10 Tourist Trap Restaurants in Key West That Are Actually Good
Key West’s prominent eateries dominate Old Town, with each one of them claiming to be the best restaurant on the island. We’re sifting through the noise to find the “tourist trap” restaurants that actually deliver. Here are some that even locals don't miss because they're just that good.
1. Blue Heaven
In a seafood obsessed island city, Blue Heaven offers a fun Caribbean spin on their dishes, with plates like Caribbean “BBQ” shrimp, Jamaican jerk chicken, and lobster and grits. The al fresco eatery in Bahama Village is known for its tropical canopy covered courtyard, whimsical artworks, Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, and friendly roosters roaming the premises.
The Old Town eatery has been placed on TripAdvisor’s top 10% of restaurants worldwide list, and while their seafood pastas are superb, their breakfast options shine. Try the stuffed crab omelet, blackened shrimp benedict, or key lime stuffed french toast.
Don’t let the offbeat seafood shanty fool you, Bo’s Fish Wagon offers seafood that could rival most Michelin star seafood restaurants. The grouper “seawich” and fried cracked conch are out of this world.
4. Pepe’s Cafe
Pepe’s Cafe may be touristy, but make no mistake - locals eat here too (even Harry Truman!). Pepe’s stands out above the rest with its house-made dressings and hot sauces that pair excellently with it’s menu of fresh seafood, sandwiches, and burgers.
The authentic Cuban restaurant in Mallory Square attracts visitors and locals alike with solid food and an experience that feels quintessentially Key West. Try tapas like the croquette sampler with a chipotle key lime sauce, stuffed green plantains, and picadillo and pork stuffed fried potato balls.
Several places along the Historic Seaport harbor walk claim to have the freshest local seafood in town. Next, we’re scratching beneath the surface to find which of these restaurants actually earn their bustling crowds.
Visit A & B Lobster House for a more upscale dining experience along the waterfront with white linens, candlelight, and classic dishes like Florida lobster Thermidor, beef carpaccio, and grilled octopus.
Downstairs from A & B, is their more casual sister restaurant, Alonzo's Oyster Bar. The Seafood Towers are incredible, with offerings like lobster tails, cold water oysters, Florida clams, PEI mussels, peel and eat shrimp, seaweed salad, calamari salad, smoked fish dip, and ahi poke tuna.
It’s all about oysters at Half Shell Raw Bar. Get them on the half shell with cocktail sauce, steamed with drawn butter, or baked in flavors like Rockefeller, garlic, and BBQ.
Enjoy fresh dock-to-dish dining in the former home of the Singleton Fish House and Ice Plant. Conch Republic processes all their seafood by hand at their fish house to create dishes like smoked fish dip, coconut shrimp, and Key West crab cakes drizzled with a roasted garlic aioli.
Schooner Wharf Bar is located on the site of the old Singleton Shrimp factory and has been an island institution since 1984. Their Galley Plates featuring red snapper and mahi mahi are delicious, while the raw sashimi-grade tuna nachos atop crisp wontons are a fun alternative to the Caribbean-style seafood dishes found around the island.
Ready to get started on your destination dining? The Gates Hotel Key West is recognized by Condé Nast as one of the best hotels in Florida. Located in New Town, our regular shuttle services to Old Town make your trip laid-back, relaxed, and easy. Enjoy a day by the pool with bites from our food truck or a drink from our onsite bar and cigar lounge. Choose from our best rates and special offers when you book direct.