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Blue Heaven

Welcome to Blue Heaven!

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.

Biking here is the way to go!

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:

Simple and Delicious

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.

Happy Rooster

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.

A rooster in a tree??

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?

28 comments on “Blue Heaven

  1. Loved the video. It looked exactly as I’d pictured it based on a lot of books I’ve read that describe that region – the outdoors, the lush greenery, the good food. I bet you had a lot of fun, especially to be able to ride bikes around in the sunny weather.
    Patti

    1. Hi Nicole!

      I’d seen plenty of hens and roosters as a kid, but always at ground-level. I realize they’re birds; however, I didn’t envision them flying to perch in a tree like that. It was quite entertaining. 🙂

  2. Oooh, that sounds neat. I’ve never tried Caribbean food–except in my own efforts to create it blind from recipes. I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but what you’ve described here sounds really delicious.

    Unusual restaurants? I’ll go a different direction. We love to find little hole in the wall eateries that we’re almost afraid to sit down in but that actually have good food. On vacation last June, we ate at such a place in Rocksprings, Texas. The name is Kingburger Drive Inn. They had anything from chicken fried steaks (which my husband said was delicious) to Tex-Mex food (which was awesome).

    1. Hi Catie. Your comment reminds me of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” with Guy Fieri. He always visits these hole-in-the-wall places with fantastic food. In fact, we watched an episode featuring chicken fried steaks (Which I’d never heard of, being from northeastern US.). They looked delicious, but deadly to any health-conscious diet.

      I love Tex-Mex. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 🙂

  3. I LOVE My Blue Heaven! The roosters in the trees (and the giant tree in the courtyard) are my favorite parts 😀 And El Siboney – oh, say no more. You just became my best friend! 😉

  4. What fun! And looks yummy.

    No restaurants to share, but I did know about the roosters and trees. Because although I live in a busy suburban town, I’m coming out of the OB-Gyn’s office many moons ago, and I hear some odd noises. Look up into the trees on the property, and a small flock of wild hens were hanging out. I did not have the baby on the spot, but I did get a good laugh out of it.

    Wild in suburbia!

  5. The video made me dizzy I only watched half of it- this is why I never saw the Blair witch Project. The most interesting place i ever ate is called the Gingerbread House it’s in Oakland Ca and the walls have the story of the gingerbread man painted on the walls and a huge collection of antique toys, esp black cloth dolls. It’s Cajun and amazing.

    1. Hi Alica,

      Thanks for stopping by! The Gingerbread House sounds interesting, similar to the Bubba Gumps restaurant in Times Square. Bubba’s has all the movie memorabilla, including antique toys, and Cajun selections.

  6. Hey Alica! Do you know that the Gingerbread House closed its doors this past year? Workmen are sandblasting the paint off so when I drive down the street (which is fairly often) I no longer get to see the pink house with the gingerbread men all over it. I don’t know what they’re going to do with it but they aren’t tearing it down – which is a good thing.
    Patti

  7. Being a history buff, I go for authintic ambiance, which means you just can’t beat White Horse Tavern (at least here in the United States) which is America’s oldest tavern, opening its doors in 1673.

    But as far with dining with birds, I have to say that Seagulls do not make as charming dining companions as the roosters you talk about at the Blue Haven. Here in Newport, RI, they swoop down while you are eating, land on the table, snatch a beak full of fries and then take off! I’ve even seen them dive in for a roll out of the basket and soar off with the white linen napkin dangling from thier mouths! Not fun!

    1. Hi Jayne! The White Horse Tavern sounds like a place with history. I’ll google it and maybe visit sometime.

      We have the same issue with aggressive seagulls here on Long Island. A few weeks ago at the beach we observed a seagull actually pull food out of an unattended beach bag before we were able to chase him away. I’m amazed by these creatures’ boldness. I didn’t feel that way about the roosters. They were on the ground or in the trees (not over the tables).

  8. Mmm, sounds yummy! There are so many great restaurants out there but if I were to narrow it down to my most memorable one, I’d have to say it was Alias, Smith, and Jones in Nassau County. I took hubby there for his birthday a couple of kids ago and LOVED the way they prepared and served a seafood dish I ordered. We talk of the place from time to time but have, regretfully, never been back.

    1. Hi Marta! Thanks for sharing this great link with us. After perusing it, I have to admit that eating among roosters in a courtyard is quite tame compared to many of the “unusual” restaurants around the world. 🙂

  9. Blue Heaven kind of freeked me at the thought of chicken pecking around my feet as we sat eating, but now I like the charm of it all. Great place. Well recommended.

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