Soak up the golden hour
City-dwellers make the drive down to mile zero for three main reasons: the nightlife, the seafood and the stellar views. While nighttime fun can be found throughout the island, there are few prime spots where great island fare and striking sunsets intersect. Below are nine restaurants with killer water views.
Note: Restaurants are listed alphabetically.
Half Shell Raw Bar
What was once a shrimp packing building is now a watering hole for fishermen, locals and out-of-town visitors. Half Shell Raw Bar (231 Margaret St., Key West) sits right on the Key West Bight Marina and serves up oysters, clams and peel ‘n’ eat shrimp. Don’t expect linen napkins at this iconic joint, but do enjoy the view and its seafaring characters.
Hot Tin Roof
Named after Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” this restaurant pairs upscale island fare with killer views. Hot Tin Roof (0 Duval St., Key West) is perched right above Sunset Pier, so guests can take in the nightlife and music from afar, making it the nice spot for a romantic dinner for two.
Nestled on Sunset Key and only accessible by boat, Latitudes (245 Front St., Key West) is an escape from the bustling Key West atmosphere. If there were a first row seat for the sunset, this would be it. Enjoy an intimate, toes-in-sand meal while looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t own a boat? No problem. A complimentary, eight-minute ferry ride is included with each reservation.
Housed in an oceanfront Victorian home, Louie’s Backyard (700 Waddell Ave., Key West) offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The renovated home now focuses on seafood and brings together three different dining experiences. Guests can have tapas-style items such as fried artichokes and truffled cauliflower at The Café on the upper deck, sit down for a full meal at Louie’s Backyard or grab cocktails on the Afterdeck Bar, which sits just 25 inches above the water.
Shor American Seafood Grill
The window-lined walls that overlook the Gulf of Mexico at Shor (601 Front St., Key West) make dining indoors worthwhile, but don’t pass up its outdoor deck space. Formerly known as the Nicola Seafood Restaurant and located at the Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa, this seafood grill prepares Key West staples like conch fritters and Mahi Mahi sandwiches.
Southernmost Beach Café
The Southernmost Beach Café (1405 Duval St., Key West) is an open-air restaurant is right on the beach and exudes island vibes. Located on the Atlantic side of the island at the Southernmost Beach Resort, it’s open to resort guests and non-resort guests alike for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wander in from the shore and dine on classics like the coconut shrimp or the blackened catch BLT wrap.
This restaurant on the water is just a short walk from Mallory Square and has some of the best seats in town for Key West’s legendary sunsets. With its colorful chairs and live music, Sunset Pier (0 Duval St., Key West) is a casual spot to watch boats float by as the sun sinks into the horizon.
The Commodore Waterfront
This swanky surf ‘n’ turf eatery overlooks the Key West Bight Marina. From The Commodore’s (700 Front St., Key West) vantage point, guests can watch ships travel in and out of the seaport while dining on dishes such as the Commodore seafood medley or the filet mignon béarnaise.
Turtle Kraals (231 Margaret St., Key West) is all about keeping the island’s seafaring traditions alive. Located in the Historic Seaport District at the Key West Bight Marina, it’s the perfect place to admire the still-working waterfront that was once at the center of the sponging industry. As if the view of the bobbing boats and setting sun wasn’t enough, the restaurant also hosts turtle races three times a week.