Key West has long been recognized for its relaxed atmosphere, where time flows slowly and the drinks are powerful. However, the United States’ southernmost island is also becoming known for its expanding fine dining restaurant scene.
While Key West is a haven for the unpretentious, laid-back lifestyle, it nonetheless appreciates a gourmet meal in a classic fine dining service.
Various cuisines, including New American, classic French, gourmet Italian, and nouveau German, are available for those looking for a unique experience.
You can expect to be treated like royalty at all of these establishments, with attentive personnel ensuring your dining experience is as memorable as the great food. Bon appetit!
My Top 3 Picks of the Key West Fine Dining Restaurants
|Restaurant||Top Pick||Our Rating|
|Los Cabos||Asada Quesadilla||5/5|
|Black Bear Cafe||Chicken Bacon Omelet||4.5/5|
|One Eyed Buffalo Brewing Company||Roast Beef Sandwich||4.5/5|
12 Best Key West Fine Dining Restaurants
700 Front St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13053964040
Bel Mare Restaurant is a must-visit in Key West for excellent Italian cuisine. Bel Mare has served guests from Key West to the Caribbean for decades.
The Bel Mare is a small yet lovely restaurant in Key West’s historic neighborhood. It’s busy with residents and visitors alike who love eating in its quaint dining area while taking in the local atmosphere.
There’s a reason why this restaurant is often busy and why it’s also a favorite wedding site. I mean, who doesn’t like a gorgeous wedding at sunset?
Bel Mare has the feel of an old Italian home, with frescoed walls, heavy oak furnishings, and the comfort of flickering candlelight. The views from the restaurant are very stunning.
Our server was still in training, but she performed an excellent job. There is an extensive wine range to pick from. We drank an excellent bottle of Malbec.
For our appetizers, I had the rare beef tenderloin, and my friend had the Caesar salad.
Our entrees were Wahoo with a piccata sauce for myself and Key West Pink Shrimp with fresh pappardelle for my friend. Everything tasted fresh and was created from scratch.
The food was beautiful, and a little pricey, but well worth it.
This latest addition to Key West fine dining should not be missed. I’m glad I went, and I’ll do it again the next time I’m in town.
700 Front St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052945880
The A&B Lobster House is much more than a seafood restaurant —it’s a Key West fine dining institution that’s been dishing up some of the area’s most delectable delicacies since 1947.
While the dining area is nice and has an elite steakhouse atmosphere, you’ll want to be on the panoramic balcony with incredible harbor views.
In the evening, you can watch the sunset and enjoy the slower pace with dishes like Caribbean lobster thermidor, grouper Oscar, and strip steak au poivre with gorgonzola potato gratin.
In addition to an impressive wine list, the restaurant offers an extensive menu of traditional cocktails, such as the Hemingway daiquiri, which seems fitting, given where you are.
We started with a bottle of wine and ordered the Jumbo Scallops and the Lobster Risotto, which were both some of the greatest seafood we’d ever had anywhere!
I was so impressed with the risotto that I requested the Executive Chef to thank him personally. He did come, and he stayed for a long, telling us about Florida lobsters.
If you’re ready to spend what it takes to dine here, this is a hidden treasure among a sea of laid-back noisy establishments.
915 Duval St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052960669
In a refurbished Victorian mansion on Key West’s famous Duval Street, Nine One Five offers an exceptional fine dining experience.
The white-washed home looks like it came straight out of a Mark Twain novel and provides a birds-eye view of street bustle, with light jazz music playing in the background.
We ordered grilled octopus, burrata, Ahi Tuna, Kurabuta pork, mojitos, and strawberry lemonades.
The octopus was grilled, and while lighter in flavor, it sat on a chickpea ragout and was complemented by an awesome arugula pesto sauce that is a must-try.
The burrata cheese was served with thinly sliced, crisp apples on arugula leaves and scant orange segments drizzled with a lovely balsamic sauce.
The Ahi tuna was delicious. It was served in thin slices with finely sliced jalapenos and an excellent spicy and refreshing aioli sauce. This is a must-try meal.
The cocktails were both fantastic, especially the mojito, one of the greatest I’ve ever tasted.
We sat on the balcony on the second floor facing Duval Street as a DJ played some fantastic 80’s and 90’s songs, which we both enjoyed, as well as the group of ladies at the bar!
