Cayo Hueso. The End of the Road. Margaritaville. Fantasy Island. The Conch Republic. All of Key West’s many names evoke images of swaying palm trees, ice-cold beverages, and a laid-back island lifestyle. There’s something for everyone here: a colorful history, vibrant arts community, cute boutiques, fabulous food, legendary watering holes, the only living coral barrier reef in North America, and a captivating kaleidoscope of wildlife—on land, at sea, and especially on Duval Street.
Seafood is the king of Key West cuisine. Locally caught Florida spiny lobsters are available from August to March, stone crabs from mid-October to mid-May, and yellowtail snapper and pink shrimp year-round. Crabmeat is often substituted for bacon during breakfast, making for quite a tasty Eggs Benedict. Conch, another Key West specialty, is particularly scrumptious served as a fritter or in a spicy chowder.
Shellfish shacks abound around town along with several nationally recognized seafood restaurants steaming, boiling, baking, blackening, and dragon-rolling the fruits of the sea. Key West chefs adhere to the culinary philosophy of uncomplicated cooking using sustainable, fresh ingredients. Half Shell Raw Bar, Square One, Schooner Wharf, and Conch Republic Seafood Company are all sure bets to tantalize the taste buds.
Traditional Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja can be savored at the many family-owned Cuban restaurants, where dual-language menus are the norm. Choose between a quaint place like El Siboney or a more atmospheric one like El Meson de Pepe, where the mojitos have a potent kick.
Of course, no visit to Key West is complete without a taste of authentic key lime pie—lip-smacking yellow custard in a graham cracker crust topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Stop by the Blue Gecko Key Lime Pie & Ice Cream Factory for a chocolate-dipped Pie on a Stick. It’s just one of the many out-of-the-box treats that make Key West so uniquely delicious.