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Brunch in Key West
Photograph: Matt's Stock Island Kitchen and Bar

The best restaurants in Key West

From Korean shrimp tacos to squishy lobster rolls and of course, key lime pie, here are the best restaurants in Key West

Ella Doyle
Megan duBois
Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Megan duBois

What with all that swimming, sunbathing and sightseeing you’re bound to be doing in Key West, you’re bound to work up an appetite. The best things to do in this incredibly laid-back city range from beautiful National Parks and boat trips to buzzing streets and beaches, but it’s very much known for its fantastic food scene too. 

First, of course, there’s the seafood. Trays of oysters, clam soup and Korean shrimp tacos can all be eaten looking out over the ocean, with a fruity cocktail or glass of wine in hand. But there’s plenty of non-fish options to be found in Key West too, from Caribbean cuisine to vegetarian spots and that all-important Instagrammable brunch. Whatever you’re into, Key West has a restaurant for you. Here’s our pick of the best. 

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Best Key West restaurants

Somewhat of a local legend in Key West, the Blue Heaven is one of just a handful of joints in the city which aren't purely seafood focused. Blue Heaven is a Caribbean restaurant first established in 1992 by an artist and writer. With its wild decor, it’s like stepping into a jungle, but the food is seriously good. These guys serve up carrot and curry soup, miso eggplant salad and scallops provençale like you’ve never tasted it before. 

If you want that classic Key West experience, you’ve simply got to head to Garbo’s Grill. Die hard fans of Diners, Dive-Ins and Dives will recognise this seafood diner from the show, when Guy Fieri toured the best diners in Key West. Garbo’s serves up both classics and fusions, from Korean-style yum yum shrimp to Caribbean beef bowls and a New England lobster roll. A must-visit. 


The Lobster Shack does exactly what you’d expect it to, but to a very high standard indeed. Lobster features heavily on this menu (although there is the occasional fried coconut shrimp), from mouth-watering lobster grilled cheese to the diablo lobster roll with sriracha and jalapenos. Oh, and simply the best lobster bisque, served with crunchy croutons. When you’re all lobstered out, order the key lime pie to finish. You won’t regret it. 

Just a few blocks away from tourist-filled Duval Street is Azur Restaurant. The restaurant serves brunch and dinner every day to locals and visitors in the know. The brunch menu is filled with sweet and savory options like decadent key lime French toast with wild berry compote, and mouthwatering crab cake benedict with grilled tomatoes and hollandaise. When the bell rings for dinner time, the seafood risotto is filled with mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, fish, and chorizo, then topped off with garden-fresh veggies.


The neighborhood restaurant that locals and visitors always seem to stumble into is Little Pearl. The restaurant has a distinct coastal vibe with fish, mermaids, compasses, and Edison lights all over the dining room. The Old Town spot is currently only open for dinner and has three seatings throughout the evening serving only a chef-curated, four-course menu with a variety of options. A few favorites include the savory miso-and-clam soup, sweet and spicy Key West shrimp, and a fish of the day prepared to suit the chef’s fancy.

Inside the Marquesa Hotel is the Marquesa Cafe. But don't let the white tablecloths and dark wood furnishings scare you into thinking this is another high-end spot with unapproachable food. The 50-seat restaurant is serving fresh Key West seafood and expertly cooked meats along with housemade bread and desserts. The entire menu is friendly and approachable with a distinctly Southern twist. Think: spiny lobster with fried green tomatoes and topped with blue crab, basil and citrus-bacon vinaigrette.


Southern Most Beach Cafe is just 90 miles from Cuba and the restaurant overlooks Key West's stunning beaches and bright blue waters. The boat-to-table restaurant serves dishes that combine Caribbean and Asian flavors and are made with locally sourced ingredients. Do not leave the table before you try the signature dish, drunken scallops. The entree combines freshly caught scallops with crispy salty bacon, and a glaze that’s made from a local beer. The dish is served with lobster mashed potatoes and glazed baby carrots. Yum!

First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery is located in one of Key West’s most historic buildings – the location where Pan American World Airlines was launched and sold its first tickets in 1927. The restaurant is appropriately themed with kitschy decor that nods to the building's previous occupant. Take a seat on the outdoor patio, which exudes island charm, and try one of our favorite dishes: the street corn and avocado bowl, which mixes fire-roasted corn salsa, avocado, and chipotle aioli served in a flour tortilla bowl.


