Louie’s Backyard, opened in 1971, is not only a Key West classic fine dining restaurant. The historic home which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the oceanfront location makes it a foodie’s dream destination. This island restaurant makes use of only the freshest local seafood. In addition, they serve fine cuts of meat for those that do not enjoy the fruits of the sea.
The famed Louie’s Afterdeck bar offers unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean while one enjoys a handcrafted cocktail or a glass of fine wine. Back in the day my good friend Chris Robinson was the award winning bartender here; he has long since retired from bartending, but I am sure that Louie’s has someone almost as entertain manning the bar these days. And you never know who is going to stop by. Jimmy Buffett may be there (he used to live right next door) or a local pup might be found slurping up some water while his human enjoys a drink of his own (Dog Beach is right next door).
Once a favorite restaurant of mine for the above reasons, I swore Louie’s off in 2008 after two back to back encounters with very snobby staff. Not that it is ever okay to be rude to guests, but it is especially uncalled for at a fine dining establishment where diners are paying a premium for fine food and fine service.
In 2019, at the behest of some friends, I once again gave Louie’s Backyard a try. The ocean view was just as gorgeous as I remembered, the food was amazing still, and the staff was much more polite this time around. So, once again, I am happy to enjoy a dining experience here.
Just last week we had some friends visiting and I knew that they would enjoy the Louie’s experience. They were floored by the view, and our waiter was very pleasant, if a little bit difficult to understand with the face masks that we are all wearing right now. And even though it is blazing hot outside right now, the ocean breeze made it extremely comfortable sitting there as the sun sank down.
We each ordered a specialty cocktail as were a few appetizers. And as we waited we enjoyed some warm, crusty bread and butter.
I wanted a salad, but was having a tough time deciding which to get. I finally went with the heirloom tomatoes and beets with burrata. I was absolutely delighted with my choice. The tasty tomatoes and earthy flavor of the beets paired wonderfully with the creamy burrata.
My husband ordered the Bahamian Conch Chowder minus the hot sauce since he cannot abide spicy foods. He gobbled it up and declared it delicious.
For dinner, Steven and our friend Mark both ordered sautéed gulf shrimp with bacon, mushrooms and grits. While it looked quite tasty, I think that they were both a bit put off by the fact that is was less the hearty and traditional shrimp and grits that they were expecting a maybe a bit too fancy for them.
Christine ordered the swordfish which is what I almost went with. It was grilled perfectly and served with orzo and broccolini.
I went with an appetizer special for my entree. Mussels and fingerling potatoes in an amazing broth. Not only was this presented picture perfect, it was delicious and filling too.
None of us went for dessert as we were all so full. But Louie’s had redeemed itself in my eyes and I look forward to my next visit. Perhaps next time we will try the Café at Louie’s as we have not experienced that part of the restaurant. Here, you can enjoy fine wines by the glass and panoramic views of the ocean with small plates.
I highly recommend making reservations, as Louie’s Backyard is famed for its food and its view with locals and foodie tourists alike so they stay very busy. As a fine dining establishment, it is pricey, so it is a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.
Louie’s Backyard is open daily for lunch 11:30am to 3pm, for dinner from 6pm until 10pm. The Afterdeck is open from 11:30am until 1am. The Cafe is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm until 9pm for walk-in. They are closed for Christmas Day. Casual elegant dress is requested.
To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events.
And 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!!