Key West: Eating (and Drinking) Duval Street

Duval Street in Key West is known for it’s multitude of bars and open-air eateries, and in true me-fashion I tried to sample as many as possible while on my trip. I’m all about seafood and loved that Key West has really lenient open-container laws, so I was able to walk around the streets with my drink! Keep reading for my reviews on all the bars and restaurants we tried…

KW Duval 2

I love food, so here’s a rundown of my favorites from this trip, in order of most-awesome to least-awesome:

  • First up is Blue Heaven, quite possibly my favorite meal from Key West. The photo above is the view from the outdoor bar area. Most of the restaurant is open-air, outside, under the trees strung with lights and a tiki bar. We went for brunch on Sunday morning and it was amazing. We had a 40 minute wait for our table of 4, but we sat near the bar, listened to the live music, watched the roosters wandering around the patio, and ordered Bloody Mary’s. I am picky about my Bloody’s, but Blue Heaven makes their mix in-house, and it was the perfect amount of horseradish and spice. They also use Grey Goose vodka, so I was on board. Two drinks later (it was hot and Sunday Funday was happening) we were seated and I ordered the Avocado Omelette, which was a daily special. There was at least an entire avocado inside my omelette and the black bean sauce on top of it was delicious. The lobster eggs Benedict was also a table favorite. (Oh, and probably my favorite part about Blue Heaven is their option to get banana bread instead of toast. Do it. It’s amazeballs.)
  • As a bonus, while this restaurant is in Islamorada and not Key West, Islamorada Shrimp Shack a great place to stop for lunch on your drive to or from Key West. The place looks like a dive, almost sort of dumpy, but don’t let that fool you. We were the only non-locals in the place, and the food was stellar. I had the blackened Mahi basket (sooo tasty, and the slaw and mac and cheese were delicious) and ManFriend had the Continental Lunch with Mahi. The menu description made me unsure (I mean, Parmesan cheese and tomatoes on fish, really?) but it was incredible. We were both so glad we stopped for lunch.
  • For the island’s best Key Lime Pie, don’t bother with anywhere but Kermit’s. There are two locations off Duval Street, so you can get your Key Lime fix no matter where you’re staying. Do yourself a favor and order an entire pie to take and eat in bed at your hotel. (No judgement zone here, I ate this stuff for breakfast more than once).
  • Amigos Tortilla Bar is great for a casual lunch. I had the grilled fish burrito bowl and was a huge fan of the sweet (but still a little spicy) mango hot sauce. They also had local Florida beers on tap, which is always a plus in my book.
KW Duval 1

Beer and margaritas served in souvenir cups for lunch at Amigos.

  • Krawl Off Duval was a great little local bar with craft beers on tap. It’s hardly the party place, but it was small and relaxed and just what we needed one afternoon before dinner. During happy hour, you buy your first round and a second round is on the house.
  • Our first night, we ate at Hog’s Breath Saloon, partially because hangry was setting in and we were tired of walking up and down Duval scrutinizing menus. It’s open-air and the food was tasty. Our table shared the smoked fish dip, which sounds strange but was super delicious and may be a new favorite appetizer to order. The mini pork shanks were also a hit all around. The food focused on seafood and pork, with Cuban sides like plantains, rice, and beans.
  • We stopped into Sloppy Joe’s Bar for the novelty factor of their live-steam webcams on our Sunday Funday. They had a decent tap beer selection and the staff was super friendly. If you have family or friends stuck at home, they can visit the website and see a live stream of the bar on various webcams and see all the fun they’re missing out on.
  • We ate dinner our last night at Two Friends Patio Restaurant. While it wasn’t bad, it also just wasn’t that great. I had much better seafood at the Shrimp Shack, with better portions and prices. They did have good tartar sauce, but I don’t think a restaurant is worth re-visiting because of a condiment. Oh, and our waiter was absolutely clueless, even considering we were one of two tables in the entire place.
  • I insisted (rookie move) on visiting Fat Tuesday just to see what all the hype was about and because I really wanted one of those insulated sport bottles to put my mimosa in for our boat adventure. We literally walked in, got our to-go drinks, and left. The bar is unimpressive and the drinks were all overly-sugared slushies. Go for the cool cup, stay for the…. well, don’t stay.
  • Irish Kevin’s bar… meh. I honestly don’t have anything good or bad to say about it, sort of like that guy you go out with and there’s nothing wrong with him but nothing particularly impressionable, either. I drank a beer, I left.
KW Duval 3

To be honest, I just wanted the cup…

Of course, since we were in an ocean-side town outside of my normal Floridian stomping grounds, I made sure to stop in at the Kilwin’s for blueberry waffle cone ice cream after dinner one night. From Annapolis to the Southernmost city, it never disappoints. (Okay, okay, you can leave comments about how lame I am for liking a chain ice cream store. Whatevs.)

In efforts to save money we bought groceries to make breakfast and a couple of dinners in the house together, one of which was our fresh-caught Florida lobster! Read about that adventure here.

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