Key West has some of the greatest restaurants the world has to offer. With our Island's many cultures there is a Cuisine to satisfy everyone. We have everything from Fast Food to Fine Dining and everything in between. Here I am going to focus on Fine Dining. My favorite part of Fine Dining in Key West is, well other than being in Key West, you can still wear shorts, a tee shirt and flip flops. I have enjoyed Fine Dining all over the world and never once has my meal tasted any better because I was wearing a necktie. Here are my top choices for Fine Dining in Key West.
- Tavern N Town, Marriott Beachside, 3841 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040. Tavern N Town, or "Tavern" as is is commonly called, is located at the Marriott Beachside Resort and is by far my very favorite Fine Dining in Key West. Although located inside the Marriott most of the Clientele is Key West Locals. We know a good place when we see it. Tavern has a New England Country Club setting which makes me feel right at home. The food is outstanding, the service is as good at you'll get, the wine list is vast with wines from all over and the prices are very fair for high end Fine Dining. A private room is offered for large parties or special occasions. The Kitchen is open allowing you to watch the Master Chefs at work preparing your food. There is plenty of space between tables which is something I personally like. A restaurant cramming the tables in so you feel like you are on top of the party next to you is a big pet peeve of mine. Tavern is very well staffed assuring you will have everything you want without waiting. They have nightly specials which the Servers explain in great detail. My favorite Server is Roy. Request him if he is working. The menu has several local seafood choices, beef dishes, poultry and a nightly pasta dish or two. I always start with my French Onion Soup which is the best I have ever had. Most nights I like the Filet Mignon, but sometimes try one of the Specials. Everything on the dessert menu is to die for. That is always a tough choice, but I have enjoyed them all. Tavern also offers a great Happy Hour which is popular with the Locals. Whether you're vacationing in Key West or an Island Local, Tavern N Town is by far the best. There is also plenty of covered parking which is a rare commodity in Key West. Check it out. You'll be glad you did.
- Hot Tin Roof, Ocean Key Resort, Zero Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040. When you want superb food, excellent service, a warm atmosphere and an amazing view of Key West Harbor you want Hot Tin Roof. I usually try to plan my dinner around Sunset for the view. The restaurant is large enough to give you plenty of room, but small enough to make it quaint. Often times the Chef will come out and visit the tables which is a nice touch I enjoy a lot. It is always nice to put a face to the great food you're enjoying. The menu is a combination great things from both land and sea. The Wine List will satisfy the most discriminating of Wine Connoisseurs with an outstanding selection of wines from all over the world. My favorite dish here is the Grilled Rack of Lamb with my second choice being the Latin Braised Short Rib. For my First Course, I like the Key West Pink Shrimp which is a Local Key West staple. Be sure to try the signature cocktail a "Hot-Tin-Tini" which is chilled pineapple infused vodka. Served at just the right temperature to give that Island Feeling. The only downside at Hot Tin Roof is parking is very difficult.
- A&B Lobster House, 700 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040. A&B is one of the oldest Fine Dining Restaurants in Key West, first opening in 1947 and has been on the list of Top Places since the beginning. Located right on A&B Marina, you have a beautiful view as you enjoy your dinner. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available. The food is outstanding, the service is everything you would expect from a Fine Dining Restaurant, the Wine List is large and filled with fine wines from all over and the atmosphere is very inviting. The servers at A&B are also very knowledgeable of wine and can always suggest something to be paired with your choice of cuisine which is something I find very helpful. The menu consists of a variety of steaks, local Florida Keys seafood and they always offer New England Lobster. Growing up in Boston and spending a lot of my childhood on the ocean of Maine and New Hampshire, I can't view the Florida Lobster as real lobster. I am an "Escargot Snob" and I have to say the Escargot at A&B is the best I have had anywhere. For my main course I usually get the Filet Mignon which has a perfect Bearnaise Sauce adding just the right flavor. I can't say I have a favorite dessert because everything on the dessert menu is excellent. If you like a fine Cigar, stop into Berlin's Cigar bar before or after your dinner. They have a very soothing atmosphere and a great selection of cigars to enjoy with your favorite cocktail. There is a small parking lot just outside A&B and they will validate your parking ticket for you. Parking is a big problem downtown. A restaurant that offers parking is a big plus.
- Antonia's, 615 Duval Street, Key West, FL 3040. Italian is among my very favorite Cuisine and Antonia's is an outstanding Fine Dining Italian Restaurant. The food is very authentic Italian dining and is as good as I've had anywhere. Antonia's Wine List is not only filled with a large variety of fine Italian Wines but also others from other parts of the world. They have an excellent selection of Californian Wines; as well as, many great Champagnes. The atmosphere is a European setting and the service is top notch. Although Antonia's is located right on Duval Street, it is part of Key Lime Square which sets the ambiance of being away from the noise and crowds of downtown nightlife. I like to start off with the Goat Cheese Souffle as my first course and either the Grilled Bone in Veal Chop, the Linguine with Key West Pink Shrimp or the Pan Roasted New Zealand Lamb Chops for my entree. For dessert I feel I have to keep the Italian theme and Antonia's Tiramisu is to die for. Everything about the dining experience at Antonia's is always perfect. The only negative is parking on or around Duval Street is a nightmare. More so during Season. I would suggest walking if you're nearby or take a cab if you can.
- Latitudes, Sunset Key, 245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040. Latitudes is located on Sunset Key, a Private Island accessible only by boat. Sunset Key consists of very high end, privately owned Luxury Homes; as well as, a Resort that is part of Margaritaville Resort, formally The Westin Resort. You check in and catch the Ferry Boat over to Sunset Key at the Margaritaville Resort Marina. The reason they call it Sunset Key is you won't find a better view of the Key West Sunset than you will at Sunset Key. Latitudes has the best Sunset View of any restaurant in Key West. Many of the tables are right on the beach where you can kick your shoes off and your toes are in the sand. This is Island Dining at its best. Latitudes has a very large selection of first course small plates to choose from. The main entree menu has more seafood than anything, but also has some great beef and poultry selections. My favorite is the Wagyu Beef Skirt Steak. They offer a great selection of wines on the Wine List and the Servers are all well versed at pairing the right wine with each entree. Save room for dessert. Everything I have had on the Dessert Menu has been fantastic. Very rare to downtown Key West Latitudes, offers free parking in the covered Margaritaville Resort Garage which is manned with a security staff 24 hours a day. Dining on the beach at Latitudes at sunset is an experience you will remember for a lifetime.
One thing there is no shortage of in Key West is great food. Whether you prefer very casual, fine dining or anything in between, you'll find it here. If there really is life after death I want to come back as a Food Critique in Key West. I could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out seven days a week and never run out of new places to try. Key West is somewhat of a melting pot for many different cultures and we have the food to prove it. Pick a restaurant and enjoy.
Gary McAdams, P.A.
The Key West Life
Barbara Anderson Realty