Key West, Florida Restaurants - My Family Travels

This southernmost Florida outpost serves everything from pirate booty to key lime pie to conch fritters in gingerbread trimmed cafes and funky seafood shacks on the pier, all in a casual atmosphere.

There are a lot of over-priced, not very excellent restaurants in Key West, as befits most tourist towns. Some we can recommend:

Banana Café
1211 Duval Street
Key West, Florida 33040
This tiny French café is the breakfast hot spot in town, a place where the crowd waiting outside indicates how fresh the croissants will be. Worth the wait and reasonably priced breakfast and lunch. There’s live jazz every Thursday night.

Bo’s Fish Shack
801 Caroline Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Let’s hope this tumble-down shack near the Historic Seaport is still standing when you come to town, because the bar’s plywood walls are already leaning from the weight of old license plates, fishing trophies and other hanging memorabilia. Bo’s simple conch fritters, fried fish plates and other snacks, served with a beer or whatever’s on tap, make for an authentic, delicious Key West meal.

1202 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Among the fancier places in town, we like this place for its reasonable prices and please-everyone variety of food. Camille’s has an imaginative menu that changes daily (there’s a kids menu, too) based on fresh produce, organic meats and poultry, the day’s catch served several ways and a friendly, welcoming staff.

El Meson de Pepe
410 Wall Street near Mallory Square
Key West, Florida 33040
To a Latin tune, enjoy beans n’rice, Cuban beef dishes, some seafood and a nice sunset view from their patio. After all, you’re only 90 miles away from La Habana.

Dining with a View

Louis’ Backyard
700 Waddell near Wyndham Casa Marina Hotel
Key West, Florida 33040
With an eclectic Asian-American cuisine and an elegant if spare décor, Louis’ Backyard has cornered the “gourmet” Key West market. Lunch is a good value compared to their pricey dinner entrees, and the only time you’ll get a reservation unless you book weeks ahead. We were not so impressed with the food (everyone we spoke with raved about it), but it is very pleasant sitting on their Cape Cod gray verandah overlooking the water and popular Dog Beach, where locals come to play with their dogs.

Turtle Kraals
231 Margaret Street at the Pier
Key West, Florida 33040
Nice outdoor seating and an acceptable fried seafood, conch fritter and burger menu, with lots of old fishing memorabilia displayed inside. They also have a small museum about turtles and the process by which they’re raised for food.

Food “Factory Tours”

If you foodies are tired of spending money and the kids have a curiosity about how things work, we can recommend two “factories” that are local gourmet attractions.

Key West Winery
103 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
The Key West Winery is a large shop where you won’t actually see the wines being made, but there’s a sunny tasting area where the kids can learn how “Hot Sun” (a white wine flavored with tomato and hot peppers), Mango Mama (our favorite, made from that luscious tropical fruit), Key Limen (a lime-based wine that has won several awards) and many other wines are made. While the kids are admiring the ribbons and trophies adorning the 25 displays, those above 21-years can sample up to six wines free of charge.

Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory
107 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Almost next door is the Key Lime Pie Factory, where you can stand behind glass and watch as pies are assembled for delivery to local restaurants and, via the Internet, around the country. Of course you can buy a slice, but that’s better done sitting down at a nice outdoor café along Duval Street. Here’s the place to watch, read all the overhead murals (did you realize Florida’s entire Key lime crop was almost wiped out by a hurricane?) and learn how to make them yourself. Don’t ask us if the baked is better than the frozen, or the whipped cream topping better than meringue, or none.

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