Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 957 : Conch, conch, and more conch -- Dining adventures in and around Key West

Billed as the Southernmost Isle in the Continental US, Key West is part beach-town oasis, part funky artsy getaway, part party central, part laid back melting pot of sailors, fishers, runners, bikers, and more. Stunning vistas of the water and palm trees abound, warm temperatures, and brightly colored little houses make up this final Key in the chain of Florida Keys.

Curious about the dining options?

We had the pleasure of staying in a Hyatt Residence Club so that we had access our own kitchen along with having the choice to dine out. Let me tell you there is nothing quite as fabulous as a warm home cooked meal and a luxurious bath after spending twenty-four hours in a van running a 197 mile relay race.

However if you weren't interested in home cooked food, there was a wide variety of options -- of course your straight forward Italian joints, your bar food, classic American dishes, Caribbean dives, Cuban and other Central and South American cuisine, and of course fish shacks abound. Sure there were your fancier restaurants with a selection of Continental cuisine and cocktails but we did not venture to any of them. Of course we had to try conch and key lime pie and the grilled fish and their best Caribbean/Cuban/Central American joints. Unfortunately Key West is not particularly well known for their cheese selections so I wouldn't plan on finding unique cheeses on offer at the restaurants and markets on this Southernmost Isle. 

Where to go for Caribbean food?

Mo's Restaurant - Caribbean soul food done excellently well in a no nonsense, no frills joint. If you are looking for a dive-y homey meal that will warm you from the inside out. 
1116 White Street, Key West

Where to go because you're in Key West and you simply cannot miss it?

The Green Parrot - The first and last bar on US 1, this casual local's joint boasts awesome live music on weekends and a chill beachy vibe. Flipflops and a laidback attitude a must! 
601 Whitehead Street, Key West, Florida

Where to go for some live music, openair seating, fun people watching and local specialties along the water?

The Conch Republic Seafood Company - Order the smoked fish dip, grab a stool at the bar and a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and watch the people pass you by.
631 Greene Street, Key West, Florida

Stunning views, classic American food done well on a private island?

Well then head to Latitudes. Located on Sunset Key, this restaurant that is part of the Westin Sunset Key Cottages offers breathtaking ocean views, great cocktails and good food. You must take the boat from Mainland Key West to arrive there. 

Where's the best key lime pie?

200 Elizabeth Street, Key West

What about if you are in need of a bite on the road between Key West and Miami? 

Located just removed from Overseas Highway in Islamorada is Lazy Days. Situated right on the beach, this simple restaurant offered the freshest fish and the most flavorful conch ceviche of the trip. Definitely do not miss the view, it is guaranteed to melt away all of your problems. 
Lazy Days 79867 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL

Overall - a great time was had by all on the Southernmost Isle. Sun, fun, relaxing and more!

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