Brunch can be a special treat and in the Florida Keys that is no different. Take it from the local editors at USATODAYtenbest
10 Best Brunch Hot Spots in Key West, Florida by Local Editors
On any given Sunday in New York, residents and tourists flock to restaurants that offer brunch specials. Mimosas and Bloody Marys adorn table tops and lines form at the door full of people waiting for a seat – particularly in the summer months when outdoor dining is coveted. In the south, Key West is quickly becoming the brunch hot spot, with tropically-infused menus and year round open-air patios. Even the New York legend, Sarabeth’s, has set up shop in Key West. Well-known venues like Blue Heaven and Pepe’s offer the quintessential island brunch experience, but other newcomers are cropping up that have become new local favorites. Case in point: Two Cents, the trendy but unpretentious gastropub that tempts patrons with a simple offer: free bacon! Another welcome addition to the neighborhood is Colombian Grace, which uses hand-me-down recipes and fresh ingredients to create dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the Florida Keys.
Azur remains under-the-radar with Mediterranean cuisine, while the secret is out about Louie’s Backyard – which also offers guests stunning waterfront views. Brunch in Key West consists of every variation of eggs Benedict, seafood and fresh lobster omelets, and even Key Lime-stuffed French toast. Linger for hours, let the time melt into Happy Hour, and remember – you’re in paradise.
#10 Louie’s Backyard
Louie’s Backyard is hidden a gem that locals try hard to keep secret. The food and the view make for an exquisite dinner – if you can get a reservation – an elegant lunch or relaxing weekend brunch. The menu changes quarterly and highlights the fish and local produce that happen to be in season. The grilled catch of the day might be served with ginger butter, tomato chutney and spicy fried onions. The grilled loin of venison and the gulf shrimp in spicy cashew sauce are other house favorites. Move outside to the waterfront bar to savor post-meal cocktail.
An upscale Caribbean-American restaurant, Louie’s Backyard offers island specialties like conch fritters spiced up with a hot pepper jelly or a unique version of shrimp and grits made with Key West pinks, mushrooms and bacon. Finish with a slice of refreshing Key lime pie with a twist–a gingersnap crust. Upstairs–called the Upperdeck–is a touch more casual with a wine bar and elegant small plates. Sample roasted clams or flaming Ouzo shrimp while enjoying panoramic views of the Atlantic. Their back deck–called the Afterdeck–is perfect for a happy hour cocktail or after-dinner drink by the water before a night on the town. Make reservations well in advance, and time your meal to coincide with the colorful sunset. 700 Waddell Avenue Key West, FL 33040 305-294-1061
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant features a shaded terrace and trickling waterfall for outdoor dining, as well as comfortable indoor seating. AZUR serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch which includes items like Greek yogurt with tropical fruit and granola, Yellowtail snapper Benedict, hummus salad, and roasted pork sandwiches with fontina cheese. They also offer tantalizing daily specials like Key Lime stuffed French Toast: think thick slices of Texas toast that is topped with wild berry compote. Although a bit pricier than most brunch spots, Azur offers a unique menu and the Grinnell Street location it is refreshingly off-the-beaten path. Reservations are recommended during peak hours 425 Grinnell Street Key West, FL 33040 305-292-2987
#6 Blue Heaven
In Key West, this restaurant needs little introduction. Enter a private courtyard to find roaming chickens, lounging cats soaking in the sun, and live music lingering in the air. Grab a seat outdoors under the shaded canopy or indoors in the “tree house” or dining room. Southern and Caribbean fare is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but breakfast is always jam-packed. Expect jerk chicken sandwiches and shrimp melts for lunch, pork tenderloin and snapper in citrus sauce for dinner, and at breakfast, the lobster Benedict is the way to go. Parking is extremely limited, so to be courteous to the neighbors walking or bike riding is encouraged.
