Croissants de France (223 Petronia St.; 305/294-2624; breakfast $8-$13; lunch $6-$10) offers great cr?pes, a fun crowd and low prices (for Key West). Owners and staffers bantering in French provide the perfect accompaniment to an authentic espresso and pain au chocolat. A good choice for the morning after.
Pisces (1007 Simonton St.; 305/294-7100; $27-$30) serves fresh seafood in two indoor rooms and a rooftop deck beneath a sapodilla tree. An impressive collection of original Andy Warhol paintings is on display.
Under new ownership, Mangoes (700 Duval St.; 305/292-4606; $15-$27) is undergoing some renovations (as of October 2006). Many menu items remain the same, as nationally acclaimed chef Paul Orchard is still at the helm. Known for pleasant patio dining, you can watch the crowd parade by on Duval.
Kelly's Caribbean Bar & Grill (301 Whitehead St.; 305/293-8484; $14-$25) is a family of restaurants and microbreweries owned by Kelly McGillis of Top Gun fame. The Whitehead Street location is housed in the original home of Pan American Airways, and it's a fun place to go with a group.
Louie's Backyard (700 Waddell Ave.; 305/294-1061; $26-$43) is highly acclaimed, expensive, and beginning to rest on its laurels a little too much for our taste, but still a Key West institution. Save money -- go for lunch instead of dinner.
Caf? Marquesa (600 Fleming St.; 305/292-1244; $29-$39) is the place to splurge. It's expensive and worth it, serving New American cuisine in a casually elegant atmosphere. Staff is low-key and friendly.
Antonia's (615 Duval St.; 305/294-6565; $17-$32) is romantic, and serves northern Italian and Continental cuisine. It's a good "special event" spot. If the scallops in a lobster brandy cream sauce are on the menu, snap them up. The New York Times says the key lime pie at Antonia's is the best in town.
Known mainly by locals, Michael's (532 Margaret St.; 305/295-1300; $18-$40), is considered one of the best restaurants in town. It has been in town for a few years and offers excellent food, but it ain't cheap. It is run by a former executive chef from Morton's in Chicago.
Lovers of fine Italian cuisine won't go hungry in Key West with the opening of Opera Restaurant (613 Duval St.; 305/295-2705; $14-$31). Simple and elegant, the restaurant serves exquisitely prepared dishes with a contemporary flair, such as filet mignon in a red wine and cranberry sauce or pan-seared yellowtail snapper over roasted red peppers and risotto cake. And the desserts? Delish!
Those with a yen for sushi can head to Origami (Duval Square, 1075 Duval St.; 305/294-0092; $15-$20).
La Te Da ($20-$35, fixed price menu $50) has an ocean grill with a great outdoor bar area. Seafood lovers can choose delights from conch chowder to lobster melody.
The Banana Caf? (1211 Duval St.; 305/294-7227; $5-$13) is a popular French restaurant/creperie serving breakfast and lunch.