10 Best Island Restaurants for Serene Waterfront Dining in Key West

Waterfront restaurants provide a calming ambiance that crowded, indoor venues can't compete with. In the Florida Keys, the carefree environment, pristine weather and surreal views can be enjoyed year-round at a number of restaurants on the island. Naturally, much of the cuisine focuses on fresh seafood, but you'll also find international dishes, steaks, sandwiches, and more--particularly during lunch.

Step off the sand for a quick break and enjoy the atmosphere at Salute! On the Beach, or the Southernmost Beach Cafe - two casual eateries that serve up top-notch meals in an open-air, shaded patio. For secluded and romantic on-the-sand dining, hop on the ferry to Sunset Key to Latitudes restaurant, or visit Louie's Backyard, on the quieter southern side of the island.

Down in the historic harbor, visitors can explore the authentic "old Key West" vibe and exquisite seafood dishes at the Schooner Wharf, Half Shell Raw Bar and the Commodore--a more upscale waterfront restaurant.



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, while looking out over the...  Read More



While many parts of Key West have seen modern changes, Schooner Wharf maintains that "old Key West" atmosphere--from the salvage wreckage to the interesting characters that linger around the waterfront. First-timers to the restaurant should dive...  Read More



The historic seaport offers the quintessential Key West experience: boats tied to the dock, fisherman bringing in the catch of the day and the sun slowly slipping across the sky. The upscale Commodore restaurant has a menu that features both...  Read More



For a taste of a true local's joint just five minutes away from Old Town, follow the signs to the Hogfish Bar and Grill, located in Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island. Try anything that's made with their namesake specialty like the "Killer"...  Read More

Southernmost Beach Cafe
Photo courtesy of Latitudes


Waterfront dining in Key West often comes with a steep price. Not so at the Southernmost Beach Cafe. Here you'll find reasonable deals on casual local fare for breakfast and lunch. You don't have to be staying at the Southernmost Hotel to enjoy...  Read More



As the sister restaurant to the famed Blue Heaven, Salute! On the Beach is proving that it delivers the same standards. This charming cafe on Higgs Beach has a laid-back atmosphere and Caribbean-Italian fare with ocean vistas. Stop by in flop...  Read More



With island roots that date back to 1947, A&B Lobster House is an institution in Key West. This upscale restaurant features rich classics like Lobster Bisque laced with cognac, Lobster Thermidor or Sunset Surf and Turf with filet mignon. For...  Read More



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...  Read More

Duval Street
Hot Tin Roof
Photo courtesy of Hot Tin Roof


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 from the band on...  Read More



An upscale Caribbean-American restaurant, Louie's Backyard offers island specialties like 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...  Read More


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