The best restaurants in Key West range from beach bars, tiki huts, and food trucks to fine dining, casual eateries, and waterfront gathering places. Most are in open-air settings with the tropical ambiance of ceiling fans, weathered wood, nautical décor, colorful art, and even thatched rooftops (gotta love those thatched rooftops in the tropics). Add in the extras of live music, top-notch entertainment, a Friday night jam session, and stunning waterfront views, and you’ve got a meal to remember.
With its location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, super fresh seafood like Key West pink shrimp, hogfish, grouper, tuna, and conch fritters are a given while in Key West (and the Florida Keys in general). Not into seafood? Not a problem! The best food in Key West includes Spanish, Cuban, and Caribbean influences that come across in entrees like Cuban ropa vieja, traditional Spanish fare, Asian favorites, pizza and pasta, and a bevy of breakfast options at world-famous brunch-centric restaurants.
Whether you’re in town for a honeymoon, family vacation, or girls’ getaway, be sure to check out a few of our suggestions for the best restaurants in Key West. We’ve thought of everything from breakfast, brunch, and lunch to happy hour, dinner, and a midnight (or 2 am) snack. Don’t forget the decadent desserts and refreshing treats like frozen key lime pie, smoothies, creative cocktails, craft beer flights, and Cuban coffee.
18 Best Restaurants in Key West
1. A&B Lobster House/Alonzo’s Oyster Bar
Address: 700 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040
Open since 1947, Alonzo’s is located right on the water at A&B Marina. The two-story structure was the collaboration of friends Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton.
The building was originally a fish house where the boats would pull right up and toss over the day’s catch. At that time, the harbor was once filled with shrimp boats. Now, the restaurant boasts luxury yachts and stunning sunset views.
A&B Lobster House, located upstairs, is the fine dining and linen tablecloth side of the place. Steak selections and both Maine and Florida lobster are featured in menu items like lobster Thermidor, lobster bisque, grilled lobster tail, crab cakes, grilled octopus, seafood risotto, Australian wagyu ribeye, lobster rolls, filet mignon, butter poached lobster, and surf and turf.
Situated downstairs, Alonzo’s is the casual raw bar and lunch spot to the upscale ambiance of A&B. Offering Cuban and Caribbean flavors, menu items offer some of the best Key West food and seafood dishes, including clam chowder, conch chowder, oysters, towering plates of seafood, and peel-and-eat shrimp. Enjoy daily happy hour specials and signature cocktails like a Southernmost sunset, a tipsy mermaid, and bloody Mary oyster shooters.
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Address: 115 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
Situated near all the action of Duval Street and Mallory Square, Bagatelle is located in a beautiful structure built in the 1800s. Converted into a restaurant in 1979, it offers charming Victorian architecture in a tropical setting. Dine indoors or sit on the porch and watch the world walk by.
Bagatelle is the place for brunch any day of the week. Spend time deciding on items like lobster omelets, banana foster French toast, huevos rancheros, and Southern benedicts with Cajun hollandaise.
Add a Bloody Mary, mimosa, or Paloma to get the day started. There’s a breakfast hangover happy hour and an afternoon happy hour – now how’s that for convenience? Both times offer terrific specials on appetizers and small-plate tapas selections, so you’re a winner either way.
The dinner menu offers items such as their signature dish of lobster mac and cheese, roast chicken, swordfish, tuna, and New York strip as well as an incredibly long list of wine and champagne. Desserts option include the always delicious banana heaven and the iconic key lime pie.
3. Bistro 245
Address: 245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040
Bistro 245 is found in the Opal Key Resort & Marina. It’s one of the best Key West restaurants for waterfront views.
Located just steps from Mallory Square, the patio is a great place to catch world-famous sunsets. The Opal Key is the former site of the Margaritaville Resort, which has moved to another location on the island. It’s a sister hotel to the ultra-luxurious Sunset Key Cottages just off the harbor.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Bistro 245 offers a wide variety of American and Caribbean-inspired choices. Breakfast items include lobster eggs benedict, mango smoothies, French toast, and blueberry pancakes. For lunch, choose from grilled shrimp and quinoa salads, refreshing gazpacho, ahi tuna tacos, and classic Cuban sandwiches.
