town (you can also catch excellent jam sessions at Bo’s on Fridays). Pisces is the place to be for high-end French-infused seafood cuisine if you are looking for an upscale Key West-flavored fine dining experience. For simple, straight, get-your-hands-dirty, fresh seafood with no strings attached, check out Half-Shell Raw Bar. Seven Fish, Bagatelle, and Cafe Sole are other notable seafood restaurants in Key West that you might want to visit. You really shouldn’t leave Key West without taking full advantage of easy access to some of the freshest seafood you will find in the States.
When it comes to Italian food in Key West, La Trattoria is one of the better options in town. Consider staying in the seaside spirit and trying seafood dishes such as their Dentice alla Mediteranneo featuring fresh local snapper, or their Zuppa di Pesce, made with the freshest local seafood available in Key West at any given time. Abbondanza, known for its people-friendly atmosphere and wallet-friendly prices is another great choice, or try Salute! On The Beach for beach-side ambiance and Caribbean-infused Italian fare. Other options for Italian food in Key West include Antonia’s Restaurant which is conveniently located on booming Duval St., and Mangia Mangia Pasta Cafe, a health and eco-conscious restaurant deemed by the New York Times to be “inexpensive and very dependable.”
If you are interested in trying some truly authentic Cuban cuisine in the United States, you’re in luck, as Key West is known for being heavily influenced by Cuban culture, and features renowned Cuban restaurant El Siboney. Not only does El Siboney serve up some of the most authentic Cuban cuisine you will find outside of Cuba, but the prices are quite reasonable which is sure to delight the budget-minded traveler. If you drink, be sure to try their signature homemade sangria. Also consider Zulma’s Colombian Grace, or El Meson de Pepe if you have a hankering for Latin food during your Key West visit.
As a true party travel hotspot in every sense of the term, it comes as no surprise that Key West houses some good pizza establishments to quickly and efficiently feed the city’s revelers. Mr. Z’s has been serving up pizza by the slice, stromboli, hoagies, and Philly-style cheesesteaks to loyal patrons since 2002. The Upper Crust on Duval Street creates meticulously crafted Neapolitan style pizzas with only the best of ingredients, and is known (in true Key West form) for their unique seafood pizzas, featuring fresh baby clams and shrimp as toppings.
No city would be complete without some good Asian food options, and Key West is certainly not an incomplete city. For Thai food, try Thai Life featuring authentic Thai cuisine cooked to order from the freshest of meats and vegetables collected daily. Ambrosia Japanese restaurant is a good option for sushi, benefiting from the fresh selection of Key West seafood. For Chinese food, try Tong’s Garden, Hong Kong Restaurant, or China Garden West.
Blue Heaven is a Key West favorite specializing in vegetarian and Caribbean fare since 1991. Their location on Thomas Street is quite storied, once serving as a gambling hall and having housed boxing matches that were refereed by famed former Key West resident Ernest Hemingway. For the health-conscious among us, visit Help Yourself Foods, an organic restaurant featuring only the freshest natural and unrefined ingredients. For the less health-conscious among us, check out the unique dessert and drink only restaurant and lounge Better Than Sex.
For a small island off the Florida coast, Key West packs quite an impressive array of quality culinary options. Although it’s not difficult to physically locate all the restaurants in Key West, it can be difficult to know which ones are the best as a non-local, so hopefully we’ve simplified your search. Enjoy a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” for us during your “Margaritaville” stay, but don’t lose that shaker of salt!