South Florida Sunshine

Key West – My Top Ten Eateries

My good friend, Key West local, and fellow blogger, Laura Murphy put together a fabulous blog on some of the amazing restaurants in Key West. I am so happy to host her guest post here.

Laura’s Favorite Places to Eat Out and Why

It’s no secret; hubby and I like to go out. There’s something fun about winding down from a stressful week with a meal and some drinks out of the house. Okay: sometimes we go out more than that…but who’s counting?

We’ve scoped out many new places to eat here on the rock of Key West. During this culinary adventure we’ve gained some favorite places. Here’s our top ten eateries (and a little memory of places come and gone that we miss terribly) in the city of Key West.

*Disclaimer* These are in no way listed in order of favorite. To do so would be the impossible; each place has something different to offer!

1 Turtle Kraals

My favorite thing about this place is the tower bar! It sits above the entire restaurant and overlooks the historic seaport. This fantastic view sets the perfect mood on a sunny Friday night. Happy hour appetizers are fantastic, though you have to sit in the bar or tower bar to enjoy these specials. The staff is very friendly. Any meat you order here is fabulous thanks to the wood-fire grill. Their salads are generous and oh-so-delicious with fresh veggies! Easily, one of my ultimate favorite places to eat in Key West!

2 Half Shell Raw Bar

This is one of my husband’s favorites; it’s very nostalgic for him! Our favorite thing to eat here are steamed oysters with a side of dill potato salad. If you like potato salad, you must order it here! Fantastic! It’s only a few dollars for a nice serving. We have tried the oysters elsewhere and these taste the best and seem to be one of the best priced options for oysters. They are also located in the historic seaport right on the water. The hundreds of license plates that decorate the walls are fun to gawk at.

3 Rum Barrel

The dark interior of this place makes you feel like you’re aboard a pirate ship. We have yet to experience the quarter deck up top, but it’s definitely on our list! The bar has the best atmosphere in this establishment with plenty of microbrews to sample. The first time we ate here I fell in love with it. Everything we’ve eaten here has been good: from salads , nachos, fish sandwiches, tacos and yes…potato salad.

4 Santiago’s Bodega

This was an incredible dining experience; by far the fanciest place with the best tasting food I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. We were treated to Santiago’s by our previous landlord in Minnesota who did very good research and sent us a gift certificate as a thank you for being good tenants. The key to remember here is that they serve tapas: a light appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine. At first glance of the menu you’ll think the place is very inexpensive. But the portions are small, so you’ll want to order several rounds for two people. It is a very small place; our best guess was it seats 40 people maximum. Needless to say, this makes for a very intimate environment. It’s perfect for a romantic date.

I was so moved by the experience of eating here I wrote a blog post about it. You can view it at my other, purposely neglected, blog at:

5 Blue Heaven

A co-worker of mine recommended this place to us; she said it was Heaven. She was right! Described as a local’s favorite, the unique outdoor atmosphere is very relaxing. Chickens wander the lot and will often “beg” for food at your feet. The food here is fantastic! It’s on the more expensive side, but well worth it. We enjoyed our Christmas family dinner here – unforgettable!

6 Angelina’s pizza

We stumbled across Angelina’s, likely on a rum-filled adventure. I instantly fell in love with it. While you can order an entire ‘za here, we often opt for single slices and some wings. The staff is nice, but you have to dig. I was quite shocked when they practically screamed that our order was ready. To complete the 1950’s feel, they have several arcade style games.

7 Jack Flats

Great for football! They claim to have more TV screens than we were able to find, but it’s pretty much wall-to-wall screens. Again, everything we’ve eaten here is good. We discovered they have very yummy sliders and wings! Appetizers and salads are my favorite selections from this Duval St restaurant.

8 China Garden West

I had to include just one delivery place. We’re frequent customers here! They have a very large menu with decent prices; seafood is generally not much more than chicken or beef options. Overall, they are decently priced for the portions you get. Whenever we order, we’re pretty much guaranteed two meals each out of the deal!

9 Old Town Mexican Café

Okay – we’ve eaten here once; in 2007. However, the atmosphere and meal was so good, we’ve vowed to go back. It’s hidden on Duval between Key Lime Square and a building. Trees overhang above you, so you don’t feel smushed, but rather relaxed in this outdoor venue. I recall the shrimp fajitas and guacamole were good! Our favorite feature: bucket of coronas for a very good price!

10 Upper Crust

Tasty pizza indeed! You can order some fantastic specialties here. We had the chicken fajita pizza and were very impressed! They have free delivery! Just be prepared: on any given night you can pretty much guarantee to be shoulder to shoulder in this little shop!

We’ve reviewed all our favorite eateries here on the island. But a blog post about Key West eats wouldn’t be complete without leaving fond memories of a few places that have left us.

Crabby Dick’s

Distinguished by the big white balcony overlooking Duval St, we adored this place so much we visited daily during our 2007 visit to the island. The happy hour appetizers were unbeatable. The statue of Crabby Dick, the pirate, was my good friend (it’s true; do a Google image search on “Crabby Dick’s” and the 2nd photo is myself and Crabby Dick himself. At least that’s what we called him). During our 2007 trip we got engaged and our bartender was kind enough to buy us a few rounds of drinks to celebrate. We were so pumped for our 2009 pre-move visit that we planned to visit Crabby Dick’s every night during our stay. To our great disappointment, they shut their doors some time before we arrived. There was another restaurant that moved in a few months ago, but they too closed their doors after only a few weeks of business.

The Iguana

We met Steve the bartender here! Terrific bartender, wonderful friend, and close neighbor to us! There is a row of bar stools facing Greene Street, which makes for some fun people watching. My absolute favorite food here was the hog wings and tots. Hog wings were tender pork on the bone carved down to look like chicken drummies. So fantastic! However, this past winter they, too, closed their doors. It’s rumored they’ll open their doors again….but the most important question is still unknown. Will they ever serve hog wings in Key West again?

RIP, guys. We miss you terribly!

Now it’s off to find some dinner. What should we eat tonight? 🙂


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Secret to Key West Lodging Values – Guest Post « Key West Sunshine pingbacked on 8 years, 4 months ago


  1. * Sunshine Michelle says:

    Wow, oh wow! Laura has me so hungry! I grew up in the heart of TexMex country and to this day Mexican still hits the spot better than anything else.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 7 months ago

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