Dining Out on a Special Occasion in Key West

Fine Dining in Key West, Florida
Fine Dining Key West Style

This past New Year’s Eve, my husband and I decided to go with some friends to one of our favorite Key West restaurants, Nine One Five. We have eaten here many, many times and have never once had a bad meal, until New Year’s Eve that is. It was a special fixe price menu ($100 per person), and the menu looked amazing. Unfortunately, the food was not. At least the service was good as was the atmosphere.

Come to think of it, the year before the four of us had New Year’s Eve dinner at the Casa Marina, and that was an epic fail. The dinner was a buffet style setup and the atmosphere was wonderful, but the food was bordering on inedible. There was even a dessert that we actually had to spit out after taking a bite. Still not sure what that was.

These experiences got me thinking… how could a restaurant like Nine One Five that has been batting 1000 fall to such a low on one of the most exciting nights of the year? In this particular instance, they were preparing foods on a foreign menu, on an extremely busy night, and the staff probably did not want to be there on New Year’s Eve; they probably wanted to be out on Duval Street with the other revelers waiting to watch the drag queen Sushi drop from her shoe or the conch shell drop in front of Sloppy Joe’s.

And this revelation prompted me to think about dining out in general. There have been a few times that I have eaten out at what I would consider a consistently good restaurant and had a bad dinner there one time or another. Why?? This is what I have come up with:

1. It was on a Sunday or a Monday. Most restaurants do not get food orders in over the weekend, so on these nights you are probably not eating food prepared with the freshest ingredients possible.

2. It was a night where they have a backup chef and not the normal chef used to preparing the menu items. It is always better to eat out when the A team is in the kitchen and not having their day off. You just need to find out when the A team is in and when they they are off.

3. It is too busy and the kitchen staff are overwhelmed and unable to dedicate the usual attention to their job and they keep making mistakes because they are rushed.

So, hopefully I did not scare you away from eating out. My goal is to say that judging a restaurant based on one visit may not be entirely fair, unless your experience was just insanely bad. And to say that on busy nights and special occasions, either don’t expect to have your mind blown, or at least go someplace that is not offering up a completely different menu that may not be up to par with what they normally serve.

To see what is happening on the island 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.

And before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my  restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews. Learn from my mistakes, lol.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!


Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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