It wouldn’t be a review without some sort of ranking system, so a 1 through 5 is what we decided upon (5 being the best). We took into consideration the food, atmosphere, service and prices.
Schooner Wharf Bar (subtotal: $44.00)
202 William St.
Key West, Fl 33040
Our friend Jack picked up the tab for lunch here, so the amount listed above is the estimated subtotal, not including beverages (2 teas), tax, and tip. This restaurant, located on the Harbor Walk, is a dog-friendly, indoor/outdoor restaurant with a casual atmosphere and live music. Your shorts and flip flops will do just fine. We sat outside because our pup, Richey, was with us. Jack and I had the Fish and Chips ($13.95 each), and Hakam had the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich ($15.95). Both meals were very good. The Fish and Chips didn’t come with the light brown, fluffy and crispy batter some might be used to, though. It had a darker, more dense batter, but still crispy and I thought it was delicious! I’m pretty particular when it comes to fried seafood, and I wasn’t disappointed. Hakam’s sandwich was very good as well. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and the sandwich had good flavor with a little spice. Hakam hoped it would have had a little more kick, but he’s one of those people that can handle very spicy dishes. Maybe the sandwich is engineered more for “normal” people, and not so much for him. The service was fine and what you would expect for casual dining. It’s a casual restaurant, with good food, and we would return. We give it a 4
Bo’s Fish Wagon (total including no tip: $45.00)
801 Carolina St.
Key West, Fl 33040
From the outside, the restaurant looks like a shack that’s barely standing, but this didn’t deter us since this sort of “vibe” is common throughout the Keys. We entered and were “not” greeted by an employee behind the counter who obviously didn’t feel it was in his job description to speak to customers. Willing to overlook Mr. Personality’s reluctance to speak, the next thing to overcome were the prices scribbled next to the menu items on the chalk board in front of him. Hakam had to have that “famous” grouper sandwich this place is so well-known for, so he ordered the $20.00 item just before being told it didn’t come with a side of anything. So, there went another three or four dollars to complete his meal. Losing confidence that anything excellent could be associated with the blank face staring at us from across the counter, I chose to go against the grain and ordered the not-so-famous fried shrimp at $5.00 less. Of course, I shelled out the additional three or four dollars for a side of fries, too. After placing our order and handing over a small fortune with nothing more than water to drink, we found one of the very few clean tables to sit at…. and there weren’t many to begin with. Here we waited for our food to be brought to us, but Richey couldn’t sit down because there were puddles of water literally everywhere. Eventually our food was brought to us by our server, who seemed nice-enough, but we never saw her again after that….. not for refills or to check on our meal. So far…… so bad! And that “famous” fried grouper sandwich, it wasn’t worth even a fourth of the $20.00 price tag it came with. Hakam compared it to what he remembered when he ate there twenty years ago and was extremely disappointed. I took a bite out of curiosity, and didn’t taste grouper, or any fish, at all. The fillet was so thin it tasted more like a lettuce and tomato sandwich instead. As for the fried shrimp, it actually wasn’t bad and maybe even better than I’m capable of ranking it because of the overall experience. Oh, and I don’t want to forget to mention the tip jar strategically placed on the counter in front of Mr. Personality. I guess you’re supposed to tip him/them after placing your own order and before seating yourself to dine on an over-priced, subpar meal. Funny, yet insulting at the same time. Needless to say, the place was a bust and the food and service was even worse. We will never return! We give it a 1
Kermit’s Original Key West Key Lime Shoppe (total including tip: $11.00)
200 Elizabeth St.
Key West, Fl 33040
We heard this place served up the best key lime pie around, and since we both love key lime pie, we stopped in. We went into the cute little shop and ordered two slices, and then went out on to the picturesque patio to eat. With seating available just near the sidewalk where everyone passes by, or around the Koi pond just a few steps up and tucked a little further back, you won’t find a bad seat. This quaint little shop’s atmosphere is as delicious as its Key Lime pie. When the employee inside said the pie “will change your life”, I think he may have been right. It’s simple in appearance, as is the plastic to-go container it’s put in, but If you like key lime pie, we recommended this spot! And if you’re still unsure when you get there, they’ll give you a free taste. We give it a 5
Blue Heaven (total including tip: $32.64)
