Our 6 Most Favorite Places To Eat in Key West

by SharonKurheg

We’ve been to Key West several times since 2010 (Sharon also went an additional time in 2008). It’s a quick getaway for us, within driving distance or a short flight away. We like going to places we’ve been to before because many of the stresses of traveling are diminished when you know something about where you are. I totally get that some people will be like, “You shouldn’t go back to somewhere you’ve already been. There are so many new places to discover!” I also 100% agree with that and we do our best to get to new places, too. But we also do our best to revisit places where we’ve had a really good time. It’s like watching a movie you’ve seen or re-reading a book you like; it’s a comfort and you know it will be enjoyable.

One of the nice things of going to a location you’ve been before is that you have a pre-made list of favorites made by the best travel consultant you know – YOU!

This is a list of the places we really like to go to in Key West, that fit our travel style. I’ll try and explain why we like each place so you can decide for yourself if you might like them as well. As with everything on this website, Your Mileage May Vary. I’ll work from breakfast to late-night snacks.

Sarabeth’s – 530 Simonton St.


Sarabeth’s is now our go-to place for brunch. So much so that we’ve been known to go there twice on the same trip. It’s located a bit off the tourist strip so the vibe is more laid back and less hectic. There’s seating inside and outside (it can be pleasant for people watching or a bit warm, depending on the season.) They just do so many things right that it’s hard to find a fault with eating here. I mean, look at the size of the coffee cups!


They have a bunch of interesting breakfast champagne cocktails with fresh juices and they serve toast with their own brand of preserves (we bought a jar of the peach-apricot preserves last time we were there. Delicious!). We knew we made a good choice when, after checking in on Facebook, our social media lit up with likes from our friends who visit Key West.

We liked the Key West location so much, we went to check out one of their Manhattan spots. Here’s our review.

Louie’s Backyard – 700 Waddell Ave.

We’ve been going to Louie’s Backyard since our first stay in Key West in 2010. We’ve had brunch and dinner there, along with drinks on the back deck. I’d say that we like going for brunch the most (reservations are recommended). We enjoy that the dog beach is right next to the deck and we spend much of our meal watching the doggies playing in the water. The menu for brunch does change frequently and we’ve not been thrilled with the selections the last couple of times we visited, but that’s always going to be hit or miss. We did come here for drinks to watch the sunset one time but since Louie’s is on the southern side of the island (near the Southernmost Point marker), there’s not a great sunset view. We did eat dinner here once and weren’t thrilled with the experience; it’s a classier vibe and the menu was much more expensive. The food was fine but for us, most of the appeal here is the view and that isn’t much to look at in the evening, once the sun has gone down. But for brunch, we’ve generally really enjoyed our experiences here.

Rick’s Tree Bar – 202 Duval St. 


I know I said this was a list of places we liked to eat when we are in Key West. However, this is Key West and sometimes we choose to have a liquid lunch. The Tree Bar is part of the larger Ricks and Durty Harry’s complex, which is quintessential Duval St. Think live music, cheap drinks and lots of drunk people. That’s not our style. Fortunately, the Tree Bar is none of that. All the liquor is premium and the juices are squeezed fresh to order. I also understand they make one of the best Bloody Marys on the island but we’re partial to the Pina Coladas. One of our favorite bartenders in the world used to work here, but she’s long gone and relocated to North Carolina. Regardless, Rick’s Tree Bar still holds on strong for a good drink.

Cafe Marquesa – 600 Fleming St.

Cafe Marquesa

We’ve stayed at the Marquesa Hotel on two of our trips to Key West and we’ve eaten at the Cafe Marquesa during each of those stays. The hotel made all the arrangements and it was nice to have a really wonderful dinner and then just go back upstairs to our room. The restaurant only has about 35 seats so it books up fast. Cafe Marquesa gets consistently high ratings from Zagat Guide, Travel + Leisure and TripAdvisor and is priced accordingly, with entrees going for roughly $50-$80. We’re not against paying that for a dinner but we’d rather save that type of money for a trip to Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa. If money is no object or you’re celebrating something special, you can’t go wrong eating here.

Nine One Five – 915 Duval St.


Besides the Cafe Marquesa, finding somewhere good to eat for dinner in Key West proved incredibly difficult. We’ve gone to the best-rated places on Yelp! and TripAdvisor and were disappointed time and time again. We’ve never seen ourselves as quitters though, so we kept trying and we finally found a winner. Nine One Five is housed in a classic-style home right on Duval. The location on touristy Duval St. would normally turn us off but it’s far enough away from Mallory Square to keep most of the tourists away.


The atmosphere was wonderful and we sat at a table right on the front porch. Service was great and I think Sharon might possibly leave me for the “Absurdly Addictive Asparagus.” (Note from Sharon: Fortunately, the Absurdly Addictive Asparagus can’t reach the top shelf for me, so I promise I won’t leave you LOLOL!)

