Key West Cuisine 101

Key West has an eclectic hodgepodge of restaurants for locals and visitors to choose from. You will find everything from Jamaican, French, Cuban, American, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican and of course local Key West style fare. What exactly is Key West fare you ask. Well, if you consider the location and heritage of the island, you will find a great deal of influence from the Caribbean islands as well as an abundance of local seafood items in several of these recipes, although plenty of recipes will make the landlubbers happy too. Cubans and Bahamians introduced items such as black beans, rice, marinated pork, plantains, conch, and flan to Key West. Today you can find these items served as they originated or in a style locals have coined as Conch-fusion.

Conch is a local favorite; it is the meat of a shellfish and can be  prepared in several different ways; chowders and fritters are the favorite ways for it to be served though. Key West Pink Shrimp is another popular seafood, also served in a multitude of ways. Other popular seafood items are fishes, especially red grouper, clack grouper, mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, hogfish, dolphin, and cobia. Another item that has been made famous by Key West, or was it vice versa, is the Key Lime, a very small and bitter type of the fruit that is popularly used to make our state pie, Key Lime Pie.

One of my favorite foods that I never tried until I moved to Key West some 12 years ago is Lechon Asado, or as us gringos call it, Cuban Roast Port. It is YUMMY! EL SIBONEY located at 900 Catherine Street serves up a mean dish of this stuff as well as several other authentic Cuban dishes to tempt your palate. But if you are not planning on being in Key West anytime soon, check out my own Lechon Asado recipe that I have been working on for years and believe that I finally perfected recently. Just CLICK HERE!!

For more information about things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site. You can also visit our Key West Events Calendar to see upcoming special events.

And for more restaurant reviews check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews at

Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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