Overall, it was a lovely experience, and I wholeheartedly recommend this venue for its excellent combination of food, drink, music, and service. It’s one of the best Key West fine dining restaurants.
1029 Southard St., Key West, FL 33040, United States //+13052940230
The culinary gem on the outskirts of town, Cafe Sole, has captured the hearts and palates of both locals and visitors alike.
The proprietor has developed a cuisine unlike any other on the island, where each dish is overflowing with incredible flavors thanks to his French skill of blending sauces and fresh, locally caught fish.
The building’s appearance is ordinary, but as we went inside, we were seated in a dining room that may have been a wine cellar if the walls weren’t open.
Expectedly, the wine list had a strong European influence. Additionally, the service was top-notch European. To begin, warm bread and seasoned oil were provided.
First, my friend had the cold conch carpaccio with sweet red peppers, asiago cheese, capers, and Bermuda onions as toppings.
Then I enjoyed the hot appetizer of fresh imported French anchovies baked on crostini and served with a green sauce containing basil, parsley, dill, and capers.
Both were mouthwatering. Although the hogfish is listed as their house specialty on the menu, we were drawn to the black grouper Romesco, served with a mildly spicy, roasted red pepper, hazelnut, garlic, and tomato sauce.
Absolutely yummy! Key Lime Pie with Espresso and Cappuccino were our final treats. This meal was superb.
If you don’t eat there at least once, you’re missing all the important aspects of fine dining on the island.
632 Olivia St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052044762
Little Pearl is the local eatery where residents and tourists frequently eat. The restaurant radiates a distinct seaside ambiance with fish, mermaids, compasses, and Edison lights scattered over the dining room.
It excels with its tasting menu, where you put yourself in the chefs’ hands and let them handle the rest.
The Old Town restaurant is currently only open for dinner, offering a four-course menu curated by the chef. There are three seatings throughout the evening.
The savory miso-and-clam soup, sweet and spicy Key West shrimp, and the day’s fish are among the favorites.
We had one of the most excellent fine dining meals in Key West here. Everything on the four-course tasting menu was fantastic, and we really liked it.
There were six of us, and we tried a variety of dishes and loved every one. The egg drop soup comes with quail eggs that are dropped into the steaming soup. The dish presentation was spectacular!
The crunchy noodle salad was delicious, and the edamame was a must-order. The wagyu nigiri was delicious, and the octopus lollipops are also a requirement!
We had the Peking duck and a grouper for entrées. And we finished our amazing experience with a bread pudding and ice cream for dessert.
The portion sizes were perfect because we tried so many different foods/tastes on the tasting menu, and we had plenty to eat without feeling stuffed. The service was also exceptional.
I visit Key West a few times a year, and this is one of the Key West fine dining places that has become one of my favorites. I definitely recommend a visit here and guarantee you will not be disappointed.
615 Duval St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052946565
Antonia’s on Duval Street is well-known for its homemade pasta and exquisite Key West fine dining. Antonia’s Restaurant is a Key West institution that serves fresh Italian cuisine, handcrafted pasta and sauces, and an award-winning wine list.
By nighttime, the comfortable dining room serves some of the best regional Italian cuisines on the island. It’s not just pasta, either!
The dishes of perfectly prepared fish, chicken, veal, and beef are highly recommended. Their broad wine choices and competent wait personnel contribute to the overall delight.
Antonia’s signature lasagna is made with spinach pasta, and the menu offers gnocchi with savory gorgonzola cheese sauce, linguine with clams, and linguine with clam sauce.
The food was delicious! For starters, we ordered grilled Calamari.
The flavors of the Chianti Braised Lamb Osso Buco entree were incredible. One of the best lamb shanks I’ve ever had. Also, the calamari was delicious.
Also, save room for dessert; the restaurant serves a wonderful, balanced, not-too-sweet amaretto coconut cream pie. This is a must-see if you’re in Key West!
700 Waddell Ave., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052941061
Louie’s Backyard is an elegant Caribbean-American restaurant overlooking the ocean near Higgs Pier.
Since being converted from a home to a restaurant in 1971, Louie’s has retained the building’s historical integrity and is a true callback to Key West’s heritage.
