Florida Keys is blessed with quirky restaurants and boutique shops that offer a glimpse into the culinary and cultural scene of Key West. From fish and tapas to farm-to-table and shellfish, here is our updated guide to restaurants that best embody the cultural heritage of Key West.
A local favorite, El Siboney has been described as the best Cuban restaurant in Key West. The word Siboney is the name of an indigenous tribe that inhabited Cuba circa 1492, and also the name of a small town where the Cuban revolution began. The family owned and operated restaurant is located just off the hustle of Duval street and offers friendly service alongside authentic cuisine. Try dishes such as albondigas (Cuban meatballs), dorado a la plancha (grilled Mahi) and the mango guava cheesecake.
El Siboney, 900 Catherine Street, Key West, Florida, United States, +1 305-296-4184
The Conch Republic Seafood Company sits on a historical dock in The Key West Bight district, once the epicenter of sponge commerce; the restaurant alludes to its sponging history by incorporating some of the processing plant parts in its decor. Inside the restaurant features saltwater aquariums filled with native Florida invertebrates, which can be found just offshore. The menu serves fresh produce in signature dishes of conch fritters and fried calamari, which patrons can recreate at home as they publish some of their recipes on the website. Must-try menu items are the tempura-battered cracked conch, stuffed shrimp and the lobster tail.
Latitudes is revered as one of Key West’s fanciest restaurants to be enjoyed just after watching sun drop from Mallory Square. Guests are shuttled on a Westin Hotel boat to a tiny mangrove island ten minutes from the Key West docks. Once on the island of Sunset Key, guests sit at al fresco tables looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. Dining indoors is also an option. The Ernest Hemingway Room is filled with photos of the famous author and his days in Key West. If beach dining is preferred, guests can enjoy their dinner on candlelit tables lined by tiki torches. The menu by Chef Todd Holender offers fresh seafood adorned with tropical fruits.
Latitudes, 245 Front Street, Key West, Florida, United States, +1 305-292-5394
Alonzo & Berlin’s Lobster House has been a cornerstone in the Key West dining scene since 1947 by offering a mesmerizing seaside atmosphere alongside their delectable entrees. The restaurant specializes in local seafood caught off the coast of Florida and seasonal catches from Maine. Resting in The Key West Bight district, A&B’s Lobster House has an outdoor balcony for guests who wish to marvel at the Key West sunset. Say yes to the broiled Florida lobster tail, served with coconut pecan rice and baby vegetables. For an after dinner drink, Berlin’s Martini & Cigar Bar next door offers guests cognacs, cigars and dessert wines.
2 Cents is a charming Key West gastro-pub serving a flavorful menu in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Tall chairs run the length of a wooden lacquered bar, while paintings and murals cover the walls. The menu at 2 Cents lists gourmet pub cuisine with items like clams, mussels and chorizo, truffle fries, bacon wrapped jalapeno peppers and Key West pink shrimp fried rice. Meanwhile drinks to try are the hibiscus jalapeno margarita and the Sazerac, which includes absinthe, high west rye, ridge distillery bitters and flamed orange.
2 Cents, 416 Appelrouth Lane, Key West, Florida, United States, +1 305-414-8626
Hot Tin Roof is located in the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, overlooking the Key West Harbor. The interior showcases bright, tropical colors while a mural from a late, local artist dresses the main dining room. The view from an outdoor deck of Hot Tin Roof attracts diners in search of the perfect sunset. Menu items like the caramelized grouper, the guava empanadas with pork, and the stuffed lobster make the menu gourmet and eclectic. Meanwhile, the cocktail list is extensive and a perk offered by the Ocean Key Resort & Spa is a Southernmost Mixology class, available for enthusiasts who wish to learn how to mix unique drinks.
Nine One Five offers an elegant dining experience in a renovated, Victorian house along Key West’s famed Duval Street. The white-washed house is like something out of a Mark Twain novel, and gives a birds-eye view of street activity, accompanied by light jazz music in the background. For menu starters, try the crispy duck confit, the braised pork tacos, the olive platter and the signature ‘tuna dome’, which features fresh crab, lemon-miso dressing and an ahi tuna–sashimi wrapping. For an entrée move along to the seafood soup, steak au poivre frites or the pan-roasted swordfish.
Nine One Five, 915 Duval Street, Key West, FL, United States, +1 305-296–0669