Our Local Experts' Top 10 Selections for Outdoor Dining in Key West



One of the great things about restaurants in the Florida Keys: outdoor patios are open year-round.  Dining outside adds to the tropical atmosphere and encourages patrons to linger over their meal, enjoy the scenery, or watch the traffic of people passing by. Worries seem to naturally melt away when you’re in no hurry to leave the restaurant. In Key West, there are plenty of options for outdoor dining, but some offer better views and service than others. From legendary breakfast spots like Blue Heaven, to casual bar and grills, we’ve weeded through the island’s eateries and honed down a list of our favorite outdoor venues. Interested in a romantic evening out? Try Louie’s Backyard, or head to the Sunset Key for on-the-sand dining at Latitudes. At the Southernmost Beach Café, don your bathing suit and hit the sand before or after your meal.

For fresh seafood and an old-world Key’s experience, visit Stock Island’s Hogfish Bar and Grill or Schooner Wharf in the historic seaport. Long time favorites like Pepe’s will have you cancelling plans to return home. If you prefer a strong cocktail and the bar scene, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon serves up live music with your meal.




Best Locals Hangout: For a taste of a local hangout that is far removed from Old Town, follow the signs to the Hogfish Bar and Grill, located in Safe Harbor on Stock Island. This open-air, casual restaurant is a diamond-in-the-rough with a lunch...  Read More




Best People Watching: While many parts of Key West have seen modern changes, Schooner Wharf maintains that "old Key West" atmosphere - from the salvage wreckage decor, to the interesting characters that linger around the waterfront. It is also...  Read More




Best Island Escape: Escape to this private island for elegant toes-in-the-sand dining and panoramic Gulf views. After a quick ride on the ferry across the Key West Harbor to Sunset Key, settle in at Latitudes for dinner and a show--the stunning...  Read More


Southernmost Beach Cafe
Photo courtesy of Latitudes


Best Toes in the Sand Experience: You don't have to be staying at the Southernmost Hotel to enjoy the ocean view and atmosphere at the Southernmost Beach Cafe. Stroll in from the sand and have a seat in this ultra-casual, open-air restaurant...  Read More




Best Unkept Secret: An upscale Caribbean-American restaurant, Louie's Backyard has been a go-to spot for al fresco dining since 1971. Their island specialties include conch fritters spiced up with a hot pepper jelly or a unique version of shrimp...  Read More




Best Chicken Spotting: 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...  Read More




Best History Lesson: 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. The outdoor patio is the equivalent to an old friend's...  Read More


Smokin' Tuna Saloon
Photo courtesy of Smokin' Tuna Saloon


Best Live Music: Many of Duval Street's pubs are hole-in-the walls devoid of any natural light, but the Tuna is tucked away on Charles Street, leaving plenty of room for a sprawling outdoor area with a large performance stage and several outdoor...  Read More




Best Eating with Your Fingers: Just like the classic waterfront joints of Key West past, the Half Shell Raw Bar serves the freshest seafood in a casual atmosphere. You can actually watch your dinner being unloaded from the boats at the docks,...  Read More


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Duval Street
Hot Tin Roof
Photo courtesy of Hot Tin Roof


Best Sunset Views: For upscale dining with a stellar view of the sunset, head to Hot Tin Roof at Ocean Key Resort and Spa located just off Mallory Square. You can dine alfresco on their patio with the sounds of Jimmy Buffett classics wafting up...  Read More


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Meet Claudia Miller

Claudia Miller has been writing about South Florida for over 17 years--seven from Key Largo. A budding photographer, she can usually be found stalking a sunset. Despite being a tad...  More About Claudia

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