Their island specialties include conch fritters with hot pepper jelly and a twist on shrimp and grits with Key West pinks, mushrooms, and bacon.
They have an incredible back terrace dubbed the Afterdeck, which is ideal for a happy hour cocktail or an after-dinner drink by the water before a night on the town.
As an appetizer, we had seared bacon-wrapped scallops with summer succotash and garlic cream, which were delicious.
The dinner course featured the unforgettable sauteed gulf shrimp with bacon, mushrooms, and stone ground grits. Simply bursting with local flavor.
My companion ordered the grilled beef filet with a horseradish crust, red onion confit, and twice-baked potatoes.
After that, don’t forget to try Louie’s superb rendition of the island’s favorite Key Lime Pie.
Whatever you choose to do here, you just cannot go wrong with what this Key West fine dining gem has to offer!
Prime Steakhouse, another Key West fine dining option, delivers the best steaks. Prime is a dinner-only establishment with an excellent and classy menu.
This elegant local restaurant delivers an intimate dining experience for their visitors and takes pleasure in their service level.
From the moment you are greeted and taken to your table to the attentive, well-dressed staff, you instantly know you have entered a quality establishment.
Known for its perfectly seasoned bone-in ribeye and fresh Florida lobster, the menu consists mostly of seafood and steak dishes.
I began by ordering a dozen raw oysters. They were great, flavorful, and precisely made and presented.
Then we shared a cup of their Conch Chowder. It was hot and tasty! My friend ordered the Filet Mignon for the entree while I had the New York Strip Steak.
They were both cooked precisely to our medium-rare specifications. The sides of spinach, mushrooms, and baked potato were also perfectly cooked and nicely complemented the dishes!
You may finish your dinner with a Caramel Latte or the famed Crème brûlée – you won’t be disappointed with this lovely restaurant!
Definitely one of the best Key West fine dining restaurants.
600 Fleming St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052921244
The award-winning Cafe Marquesa, with only 50 seats, is the ideal retreat for an exquisite and private evening of fine dining in Key West.
Though it’s only off Duval Street in the bustling core of Key West’s historic area, Cafe Marquesa feels worlds away with its beautiful garden that offers a piece of peace smack dab in the middle of the major tourist strip.
Large mahogany-framed mirrors open up the room while providing diners with a 360-degree view of the restaurant.
The highlight of their cozy design is a hand-painted trompe l’oeil wall with views of the cooking action.
Chef Susan Ferry prepares Contemporary American Cuisine on an eclectic menu that varies nightly based on seasonal availability.
Their wine list is as varied as their menu and is one of the most extensive in Key West.
We loved the inventive menu, the tasty meal, and our server’s excellent service.
The shrimp and grits appetizer was delicious, with juicy shrimp and plenty for two people to share.
We got the grilled swordfish entrée for dinner, which was one of the greatest we’d ever tasted. Everything was well prepared.
Our server’s recommendation of Sancerre wine complemented the dinner well. The Sauterne dessert wine was also delicious, as were the beignets, which were warm and moist.
Dinner was quite peaceful, with everything nicely spread out, so there was plenty of time to enjoy the appetizer, main dish, and dessert.
We also enjoyed the delicious complimentary bread and butter, as well as a little gratis appetizer, before any of the meals arrived.
If you are looking for a high-end, fine dining experience in Key West, this is the place to go.
728 Simonton St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052044457
Lola’s Cafe is a restaurant in the middle of Key West, Florida, with an unbeatable setting. Lola’s has been totally refurbished, and the environment is fantastic.
This restaurant has been around for a long time, and you know it when you visit here! The meal is delicious, and the service is outstanding.
I can’t see anyone being dissatisfied with Lola’s Bistro. This modest and quiet restaurant is Key West’s best-kept secret, located near Duval and Mallory Squares and concealed in an alleyway accessible only through the back entrance and away from traffic.
There have been claims that it is more of a local’s secret, which I feel is correct.
You shouldn’t be discouraged from going to Lola’s if you don’t know what to expect – it’s no different from going to any other Key West eatery!
Our table’s favorite appetizer was the wild boar, followed by the portobello mushroom with short ribs.
The main courses were wonderful. The pompano, branzino, and veal chop were all exquisite, as were the sauces, and the rice could not have been better.
