The island of Key West is only 105 miles from Havana, Cuba. In comparison, a trip from Key West International Airport to Cuba would take less than 15 minutes.
With that proximity, it’s no surprise that some traditional and one of the best Cuban food in Key West, delighting locals and visitors.
It’s a fact that Key West has some of the best Cuban food in Key West, and there’s no shortage of good food in this beautiful city.
I love eating in Key West, so that’s one of my favorite things to do! Key West has so many fantastic restaurants that you could organize an entire trip around them.
If you’ve never had Cuban food before, Key West is the ideal place to taste some real Cuban dishes or some of the best Cuban sandwiches ever.
The Cuban Sandwich is a Florida classic that began as a Cuban twist on the traditional ham and cheese sandwich in immigrant areas such as Key West, Miami, and Tampa.
The addition of pulled pork to the basic ham and Swiss creates the ideal sandwich, which is finished with the zing of pickles and mustard within warm, pressed Cuban bread.
I’ve compiled a list of the top Cuban eateries in Key West that serve delicious Cuban food. You cannot visit Key West without trying at least one Cuban sandwich! Enjoy!
- My Top 3 Picks of the Best Cuban Food in Key West
- The 11 Must-Try Places For Best Cuban Food In Key West
- Final Thoughts About the Best Cuban Food in Key West
My Top 3 Picks of the Best Cuban Food in Key West
|Restaurant||Top Pick||Our Rating|
|Frita’s Cuban Burgers||Frita Burger||5/5|
|Ana’s Cuban Cafe and Southernmost Grocery||Cuban Sandwich||5/5|
|El Habanero Cafe Cubano||ropa vieja lunch plate||5/5|
The 11 Must-Try Places For Best Cuban Food In Key West
900 Catherine St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052964184
Sometimes for the best Cuban food, you should search for the most unassuming, no-frills establishments, and that’s precisely what you get from El Siboney.
Because the brick building blends nicely with the adjacent residential dwellings, you might pass right by it.
This restaurant has a casual ambiance in the heart of Old Town, but try their ropa vieja and tell us it isn’t some of the best you’ve eaten outside of Havana! The roasted pork is also a must-try.
El Siboney serves some of the best Cuban food in Key West. They’ve been in business since 1984 and will soon celebrate 40 years of bringing the flavors of Cuba to Key West.
However, many believe that generic exteriors have some of the best and most authentic cuisines, which is undoubtedly true here. El Siboney is a family-run restaurant with daily specialties that are affordably priced.
I had the conch chowder and rice and beans combo. Both of these were fantastic and authentic.
The pork was the best I’ve ever tasted, and the waitress was kind enough to offer us a sample. It was bursting with taste, and I highly recommend that everyone try it.
I had to get some coffee and a slice of Key Lime Pie after smelling it. It was so good!
With a bit of cream, the coffee was strong but not overpowering. The key lime pie was light and creamy, with a hint of sharpness.
This is the place to go if you’re searching for an inexpensive spot to eat the best Cuban food in Key West. The cuisine and service are excellent, and the cleanliness is flawless.
They also serve beef, roasted pig, chicken, Cuban toast, seafood meals, tiny snacks, yellow rice, black bean soup, delectable Cuban sandwiches, and legendary two-person paella are among the menu’s highlights.
Take the opportunity to buy their famed hot sauce in bottles. I would return when the opportunity arises, and I would gladly recommend this place to anyone looking for the best Cuban food in Key West!
410 Wall St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052952620
If you’re looking for a family-owned, long-standing restaurant that the locals recommend, El Meson de Pepe is for you.
It’s located at a historic building in Mallory Square, just off the ocean, where you can watch enormous cruise ships arrive while eating traditional and one of the best Cuban food in Key West.
One of the highlights is their famous salsa band, Caribe of Key West, which performs every night around sunset.
The atmosphere is ideal, thanks to the warm air, setting sun, and traditional music.
We started with the mariquitas and then moved on to the Ropa Vieja and Lechon Asado entrees.