Bistro 245 is of the best seafood restaurants on the island, and the dinner menu offers Gulf shrimp and lobster fettuccine, lemon garlic mahi, roasted Tuscan chicken, and pasta primavera.
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4. Blue Heaven
Address: 729 Thomas Street, Key West, FL 33040
With a cozy backyard vibe of wooden porches, brick walkways, tropical trees, funky weathered decor, and lots of umbrellas, Blue Heaven is one of the most popular restaurants in Key West. The line around the corner can attest to that. It’s located in the historic Bahama Village.
While waiting for your table, relax on the porch, visit the gift shop, or snap pics of the locals (that would be the free-range hens, roosters, and sometimes chicks that roam the area). Blue Heaven is one of the best restaurants in Key West for families as the kids are bound to be entertained by all the roaming poultry.
The iconic breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot has made its way into popular culture. It’s the subject of a song by the King of Key West himself, Jimmy Buffett.
“Blue Heaven Rendezvous” is on 1995’s Barometer Soup album. The bar was used in the video for Kenny Chesney’s song “The Good Stuff “ from 2003’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.
Listen to live music while enjoying menu selections like eggs Benedict with shrimp, loaded omelets, shrimp and grits, salads, burgers, bowls, Jamaican jerk chicken, pork tenderloin, and Caribbean BBQ shrimp.
5. Boat House Bar & Grill at Turtle Kraals
Address: 220 Margaret Street, Key West, FL 33040
The Boat House Bar & Grill recently moved from its original location downstairs at the Commodore Waterfront Restaurant (which is now the new home of the White Tarpon Bar & Restaurant) to the other end of the boardwalk in the former Turtle Kraals location. Fans of Turtle Kraals will notice that they’ve paid tribute with the addition of “at Turtle Kraals” on their sign.
With nautical flags flying from the ceiling, an open-air layout, waterfront views, and a ton of draft beer selections, it’s a terrific spot to hang out before or after the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square. It has won local awards for Best Happy Hour. With baby lamb chops, tempura lobster tails, and conch fritters on the menu, we can see why.
In case you’re wondering, “kraal” is an African word for “corral.” This building site was a former turtle cannery (the Thompson Fish House, Turtle Cannery and Kraals) that operated from 1912 until about 1957. The turtles were kept in corrals in the water.
This practice ended after the serious overfishing of turtles. The cannery building was once the site of the Key West Turtle Museum, which served to educate about turtle conservation, but it’s no longer there. The Mel Fisher Museum has some of its exhibits in the space.
See Related: Where to Stay in Key West: Best Areas & Neighborhoods
6. Cuban Coffee Queen
Address: 284 Margaret Street, Key West, FL 33040
A strong cup of Cuban coffee is just what you need after a night of partying on Duval Street. This lively counter service café has three locations: the original Cuban Coffee Queen on Margaret Street, one at Clinton Square Market at 291 Front Street, and the Downtown location at 5 Key Lime Square.
The extensive menu at Cuban Coffee Queen (Who knew there were so many coffee options?) includes Cuban espresso, café con leche, cortadito, Americano, and Cuban frappes as well as cold brews, chai tea, mango iced tea, and soda. You’ll also find smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and breakfast items like Cuban bread with guava, strawberry croissants, and a breakfast burrito. Bags of beans are available if you’d like to brew your own at home.
7. Conch Republic Seafood Company
Address: 631 Greene Street, Key West, FL 33040
Conch Republic Seafood Company is my go-to for great food and atmosphere while on island time. It’s the best place for local seafood, frozen cocktails, and shrimp salad. The waterfront location offers amazing views of the harbor and its numerous luxury yachts.
It was a former icehouse (the Singleton Fish House and Ice Plant). Thousands of pounds of shrimp were shipped from the location.
