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Sipping and Savoring My Way Through Key West

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Luckily there is a lot more to the Key West culinary scene than conch fritters and rumrunners on Duval Street.

Here are my top choices for those looking for something a bit more refined, away from the crowds, and where reservations are a must.

Little PearlIt is always a good sign when the locals are waiting to get in. This neighborhood restaurant is only open for dinner with three seatings at 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00. The chef curates a four course menu and wine pairings are offered as well. Definitely a highlight on my trip!

Thirsty Mermaid- I can’t talk about Little Pearl and not mention another one of Quartararo’s restaurants. This chic raw bar, offers elevated food artfully plated, an extensive wine list, great Happy Hour and appetizers. I can’t say enough…GO!

Tiger Bar- Tired of traditional seafood dishes? Don’t let the location fool you- this little gem of a bar is serving some of the hottest flavors in town. There is a bit of a speakeasy vibe since you enter through a Champagne bar, but when they pull back the velvet curtain you are immediately transported to South East Asia.

The plates are small as is the menu, so order it all; you won’t be disappointed, since there is nothing small about the flavor!

Latitudes - Besides the view, the wine list definitely caught my attention and was very impressive. It included some of my favorites… Groth, Caymus, Freemark Abbey, and Turley, to name a few. I was sampling the white wines however, since I wanted to enjoy the seared grouper, a staple fish in Florida cuisine, as well as the tuna poke appetizer. This restaurant is located at Sunset Key, so a boat ride is included!

Santiago’s Bodega- While they are popular for their weekend brunch, any one who knows me knows I love small plates. This tapas bar serves up great flavor from all around the world. Choosing is hard so bring a few friends.

Nine One Five- A place to be seen. As this restaurant is on Duval, it has a livelier energy. The grand Victorian house is always packed and serves contemporary Italian cuisine, with a few twists, great homemade pasta, and a wide selection of wine.

Louie's Backyard is not far from the Southern Most Point so after some pictures at sunset head over and enjoy their large outside deck, just like the name suggests. The food is fresh and served with a culinary twist. The staff is beyond friendly but also highly knowledgeable about food and wine. I do like to dress a bit more than the Key West vibe, so I opted for the table inside the elegant dining room right at the open casing overlooking the deck with an ocean view.

A&B Lobster Bar Located at the historic Key West Bight Marina this upscale restaurant with incredible views has been serving lobster since 1947 from Maine and Florida, a great romantic option.

Blue Heaven The most casual on my list but sometimes you need low key. Known for Caribbean flare with lots of vegetarian options and jerk seasoning. The live music with chickens strutting around adds to the experience. Definitely a couple’s retreat more than large crowds.

Glazed Donuts- I wanted to include this one breakfast stop that can’t be missed, especially if you are traveling with children. These artisan donuts go fast so get there early. Pineapple Upside Down Brule or Apple Fritter so hard to choose…

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