729 Thomas St.
Key West, Fl 33040
During our visit to Key West, and while trapped inside our tiny home on one of those rainy nights, we saw a commercial for Blue Heaven on the Key West channel. They were advertising their key lime pie topped off with a pile of meringue. It looked beautiful, and if you like meringue, you would definitely be enticed. We made it a point to stop by, but because all of the outside seating was drenched from the rain, we got our order to go. Three slices of key lime pie. It was very pretty to look at, almost identical to what we saw on tv, so we were anxious to start shoveling it into our faces. The filling was very sweet and tart at the same time, set on a dark, thick and very sweet crust, and was indeed topped off with a pile of meringue. I can see what people would like about it, but it wasn’t our idea of key lime pie. The crust, which was very rustic in appearance and texture, was too sugary in our opinion. That, in combination with the filling, made it way too sweet for my palate. The meringue was also very good, but I’ve always preferred whipped cream. Because we recently consumed key lime pie from Kermit’s, it wasn’t hard to differentiate the two and choose our favorite. The key lime pie from Blue Heaven was very pretty to look at, and good enough to finish off, but we agreed that Kermit’s was the winner in this key lime pie competition. We give it a 3
Pepe’s Café and Steak House (total including tip: $99.32)
806 Caroline St,
Key West, Fl 33040
If you check out our photos from our trip to Key West, you’ll find a few pictures of this little establishment. President Truman used to frequent it. Another dog-friendly restaurant with a clean and cozy patio atmosphere. Richey, our dog, loved the place since he remained entertained by the “house” cat who wasn’t bothered at all by his presence, and we were lucky enough to dine out again with our friend, Jack. Jack had the Prime Rib and said it was very good. It looked great! I had the scallops with asparagus and mashed potatoes with gravy, and thought it was just alright. The scallops were slightly over cooked, and the potatoes and gravy weren’t as warm as they should have been. Hakam had the Chicken Florentine and said it was extremely dry. He wasn’t satisfied at all with his dinner. The service was good, but unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to make up for the less-than-great food. We can’t speak for Jack, but for us, it’s not a place we would revisit. We give it a 2.5
The Stoned Crab (total including tip: $103.15)
3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, Fl 33040
This restaurant isn’t located in the thick of it like the others, but instead right outside of Sigsbee Campground where our tiny home was parked. The restaurant is very attractive and surrounded by water, is dog-friendly and has plenty of outside seating. There’s enough to choose from on the menu, but the prices are ridiculous, especially for not being in the “touristy” area of the island. We decided to get the Conch Fritter appetizers because we’d never tried them. I suppose if you like conch fritters you would have liked these since they were nice and crispy and came with a dipping sauce, but we learned we are not fans of the fritter. The Shrimp Scampi ($30.00) and Shrimp Alfredo ($30.00) were both delicious and came with plenty of shrimp. They didn’t skimp out in this department, but the overall quantity of pasta wasn’t much. If you were hoping for leftovers, forget it. The service was subpar. We didn’t get appetizer plates for the fritters, we were short a set of silverware, we waited an unusually long time for a refill on our beverage after we had to flag down our server to request it, and then we waited again for the check so we could pay and leave….. and it wasn’t even busy. The dishes we ordered were delicious, but the prices alone are enough to keep us from ever returning. There just wasn’t enough bang for our buck here. We give it a 3.5
5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop (total including tip: $27.00)
930 Southard St.
Key West, Fl 33040
This restaurant, that doubles as a market, is set off the beaten path and isn’t flashy or fancy in the least. It has seating inside and out, but from what we observed and experienced, outside on the benches is where the locals like to be…. rain or shine. If you read our post about our visit to Key West and this phenomenal find, you know this is not only our favorite place, but Richey’s, too! I wouldn’t even know where to start with this little gem, so let me just try to sum it up as best I can. If you like Cuban sandwiches….. visit this place! It has excellent food at very reasonable prices. We ate here with our friend Jack, twice, because it’s that good. Jack and I got the Original Cuban sandwich both times. It’s a flavorful sandwich made with the perfect combination of deli meat, cheese, mustard and pickles, served on Cuban bread, and then pressed until it’s slightly browned and crispy on the top but still warm and soft in the middle. It’s superior to any Cuban sandwich I’ve ever had – it is perfection! Hakam got the Tuna on Cuban bread the first time and the Turkey on Cuban bread the second. The love affair he had with both his sandwiches was as deep and meaningful as the one I had with mine. And if you think we’re bias for whatever reason, just ask Jack…..he concurs! We completed our experience at 5 Brothers with two Café Con Leche’s and one Double Espresso. Yet again, nothing less than perfection. And unbelievably, three large Cuban sandwiches, two coffees and a double espresso all came to less than $27.00. As for the employees…. everyone working at this highly-regarded and adored little spot is very polite, welcoming and dog-friendly. You can’t go wrong adding this place to your itinerary. Two things to know: the business closes at 1500 hours and they only accept cash. They do have an ATM inside, however, in case you forget. We give it a 5
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