Key West has become one of the most eclectic destinations for cuisine. Many restaurants offer what has become distinctive Key West cuisine: seafood dishes heavily influenced by Caribbean, Cuban, and American tastes. One of the best aspects of many of the Key West restaurants is the ambiance, whether Each restaurant here, even the most upscale dining restaurants, retain a laid-back Key West attitude, and most places welcome guests with sandals and t-shirts.
Embracing the Key West love of pirate culture, the Rum Barrel has one of Key West's most ambitious decor. The restaurant is located right next to the Pirate Soul Museum, which is very appropriate. The inside of Rum Barrel is littered with tasteful pirate-themed decorations. But it's not just the pirate decor that keeps visitors coming back for more. The Rum Barrel also has a delicious and extensive menu featuring classic Key West favorites such as conch fritters,pulled pork sandwiches, and freshly-caught Mahi Mahi.
Not hungry? The Rum Barrel is actually one of Old Town Key West's most frequented bars. The establishment offers both an upstairs open-air bar and a large indoor one. If you come here on a Friday or Saturday night, you will run into large crowds made up of both visitors and locals. The specialty drink at the Rum Barrel is...well, you probably figured it out...rum! The bars at the Rum Barrel pride themselves on having the largest selection of rums from around the Caribbean and the world. They also offer guests with a Rum Bible for those who are curious enough to browse their extensive list of rums.
Finnegan's Wake brings Ireland right to the continental United States' southernmost island. Picture the laid-back and friendly vibe that Key West is known for in an impressively authentic-looking Irish pub setting, complete with the dark browns, Irish flags, and wide selection of beers. The restaurant/bar is conveniently located in the heart of Old Town Key West (where all the action happens) and offers patrons plenty of seating in three different sections: the bar area with elevated tables, the classier dining room with the Irish-style dark wooden booths and tables, and the calming outdoor garden seating area.
If you come to Finnegan's Wake, you have to try at least one of their Irish-inspired dishes. Their Irish cooking shines in the appetizers. For your main meal, the restaurant has delicious takes on classic American dishes combined with Irish staples such as chicken pot-pie, shepherd pie, and something called Colcannon which is a delicious mix of mashed potatoes, thickly diced scallions, and stewed cabbage, all topped off with melted white cheddar cheese). To wash down your meal, Finnegan's Wake offers guests one of Key West's largest selection of draft beer including Guinness (of course), Kronenbourg, Spaten, Harp, Bass and many more!
Hot Tin Roof:
Located just next to the famous Key West resort the Ocean Key, the Hot Tin Roof is the kind place that you want to start your Key West vacation has. It encompasses much of what people think of when they think of Key West, from the amazing views of the sunset to the tasty Caribbean fusion food and tropical drinks. And patrons recognize not only how quintessentially Key West this restaurant is, but also just how purely tasty the food is and how unique the setting is.
The cuisine at the Hot Tin Roof is definitely Key West style cuisine (referred to many as "Conch" cuisine), but this cuisine is taken to a new level. It's fine dining restaurant of Conch cuisine. Dishes include concoctions such as curried crab cakes with spicy habanero ramoulade and the popular Hot Tin Paella featuring some of the best Key West seafood (lobster tail, shrimp, mussels, clams), chicken, and chorizo all combined with tasty baked saffron rice. For your drinks, definitely try one of the Hot Tin Roof's amazing tropical cocktails, each one more unique and delicious than the last.
Nine One Five Bistro and Wine Bar:
Located on Duval Street just off the corner on Truman Avenue, the Nine One Five Bistro and Wine Bar is an experience onto itself. Nine One Five offers the finest in gourmet international dishes prepared to perfection by a team of talented and expert chefs. Dishes at the Nine One Five include such combo dishes as the spicy Chipotle Conch Chowder (combining the class Caribbean dish with Chipotle flavors), Fried Calimari, and a unique dish called Devils on Horseback (which is dates wrapped in bacon, and is a lot tastier than it sounds). Those are just some of the appetizers! For your entree, try the exquisite mushroom risotto, the tantalizing steak frittes au poivre, or the fresh-caught pan-seared Key West grouper.
The amazing cuisine is accented by an impressive wine selection including wines from Italy, France, Napa Valley, Spain and Australia. Picture all this in one of Key West's most elegantly decorated restaurants, featuring both indoor and outdoor seating and overlooking the historic Duval Street. The building in which Nine One Five bistro is locaed is an old Victorian mansion that dates back 1906. If you are seeking a fancy, chic, and unforgettable dining experience, head to Nine One Five Bistro and Wine Bar (reservations are highly recommended).
The Grand Cafe is the kind of place that you take someone you want to impress. It has one of the best locations right on Duval Street about three blocks from the Key West Historic Marina. It is located in an early 20th century Victorian mansion and it truly does up the Key West-style elegance. But don't expect to have to show up in a coat and tie, unless you want to. This is Key West, after all! The Grand Cafe has one of the most knowledgeable and efficient staffs of any Key West restaurant, offering you advice on what kind of wine to get and what dishes you might like the best.
The Grand Cafe's menu shines in its wine list. So take your time to browse their extensive selection of wines to make sure to pick the right bottle (or the right two or three bottles!). The Grand Cafe has lunch specials on items such as their exquisite paninis and sandwiches. For dinner, you have plenty of Caribbean and Italian inspired dishes such as the amazing Blackened Mahi Mahi. For weekend nights and holidays, you might want to consider calling in reservations as the Grand Cafe has become quite popular.