The chef is also skilled with sauces. Baked bananas with caramel and crème anglaise were a table favorite for dessert.
The tiramisu was tasty, but it could have used more espresso in the ladyfingers and even an espresso sauce from the chef, who has a talent for sauces.
Overall, one of my favorite Key West fine dining places. Such a pleasant atmosphere and excellent service.
245 Front St., Key West, FL 33040, United States // +13052925394
Latitudes is more than simply a terrific restaurant; it’s also an authentic Key West experience. This fine dining restaurant on Sunset Key delivers gourmet meals with one of the greatest sunset views in Key West.
Latitudes provide fresh local seafood and tropical fruit. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It is a five-minute boat journey from Key West that is included in your registration. If you want to eat at Latitudes, you should book a reservation well in advance because they can be difficult to come by.
Our dinner was fantastic. We both got the lobster bisque, which was outstanding. My friend had the Caesar salad, which was enormous, then the swordfish for his entrée.
I had the scallops as an appetizer and the Key West Pink Shrimp Carbonara as my main course. Our entrées were incredibly large; we each took half of our dish to go.
We probably would not have had appetizers if we had realized our meals would be so filling, even if they were great.
Normally, fine dining establishments do not provide large portions; however, that is not the case here.
We also enjoyed the finest salted Caramel Crème Brulee I’ve ever had for dessert!
I would strongly advise everyone to visit this restaurant at sunset and to repeat, make reservations well in advance. Enjoy!
Bagatelle, one of the most premium Key West fine dining restaurants, takes pride in its French history.
Bagatelle translates to “a trifle or a little nothing” and is usually used to describe a light and not-too-serious spring romance.
The restaurant’s architecture is stunning; it was built in the 1800s and has endured the test of time, even though the area is infamous for hurricanes.
The cuisine consists of seafood and steak meals that blend French culture, southern hospitality, and Key West characteristics.
Try the Warm Brie, which comes with caramelized pineapples, pecans, and rosemary crostini as an appetizer.
You can also order the Key West Master Chef award-winning swordfish with roasted corn, black bean risotto, broccolini and a poblano cream sauce.
Overall, I had a fantastic time. I would absolutely return, and strongly suggest it! It’s one of the best Key West fine dining joints.
Foodies Also Ask
What Food Should You Try In Key West?
Key Lime Pie. Key Lime Pie is available at restaurants across Key West.
Cuban Coffee and Cuban Food. Key West is around 90 miles from Cuba and has a lot of Cuban influences in its food and drinks. Cuban coffee, rice and beans, Cuban sandwiches, and mojitos are all available!
Conch Fritters or Cracked Conch. Conch, or “konk,” are marine snails found in the warm waters off the coast of Key West. The meat is presented in a variety of ways.
Similar to a hush puppy, the flesh in conch fritters is morselized, blended with bread and seasonings, and fried.
Cracked conch is breaded and fried conch strips, similar to clam strips.
Spiny Lobster. The shallow, warm seas around Key West are home to spiny lobster. They have a somewhat different appearance and flavor than Maine lobster.
Key West Pink Shrimp. Key West pink shrimp, like conch and spiny lobster, thrive in the waters around Key West and can be found on many local menus.
Lobster Rolls. I was surprised by how many places in Key West serve Maine lobster rolls.
What is Key West, FL, known for?
Key West, the United States’ southernmost point, is known for its watersports, busy nightlife, beaches, historical monuments, and pastel, conch-style architecture.
Do you need a car for Key West?
You don’t really need a car in Key West unless you intend on doing a lot of shopping or traveling to several remote locations in the Keys.
Because the island is only four miles long and one mile wide, practically everything is within walking distance.
Final Thoughts About Key West Fine Dining Restaurants
There is no doubt that dining in Key West should be an unforgettable experience for everyone. From the sea lapping at your feet while you eat to the city’s panoramic outlook.
These restaurants provide all of the incredible tastes that Key West has to offer, as well as a few surprises.
If you’re planning a trip to Key West, make sure to check out all of these top-rated fine dining experiences and see which one suits you the best.
No matter which direction you take, you’re bound to find tasty menus filled with fresh fish and seafood, steaks, and many more innovative dishes!
And if you know where to look, you can find some of Key West’s best restaurants downtown! Enjoy!
Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:
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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