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Jan 16, 2008 07:48 AM

Key West recommendations 2008?

Stopping here briefly in Feb 2008 (yes, a cruise), but I like great fresh local interesting well-prepared non-touristy food.

I was in Key West about 7 years ago (my impression was that its special character had been severely damaged by the cruise ships...ironic, yes I know)...

Can anyone recommend good eating spots? The latest posts on CH seem to be about 5 years old...


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    1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

      Tavern n Town got horrible reviews on Trip Advisors Forum.

      1. re: Suzie

        I trust you and the Hounds waaaaaaaay more but will check it out.
        I think the more formal restaurant, Town recently opened.

        1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

          Its been opened for a while now. Both are getting bad reviews.

          1. re: Suzie

            "Van Aken's restaurant has two identities. Tavern opened late last year with a full menu that includes tapas. Town, scheduled to open about mid-February, will cater to guests seeking an exquisite culinary adventure in world-class fine dining. Tavern N Town's wine director is Bruno Leboucher, who garnered Wine Spectator's award of excellence in 2005 and 2006 for Norman's Coral Gables. "

            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

              Looks like Town is not open yet. I have two dinners and plan on going to Town if open or Tavern one night but need help with the second dinner.
              What is the best non Italian place? 7Fish? 915? Alice's? Pisces?
              Thanks in advance.

              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                Strange - I know people who have been to both. Maybe Town is being re-worked. He is still getting horrible reviews.
                Any of these would be a nice choice
                A&B Lobster House
                Square One
                Santiago's Bodega

                1. re: Suzie

                  Just returned from Key West and did not have one bad meal thanks to the recommendations made by the Hounds.

                  I highly recommend the following

                  Banana Cafe for breakfast (wife loved the crepes)

                  Hogfish Bar and Grill for lunch (great spot over on Stock Island with awesome hogfish sandwiches)

                  Alice's for dinner. What a great place. Creative upscale food in a casual Key West setting. Flavor combinations really worked. Wife loved the passion salad w/shrimp which was made with a passion fruit vinaigrette. She didn't want to share any of it but I was able to grab a couple of bites and it was tasty. The yellowtail with brown butter and capers was also excellent. The fish was super fresh, cooked perfectly and seasoned well. Really a great dish. The only negative was the length of dinner. Painfully long even for a vacation dinner in Key West. Close to 2.5 hours. We didn't complain at all but the waiter apologized a couple of times and gave us a complimentary dessert which was a classy move and appreciated.

                  Not sure why Tavern N Town is receiving bad reviews. **To date, no reviews on Chowhound. I read a couple of negative comments on Tripadvisor mostly about the service. They are unwarranted. The restaurant was packed and the service was perfect. Our waiter was polished and well trained.
                  The room is very sophisticated with an open kitchen and large bar area.
                  Food was excellent. Standout dish was the mixed roasted beet salad. I was looking forward to trying the conch salad but they had no conch (strange to hear when you are in the keys but I realize they ship it in) so I opted for the grilled shrimp, chorizo and grits. Combo worked well together. The yellowtail was also very good. Awesome key lime pie. Good selection of wines at various price points.

                  On the way home we stopped off at Hungry Tarpon at MM 77.5. Great place. Outstanding dolphin sandwich.

                  Wish I had time to try B.O.'s Fish Wagon and 7Fish. Looking forward to returning.

                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                    Lunch at B.O.'s was excellent! Grouper sandwich, conch fritters. then back on the ship, no time to try anything else :( thanks again for the links.