They were served with yucca or plantains, rice, and black beans. We couldn’t finish everything because the dish was reasonably priced and bountiful.
Outside, the rooster and his chicken harem create a joyful and festive atmosphere! That rooster was clearly in charge of his surroundings.
If you want more of a snack, try their plantain chips, or go right to dessert with their flan casero with caramel.
And, of course, during happy hour, have a specialty Mojito from their patio bar.
This is the spot for a fantastic Key West evening experience that the entire family can enjoy. There is excellent cuisine, excellent service, and impeccable cleanliness.
I recommend this restaurant as one of the best Cuban food in Key West for anyone trying to have a good time!
425 Southard St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13055097075
Frita’s is the place to go if you want to try out the best Cuban food in Key West. To mention a few, Cuban sandwich types include Banh Mi, Buffalo-NY style, Muffaletta, and a Cuban Reuben.
Starting with the Frita Burger, the patty is simply seasoned to perfection, loosely held together, not as tight as a regular burger, slightly closer to the consistency of a sloppy Joe, and so darn tasty!
All of this is sandwiched between a single Cuban roll and accompanied by needle-thick hand-cut shoestring potatoes, which provide just the proper amount of crunch to match the meat and bread.
Their Pork Tacos are unlike any other taco you’ve ever had. The little patches of burn on the tortilla indicate that it has been toasted. Nonetheless, it has the appropriate texture to hold the pork bliss.
I ordered it without first looking at what was inside. I felt the pork was a little sweet when I tried it, and then I read the description and saw guava glaze!
Guava glaze, indeed; the nectar of the gods! A lightly sweet, tangy accent to combine with the fresh red cabbage slaw and excellent large chunks of fresh mango. You will never have a tastier taco than this.
Last but not least, there were the “Cuban Cigars.” Consider the finest Cuban sandwich you’ve ever tasted, then multiply that by ten and stuff it into an egg roll.
I’ve had my fair share of Cuban sandwiches. But this has to be the single most delightful flavor combination derived from Cuban sandwich ingredients. The egg roll wrapper is more akin to a fried empanada.
It is encircled by a “cigar band” of yellow mustard. I swear I heard Celia Cruz singing “Guantanamera” in my ear as I bit into it.
My tastebuds exploded into a symphony; you can hear timbales, cowbells, and trumpets, all in grand carnival style.
The combination of ham and pork, the juicy julienned pickles, and the melty Swiss cheese, almost like a cheese sauce. Magical!
Add to that the fact that you’re in this very familiar and cozy business, sitting on a colored wooden bench, looking outside through broad wooden windows, and knowing that this cuisine originated only 90 miles south of where you’re standing. Amazing. Give it a try!
I consider this small, hidden restaurant in southern Key West to be one of my favorites. It’s in Key West’s Historic District, between the Butterfly Observatory and Higgs Memorial Beach Park.
Ana’s Cuban Cafe only serves breakfast and lunch, so plan ahead if you want to stop by for a meal. It’s casual and pleasant, with excellent service. There is sitting both inside and outside to enjoy the sun.
They share a menu with the Conch Café next door, and dishes are offered at both locations. Classic breakfast sandwiches, some with a Latin flair, are featured in one menu section.
Try their Cuban dishes, such as authentic Cuban sandwiches, seafood platters of the day, and small sides such as sweet plantains and tostones.
I ordered the Cuban Sandwich and a Cortadito for breakfast during my visit. It was gastronomic heaven, in my opinion.
I have rarely had a Cuban Sandwich of this level, although I have visited several restaurants in South Florida and elsewhere to compare.
The bread was thin and crunchy, with a gorgeous layer of roast pork over ham, complemented by pickle pieces, cheese, and mustard.
The combination of salty savoriness and a robust, sweet cup of coffee in the morning is unmatched.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience for me, and I highly recommend giving them a shot!
5 Key Lime Square, Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052947787
291 Front St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13059222896
Don’t be fooled by the casual counter space; their three Key West restaurants provide immense flavors.
