Restaurants in Key West

Old Oct 10th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Restaurants in Key West

We will be traveling to Key West next week for four days. I am going to try to make dinner reservations for a different restaurant each night, but before I do, I wanted to know if anyone has been/can recommend the following places? They were rated highly in Zagats: Pisces, 915 Duval, Alice's Key West, Cafe Marquesa, Opera Italian Restaurant.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 06:54 AM
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For a great Cuban lunch, seek out Jose's Cantina on White Street. It's very low-key and family-owned.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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I cant speak to any of those restaurants but the highlight of my trip to Key West last year was lunch at Blue Heaven. Dont miss it!
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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I enjoy eating on Duval Street and watching the parade of people pass by.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 07:32 AM
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I agree with Wally. Most of the restaurants along Duval have posted menus, so you can check them out and pick one that looks good to you.


(Key West ain't exactly a culinary mecca; I wouldn't spend too much time on the ratings.)
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Had dinner at Cafe Marquesa on my last visit. While the tables are a bit small and close together, dinner was outstanding with correspondingly excellent service. The seared foie gras appetizer, accompanied by a complimentary glass of muscat, stands out in my memory as a highlight of the year's dining. (Foie gras usually does, since I only allow myself to indulge once or twice a year...).

We had dinner the next night at Alice's. We enjoyed that as well, but it was a different experience. Sort of modern comfort food. We were celebrating -- a large party of a dozen -- so the mood was decidedly different.

Finally, I'll second all the recommendations for Blue Heaven. We always stop there for brunch or lunch. Funky and casual. And I'll throw in a gratuitious rec for B.O.'s Fish Wagon for a casual lunch. Their burgers and fish sandwiches are great, and the place has that sort of transient, hole-in-the-wall feel of the best beach bars in the Caribbean.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Do not go to much on the ratings.
KW has some of the best places to eat that would never make such a list.
Blue Heaven, B.O's Fish Wagon, PT's Late night. La Tratorria (OMG!....you can get any of their pasta's as an appitizer ~ see something you like or want to have but want it with something else...they are the best when it comes to giving you what you want)~be sure to stop at the bar in the back..Virgilo's. Pepes'...steak smoothered in pork chops. The Meteor (but I heard they are changing their menu) You do not have to spend a lot of money on food in KW to have a good meal. You will have more fun if you don't and go where the locals go!
I have been there too many times to count and would suggest not making reservations before you go. Is slow there now ~ you can make them when you get there. Don't preplan it too much or you will take away from the whole KW experience! Trust me...get there...go with the flow....a great sunset or live music might get in the way of your plans.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 10:29 AM
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915 Duval is a little trendy and expensive. Cafe Marquesa is expensive and I had a bad experience there last time. Alice's is nice. Don't know the other two. Keep in mind, restaurants change real fast, particularly in Key West. I haven't been there since last year, but I am a regular visitor.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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915 Duval has lost its spark AND its reasonable prices. Alice's is wonderful - get the yellowtail! Haven't tried Pisces, but ate there before they closed and renamed the restaurant. It was good! Our experience at Cafe Marquesa was marginal. Haven't tried Opera, but have eaten at Antonia's several times for good Italian, and we liked La Trattoria, too, but not as much as Antonia.

For more casual eating, be sure and try the Half Shell Raw Bar. Wonderful fresh fish at reasonable prices. It's on Key West Bight. For great Cuban food, el Siboney is perfect, and inexpensive, too.

Will you have a car? If so, head on over to Stock Island for the Rusty Anchor and Hogfish.

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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 02:33 AM
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Another vote for Alice's...we had one of our best meals there last time we visited Key West. Be sure to have some of their black-bottom key lime pie for dessert...yummy! Cafe Marquesa looked good from the outside, but was overpriced for the relatively uninspiring food.

We liked Mangoes on Duval enough to eat there twice, which is unusual for us. Good food and nice outdoor dining area. Another idea which I have not tried personally, but which always inspires raves from my friends is Louie's Back Yard. Have fun..I love Key West!

L
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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Loved our meal at Alice's. She is the best -- so much so that she personally phoned us the day after our large party to ask if we meant to tip the waiter so much. She was concerned that we didn't realize that a tip had been included in the total bill (becasue we were a large party) and we had tipped him additionally. I've never had that happen before. Not only is her food fantastic, but she's ethical. Wow!

We also enjoyed a small place called Seven Fish.
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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IIRC They are all inside and probably have A/C. Fit were me I'd do

1. El Meson de Pepe on Wall Street just off Front. Order a glass of Spanish wine and either #80 or #81 on the menu - the two Cuban samplers. End with a cafe con leche while you listen to the band.

2. The Rooftop Cafe on Front. Have any entree but don't miss the crabcakes. !!! It's one the 2nd floor and you can eat on the veranda.

3. Santiagos Bodega just past Chapman Lane on Petronia. They serve tapas; hot or cold, meat or fish or veggie, but everything is great (try the trio, the blackened fish and the lamb) But also get a pitcher of white Sangria. ($25.00)A glass tends to disappear too quickly

4. But the best thing is to go to the Half Shell Raw Bar at the Key West Bight, order a Key West Sunset Ale apiece and all of your favorite appitizers - peel-your-own shrimp, oysters, conch chowder, crab claws, etc. and share, trying not to stab each other in the habd with your forks.

Pjk
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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I agree with the half shell. When in Key west relax and just go to different rest. that are key west types. They are the best. Have a great time. Make sure you eat on duval st. somewhere and watch all the crazyness going on. Now I want to go back for a visit. I have been so many times, it seems we need a change in atitude once a year. Love it.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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The fun thing is you can go to the Half Shell and order a drink and one or two appitizers and sit overlooking the harbor and relax for an hour. Then you can more clock-wise to, say, The Schooner Wharf Bar (SWB) and do the same thing. Then to the Conch Republic Seafood Co. etc. You end up having dinner spread out over three places and three hours, all outdoors and all in relaxed clothng.

Pjk
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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We've been to Key West annually for almost 8 years now, and have never eaten at any of the restaurants you list. 915 Duval and Cafe Marquesa look nice, and interesting, but we've always given priority to what have become our favourites. Blue Heaven for breakfast/brunch is a can't miss. I was surprised there was only one reference to Seven Fish as it is our absolute favourite - we travel to Key West for my husband's birthday and his birthday dinner is always there, and usually one other "date" dinner (child-free) as well. It is full of locals, and was orignally recommended to us by the guesthouse we stayed in on our first trip. I also agree with the beverages and appetizers as you make your way around the harbour - also a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, and turn it into a sunset watch by ending up at the pier bar at 1 Duval. Other favourites: Pepe's (breakfast, lunch or dinner), Harpoon Harry's for breakfast, Mangia Mangia (wonderful Italian), Mangoes, Meteor, and Michael's if you're craving a steak.

You're making me wish it were March already ...
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 07:14 PM
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If you're willing to venture up to a nearby key, don't miss Mangrove Mama's. Definitely open for lunch, not sure about dinner. Key lime pie to die for!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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We enjoy fine dining but for us Key West is a relaxing and casual escape. I will throw in another vote for the Half Shell and Schooner Wharf. I think the Conch Fritters and drinks at the Wharf are the best. I will also throw in recommendation for Turtle Kralls and La Te Da.
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