A Dinner and Romance, Key West Style


You’ve booked your flight and rooms and are on your way to Key West with your sweetheart. Now for those little details, like choosing just the right restaurant for romance-filled evenings. With dining options galore in the Conch Republic, confusion may ensue. Relax. Let Margarita Moments narrow the choices for you.

  • Michaels – Known for its steak and seafood, this restaurant is a sure bet when it comes to quality cuisine and impeccable service. You may want to dine outdoors in their garden oasis. Michaels’ drink selection is impressive, including a variety of wines and martinis. I suggest the White Chocolate Martini made with Stoli Vanil Vodka & White Creme de Cacao, served in a Belgian chocolate rimmed glass. If you’re interested in one of their delicious fondue appetizers, be sure to order your selection immediately, as it takes 20-25 minutes to prepare. Entree servings are a healthy size, but leave room for dessert. I’d recommend sharing a warm chocolate volcano. Mmm.
  • The Flaming Buoy - A twilight dinner for two on this up-and-coming restaurant’s cozy side porch may set the mood for romance. The waitstaff is friendly yet unobtrusive. You won’t feel rushed as you may at some eateries, and the food is all about taste and comfort. I highly recommend the lobster mac and cheese. Click on the restaurant name above for my unabridged review.
  • Latitudes - This restaurant isn’t in Old Town like the others listed here, but is easily accessible via a complimentary ten-minute ferry ride to Sunset Key. I haven’t eaten here yet. There are so many wonderful choices in Key West, and this Westin Resort restaurant is a bit on the pricey side. Many reviewers say eating alfresco on Latitude’s quiet beach at sunset is worth every penny, though, and I imagine it is.
  • Hot Tin Roof - This restaurant is part of the sophisticated Ocean Key Resort overlooking Key West Harbor, the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner. You may select small plates or opt for a heartier entree. Click here to see the menu. We’ve never been disappointed with its service or ambiance.
  • nine one five – Located at, you guessed it, 915 Duval Street, this is a tapis restaurant. Request a table for two on the building’s front porch, and you’ll be able to people watch while whispering sweet nothings to your love between servings. If you like chocolate, you may wish to make Life by Chocolate your meal’s final act.
  • Cafe Sole - Boasting French cuisine and intimate indoor or alfresco seating, this award-winning establishment is recommended by Key West aficionados and foodies across the internet. I haven’t eaten here before, but now it’s on my list!
  • Cafe Marquesa - This historied restaurant is affiliated with Marquesa Hotel, lodging designed for the discerning traveler. We’ve biked and strolled past it many times, and look forward to one day sitting inside as patrons. We hear the food is as incredible as the hotel’s reputation.
  • Charter boat — For the ultimate in intimate, rent a private yacht for a dinner sunset sail around Key West harbor. What a beautiful ending to a romantic getaway!

Entree at Michaels

Wherever you decide to dine, may you eat and drink in good health and happiness. Bon appetit!

What’s the most romantic restaurant you’ve enjoyed or wish to experience?

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rebecca Enzor
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:13:12

    We’re heading to Key West next month – I’m going to have to check those out :)

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 18:00:41

      Hi Rebecca! Congrats on your upcoming getaway. I’m happy to help with your planning. BTW, some of the restaurants featured in this post strongly recommend or require reservations.

      Are you planning to fish? May is the second best month to fish in the Keys–April being first.

      • Rebecca Enzor
        Apr 24, 2012 @ 08:52:59

        We’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, so fishing is definitely on the menu! :) And Danger Charter’s day-long snorkeling/kayaking excursion (I’m so excited for this – we did it twice on our last trip).

        I’ll have to show your post to Hubs so we can decide which restaurants to try. Then I’ll come back and let you know how they were :)

        • Jolyse Barnett
          Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:40:35

          I’d love to hear about your adventures, Rebecca. Definitely pop by and share with us.
          My husband and I adore Danger Charter’s Wind and Wine Sunset sail. They’re a well-run company. Maybe we’ll take their kayaking/snorkel excursion this summer and switch it up a bit.

          Last but not least, good luck fishing!!