Our food pictures aren’t going to garner any awards on Instagram but trust me, the food here was amazing. By far some of the best we’ve ever had in Key West. We will definitely be stopping back during our next trip.

Caroline’s Cafe – 310 Duval St.


I can almost imagine Sharon’s jaw dropping to the floor when reading this (Note from Sharon – it did) because I’ve done almost everything I could to avoid eating here again. I find the atmosphere bland and the food uninspiring. But you see, here’s the thing that makes me include Caroline’s on the list. The food is consistent, the location is excellent and they’re open late. I guarantee that if you walk around Key West enough, you’ll eventually walk past Caroline’s at a time when you’re hungry and don’t want to look for somewhere to eat. That’s when you’ll eat here – when you’re borderline hangry and your feet hurt and you just want to sit down. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t be afraid to grab a chair and eat some unidentifiable fried fish/chicken/meat on a plain roll smothered with mayo and a leaf of lettuce.


You’ll leave full, rested and ready to continue your day (or night). Sometimes, that’s all you want to do. I’m sure I will eventually eat here again when the stars align and I don’t want to bother looking for anywhere else.  🙂

So did I leave out any of your favorites? What’s your go-to place in Key West?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian September 21, 2019 - 4:07 pm

Wow, I haven’t been to Key West in at least a couple of decades when I lived in Miami. It really brings back memories. How were crowds?

SharonKurheg September 21, 2019 - 6:03 pm

We go every year or two or three. As long as it’s not around a big holiday, summer vacation or KW special event, they’re fine.

Randy G September 21, 2019 - 4:46 pm

great list! We live in Miami and travel to Key West occasionally. we second Sarabeth’s, Louie’s Backyard and Cafe Marquesa. Also, we love Santiago’s Bodega (tapas style) , and Better than Sex ( Dessert Restaurant).



SharonKurheg September 21, 2019 - 6:05 pm

We’ve been to Santiago’s Bodega and Better Than Sex – KW and Orlando versions of both – a couple of times. Meh. That’s why they didn’t make our list of favorites. 😉

As always, Your Mileage May Vary 😉

Paul September 22, 2019 - 7:23 am

What A Stupid Review to Place a Starbucks On Your List! They are On Every Street Corner. You guys Dont Deserve to Give this Report. Then You List Another Restaurant that has Been “Hit and Miss” the last few Times You Visited it. Great! Then it May Be Subpar when we visit it! Then why List it? Dummies

Lawrence Higgs September 21, 2019 - 8:05 pm

You go to Key West for the local cuisine. There is no mention of the local sea food and Cuban food. The only thing that was written about was the Yankee food.

Richard Weaver September 22, 2019 - 1:13 am

Try Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe at 425 Southard Street for Cuban street food! Best burger in Key West

Gary Shirk September 22, 2019 - 2:34 pm

El Siboney for Cuban would be on my list as well as Garbos for street food.

Jacque Lee September 22, 2019 - 11:46 am

hey, let’s let them go to the tourist sucking “pop up” fancy dance places, and leave the real Key West to us real conchs ’ and baby conchs!

Fred September 21, 2019 - 8:42 pm

El Siboney, way off of Duval served the greatest Cuban food, ever been there? It’s in a converted single family home.

Dale Hasselbacher September 21, 2019 - 9:10 pm

I go every spring, have a timeshare, we love Hogfish on Stock Island, and the Cuban Coffee Queen for sandwiches. My daughter and I really enjoyed 915 this year too.

Rich September 21, 2019 - 9:47 pm

Since you started with a Starbucks. I can’t take this seriously at all. The list is fully lame

Sheli September 22, 2019 - 8:49 am

Starbucks???? You have ZERO cred. 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼

Faith September 22, 2019 - 6:10 am

If you like lobster Benedict then Blue Heaven is the place to go.

Taz September 22, 2019 - 7:57 am

Really? Starbucks is on your list and not Blue Heaven? A place that’s hit or miss makes it but not Schooners Wharf for their burgers and key lime pie? Sheesh!

Kathy Schroeder September 22, 2019 - 9:55 am

We are leaving in one week for our first trip to KW. I dislike Starbucks even at home in NJ but will give some of the other places a try

joeheg September 22, 2019 - 11:47 am

Thanks for getting past the fact that we drink Starbucks coffee in the morning and still be willing to give some of the other places a try.

BRK September 22, 2019 - 2:38 pm

Hi. Try Harpoon Harry’s for a great breakfast. Never tell anyone you were in KW and started your day with Starbuck’s, its a waste of time, you’ll miss something great.

Michelle April 12, 2020 - 8:21 pm

Harpoon Harry’s for sure! I used to have breakfast there every morning before work at the bight…. always quick and consistently good food. Now that I have moved away, I always bring my kids for breakfast on vacation each year and it is still the same.

