This is part 1 of our series, “The Gateway to Key West,” featuring local recommendations in the Conch Republic.
Part of living the good life in Key West involves eating well. And although Key West is a small island, there’s no lack of great dining. From seafood to soul food, Cuban, Caribbean and even Mediterranean, there’s always a variety of delicious options to choose from. Here are our current favorites on the island:
We can’t get enough of this raw bar. New on the Conch Republic scene, the Thirsty Mermaid comes from a good family - that of long-time Key West favorite seafood spot Blackfin. With a mix of local catches, east and west coast oysters shipped daily, and a spot-on wine list, Thirsty Mermaid already has our stomachs, if not also our hearts. However, it’s a pretty small spot, so try to avoid peak dining times, the Thirsty Mermaid doesn’t take reservations.
Although more of a Mediterranean fusion than traditional Spanish cuisine, Santiago’s serves its dishes tapas-style, perfect for sharing and picking away at while over a bottle of wine. If you plan on dining in the afternoon, go for the sangria - and order extra, as you probably won’t want to share. In addition, the beef tenderloin, stuffed dates and bread pudding are all musts.
New York Pasta Garden
We’ve got nothing but good things to say about New York Pasta Garden. Tucked away inside Duval Square, New York Pasta Garden has been serving up some of the best Italian on the island for almost 30 years. From the handmade pasta to the gorgeous patio, and exquisite service, New York Pasta Garden sets the bar high for dining experience on Key West.
Sometimes you just want some good American. That’s where this local gem Hogfish Bar & Grill comes in. Conch fritters, fried fish, shrimp, and baskets overflowing with fries make this one of our favorite Conch Republic restaurants. And like the especially good Key West establishments, Hogfish makes a mean key lime pie. Go for a table on the patio and get a nice view of the docks on Stock Island.
Nine One Five
If you’re a foodie, Nine One Five has to be on your list of restaurants to visit in Key West. This local gastropub mixes tried and true New American fare with more adventurous concoctions, like beef lollipops with chimichurri and chipotle, Peking duck confit, or black truffle pasta. Equally impressive is Nine One Five’s drink menu, with both prohibition-style mixtures and southern craft cocktails.
Photo by Cayobo https://flic.kr/p/a9ZkMy