  2. Tuere Morton
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 21:07:32

    There was a place I took my husband to for his birthday one year called Alias, Smith and Jones in Nassau County and the ambiance was so intimate with a decadent cuisine I can still remember. And we’re talking over ten years ago. Haven’t been back since but always talk about going back.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:42:14

      Hmm. Just the name of the place sounds mysteriously sexy. Thanks for sharing, Tuere. I don’t get in that way for dinner often, but it seems worth the trek. :)

  3. sandylrowland
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 23:10:04

    I’ve never been to Key west, but your post is making me hungry.
    Thank you for making it fun.
    I should plan a trip.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:49:21

      Thanks for stopping by, Sandy! I salivated as I wrote the post. LOL

      Key West has my heart. I guess my passion for the place and its people comes through when I write about it. Feel free to check out my other posts about this tropical isle any time. :D

  4. Rhonda Hopkins
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 00:52:06

    You are so full of wonderful information, Jolyse. At least I know who and where to turn to should I get to go to Key West in the future. I just love these posts.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:51:42

      I’m here for ya, Rhonda. I’m thrilled to share my love of Key West with the world, and am grateful there are people like you interested in reading it. If you ever have a Key West question or idea you’d like to see in a post, let me know! :)

  5. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 01:11:03

    Now you’ve done it – you’ve just ruined my diet with that Life by Chocolate and chocolate volcano. Have to see if I got any chocolate stashed. lol

    You keep making Key West more Irresistible. : )

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:53:14

      I hope you’ve found chocolate sustenance, Donna! I was tempted to include photos but decided against it–too cruel. LOL

      Thanks for commenting, and have a wonderfully productive, prolific week!

  6. Jenna Victoria (@JennaVictori)
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 06:10:35

    The top two most romantic dinners I ever had were both in Orlando (naturally) near my beloved Disney World. First was IN Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel, in Victoria and Albert’s restaurant. Diners get their own “Victoria” (waitress) and “Albert” (waiter) who dedicate themselves to only your table. Well hubby pulled out all the stops and we experienced the Chef’s Table inside the kitchen – an intimate alcove overlooking all the chef and sous chef action. Food off the charts and spoiling level high alert! The other meal was at Emerils Orlando – again in his chef’s table. We were pampered and left alone to gaze into one anothers eyes. Highly recommend both as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:58:22

      Wow, Jenna! You shared two once-in-a-lifetime meals with your husband at Disney, and boy, am I green with envy. Thanks so much for sharing the details with us. Very romantic and memorable. I never knew there were VIP packages like that, but then, I’m not surprised. Disney knows how to do it up right.

      Speaking of which, I’m in Disney-withdrawal. We didn’t spend Easter vacation in Orlando this year as is our norm. Good thing the kids convinced us to book a trip for the end of June. :)

  7. Catie Rhodes
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 14:08:58

    All these sound wonderful, but (and this is going to say a lot about me) the coolest dinners I’ve had are

    *eating a lucky dog and drinking a black and tan while sitting on the sidewalk in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans French Quarter.

    * eating at a bar off the beaten path in Cancún and letting the bartender practice his English on me.

    * eating at King Burger in Rocksprings, Texas where the had excellent Mexican food and treated us like family from the minute we walked in.

    I like finding places where I feel like I got there by some sort of serendipity.

    But I love your Key West posts. One of these days, I’m going.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:12:27

      Hi Catie! I love your romantic dining experiences. Who you’re with makes all the difference, not necessarily the extravagance of the place. Did you ever see the movie Fools Rush In, starring Selma Hayak and Matthew Perry? There’s a scene where the couple is having a picnic at the Grand Canyon, eating the guy’s favorite hot dogs she had shipped in from NYC for his birthday. How cool is that? Simple, yet very loving because she knew how much he missed that part of his hometown.

      There’s an Italian restaurant around the corner from our home where we go on our occasional night out (without the kids). The food is great, but the service and our comfort/familiarity with the waitstaff is why we’re loyal patrons.

      I believe you’d “get” Key West–not the surface, touristy side of it but the real town. Maybe someday… :)

  8. Rebecca Enzor
    May 30, 2012 @ 16:34:35

    We made it to Cafe Marquesa, and I wish we hadn’t :( The food was overpriced and straight out of 1994 (I don’t mind paying lots of money for really good food, so it wasn’t just the price that was disappointing). We like simple, good food, and there was nothing simple about this food, although the menu looked drool-worthy. There were lots of extra flavors added to every dish that weren’t necessary and took away from the flavor as a whole :/

    I did like the wine list though. Both wines that we had were very good!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      May 30, 2012 @ 20:19:55

      Hi Rebecca. Welcome back from our favorite place. I can’t wait for our getaway in July.

      I’m sad to learn you had a disappointing dining experience at Cafe Marquesa, especially after I’d heard so many stellar reviews. Thank goodness the wine was great!

      I hope the rest of your trip was incredible. Did you have time for fishing? Any activities or places you’d recommend we check out next?

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