Mike September 22, 2019 - 11:03 am

Oh boy, I’m getting on a plane in Boston tomorrow just to try that place called Starbucks in Key West. It sounds so original and definitely worth a 1700 mile trip. Idiots!!!

Leanne M Williams September 22, 2019 - 11:19 am

Schooners, Hogfish, Turtle Kraals, Blue Heaven. All my faves.

Mike September 22, 2019 - 10:19 pm

Your list is 100 times better than what I read here. I would add Conch Republic.

Linda Stewart April 12, 2020 - 3:49 pm

You evidently don’t ask the locals where to eat! We have always enjoyed Caroline’s. Waterfront Brewery, Santiagos, Martin’s, Jack Flats sports bar,and the best Upscale Food on the island is at Hot Tin Roof. La Trattoria for Italian, Mr Z’s for Pizza. But Starbucks!!! Cuban Coffee Queen is truly better. Oasis Mediterranean is another great stop. Cuban Sandwich at Courthouse Deli.

Deborahlyn E Gagne September 22, 2019 - 11:35 am

Starbucks is NOT a place to eat!! 🙄 The Café, Olde Town Mexican Café, Schooner Wharf…there’s so many more places you could’ve chosen with delicious, food!! Sorry, but your list just doesn’t rank with me!!

joeheg September 22, 2019 - 11:46 am

To be clear, we don’t eat there. Just to get coffee to go in the AM. We’re not sit down breakfast people.

Mark .w September 22, 2019 - 1:38 pm

After living in KW for over two decades, I’ve seen the restaurant scene evolve several times. This list is ridiculous ANF obviously a list for tourist to enjoy.

joeheg September 22, 2019 - 1:58 pm

Well I am a tourist and I do enjoy these places. Any hints of local places to check out would be welcome.

Leo September 22, 2019 - 1:04 pm

Anyone that lists Starbucks as a top choice in Key West should probably vacation in Miami and keep your chain joints away from us. Starbucks iant even the best coffee in KW as there are at least 3 locally owned coffee stops that have a true welcoming KW feel and great coffee.

joeheg September 22, 2019 - 1:55 pm

We’re always looking for good places. If you’d share where they are, we might check them out our next trip.

Kimberly A. Mahoney September 22, 2019 - 4:26 pm

What a terrible review. People read these to get recommendations and you listed STARBUCKS?? Then included Caroline’s, which is terrible.. what about the fabulous seafood spots, the local spots, I saw nothing about Blue Heaven and their story how she started to where she is today. What about the amazing Italian restaurants. Dont waste ur money on this review.

Eve Kendal September 22, 2019 - 6:29 pm

Really have to agree with the protesters!. This piece is such a huge disservice to sweet KW’s multitudes of delicious eating spots. From tiny Peruvian fish restaurants to Cuban boites to the most gorgeous, gaudy & gay brunch spot to vegetarian to French cafes. Really do omit Starbucks. If u can’t see the forest for the trees (eg, all the delicious spots noted by commenters) maybe go to Orlando instead. And pls don’t make generalizations! U just don’t get Key West. In fact in 30 years I can’t recall a bad meal. I’m not going to list them bc now they are private to the appreciaters! We have a teeny cottage there and there is no end to amazing cuisine

joeheg September 22, 2019 - 6:57 pm

Come on, please tell. Saying you know great places but you’re not willing to share doesn’t help anyone.

Beverly McCarter September 22, 2019 - 10:41 pm

Caroline’s is horrible. I definitely don’t see how Starbucks got on your list. Just pour a cup of bitter, strong, poop and drink it. I have been going to KW for 17 years. I love Louie’s, Blue Heaven and most of the Cuban restaurants. I love the Raw Bar for good seafood. Almost everything on Duval St. is awful. Duval is the tourist trap section. Two Friends is good for a quick, lite bite. Breakfast is good there. Then again, I am the happiest when I am there. So if I get a bad meal, so be it!

Brian K Stickney June 19, 2021 - 7:33 pm

So you went to Key West and did not go anywhere except those places on Duval and possibly a block away on Simonton. Sounds to me like you flew in and did not want to walk any further than about six blocks from your bed-and-breakfast

If you want to experience Key West, stay off of Duval And enjoy the eclectic non-tourist areas, not only in Olde town but also in Newtown.

If you think visiting Key West is drinking and stumbling around Duval, you are wasting your time and money. If you want to drink stay home and spend two days in a local neighborhood bar close to home. There is so much more in Key West to see and enjoy

SharonKurheg June 19, 2021 - 8:09 pm

I’m not sure why interpreted this post as these were the only places we’ve been. We’ve eaten at lots of places off Duval. These were just our favorites. We also don’t go to Key West to drink. We drink some. But we’re about 20 or 30 years past the age of drinking and stumbling home. Search our blog for “Key West” and you should get a better idea of what we enjoy in Key West. 🙂


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