Home » A Culinary Exploration of Key West, Florida

A Culinary Exploration of Key West, Florida

by Our Editors
MC-KW Gay Couple Boating (Photo by fla-keys.com)

Let the flavors dance on your tongue as you take in the ambiance and bask in the warm sunshine that epitomizes Key West.

Editors (Photo by fla-keys.com)

Hungry for a sunny warm-weather vacation spot with great restaurants? Satisfy your appetite in Key West!

Internationally known as one of the top LGBTQ+ vacation destinations, here you’ll discover amazing LGBTQ-owned and operated restaurants, as well as other one-of-a-kind eateries.

Gay-owned and operated by Michael Mosi and Drew Wenzel, the Key West landmark Azur (azurkeywest.com) features unique Mediterranean specialties where you can dine on the charming shaded terrace or in the coziness of the dining room. Azur is an innovative restaurant serving breakfast, al fresco lunch by a calm waterfall, and lovely romantic dinners. Their Goat Cheese Salad is made with cana de cabra, baby arugula, roasted walnuts, shallot, and rosemary-infused honey. Azur’s delectable Rack of Lamb is served with rosemary jus, new potatoes, fried green beans, and smoked nueske bacon. They offer a great selection of wine and cocktails, and their brunch frittatas are the best.

Alfresco Dining in Key West (Photo by fla-keys.com)

Alfresco Dining in Key West (Photo by fla-keys.com)

The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. (theflamingbuoy.com) restaurant is gay-owned and operated by Richard Scot Forste and his partner Fred Isch. The restaurant is a delightful blend of humor, a retro supper club, and a sassy corner bistro. Make sure to ask for the nightly specials because they change all the time. The appetizer trio features grilled Key West pink shrimp with spicy lime chutney, lobster mac and cheese, and a caprese salad. The entrée trio consists of grilled fresh fish with lime butter sauce over mashed potatoes, red Thai curry with grilled Key West pink shrimp, and bacon-wrapped scallops over mashed sweet potatoes. Finish your evening with a spicy chocolate quesadilla for dessert.

Grilled Shrimp by Larisa Blinova

Grilled Shrimp (Photo by Larisa Blinova)

Find flamingos, tutus, and unicorns, and join in the fun at 22&Co. (22andco.com), part of the Aquaplex compound, home to Aqua Nightclub, Sidebar, 22&Co., and now Poké in the Rear. Boss Jenn Stefanacci Portier runs 22&Co. and it’s just another manic Monday with ½ off all drinks all day. On Tutu Tuesday you’ll receive 22% off your cocktails if you wear a tutu! Happy Hour happens Tuesday through Friday from 2 until 6 P.M. Every Sunday from 5 – 8 P.M. it’s time to play Drag Queen Bingo for charity with Qmitch.

Happy Hour in Key West (Photo by Alfredo Lopez)

Happy Hour in Key West (Photo by Alfredo Lopez)

A couple of signature drinks here include Banana Hammock made with Captain Morgan rum, banana liqueur, banana purée, and ice cream; Lick A Little Lychee made with Empress gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, lychee purée, and club soda. There’s also the in-house Poké in the Rear (pokeintherear.com), an eatery inspired by Hawaiian cuisine and created by Jenn’s husband Grant Portier. They serve up poké bowls, flatbreads, and locally made tropical rum cake served with a berry compote and raspberry glaze. Aqua Bar & Nightclub (aquakeywest.com/aqua) was voted the best Drag Show in Key West with live local entertainment every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Sidebar Key West Club 504 (sidebarkeywest.com) is a local favorite for dancing, drinks, and for shooting a game of pool.

Lobster Roll (Photo by EQRoy)

Lobster Roll (Photo by EQRoy)

Conch fritters are a Key West Specialty, and at The Conch Shack (myconchshack.com/menu) they serve up The “Best Ever” Conch Fritters. Located on the world-famous Duval Street, The Conch Shack is open from 11ish to 11ish on weeknights and midnight on the weekends. They serve up their Cracked Conch paired either with a Key Lime Aioli or a spicy Pink Sauce. They also serve up hand-cut Island Fries, Burgers, Maine Lobster Rolls, and other scrumptious seafood bites. You can even order a boozy smoothie with alcohol to accompany your meal.

Caribbean French Toast (Photo by Mangoes)

Caribbean French Toast (Photo by Mangoes)

Don’t leave Key West without going to Mangoes Key West (mangoeskeywest.com) for their Drunken Drag Brunch! Their infamous Sunday Drag Brunch is once a month (except the month of August) and features show-stopping performances, a DJ, a signature á la carte brunch menu, and of course, you can’t forget the bottomless mimosas. You’ll usually find deviled eggs, spicy chicken and waffles, mango cheesecake, and other flavorsome items on the á la carte brunch menu. A portion of the proceeds also goes to a local Key West charity.

Other than the Drunken Drag Brunch, family-owned and operated Mangoes provides a blend of Bahamian, Cuban, West Indies, and Key West cuisine. Their signature Key West Loaded Pineapple comes on half of a whole pineapple with island rice, cumin-lime crema, mixed greens, spiced pineapple, pickled cabbage, and queso fresco.

If you want to experience a taste of many diverse places while you are here, Key West Food Tours (keywestfoodtours.com) offers a variety of food and walking tours, including: Southern Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour; Historic Seaport Food & Cultural Walking Tour; and Key West Bar Crawl, Cocktail Tour.

Looking for other delicious restaurants in Key West and The Florida Keys? Discover more at fla-keys.com/key-west/lgbtq

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