Food can be a mini-escape of its own. Combine that pleasure with an exotic atmosphere, and the result can be out-of-this-world. Like many tourist destinations, there are a plethora of restaurants to chose from when staying in Key West. According to Trip Advisor, Old Town has close to two hundred. Each year, my honey and I enjoy different eateries in addition to our regular haunt, El Siboney, a locals’ hotspot around the corner from our Bed & Breakfast. (We crave El Siboney’s Cuban sandwich!)
During our 2009 getaway to the Conch Republic, we were eager to try out Blue Heaven, rated as one of the island’s top ten restaurants. We wanted to visit it not only for the food, but for its colorful history. This site is where Ernest Hemingway once refereed and sparred in Friday night boxing matches during the 1930’s. The restaurant building a bordello back then, and hosted cock fights and gambling at other times.
Blue Heaven is located at the corner of Thomas and Petronia in Bahama Village. We biked there, happy to find plenty of bike-friendly parking. In fact, the restaurant’s blogsite recommends their customers “walk, bike, or taxi” since car parking is at a premium in this section of town.
The atmosphere at Blue Heaven is quintessentially Key West, reflecting the Florida Keys slogan, “Come As You Are.” I’d call the style rustic-casual, which suited us fine for lunch. For an informal tour of Blue Heaven, inside and out, check out this video:
Their menu features Caribbean fare. Feeling tame, I ordered the blackened shrimp caesar salad. My honey was a little more daring, and selected their famous yellowtail snapper with black beans, veggies, brown rice, and cornbread. We didn’t eat dessert that day, but we’ve heard rumors this restaurant makes a fine key lime pie.
If you like birds, Blue Heaven is the place to be. I’d recommend eating outside unless it’s raining, and soak in the ambiance of their signature courtyard. We listened to the tweets and cock-a-doodle-doos while waiting for our meal, astonished that resident roosters not only pecked around our tables for goodies (They like cornbread, too!), but also perched in the trees above us. I’m a country girl, but I’d never seen anything like that before.
We didn’t have to wait to be seated for lunch, but those interested in eating breakfast at Blue Heaven are wise to plan ahead. The wait may be well over an hour, and the restaurant’s website warns they serve from the lunch menu at the scheduled time. For evening meals, diners may be entertained by live music as well as by the wildlife. I wouldn’t consider this a romantic dinner option, but a nice place for couples looking for a relaxed evening with interesting sights, Caribbean food, and great drinks.
Now it’s your turn. What’s the most interesting restaurant you’ve enjoyed?