Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Oct 26, 2008 05:04 PM

Key West in Nov.

We are going to vacationin KW in mid-November. Need suggestion on good food. would love to find a locals favorite. Any special dishes to try?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is a common request. I would suggest doing a search of the board. As for locals' favorites, I would suggest 5 Brothers Grocery and 915.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nick

      I did a search and did notice 915 and 5 brothers. Just hoping there was something that people make sure they eat when they go to KW.

    2. The key to good food in Key West is to stay away from the tourist traps. For the most part, everything you find on Duval Street itself is going to be tourist-y.

      5 Brothers is good... and a spot for locals. There is another really cool convienence store (I recall calling it "Seven Days") on a corner inland... adjacent to the elementary school. They had the absolute best steak sandwich I have ever had in my life- I have been searching for something similar for the past 15 years. I can't imagine that they would move... if you can find a current local, you might ask... it is so worth it.

      I have had a good meal at Cafe Marquesa and Mangia Mangia is always raved about.

      I hear that Kelly's makes a marvelous mojito (a favorite of mine).

      I would strongly suggest a cup of Baby's coffee (if you are coffee people)... it is a local coffee that can't be found elsewhere. Last I checked, they had a store on the easternmost side of Duval.

      There is also a phenomenal pastry shop (in the morning) that is just west of US1 on Duval... it can't be missed, as it usually has lines of people.

      The other "must" for me whenever I go down, is a trip to Flamingo Ice Cream. Again, this is on the easternmost side of Duval (really, I think, a few steps away from Baby's). This is homemade ice cream in the most deeeeelicious flavors. A perfect treat for strolling.

      I'm not sure where you are coming from, so I don't know if you are familiar with cuban or caribbean cuisine... Those flavors and tastes are probably the most authentic to Key West. Conch fritters, fresh dolphin (there are many local fisheries, so almost every place can get fresh fish), fresh fruits...

      A lot of people go to Margaritaville, but it is a colassal waste of space as far as I am concerned.

      Also... again, I dunno where you are coming from, but there is a sandal shop in Key West- called Kinos. It is a Cuban family owned and run factory- the sandals are the highest quality I have every seen. I have worn some of my pairs daily, for the past 15 years- and they still look great. It is the high quality craftmanship. Moreover, they are CHEAP. Like $7 a pair. $7 for sandals that last 15+ years- THATs WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT! Kinos. They are near Mallory Square, one block south, across from the cigar shop. (I know this has nothing to do with food, but those Kinos are incredible). :) :) :


      Good luck!

      1. Tapas - Santiago's Bodega or 915
        Cuban - El Siboney (cheap, huge portions)
        Bar food - Finnegan's Wake
        Seafood - nice, Cafe Sole
        dive, B.O.'s
        Steak - Michael's
        Breakfast - Blue Heaven
        Pricey - Pisces
        Location (and good food) - Louie's

        1 Reply
        1. re: BayouTeche

          2nd to El Siboney and Blue Heaven. I think El Siboney comes closer to local favorite, but Blue Heaven has great atmosphere.

        2. We do weekend trips to KW 4-5 times a year and Santiago's is always one of our stops.

          I was disappointed in Blue Heaven after reading up on it. Very pedestrian.

          Hot Tin Roof was very good, but the chef has changed since we last ate there so I don't know how it is now.

          7 Fish was very, very good. The warm grouper roll was one of the more memorable appetizers I've had in a long time.

          1. We live down here and I agree with most of the previous posts, especially Bayou Teche. Except for Louie's, friends who have been there recently were disappointed.

            Michael's is great for steaks and are well known for them, but I always get fish there and am never disappointed. They also have a special bar menu, if you ever just want a drink and something light.

            7 Fish is my favorite place for Fish in Key West.

            Pepe's on Caroline St., for breakfast.

            Meteor Smokehouse is a great place for lunch or late night dinning, as they serve the same menu until 3:00 a.m. They have great pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, try the spicy green beans, and my favorite is the house salad with grilled fish (usually Mahi Mahi, blackened or not) on top.

            If you are driving down, or have a car and want another great choice, head up to MM24, Cudjoe Key, and eat at the Square Grouper. It serves lunch and dinner. (closed Sunday & Monday)
            In Sugarloaf Key, MM18 , Kingston's Clam Bar, is also very good.

            My son and his friends like to stop at Mr. Z's, just off Duval, on Southard, for sandwiches and pizza.