It has the original concrete floors and salvaged wood to give that authentic and historic touch. You can view slabs of fresh fish and seafood on the ice behind glass counters.
Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 pm and offers things like 2-for-1 domestic, import, and craft beers (Ever try key lime-infused brews?). Chooses from raw bar selections, Key West crab cakes, smokehouse burgers, New York strip, and the freshest selection of seafood you can imagine. Caribbean-spiced mahi-mahi, blackened jumbo scallops, and crab-stuffed ravioli with blackened shrimp are just a few to get you started with the imagining.
There’s a big wraparound bar, patio seating, an aquarium, a gift shop, and daily live music to keep the party going.
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8. El Meson De Pepe’s Restaurant & Bar
Address: 410 Wall Street, Key West, FL 33040
With colorful décor, a festive atmosphere, and live music, El Meson is conveniently located next to the one and only Mallory Square. The family-owned restaurant has been serving delicious authentic Cuban food for nearly 40 years.
The original restaurant opened on Duval Street in 1985. It soon outgrew that location and moved to its current location in 1997.
The menu at El Meson features a variety of Caribbean and Cuban influences. Choose from favorites like churrasco, pollo al ajillo, tamales, roast pork, and lechon asado as well as sandwiches such as pan con ropa vieja and jamon y queso. For a good table, get there before the sun sets and everyone flocks in.
9. First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery
Address: 301 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040
Formerly Kelly’s (as in Top Gun’s Kelly McGillis – go figure), First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery features the same aviation-themed décor as its previous celeb owner. Believe it or not, the building is known as the birthplace of Pan American World Airlines.
Tickets were sold out of the building beginning in 1927. The airline began in Key West as an air mail and passenger service flying between Key West and Havana, Cuba.
First Flight is open for lunch and dinner and features a varied menu that includes Caribbean pork, seared tuna, New York strip, fish tacos, beef brisket mac and cheese, burgers, and jerk chicken sandwiches. Enjoy locally brewed craft beer creations at the on-site brewery and Crash Bar (with the unique addition of a Sikorsky seaplane lodged in the ceiling – no biggie).
Happy hour is from 4 to 6 pm daily. Choose from premium well drinks, house wines, margaritas, and food choices like fried ravioli, pretzel bites, and deviled eggs.
There’s indoor seating, elegant outdoor garden dining, and a second-floor tree-top deck. Plus you can book them out for events!
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10. Hogfish Bar & Grill
Address: 6810 Front Street, Stock Island, FL 33040
The Hogfish Bar & Grill is on nearby Stock Island. You’ll want to queue up the GPS for this one, as it’s one of those off-the-grid kinds of locations.
It can be difficult to find and easy to miss (those thatched rooftops tend to blend in with the trees). But it’s worth the extra bit of travel to get to.
Located in Safe Harbour Marina, you’ll walk into an open-air setting of weathered wood, picnic table seating, and lots of nautical and license plate décor. You can also sit outdoors along the dock and chow down on hogfish sandwiches, fresh catch, peel-and-eat shrimp, Jamaican jerk wings, mixed seafood ceviche, and their signature stuffed hogfish. Enjoy live music on weekends.
11. Hot Tin Roof
Address: 0 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
An ode to Tennessee Williams, a Key West resident for more than 30 years (rather than Hemingway’s cats), Hot Tin Roof is located at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa in downtown Key West. It offers a blend of Floridian and Latin American entrees and small plates such as seared black grouper, crab mac and cheese, lobster bisque, grilled petite filet mignon, and pork shank osso bucco.
It’s open for breakfast, dinner, and Sunday brunch and offers a sophisticated atmosphere with waterfront views. Indoor and verandah seating are available.
Reservations are recommended but not required. Enjoy drinks before or after in the colorful Hot Tin Roof Lounge.
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12. Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Pie Shoppe
Address: 200 Elizabeth Street, Key West, FL 33040
Kermit’s may be more of a store than a restaurant, per se, but once you’ve been, you’ll understand why we included it. This small store on the corner of Greene and Elizabeth Streets is one of my first stops whenever I’m in town and craving anything and everything key lime.
