Louie's Backyard is hidden a gem that locals try hard to keep secret. The food and the view make for an exquisite dinner - if you can get a reservation - an elegant lunch or relaxing weekend brunch. The menu changes quarterly and highlights the fish and local produce that happen to be in season. The grilled catch of the day might be served with ginger butter, tomato chutney and spicy fried onions. The grilled loin of venison and the gulf shrimp in spicy cashew sauce are other house favorites. Move outside to the waterfront bar to savor post-meal cocktail.
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant features a shaded terrace and trickling waterfall for outdoor dining, as well as comfortable indoor seating. AZUR serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch which includes items like Greek yogurt with tropical fruit and granola, Yellowtail snapper Benedict, hummus salad, and roasted pork sandwiches with fontina cheese. They also offer tantalizing daily specials like Key Lime stuffed French Toast: think thick slices of Texas toast that is topped with wild berry compote. Although a bit pricier than most brunch spots, Azur offers a unique menu and the Grinnell Street location it is refreshingly off-the-beaten path. Reservations are recommended during peak hours.
From the outside, Pepe's doesn't look like much, and this restaurant doesn't claim to be anything it's not - which may be why it's been open for more than 100 years. Breakfast consists of good-old-fashioned Chock Full O' Nuts coffee, homemade sweetbreads, fresh orange juice, chipped beef on toast, and traditional omelets. As the oldest eatery in the Keys (a Cuban fisherman opened it in 1909), Pepe's is worth a visit for the history alone. For lunch, try one of Pepe's grilled burgers, homemade chili, or a fish sandwich. Dinners revolve around steak items and the evening specials. Monday night is meatloaf, Tuesday is seafood night and each Thursday a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is served. Thick cuts pork chops served with buttery mashed potatoes and steaks smothered in sauteed mushrooms are always popular and available.
What has become a household name in New York City now has a branch on Simonton Street (and is the only Sarabeth's Kitchen location outside of the Empire State). The breakfast menu at this James Beard award winner consists of items like lemon ricotta pancakes, pumpkin waffles, and shrimp or salmon and cream cheese omelets. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, with additional menu options like smoked mozzarella and avocado sandwiches, the signature velvety cream of tomato soup, and classic charbroiled burgers. No breakfast (or brunch) would be complete without topping off a freshly-baked muffin with Sarabeth's signature marmalade.
In Key West, this restaurant needs little introduction. Enter a private courtyard to find roaming chickens, lounging cats soaking in the sun, and live music lingering in the air. Grab a seat outdoors under the shaded canopy or indoors in the "tree house" or dining room. Southern and Caribbean fare is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but breakfast is always jam-packed. Expect jerk chicken sandwiches and shrimp melts for lunch, pork tenderloin and snapper in citrus sauce for dinner, and at breakfast, the lobster Benedict is the way to go. Parking is extremely limited, so to be courteous to the neighbors walking or bike riding is encouraged.
Locals rejoiced when this charming French cafe re-opened in 2010 (a devastating fire had caused it to close). Most people come in for the crepes stuffed with dark chocolate, raspberry, cheeses, and fresh vegetables. There are a number of other menu items including Croque Monsieur, Panini sandwiches, omelets, and cheese plates. The owners are from the Morbihan region in France, and they describe their cuisine as "Brittany." Located in the Bahama Village, La Creperie is nice break from the tourist district. Sit at the bar and watch your meal being made. After, be sure to explore some of the neighborhood shops.
After 20 years in Key West, Martin's continues to impress visitors with their service and style. The formal dining room in Martins showcases a crystal chandelier, sophisticated decor, and hand-crafted gold-metal wallpapers. Outdoor patios seating areas lead to a tropical garden and dance lounge. Dinner entrees include filet Mignon, Grilled duck breast with burgundy sauce, or Yellowtail filet pan sauteed with gouda cheese. On Sundays the restaurant offers a delightful brunch with unique items like crab cakes eggs benedict, sauteed lobster medallions to bratwurst grilled with scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes. Stick around for daily happy hour includes Sobrieski vodka martinis from 5-6pm.
This off-the-beaten-path French restaurant doesn't solely focus on seafood, but it does every seafood dish on the menu justice. Grilled Key West shrimp is served with a creamy vanilla bean and saffron sauce, and a proper lobster bouillabisse contains shrimp, mussels, grouper, and scallops in a homemade broth. The award-winning hogfish with a roasted red pepper zabaglione is caught exclusively by divers. It's cozy side-street setting is inviting and as an added surprise, they also serve a small brunch on Sundays, which includes eggs Cubano, baked crab cakes, a daily French Toast and omelet special, and smoked salmon bagels with Bermuda onions.
Part bakery, part bistro, Croissants de France serves up a mix of French food with a Caribbean twist. Their garden patio just off Duval Street offers a tranquil setting under the shade of a sprawling Spanish lime tree. Sip on a luscious cappuccino or make a mimosa toast (with fresh orange juice). Signature dishes include Cinnamon Brioche French Toast and Seafood Eggs Benedict. Their savory buckwheat crepes are stuffed with hearty fillings like goat cheese, tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, summer squash. Buttery croissants and delectable pastries are baked fresh each night and are on display in the bakery where it's easy to grab some for the road. They're also open for lunch and dinner, and they deliver.