Places We Love in Key West

We have just returned home from a 3 week vacation. The first 2 nights were spent in Vero Beach, Florida. Over 2 weeks was spent in Key West. Then our last couple of nights were spent in Miami. We won’t count the 3am stop in Walterboro, South Carolina…it was strictly for sleeping purposes when we were too zonked to make it the last 7 hours home 🙂

I thought it would be fun to share some of the places we ate while on our trip and go ahead and take the time to write Yelp reviews while I was at it. Yelp is a good resource and sometimes the reviews are dead wrong. Hopefully these reviews will help to set a few straight.

Santiago’s Bodega

One word. Tapas. We ate here of for lunch one of the first days of our vacation. We had a greek salad, yellowfin tuna ceviche and shimp with a ginger-lemon glaze and fresh cilantro. Divine! And very filling portions for 2 people.

We also enjoyed our last dinner here (on Sunday, July 15th) with our friend Emily. All 3 of us ate until we were stuffed and only spent about $80 (before tip). We enjoyed the yellowfin tuna ceviche, frog legs, bacon and basil stuffed mushrooms, roman meatballs, chicken skewers, crab cakes, spanakopita and miniature quesadillas….and of course we had the sangria which was happy hour half-priced at the time we ate.

Here is my review on Yelp and Santiago’s website.

Blue heaven

Cats, chickens and ping pong. The atmosphere here is Key West-y fun! We love to stop by for drinks and a quick ping pong game. We stopped by about 3 times on our last trip to Key West and ate dinner here once. My boyfriend had the Seared Sea Scallops Provençale and I had the Sauteed Yellowtail Snapper with Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce. I can’t imagine being in Key West and not making this a priority stop.

Here is my Yelp review and Blue Heaven’s website.

Louie’s Backyard

Louie’s is right next to Higg’s Beach which is a small stretch of beach where dogs are welcomed with open arms. We took our labradoodle and goldendoodle here every day. I chose to here here on my birthday dinner on Friday, July 6th. We were planning to go with another couple we had met on July 4th but the guy called us about 2 hours before dinner to say that his wife had a little to much to drink that afternoon and was sleeping so they would have to decline…only in Key West!! I love the food but there is a reason we only ate here once during our almost 3 week stay on the island…the prices. At $10-20 per appetizer and about $40 per entree my birthday dinner was pricey. If you are prepared for that then dinner and the view will not let you down!! It’s excellent!

I will also add that in the cottage we rented there was a copy of Louie’s Backyard’s cookbook. I read it almost cover to cover and decided to get a copy of my own. I can’t wait to try to recreate some of their chefs best dishes in the future.

Here is my Yelp review and Louie’s Backyard website.

Pepe’s Cafe

The best raw oysters in Key West. My boyfriend and I loved their homemade cocktail sauce so much that we ate it with a spoon when the oysters were gone. It had crunchy onions or shallots in it and was more like a horseradish-y salsa than a cocktail sauce. We ordered a dozen oysters then ordered a dozen more! It was half-off happy hour after all! Our dogs also sat with us in their outside bar area and were not only welcomed but were brought there own separate water bowls. LOVE it!! 🙂

Here is my Yelp review.

Bad Boy Burrito

My son and I were looking for a place that delivered lunch one day and ran across Bad Boy Burrito. After seeing that it was less than 3 blocks from the cottage we were staying at we changed our mind on delivery and walked over for take out. It’s a small little place that packs a huge healthy and fresh punch with their food. Everything is homemade!! We ordered from their make your burrito menu where you pick one meat, one salsa and 3 veggie’s to make your personal burrito. It also came standard with rice and beans. Mine was so good that a few days later I ordered the exact same thing again….chicken with mango habenero salsa, pickled red onions, sour cream and queso fresco cheese. I opted to add avocado for an extra dollar.

There are only a couple of chairs and a small bar so you may want to plan to take out when you try out this place. Perfect for lunch!!

Here is my Yelp review.

Half Shell Raw Bar

Half Shell Raw Bar has the best happy hour prices and view in Key West! We ate here 3 different times on our last trip. The raw oysters and clams were very, very good…and a fab price because they were half off between 4:30pm and 6:30pm. We also shared their large house salad which at $7 impressive…you got tons of lettuce, sprouts and cucumbers. It’s right net to the dock where we rent boats from our friends that own Florida Keys Boat Rentals and that makes this place a great stop after a day in the sun. Happy hour drinks are also cheap at $5 or less. I loved the Tito’s vodka and sweet tea cocktail…and it was only $2.75!!!

Here is my Yelp review.

DJ’s Clam Shack

DJ’s has good food and if I was starving and right by it I would stop again otherwise it doesn’t really stand out too much. We also had to wait a long time for our food. Longer than I thought since there didn’t seem to be too many people there. I had the fish tacos which came with 2 tacos that were a pretty large size. They were spicy and satisfying but weren’t as delicate and homemade tasting as I would like. My son and boyfriend were both happy with their fries and whatever fried seafood they chose (I can’t remember what they ate).

Here is my Yelp review.

Old Town Mexican Cafe

I love ordering vegetarian dishes when I go out to eat even though I’m not a vegetarian. Old Town Mexican Cafe does not disappoint in this area. I had their Veggieladas and they were SO, SO good! Even the beans on the side had something special about them that made me keep eating until they were gone. My son and boyfriend both had their fajitas and were happy as well. We have eaten here multiple times and I rate it 5 stars because anytime I was hungry for Mexican while here I would think about this place….thats a good compliment 🙂

Here’s the link to my Yelp review.

Lobo’s Grill

We were recommended to eat at Lobo’sby our friends that own Florida Keys Boat Rentals.

It’s a great find for lunch food. The wraps are huge and enough to share (if you want to that is). At about $8 per wrap that’s a great deal! I ate here twice on my last trip and the first time I ate half of my #4 wild mushroom wrap and took the other half with me to eat when I was out on the boat later that afternoon. Delish!!

They welcome your dogs to sit at their outdoor cafe area and they will bring them their own water bowl. Here is my Yelp review.

Banana Cafe

Banana Cafe is a good brunch spot. A little pricey but on point. Their coffee is amazing and they offer free refills. Our server even gave us more coffee in a to-go cup when we left. My boyfriend and I shared their Salmon and Bagel plate because we just wanted a light breakfast. The bagel was large and they are generous with the salmon. It also comes with a side salad with onions and large tomatoes….very good!

Here is my Yelp review.

Sarabeth’s

I love the atmosphere at Sarabeth’s.  It’s a large old house/turned restaurant with a neighborhood feel. We have eaten here multiple times and always sit on their outdoor patio. When we last ate here I had the mahi-mahi and my boyfriend had the meatloaf. My fish was very fresh and light. I could eat it everyday. The meatloaf portion is generous, my boyfriend even took some home and ate the rest the next day. They only serve wine and champagne cocktails so prepare if you have a boyfriend like mine that was hoping for a bourbon. This is one of our Key West fav’s!

Here is my Yelp review.

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