December 30, 2005

eating your way through key west

as I mentioned below, I'm in Key West with friends for New Year's. We developed an accidental tradition to travel somewhere every year, and after a great time here last year, we decided to return again. My parents came down last September since Dad originally proposed to Mom nearby - and they echoed something we experienced last year - a lot of our meals were pretty sub-par. So this year, we made sure to do some research ahead of time as well as while here, and we've had some great meals. So, for anyone traveling here themselves, here are some recommendations (in no particular order) [I won't bother with addresses or phone numbers, just go to google and type in the restaurant name and the words "key west" and you'll find the essentials]:

› Santiago's Bodega - tapas - awesome. And extremely reasonable considering how good it was, though we really think they didn't charge us for everything we place off the beaten path. one of the best of our visit. well worth going.
› Cafe Soliel - probably the best meal I've had here so far (tossup between here and Santiago's). Make sure you eat your vegetables they'rere pretty amazing (so is the rest of the meal)
› The Grand Cafe - don't do it. food was decent, but nowhere near the level of its prices.
› Pepe's Cafe - despite being a tourist trap near the marina, its pretty good. been there since 1909, great Key West casual. (pics above are from there)
› Half Shell Raw Bar - very much a tourist trap on the marina, but surprisingly good and worth going to. Basic raw bar/seafood/shellfish etc. Have run into several others who said the same thing.
› Michaels - very good, but not special. Great waitstaff (Suzette) who took care of a huge group. If you go, make sure you sit outside - inside is a little dismal.
› Nine One Five - our one really great meal from last year - was everybit as good this year too. A strong exception to the "don't eat on Duval Street" rule of thumb.
› Alice's - a lot of people raved about their breakfast. It was good, but nothing special.
› Blue Heaven - another place we heard a lot of raves about - this one is a great breakfast/brunch to go for.
› Sarabeth's - a new york import, but very good. The key lime pie got raves from everyone at tables around us, but they ran out before we could try ourselves.

Other places we heard good things about, but didn't try: Pisces, Sandy's Cuban (at the M&M Laundromat), Martin's, 7Fish, and Louie's Backyard.

guess we'll have to come back!

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