Cookies, marinades, jams and jellies, nuts, salsa, and even lotion are infused with the citrus scent and flavor of key limes. The real treat is the famous key lime pie, which is available by the slice or as a delectable dessert that’s frozen and dipped in chocolate.
Owner Kermit Carpenter (who can often be seen posing for pics in his trademark green apron and toque) has been in business for more than 29 years. Back then, the store was across from a sewage pumping station. But its prime location right at the Key West Bight kept his hopes up as the City of Key West went through with plans for the area (the pumping station is no longer there, just so you know).
There’s also a location on Duval Street (335F Duval), but the original on Elizabeth Street has Kermit’s Café, which offers a tropical setting of flowers and trees around a koi pond. Breakfast and lunch are served from 7 am to 3 pm every day.
A facility in DeLand, Florida handles the main production and website order shipping for the business. Oh yeah, you can order Kermit’s key lime pie from anywhere in the country, and they’ll overnight it to you. Talk about good service!
Kermit’s has been featured on the Food Network, HGTV, The Travel Channel, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and many other magazines and media sites. They also enjoy a friendly rivalry with the nearby Key West Key Lime Pie Company – give them both a try and tell us what you think!
13. Margaritaville Key West
Address: 500 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
Key West is the very embodiment of the state of mind that is Margaritaville, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than at the original location of the song’s namesake. Jimmy Buffett created an empire with one song, as there are restaurants, cafes, and resort hotels around the world sporting the neon name.
You won’t get any pretentious vibes at this island eatery. It’s all about enjoying the casual and open-air attitude of live music, cold drinks, and delicious food. Menu items include fish tacos, BBQ ribs, Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya, and the best cheeseburgers (in paradise, of course) as well as a wide array of margaritas and other frozen drinks and draft beer.
The laid-back bar is located beside CVS and across the street from Kilwin’s Ice Cream and Banana Republic (can’t get much more unpretentious than that). You can also get Margaritaville delivered right to your door, but it’s well worth going in person at least once for the full lineup of live music, live-streaming of concerts, and sporting events, and the general Buffett-ness of it all. Check out the gift shop next door for the obligatory magnet, keychain, shot glass, or t-shirts!
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14. Misohappy Sushi and Thai
Address: 504 Southard Street, Key West, FL 33040
For a taste of Thai and Japanese cuisine in the tropics, head to Misohappy Sushi and Thai. Casual and compact, it’s conveniently located a block off of Duval Street. Choose Thai favorites such as pad Thai, pad see ew, seafood stir fries, miso soup, and specialty rolls with asparagus, spicy tuna, smoked salmon, and fresh ahi.
On the sushi side, enjoy artistically arranged wraps of sushi, sashimi, and nigiri combinations as well as tuna nachos and classic and tempura rolls like California, spicy yellowtail, and spider rolls.
15. New York Pasta Garden
Address: 1075 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
Located in Duval Square Mall, New York Pasta Garden shares its Empire State roots with the island life of the Conch Republic. A New York native brought the traditional tastes of Italy to the island in 1989. Enjoy the fun of tropical birds in a courtyard garden setting complete with a brick-lined floor, bubbling fountains, and twinkling lights.
Open for lunch, dinner, and available for delivery, you’ll find pizza, seafood, and authentic Italian recipes on the lengthy menu. stuffed manicotti, fettuccine Alfredo, pasta primavera, filet mignon, surf and turf, and a wide array of other dishes featuring mussels, lobster, shrimp, and scallops. As you would expect, there’s an extensive list of fine wines as well.
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16. Off the Hook Grill
Address: 920 Caroline Street, Key West, FL 33040
Located near West Marine, Off the Hook Grill has a dining room, a main bar, a pub area, a pub bar, and a cozy patio area (furry four-legged diners are allowed on the patio too). This is one of the few completely AC-adorned interiors on the island, so soak it in.
