Romantic Restaurants in Key West are a Recipe for the Perfect Date

While Key West has a party-town rep, lovebirds will find plenty of restaurants tucked away where they can escape for romantic interludes. Charming gardens, ocean views, sunset spots and even a dinner on the high seas await the couple looking to canoodle over fine cuisine.

Start the day with a mimosa toast at idyllic cafes like Croissants de France and AZUR with their shaded terraces and bubbling waterfalls. At sunset, skip the crowds on Mallory Square and head to Hot Tin Roof. Snag a front row table for Pan-Latin Key West cuisine as the skies alight with color. For toes-in-the-sand elegance, you and your honey should hop the ferry to Latitudes on Sunset Key where you’ll feel like you're dining on your own private island.

For a more intimate experience, off-the-beaten path hideaways like Tempt and Cafe Marquesa offer special occasion fine dining at its best. Adventurous couples can take to the water with Islescapes for the ultimate romantic dinner aboard their private yacht. Late-night sweethearts are able to indulge in more than just sweet nothings at dessert restaurant Better Than Sex. Their scandalous-named treats will certainly set the mood for the rest of the your amorous evening. Searching for that perfect romantic restaurant in Key West? One of these top ten favorites is sure to please.


An upscale Caribbean-American restaurant, Louie's Backyard has been a go-to spot for date night since 1971. Their island specialties include conch fritters spiced up with a hot pepper jelly or a unique version of shrimp and grits made with Key West pinks, mushrooms and bacon. Finish with a slice of refreshing Key lime pie with a twist--a gingersnap crust. Upstairs--called the Upperdeck--is a touch more casual with a wine bar and elegant small plates. Sample roasted clams or flaming Ouzo shrimp while enjoying panoramic views of the Atlantic. Their back deck--called the Afterdeck--is perfect for a happy hour cocktail or after-dinner drink by the water before a night on the town. Make reservations well in advance, and time your meal to coincide with the colorful sunset.

A table for two on a tranquil garden patio under the shade of a sprawling Spanish lime tree mixed with French cuisine is the recipe for love. Located just off Duval Street, Croissants de France is part bakery and part bistro, offering French food with a Caribbean twist. Sip on a luscious cappuccino or make a mimosa toast (with fresh orange juice). Signature breakfast 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 and 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.

At the Grand Café, a casual Key West atmosphere is mixed white tablecloth ambiance in a stunning Victorian Mansion on Duval Street. Their outdoor garden seating is prime for people watching--or ignoring people altogether. The service is top-notch with knowledgeable waiters who can guide you through their menu and impressive wine list. During lunch, the Grand serves up spinach and goat cheese paninis, steak frites, and good-old-fashioned BLT's on its wraparound porch. At dinner, try the seared sea scallops in a key-lime butter wine or the New Zealand rack of lamb. Don't miss their specialty cocktails, like the lychee martini with Stoli Vanilla, pineapple and lychee juice.


This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, which means couples can steal away for a romantic meal no matter what time of day. It features a shaded terrace and trickling waterfall for outdoor dining, as well as comfortable indoor seating. A popular Sunday brunch destination, they offer items like Key Lime Stuffed French Toast, Yellowtail Snapper Benedict, hummus salad and roasted pork sandwiches with fontina cheese. The two chefs' European influences really shine on the dinner menu with tasting plates like the Walnut Filled Eggplant topped with a pomegranate reduction and entrees such as the homemade Ratatouille Gnocchi with manchego cheese. The Grinnell Street location is refreshingly off-the-beaten path. Reservations are recommended during peak hours.

Sneak away to this hot new eatery hidden on Eaton Street. Just follow the red carpet into The Saint's luxurious lobby and Tempt. The long narrow restaurant is lined with intimate two-top tables next to a craft cocktail bar. Done in warm woods, the whole room glows a soft red from two artistic chandeliers made of blooming glass flowers. Start your evening with a Saint Clement, a fizzy mix of citrus liqueurs, vodka and champagne served in a retro champagne coupe. Chef Andrew Nguyen curates an eclectic menu that changes weekly, offering dishes like Caribbean spiced game hen, Mediterranean sea bass with Taylor Bay Scallops and American black Angus beef tenderloin with roasted bone marrow. For dessert split a Gluttony cocktail--a decadent combination of chocolate liqueurs, vodka and Bluegrass Sundown (a coffee liqueur with Kentucky bourbon). On your way out, snap a selfie together on the giant plush gold chair.

Duval Street
Hot Tin Roof
Photo courtesy of Hot Tin Roof

For posh 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 from the band on Sunset Pier, as boats ply the aquamarine waters in the harbor. The Pan-Latin menu offers small and large plates, so you can design your own meal, whether shared tapas-style or traditional entrees. Dishes like the Key lime fish ceviche, paella and caramelized grouper capitalize on the fresh local seafood. Finish with their delicious Key lime pie in a cashew graham cracker crust. You'll love the dusting of cinnamon in the shape of a palm tree on the plate. The understated elegance makes this a perfect spot for romantic couples. Note that the requested attire is resort casual.

Indulge in a little luxury, as you and your honey 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 sunset. With sailboats gliding past, you'll feel like a VIP, as well-trained servers bring lobster stuffed crab cake, savory lobster bisque and pickled Key West Pink Shrimp to your table--and those are just the appetizers. Latitudes rounds out the seasonal menu with tantalizing selections like pan-roasted rosemary cobia, Wagyu beef skirt steak and seafood pasta. Make sure you save room for dessert. You'll want to relax on this slice of paradise as long as possible. Try the beignets--light puffs of doughy goodness so delicious you may not want to share. Have your camera ready as the sun drops from the heavens--you'll be hard-pressed to find a better perch. Reservations are required, and be sure to arrive a few minutes early for the ferry.

With only 50 seats, the award-winning Cafe Marquesa is just the hideaway for an elegant and cozy dinner. Chef Susan Ferry serves up Contemporary American Cuisine with an an eclectic menu that changes every night based on seasonal availability. Specialties include Macadamia Crusted Yellowtail Snapper, Prosciutto Wrapped Black Angus Filet, Conch and Blue Crab Cakes, Roast Rack of Australian Lamb and Pan Roasted Duck Breast. The wine selection is as diverse as the menu and is one of the most comprehensive in Key West. The highlight of the warm decor features glimpses of the kitchen action behind a hand-painted trompe l'oeil wall. Large mahogany-framed mirrors open up the space, while giving diners a view of the entire restaurant. Reservations are highly recommended.

This award-winning dessert cafe wows with their sinful concoctions like Cookie Nookie Pie and Between My Red Velvet Sheets Cheesecake. Pair with their Choco-Cab, cabernet served in a chocolate-rimmed wine glass. It's so tasty you'll be licking the rim. The Kiss me Carolyn is a dessert in itself with Ayala champagne in a soft caramel dipped wine glass rimmed in bruleed raw sugar. Dark intimate lighting is offset by menus that light up and flashlights on the table. This romantic after-dinner stop certainly sets the mood for the rest of your evening. It's no surprise that they've been voted the top decadent dessert spot in the United States. Reservations are a must.


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