Where The Locals Eat In Key West – Many people travel to Key West for the beaches, sunsets, and nightlife, but Key West is also home to many great restaurants. In fact, one of the best things to do in Key West is eat. Key lime pie, conch fritters, Cuban food, coffee, fresh seafood, lobster rolls…the choices are endless. In this post, we cover the 20 best restaurants in Key West and the best sunset spots for a drink.
I wrote this post after my fourth visit to Key West. Tim and I ate (and drank) too much to gather the information needed for this post…all in the name of research. 🙂
Where The Locals Eat In Key West
Most of these restaurants we’ve been to, some we haven’t. I’ve had family make the annual pilgrimage to Key West for over 10 years, so here are some of their recommendations. Many of these restaurants were also recommended by locals we spoke to.
Sol By The Sea
If you’ve been to Key West, we’d love to hear your favorite restaurants, and I’m sure our readers will too. You can leave your suggestions in the comment section at the end of this post. Thanks!
I’m listing 20 restaurants in Key West, which sounds like a lot. At the end of the list, I’ll narrow it down to eight of our favorite restaurants in Key West, followed by some great places to watch the sunset with a drink in your hand.
Before we get to where to eat in Key West, here’s a quick list of what to eat in Key West.
Key lime bag. Key lime pie can be found at restaurants throughout Key West and the Florida Keys. Key Lime Pie We’ve never had a “bad” pie, but our favorite pie is Blonde Giraffe, located in Tavernier (in the Florida Keys), followed by Banana Cafe in Key West.
Key West Florida
Cuban coffee and Cuban food. Key West is 90 miles from Cuba and Key West has a lot of Cuban influences in food and drink. Cuban coffee, rice and beans, Cuban sandwiches, mojitos…yes!
Conch patties or cracked conch. Conch, pronounced “konk,” is a marine snail that lives in the warm waters around Key West. Meat is served in a variety of ways. In conch fritters, the meat is breaded and fried, similar to a hush puppy. Cracked conch is breaded and fried conch strips similar to clam strips.
Spiny Lobster. The spiny lobster lives in the shallow, warm waters around Key West. Chances are you’ll see one of these while snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving (we saw one on our Echo Kayaking trip with Lazy Dog Adventures). They look and taste a little different than Maine lobster.
The main western pink shrimp. Like the conch and spiny lobster, the Key West pink shrimp lives in the waters around Key West, and they make it onto many menus in town.
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Lobster rolls. I was surprised at how many places in Key West offer lobster rolls made with Maine lobster. We have two recommended restaurants that are well known for their amazing lobster rolls.
Below is a list of the 20 best restaurants in Key West. Many are first-come, first-served and do not require reservations. I’ll provide a link to their websites so you can check hours, prices and if you can make a reservation. For the location of these restaurants, they are all labeled on the map at the end of this guide.
Dating back to 1992, Blue Heaven is one of the busiest, most popular restaurants in Key West and for good reason. The food is great, and the setting is unique.
Blue Heaven is al fresco dining, meaning you sit outside, under the cover of palm trees and tropical plants. Chickens and cats roam the property, trees grow over old, rusted stoves, and live music plays daily.
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We have eaten here many times. The wait for brunch can be long (up to 2 hours!!), but it’s worth the wait. Blue Heaven is best known for their brunch, but they also serve food all day. You can make dinner reservations, but brunch is first-come, first-served.
Located on Sunset Key, these fine dining restaurants offer delicious food with one of the best sunset views in Key West.
The restaurant has been racking up awards. It is on several Open Table lists, including the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America and the 100 Scenic Restaurants in America, as well as Food and Wine’s Most Romantic Restaurant in Every State.
Latitudes serves locally sourced fish and tropical fruits. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the best experience, plan dinner at sunset. We did a sunset dinner several years ago and it was one of our best dining experiences in Key West.
Lunch At Fish Creek Market
Getting here is a 5-minute ferry ride from Key West, which is included in your reservation. If you want to dine at Latitudes, you need to make a reservation in advance because they can be hard to get.
This is one of our favorite restaurants in Key West. Santiago’s Bodega is a tapas restaurant that also serves sangria, fine wines and desserts.
Try avocado and pear salad, goat cheese-stuffed and prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, beef tenderloin or saganaki. Because the plates are small, it’s more fun to come in a group, order several items from the menu, and sample different dishes.
Cuban Coffee Queen serves the best coffee in Key West. But it’s more than just a coffee place. Food is also great.
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I am a huge fan of Ice Cafe Con Leche. Tim, who doesn’t drink coffee (no joke!) always goes for the smoothie. Cuban Coffee Queen also serves Cuban food for breakfast and lunch…rice and beans, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and smoothies.
This is another popular spot and people start lining up before opening time… we knew we were in line at 6:45 bright and early. Cuban Coffee Queen is my go-to place for coffee when in Key West.
There are many places. The original location (photo above) is on the waterfront at 284 Margaret Street. Cuban Coffee Queen is located in Clinton Square and in Downtown Key West at Southheart and Duval.
This is a restaurant we have never personally been to, but it came highly recommended by locals we spoke to and my family who frequent Key West.
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Louise’s Backyard is a great restaurant with great views of the sea. It’s a wonderful place to watch the sunset with a drink in hand or while having dinner. Several levels have indoor and outdoor seating.
If you want a great meal and sunset views, put Louie’s Backyard on your list. You will see us here on our next visit to Key West.
Amigo’s Tortilla Bar is one of Key West’s best cheap eats. We only ate here once, but you will see us again when we return to Key West.
Amigos is located on Green Street, just steps from Sloppy Joe’s and the bars on Duval Street. This small restaurant serves burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, nachos and their specialty, square tacos.
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Tim and I split three tacos (chicken, beef and chorizo potatoes) with a plate of rice and beans and it was delicious!
Amigos Tortilla Bar is first come first serve and is open from noon to 10pm or 11pm depending on the day of the week.
Website: At the time of this writing, they do not have a website, but here is a link to their information on Trip Advisor.
This is our favorite breakfast spot in Key West. The food is great, the restaurant is adorable and located on a quiet side of Duval Street, and it’s easier to get a table here than at Blue Heaven. And I think the food is great.
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Try French toast, lobster benedict, almond croissants or quiche lorraine. It might sound boring, but we love yogurt with fresh fruit, granola, and honey. The La Grignode Key Lime Tart is amazing and our second favorite Key Lime Pie in Key West (the Banana Cafe next door is our favorite).
This tourist restaurant is located in Key West’s historic harbor. The restaurant gets mixed reviews and I was hesitant to try it, but our tiki boat captain said it was one of the best places to try conch fritters and crack conch in Key West.
There is no real charm to this large, busy restaurant. Our elder Tahsildar said that the Conch Republic was known for its cracked conch. So, we tried both.
They were good, but nothing I would want to eat again. This is a good place for a quick bite if you want a conch fritter or cracked conch while in Key West, but I would go elsewhere for dinner.
Best Restaurants In Key West: 20 Great Places To Eat & Drink
This is another uber tourist attraction. It is located in A
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