Menu offerings include seafood, sandwiches, pizza, and the most amazing blueberry mint key lime pie you’ll ever stuff in your mouth. Choose from lobster and shrimp mac and cheese, blackfin tuna poke bowls, fried green tomatoes, ceviche of the day, tacos, grilled chicken sandwiches, and personal-size pizza. Top it off with Cuban espresso, limoncello, and cordials and dessert wines.
Happy hour is from 4 to 5:30 pm and features a variety of standards like seafood deviled eggs, sweet potato tots, tuna poke, and smoked mahi fish dip as well as sangria, drafts, and well drinks.
17. Sloppy Joe’s
Address: 201 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
While Sloppy Joe’s has more of a following with the bar crowd, it’s an original so we have to include it (the sloppy Joes are quite good). Plus, any piece about Key West has to include a Hemingway reference (it’s practically a law – it was one of his favorite eateries after all).
This particular location wasn’t where Papa hung out, though. The original Sloppy Joe’s was at the current Capt. Tony’s from 1933 – 1937 (which would have been the time frame Hemingway frequented the place). Sloppy Joe’s has been at this corner of Duval and Greene in Old Town for nearly 86 years. There’s a big celebration planned for the anniversary in May.
Deemed as having the best party in town (and, quite possibly, all of the Florida Keys), it features a full schedule of live music, a dance floor, Joe’s Tap Room for sports viewing, and serves as a stage for the Key West Songwriter’s Festival held annually in May and the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest in June.
The menu offers mojo pork tacos, fish tacos, grilled and Southern fried chicken sandwiches, and flatbread pizza, along with a large selection of rum runners, daiquiris, mojitos, regional craft beer, drafts, and wine.
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18. Southernmost Sandy’s Café
Address: 1327 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
If you’re hanging out in the southern section of town, you can’t miss Southernmost Sandy’s Café – and I’m not just saying that because we share the same name. The colorful food truck features authentic Cuban fare and seafood such as lobster tostones, Cuban sandwiches, spicy fried chicken, burgers, breakfast items, and fried shrimp tacos. Enjoy an array of Cuban beverages such as buchi (Cuban espresso), cortaditos (an espresso shot with milk), and iced café con leche.
It’s about a block away from the wildly popular buoy at the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States and near the Butterfly Museum and the Southernmost Beach Resort. You can also have Sandy’s delivered to you if you’re not feeling the walk.
Sandy’s other, and original, location is at 1026 White Street. It offers most of the same food and beverage selections as the food truck.
Opened by the Santiago family in 1954, it’s a walk-up window at the M&M Laundry near the Key West Cemetery and the USS Maine Memorial. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to explore those two sites while in the area.
Key West Dining Tips
Key West has its quirks (and we’re all for it – the quirkier the better). We thought we’d share a few tips to make your dining experience one to remember.
- The most popular spots often fill up quickly. Call me old, but I’ve found that late lunch/early dinner is the best time to beat the crowds. Enjoy a leisurely meal (sometimes with the added savings of happy hour) and stroll around town while everyone else waits in line. Take that, hipsters.
- Speaking of happy hour (or hours, as the case may be), it’s one of the best times to dine in Key West. Along with drink specials, there are usually a wide variety of appetizer specials.
- While Key West is about as far from New York City (in both aesthetics and geography), as you can get, they share similarities in the ability to grab a slice of pizza at almost any time of the day or night.
- Most bars, restaurants, and cafés in the Florida Keys are open-air, meaning you won’t be sitting in an AC-controlled setting. Don’t sweat it (pun intended) though. Ceiling fans and coastal breezes (and those frosty drinks) quickly cool everything down.
- The restaurant business is a finicky thing. Bars, cafes, and restaurants come and go like the wind. If you have a favorite eatery, it’s a good idea to check good ol’ Google to make sure your faves are still in business.
- If you’re into history, read up on Key West’s dining locations. Many of them were originally something else (and not always a dining site). Just a few off the top of my head include ice plants, turtle canneries, private homes, and the birthplaces of major airlines.
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