This much-lauded restaurant in Bahama Village needs little introduction for its southern and Caribbean fare. The private courtyard (once home to Hemingway’s boxing matches) is filled with roaming chickens and lounging cats soaking in the sun. Grab a seat outdoors under the shaded canopy or indoors in the “tree house” or dining room. Breakfast is always jam-packed, so if you’re starving, you may want to save this stop for another day. The lobster Benedict topped with lime hollandaise is a top favorite. Or try the Shrimp and Grits made with the local Key West Pinks, sauteed in butter, white wine and scallions over white cheddar grits. Pair with a mimosa for a true taste of heaven. Their famed key lime pie has been featured on many a TV show and is country-star Kenny Chesney’s favorite. 729 Thomas Street Key West, FL 33040 305-296-8666
#5 2 Cents
Who knew something as simple as “free bacon” would lure so many people to a restaurant? The new gastropub tucked away on Applerouth Lane dangled that carrot is now witnessing the results. Foodies, bacon lovers, and their dogs have found a new safe haven at the pet-friendly restaurant, which opened in January 2012. Funky decor consisting of re-used “junk” material like discarded safety deposit boxes (which make the bench) and graffiti-painted walls add to the atmosphere, and the outdoor garden makes for a brunch oasis. Sunday brunch items are far from the ordinary French toast and omelets: expect poblano rellenos with olive oil poached tuna, Scotch eggs with IPA mustard sauce and grilled turkey with fried green tomatoes.
Who knew something as simple as free bacon during happy hour would lure so many people to a restaurant? This funky gastropub hidden down Appelrouth Lane has a fun atmosphere and an eclectic, modern menu–its gluten-free options clearly noted. You’ll find the happy hour menu alone offers eight gluten-free choices (not counting the bacon) like Quack Quack Nachos, Bahamian Conch Ceviche and Artichoke Dip. The unique decor features up-cycled items like safety deposit boxes turned into a bench, and graffiti-painted walls add to the atmosphere. Mingle with the locals at the bar and play the “Roll the Dice” game to determine the price of your happy hour libations. If you need your food prepared in a gluten-free dedicated manner to avoid cross-contamination (due to celiac disease or other extreme allergy), note that they fry all of their food in the same oil. 416 Appelrouth Lane Key West, FL 33040 305-414-8626
Locals rejoiced when this charming French cafe re-opened in 2010 (a devastating fire had caused it to close). Most people come in for the crepes stuffed with dark chocolate, raspberry, cheeses, and fresh vegetables. There are a number of other menu items including Croque Monsieur, Panini sandwiches, omelets, and cheese plates. The owners are from the Morbihan region in France, and they describe their cuisine as “Brittany.” Located in the Bahama Village, La Creperie is nice break from the tourist district. Sit at the bar and watch your meal being made. After, be sure to explore some of the neighborhood
Tucked away in the charming Bahama Village, many visitors stumble across this quaint French cafe while waiting in line at the popular Blue Heaven Restaurant across the street. But once they’ve tried the scrumptious crepes turned out by the owners from the Morbihan region in France, La Creperie becomes a regular addition to their vacation itineraries. You can sit at the bar and watch authentic crepes being made from scratch, or you can enjoy the island breezes and dine al fresco. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or late-afternoon snack (they close at 5:00 p.m.), La Creperie has the best Croque Monsieur/ Croque Madame on the island. Homemade ice cream, fresh grilled paninis, and espresso round out the menu. Many items are organic and free of GMOs. 300 Petronia Street Key West, FL 33040 (305) 517-6799
After 20 years in Key West, Martin’s continues to impress visitors with their service and style. The formal dining room in Martins showcases a crystal chandelier, sophisticated decor, and hand-crafted gold-metal wallpapers. Outdoor patios seating areas lead to a tropical garden and dance lounge. Dinner entrees include filet Mignon, Grilled duck breast with burgundy sauce, or Yellowtail filet pan sauteed with gouda cheese. On Sundays the restaurant offers a delightful brunch with unique items like crab cakes eggs benedict, sauteed lobster medallions to bratwurst grilled with scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes. Stick around for daily happy hour includes Sobrieski vodka martinis from 5-6pm. 917 Duval Street Key West, FL 33040 3052950111
Part bakery, part bistro, Croissants de France serves up a mix of French food with a Caribbean twist. Their garden patio just off Duval Street offers a tranquil setting under the shade of a sprawling Spanish lime tree. Sip on a luscious cappuccino or have a mimosa toast made with fresh orange juice. Signature dishes include Cinnamon Brioche French Toast and Seafood Eggs Benedict. Their savory buckwheat crepes are stuffed with hearty fillings like goat cheese, tomatoes, spinach, asparagus and summer squash. Scrumptious croissants and pastries are baked fresh each night and are on display in the bakery where it’s easy to grab some for the road. Also open for lunch and dinner. 816 Duval Street Key West, FL 33040 305-294-2624
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