Our friends were recently visiting from out of town and we wanted to take them to dinner someplace quiet so that we could catch up with them without having to yell above the noise that is inherent to many downtown eateries. It had been a long time since I last ate at Rooftop Cafe, of which I had great memories. Located on Front Street in the heart of historic Key West, the atmosphere is “Keysy” yet elegant and fit the bill for what we were looking for. The outdoor rooftop seating provides wonderful views of the downtown area (with this in mind, reservations are highly recommended for the daily brunch and dinner crowds).
The weather was perfect for outdoor dining, so we requested outside seating at a table overlooking Front Street.
After ordering drinks, we decided to try a few appetizers. We went with the pork belly, the calamari, and the shrimp and crab cake. I am not a fan of the fatty consistency typical to pork belly so I did not try this appetizer; our friends thought it was decent, although not outstanding. The calamari was also decent; it was not chewy but it was bland, only to be helped out by the accompanying dipping sauce. Unfortunately, the shrimp and crab cake was awful. It smelled and tasted very fishy and I was worried that I may get sick after eating a single bite.
Being disappointed with the appetizers, we were looking forward to our entrees. I was torn between the scallops and the bouillabaisse; I went with our waitress’ recommendation of the scallops. In hindsight, I should have gone with the bouillabaisse as I had just eaten the best scallops of my life at Seven Fish a few days prior and I knew that they would be hard to
compare to. While the scallops at Rooftop were okay, there were too many competing flavors which overpowered the delicate scallops. My husband ordered the shrimp basilico, a combination of shrimp, fresh basil, plum tomatoes, garlic and olive oil over linguini with parmesan. This was a really good dish. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and all of the flavors melded together. And our friends both ordered the snapper special. I did not try the snapper, although it looked wonderful and they both enjoyed it.
We thought about trying their key lime pie which has been featured in Gourmet Magazine for dessert, but we decided to cap off the evening simply with coffee instead. They did make a good cup of coffee, and we enjoyed talking with our friends over our coffee.
The service at Rooftop was wonderful, as was the view and the entire atmosphere. But the food quality was really lacking in my opinion and not worth a final bill of nearly $300 with gratuity. I think that Rooftop is the perfect place to enjoy fine service, a relaxed atmosphere, and a few drinks, but it will probably be a very long time before I eat here again.
Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or the rest of the Florida Keys, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews too; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.
And to see what is happening on Key West during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.
Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Key West Concierge