Originally located on Margaret Street, the second and third locations are in Key Lime Square near Southard Street and Duval Street in downtown Key West and in The Clinton Square Market on Front Street in Clinton Square Market.
They are well-known for their real Cuban coffee, particularly their café con Leche.
I recommend getting a breakfast sandwich and a Cortadito, a double Cuban espresso with cane sugar and heated milk.
Their coffee cups say, “Drink more Cuban coffee and do more dumb things faster.” So, you may choose to heed or dismiss their advice!
My friend got the Havana Rice and Beans, while I ordered the Sunrise Special, which included half a breakfast sandwich and an iced café con leche. Everything was fantastic!
My friend couldn’t stop talking about his selection; the pressed Cuban bread was amazing and out of this world. I particularly liked that the iced café con leche came with coffee ice cubes, which prevents your drink from becoming watered down as it melts!
So, stop by Cuban Coffee Queen for a sandwich if you’re in town for the legendary Key West nightlife but don’t have much time to sit down and eat.
2814 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13059222306
El Habanero Cafe Cubano is a full-service restaurant and bar in Key West that serves the greatest Cuban food.
It’s a terrific destination to spend your last days in Key West before flying home, with authentic cuisine, craft cocktails, and live entertainment.
The mood is genuine, not necessarily appealing to the tourist ideal but not unwelcoming in any way.
Their food is reasonably priced for Key West, and the portions are generous and filling.
I ordered the Cuban combo, a breakfast sandwich, and the ropa vieja lunch plate. The ropa vieja is among the greatest I’ve had outside my grandmother’s kitchen. Their sandwiches are also excellent.
Some of the best food comes from restaurants that don’t appear to be busy, and this is one of them. Highly recommended for both locals and tourists for Key West Cuban.
2302 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052962878
Kim’s Kuban is the place to go for the best Cuban food in Key West or Mexican cuisine. This New York Times best-selling cookbook features the best Cuban and Mexican recipes from a rotating cast of celebrity chefs.
Their Cuban sandwiches are served with all the fixings: pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise, and mustard, and the pork is well-seasoned and cooked.
We came in for lunch and ordered the Cuban mix sandwiches. Oh, they were delicious. The pork was tender and delicious. The toppings were all fresh.
The cheese was perfectly melted and delicious. The bread was then delicious and crunchy. I definitely suggest it, and it was perhaps one of our favorite meals here. The breakfast sandwiches are equally delicious, grilled on the same bread.
This restaurant serves delicious meals at an affordable price. Come give it a shot!
1222 White St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052961666
The Best Cuban Food In Key West and the most delicious Cuban sandwiches as well as coffee. Their coffee is fresh and fabulous, and the ambiance is adorable.
The best part about this restaurant is that you can bring your wine or beer from home.
You will undoubtedly enjoy your dinner and chat while sipping juice, tea, soda, or other drink.
The Cuban Latte was ideal with a morning sandwich. My favorite was the bacon, egg, and cheese.
The sandwiches are quite large and made with freshly baked Cuban bread. This is an excellent spot to have a quick Cuban breakfast to go in the morning.
5708 Maloney Ave., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052967490
El Mocho, situated in a little white building, delivers some of the greatest Cuban food in Key West, and if you’re in the area, you should stop for lunch here.
It is family-owned, and the menu is extensive, especially given the restaurant’s small size. You can visit it early in the morning for their Cuban breakfast or late in the afternoon.
The place looks tiny when you enter, but there is a nice-sized room towards the back with booths and tables.
Cuban bread is one of their popular snack items. It is provided with most dishes or may be requested individually and is freshly made in-house daily.
We ordered breakfast, and I had an omelet with steak while my friend had scrambled eggs with bacon. You are given a lovely basket of hot Cuban bread with butter when the food arrives.
When I asked for salsa, our server’s coworker brought over some sauce from the oxtail they were making.
The sauce was excellent for dipping the bread and topping the eggs. As I looked around at other plates, I noticed huge breakfast sandwiches.
So, some of the most popular dishes here are Cuban sandwiches, ropa vieja, and sweet delicacies like tostones, flan, or pancakes.
