Paradise at Night

Eating in Key West

Since arriving in Key West, I’ve been planning my next meal right after I’ve just eaten a meal. The food here is that good. No, I’m not talking about bar food, although that is good and plentiful if you love that sort of cuisine (actually, would you call bar food “cuisine?”). I’m talking about what Max would call “fine dining.” Yum.

A favorite restaurant here is Mangia Mangia, an Italian eatery off the beaten track of Duval Street. Located in a cozy neighborhood, Mangia, Mangia has won numerous awards for its simple, yet elegant Italian fare. The asparagus and sliced tomato appetizer has garlic and a bit of olive oil mixed in, then its topped with gorgonzola cheese and blasted in the broiler. It comes to the table with a slightly browned crust, fragrant and steamy. You end up sopping up even the tiny bit of cheesy olive oil left in the bottom of the dish because it’s that good. The straightforward pesto and pine nut sauce on the homemade (all the pasta is!) pappardelle is plentiful and savory. And the wine list. . .well, you can sip anything from a rustic chianti to a chic red.

Homemade pasta is awesome.

Dinner last night was at the Blackfin Bistro on Duval. After wandering around for a while, not having made reservations (thinking, stupidly, that getting into a good restaurant wouldn’t be a problem in January), Ginger and I stopped in at this laid-back restaurant. Although the wait was more than an hour for a table, we did get a seat at the bar and ordered a bottle of pinot grigio from the warm and chatty barmaid. All I can say is order the Key West pink shrimp appetizer. You’ll receive 6 warm shrimp in an olive oil, chile and cracked pepper drench. It was so good we ordered a second one! Then order the micro-greens salad topped with little wraps of warmed goat cheese-and-spinach in filo dough. The vinaigrette dressing was perfectly mixed and drizzled. I was one happy woman at the end of my meal.

And tonight? Tonight, we went to Camille’s Restaurant on the corner of Catherine and Simonton. We (smartly; thank you Ginger) made reservations. When we arrived folks were lining up, but we got in without a delay and seated ourselves in a cozy (warm) room. Whew. We ordered a(nother) bottle of pinot grigio and perused the menu, which changes every night. I started with a salad of mixed greens topped with fresh slices of tomato and a chunky Maytag blue cheese dressing. Wow. Next up was sliced baked pork loin served over a light(!) Gorgonzola cream sauce with garlic mashed potatoes and a fresh medley of perfectly steamed veggies. My plate could have been returned to the kitchen cabinet without a trip through the dishwasher it was that clean. Desert was a chocolate mousse cake. You may or may not be happy to know that I left half of it on my plate, not because it wasn’t tasty but because I wanted just a taste or two.

The menu changes daily and it's all good.

Tomorrow night will be another eating adventure and I’m looking forward to it. Let me know, what did you have for dinner tonight?

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2 Responses to Paradise at Night

  1. Carole says:

    steak milanese with farfalle pasta and parmesan cheese topped with peperoncini — prepared by Chef Bob George and served by maitre’d Karen!

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