Centrally located in Key West’s famous Old Town district, Duval Street is just over a mile in length and runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Offering something for everyone, and frequently compared to New Orleans’ infamous Bourbon Street, Duval pulses with a lively, touristy, carnival-like atmosphere that draws vacationers from all over the world.
When we have guests visiting us (especially guests who haven’t been to Key West before), we tend to split our time: the beach during the day and Duval in the evening. While Duval certainly attracts (and often caters to) the tourists, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some genuinely good spots to grab a cocktail or eat dinner. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of bars and restaurants and revert to restaurants you know. So if you’re looking for alternatives to the Hard Rock Cafe and Margaritaville, then here’s just a few of our Duval Street favorites.
Duval pulses with a lively, touristy, carnival-like atmosphere that draws vacationers from all over the world.
At the southern end of Duval, sitting on the shore of the Atlantic, is the Southernmost Beach Cafe. Whether we have guests or not, we like to head to the Cafe Bar around happy hour for an app and a drink or two. This is an oceanfront bar on the beach with tropical drinks. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant is well worth a visit as well.
If you’re in the mood for a casual French bistro, then head just a few blocks north to the corner of Duval and Louisa for the Banana Cafe. Popular for breakfast, this spot also offers lunch and dinner in a casual setting with both indoor and outdoor dining available. Being somewhat new to Key West, we hadn’t been here until recently. Now it’s one of our local favs.
Another one of our French favorites is Le Petit Paris, at the corner of Duval and Olivia. Also offering indoor and covered outdoor seating, we enjoy heading over for a late breakfast and sharing their delicious pancakes, crepes, and fresh-squeezed juices while sitting outside.
If you’re in the mood for wood-fired pizza, then you’ll find Onlywood Pizzeria near the corner of Duval and Southard. It’s nestled down a short sidewalk, just steps away from the bustle of Duval. Aside from their pizzas, this Italian trattoria and pizzeria also offers a happy hour menu, apps & salads, Italian entrees, and an extensive wine list. Sit inside, outside, or at the bar. We mostly dine in when we’re here, but they deliver as well.
Also near the corner of Duval and Southard is the Old Town Mexican Cafe. This is one of my local favorites. If you’re in the mood for great Mexican food with open-air seating and a lively atmosphere, this worth a stop. The carne adovada is awesome – I get it every time.
At the complete opposite end of Duval, Sunset Pier is another of our oceanfront favorites. For spectacular sunset views, live music, drinks, and casual dining, the pier is a great place to relax and watch the sun go down after a long day at the beach.
If these restaurants aren’t enough to satisfy your quest for great food in Old Town, then go check out Our Key West Favorites, by Caribbean Sealife. This is a fantastic list of some of their (and my) local favs. Check back to Southernmost Points soon to enjoy some of my off-Duval-Street recommendations.
Next Time – Off-Duval: Some Bahama Village Favs