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Aug 2, 2011 11:25 AM

Key West in a few weeks

Heading down to Key West in a few weeks and our vacations typically are planned around eating. I know i need to try the Key Lime pie, and conch, and hogfish, but where should i try these and where else should we go? We know of the popular touristy places, but we love food and those places usually are not too good. Oh and we would love some authentic cuban food. Any recommendations?

Thank you!


Key Lime Cafe
211 Colorado Ave, Stuart, FL 34994

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  1. As far as Cuban goes:
    El Siboney - it's a little out of the way, but worth the trip
    5 Brothers Grocery & Sandwich Shop
    The Cuban Coffee Queen is down by the Historic Seaport.

    If your down by the Historic Seaport try BO's for fish sandwich

    900 Catherine St, Key West, FL 33040

    5 Brothers Grocery
    930 Southard St, Key West, FL 33040

    1 Reply
    1. re: mangiamama

      Loved Cuban Coffee Queen for Breakfast, and El Siboney. I also really liked the new restaurant Havana 1 for authentic Cuban Food. It's smaller and more mom and pop that El SIboney. Also, Sandy's is great for Cafe on Leche and Cuban toast in the a.m.

      Other food recs:
      Everyone has different takes on Key Lime Pie, but my favorite is at Rooftop Cafe. I didn't love their entrees on my visit, but also thought they had good cocktails an apps.

      My absolute favorite restaurant in all of Key West is Santiago's Bodega, a tapas joint. They recently added an afternoon happy hour from 4-6 with a few $5 small plates and half-priced sangria pitchers. Their small plates are all awesome, as is the atmosphere. I think this is probably my favorite tapas joint anywhere. Get the bacon-wrapped dates.

      If you want a pull-out-the-stops upscale meal, do Louie's Backyard. The patio is gorgeous, the service is awesome and the food is delicious. It's very romantic. If there's only two of you, request a one-sided booth facing the ocean. So nice!

      I've never tried Latitudes on Sunset Key, but it's another favorite for a romantic meal. From what I've read about it, it sounds like it's more about the atmosphere than inventive cuisine, but it is supposed to be nice.

      I don't love conch, but you can get conch fritters along with an awesome grouper sandwich at BO's. I would definitely suggest that. I also once got conch cevice at the half shell raw bar, perhaps a better way to taste the actual conch than chopped up in a fritter.

      Another dinner spot I suggest is 915. Try the soul mama seafood soup. When I was there in July, most of the bottles of wine were half off, too, which was great. They are also known for a tuna dome appetizer, which was pretty darn good.

      Make sure you also check out happy hours if you like eating and drinking. There are lots of really good deals to be had a various restaurants. Places to stop for hh snacks: Half Shell Raw Bar, Alonzo's, Turtle Kraals (50 cent oysters all the time!), Schooner Wharf Bar (great for drinks in the afternoon, and for blackened fish sandwiches), Kelly's.

      You also need to try a Key Lime Martini, the White Tarpon has great ones. The Tiki Bar on the water has great mojitos.

      Other places I've heard good things about but haven't made it to you: Moe's (haitian), Colombian Grace (Colombian).
      People will also tell you you need to go to Blue Heaven. I think their desserts are awesome, but the rest of the food is overrated. This is one of those tourist spots you referenced that used to be really good, but is now just more of an attraction. They even point it out as an "example of old key west" on the trolley tours. Not good!

      I've been to key west several times, and like you, most of my vacations are usually centered around food (and drinks, for me!). If you've got any specific questions, let me know.

      Louie's Backyard
      700 Waddell Ave, Key West, FL 33040

      Blue Heaven Restaurant
      729 Thomas St, Key West, FL 33040

      Santiago's Bodega
      207 Petronia St, Key West, FL 33040

      Half Shell Raw Bar
      231 Margaret St, Key West, FL 33040

      900 Catherine St, Key West, FL 33040

      Key Lime Cafe
      211 Colorado Ave, Stuart, FL 34994

      Turtle Kraals
      1 Lands End Vlg, Key West, FL 33040

      Colombian Grace Restaurant
      223 Petronia Street, Key West, FL 33040

    2. I have eaten hogfish many, many times. The absolute best hogfish I have ever had was at Cafe' Sole'. Chef John really knows how to prepare hogfish. I just returned after 3 days in Key West and I am still thinking of the hogfish at Cafe' Sole'. Don't miss this one.

      PS: Their portobello soup and gazpacho are also superb.

      Cafe Sole - Key West
      1029 Southard St., Key West, FL 33040