The Popular Key West Restaurants
Here are some examples of popular restaurants that can be found in almost any travel book or magazine that covers Key West restaurants. The first we want to mention is one that is quintessentially Key West in the way its uncommon approach to the restaurant business and the food provided. Camille's is easy to spot with its hot pink awnings right Simonton Street and just off of Catherine Street. Their claim to fame is their constantly changing and consistently innovative menu. They are never one to forgo a challenge to try a new recipe or new mixed dish and even with the undeniably relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant, they take their cooking very seriously! The cooks at this Key West restaurant staple are some of the best and most creative around. One of the ways they self-describe their food is "inexpensive gourmet." Camille's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Another famous hot spot for Key West restaurants is the Conch Republic Seafood Company located just footsteps away from the Key West Historic Marina in downtown Key West. You will find coupons for the Conch Republic all over the island so keep your eyes peeled for these Buy 1 Get 1 Free Margarita Coupons. The Conch Republic stands at the top of the list of iconic Key West restaurants. Their dishes are mostly quintessential island meals including some of the best conch fritters on the island served with their unique Key Lime Mustard dipping sauce. They have a delicious raw bar with raw or steamed oysters and clams. Some delicious appetizers on their menu include the smoked fish dip, the fried calamari, and you can never go wrong with the conch chowder. As far as entrees go, try the Key West scallops, the grilled Dolphin, the 10 ounce lobster tail, or the Cayo Hueso paella.
Located right on the Key West Historic Bight Marina, the next restaurant on our list of popular Key West restaurants is the A&B Lobster House. The best things about this restaurant are the setting (indoor and outdoor) and the gourmet quality of the food. The restaurant is your fine dining Key West style. This means a casual (we're talking very casual) dress code (actually, there really isn't much of a dress code), and this also means being able to eat dinner as you look out over the Key West Historic Harbor and smell the tangy scent of the salty sea. Good service, great atmosphere, and the best in island fine dining has made A&B Lobster House a Key West restaurant staple since the late 1940s. This is a good option for a relaxing but romantic night out in downtown Key West. A&B Lobster House certainly does it up in Key West restaurant cuisine.
If you want something a little more casual and milder on the wallet, try Caroline's which is located right in the heart of Duval Street across from another popular Key West restaurant, the Grand Cafe. Caroline's embodies the dressed-down, active, people-watching environment of Duval Street. The setting of Caroline's is completely outdoors and features wooden picnic tables, tables lined against the front of the restaurant for ideal people watching, and a small outdoor bar. This one of the Key West restaurants that is always packed but you rarely have to wait more than ten minutes for a table. The servers are friendly and embody that laid-back and welcoming Key West vibe. The food is also delicious! Their menu is diverse featuring everything from dolphin fingers to quesadillas to po' boy sandwiches to pasta and meat entrees.
The Not-So-Well-Known Key West Restaurants
Once you have tried a few of the popular Key West restaurant mainstays, it is time to expand your horizons and try the harder-to-find restaurants that are frequented more by "Conchs" (the nickname for Key West locals) than by tourists. These places are usually off the beaten bath, meaning not on Duval Street or Front Street. Sometimes they are walking distance from downtown, sometimes you have to get in an electric car or scooter and head out to them. Always they are well worth the journey and most often they are significantly less expensive than the Key West restaurants of Duval and Front. We will start our list of recommendations with one that is not quite on the cheap side, but is truly unique when it comes to Key West restaurants and is definitely one of the out-of-the-way spots that is known mostly by locals.
Ambrosia is the best Japanese cuisine that any Key West restaurant has to offer. If you want delicious, authentic-style sushi, this is the place to go. The place is located on Simonton Street, the quite street that parallels Duval Street and in the lobby of the Santa Maria Suites Resort. Like the Santa Maria, Ambrosia boasts sleek, modern decor and top of the line service. The sushi chefs understand the process of sushi making as an art as well as a culinary practice. This is where the locals go when they are looking for a true dining experience and it is a secret that is slowly starting to seep out. This is a unique Key West restaurant that offers a world-class dining experience.
Another one of the Key West restaurants that is popular with locals and just slowly starting to become a stop on vacationers' list is El Siboney. Named after the native people of the island of Cuba, El Siboney features a comfortable setting with delicious authentic Cuban food. It is a Cuban joint that feels less like a flashy and gaudy representation of the culture as it does a local spot in the Little Havana area of Miami. The food is succulent and the menu features all the staples of Cuban cuisine along with some fresh seafood dishes that can only be found in a Key West restaurant including grilled mahi mahi. The food is inexpensive and is probably some of the tastiest and most authentic Cuban food that you can find in any of the Key West restaurants.
For a local join that is full of class, uniqueness, and a world-class vibe that retains a Key West restaurant aura, opt for Azur Restaurant on Grinnell Street. This restaurant is run by the chefs, Drew and Michael. Both of these guys have an impressive resume as cooks throughout both the United States and Europe. Their culinary style is diverse and creative. You can taste their unique dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Breakfast at this one-of-a-kind Key West restaurant features hearty and organic meals including Key Lime French toast and original variations of an egg scramble. Lunch is centered on warm, toasted sandwiches and grilled flatbreads. Dinner features meat dishes with a combination of culinary influences including Middle Eastern, European, and Caribbean.