Grab-and-go breakfast is an elevated experience at Glazed Donuts. The specialty donut restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 7am and until they sell out or 1pm – whichever one comes first. The creative donuts are all handmade with options like key lime pie, blackberry frosted with artisan sprinkles, and pineapple upside-down Brulee. Kids will love picking out the biggest donut on display and enjoy the mural of a giant robot, which also makes for a great photo backdrop.

It doesn't get fresher than Eaton Street Seafood Market, where cases of freshly caught fish sit just steps away from the on-site restaurant. The lunch and dinner menu include items like crab cake sandwiches – with cakes that are barely holding it together because there’s more crab than binders – fish tacos with fish that was likely still swimming that same morning, and fried conch strips that have become an island favorite.

Since 1909 Pepe’s Cafe has filled up hungry patrons with hearty breakfasts, lunches and dinner. Breakfast is the standard fare with big portions and old-school diner hospitality. Lunch and dinner are casual, where flip flops and t-shirts are welcome. The menu includes items like classic BLT sandwiches and savory black bean soup for lunch, and delectable baked oysters and perfectly cooked NY strip for dinner. The unassuming spot is easy to miss while walking down the street, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the small sign sitting on top of the white building.

Nestled inside the Perry Hotel you’ll find Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen and Bar. The restaurant is serving up coastal comfort food using fresh catch and locally sourced ingredients. Sunday brunch is worth the hassle of getting a reservation to savor items like tropical guava cream cheese French toast, pork belly benedict with tomato and onion marmalade, and chocolate toast with peanut butter custard and bruleed bananas. It's worth the calories – trust us. 


Cuban food is a staple in Key West, and one of the most popular restaurants is Cuban Coffee Queen. There are three locations around the island, but the original is on Margaret Street. The menu is filled with variations on the classic Cuban sandwich including one with pork, ham, chicken, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Do not leave without getting a cup of piping hot Cuban coffee with steamed milk. 

Antonia’s Restaurant is a Key West staple serving fresh Italian food with handmade pasta and sauces, along with an award-winning wine list. The pasta menu is filled with classics like gnocchi with savory gorgonzola cheese sauce, linguine with clams, and Antonia’s signature lasagna made with spinach pasta. Save room for a few bites of dessert; The restaurant boasts a perfectly balanced, and not-too-sweet amaretto coconut cream pie that is sheer bliss.


Oceanside tables, incredible views, and delicious food are all on the menu at Seaside Cafe at the Mansion. The eclectic menu is filled with dishes like tuna poke served in house-made plantain cups, pizza, and sandwiches. One of the best things on the menu (other than the famous lobster pizza) is the signature honey butter lobster biscuits, which are served hot or cold. The dish starts with flakey honey butter biscuits that are stuffed with fresh lobster salad and served with fries or salad. Talk about a treat! 

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Is there anything better than a fresh bagel that's been turned into a delightful breakfast sandwich or schmeared with gobs of cream cheese? We don't think so. At Goldman's Bagel Deli you can get just that along with other fresh baked goods like rugelach, cinnamon buns, and danishes. If bagels aren't your thing then don't worry. There are plenty of other things on the menu like breakfast burritos, burgers, and paninis to get you going in the morning before a day of exploring. 


Please note this restaurant is temporarily closed. 

Fisherman's Cafe is a small spot in historic Seaport that's open for breakfast and lunch and serves local catch in a casual atmosphere. Items like blackened Key West pink shrimp wraps, fish tacos, and sesame guava toast all speak to the Cuban influence in the dining scene in Key West. The restaurant also serves incredible Cuban coffee that guests can enjoy hot or iced. We always go with a hot cafe con leche no matter how warm it is outside in the Sunshine State. 

Thirsty Mermaid is known for its rotating menu of East and West Coast oysters, full raw bar, and local seafood. It is worth ordering a selection of sharable appetizers like the steamed littleneck clams served with leeks and smoked bacon, fried oysters with chipotle remoulade, or sautéed Bahamian conch with marinated artichoke salad. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, there are a few items like homemade gnocchi with spicy short rib ragu, and burgers that are piled high with all types of toppings, too.

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