They also serve a variety of white Cuban coffees.
You must, of course, have the Cafe with Leche. If you’re visiting Key West, don’t miss out on this hidden gem.
729 Thomas Ln., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052968666
Blue Heaven is one of the most incredible places in Key West to try Cuban cuisine. They are just two blocks away from the Key West Lighthouse in the middle of downtown Key West.
They are easy to notice at night because of the rainbow lights illuminating the facade.
Blue Heaven is an al fresco dining establishment, which means you sit outside beneath the shade of palm trees and exotic flora.
Chickens and cats wander the grounds, trees grow up and over ancient, rusting ovens, and live music is performed daily.
I’ve eaten here a few times. Brunch can have a long wait, but it is well worth it.
Jerk chicken sandwiches, shrimp melts, fresh seafood, and citrus snapper are some of their most popular dishes.
They are also recognized for serving the best breakfast in Key West, but this is the busiest time of year, so plan to arrive early. The lobster Benedict is an absolute must-order.
Don’t miss out on Key West’s signature dish, Key Lime Pie, regardless of what time of day you visit.
Blue Heaven is most renowned for its breakfast. However, they serve meals throughout the day. Dinner reservations are available, but brunch is first come, first served. It is a must-try!
930 Southard St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052965205
It made our list of the finest places to get the best Cuban food. But it also serves many other wonderful sandwiches, including breakfast sandwiches.
While you’re at it, you can also stock up on other essentials like their unique espresso bean blend.
This is your neighborhood hangout for authentic Cuban coffee and eats. If you want to know where the locals go, the answer is at Five Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop.
They had the finest bollos I’d ever had. They were fluffy and wonderful, how they should be. The other dishes were a pleasant surprise, including conch fritters that are truly authentic and wonderful.
The Cuban sandwiches were an ideal balance of ham, pork, and cheese with a pickle, all flavors in harmony and none overpowering.
The thickness of the espuma and the scent drew me to the Cuban coffee like a moth to light. Authentic flavor, not over-hyped; how it should be. Absolutely the most exciting and the best Cuban food in Key West!
Everything was fantastic!
It’s a Key West staple where you’ll likely meet new friends while waiting in line. It’s well worth it!
What is Key West, Florida, best known for?
Key West, the United States’ southernmost point, is known for its watersports, busy nightlife, beaches, historical monuments, and pastel, conch-style architecture.
What is Cuban food a fusion of?
Cuban cuisine is heavily influenced by African and other Caribbean cuisines and is mostly based on Spanish cuisine.
Some Cuban dishes share spices and techniques with Spanish, African, and Taino cooking, with Caribbean spice and taste influences. This results in a synthesis of various cultural influences.
What is Florida’s most iconic food?
Aside from oranges, Key Lime Pie is perhaps Florida’s most famous export. The meringue-topped pie, named after the little, sour, aromatic limes often associated with the Florida Keys, blends the tangy lime juice with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk poured over a graham cracker crust.
Final Thoughts About the Best Cuban Food in Key West
If you are fortunate enough to visit Key West, it would be a crime not to have at least one authentic Cuban lunch while there.
The Cuban Sandwich is popular among locals and visitors, and numerous restaurants in town provide excellent variations of this sandwich.
If you want to enjoy the best Cuban food in Key West, it is safe to say you’ll fall in love with all the options this place offers.
The island not only boasts the best dishes in the country, but it also frequently has added specials that enhance them.
Check out these must-see spots to taste one of America’s most delectable classics!
If you are interested in discovering more incredible places to eat in Key West, make sure to check out our article on 14 Of The Best Restaurants In Key West Florida.
Igor Jovanovski is an aspiring digital nomad, travel blogger and graphic designer who really loves food. He also has a creative side, and he works as a freelance graphic designer in his spare time. He has traveled across Europe quite a few times since he was young and recently started his mission to visit every country in the world! Igor’s favorite thing about traveling is the way he gets to know new people, food, places and cultures.
This exciting experience helps him create his own stories and make memories that will last forever