10 KEY WEST BITES FOR UNDER $20
By Andrew Belonsky
Fish tacos will only run you $11 at the Rum Barrel
Want to keep your savings high while down in Key West? Here are ten restaurants, diners and cafes where you can grab a decent meal for under $20, meaning you'll have more dough to burn through later in the night.
1. Mangia Mangia: The term "pasta cafe" may sound casual, but Mangia Mangia's one of the fancier cheap eats in town, and that's at times reflected in some of their more ambitious dishes, like $21 lobster linguine. If you're trying to save dough, though, it's best to go with the more basic pasta program: Alfredo or tomato-based seafood sauces with scallops, conch and mahi-mahi for $16-17. Standard meat sauce, meanwhile, is only $12.99 and the portions are generous enough to fill even the most hungry of diners.
2. Sarabeth's Key West: You can get three squares and still save money at the Key West outpost of the popular New York City bakery Sarabeth's. Breakfast, lunch and even brunch are definitely manageable on a slim budget — omelets run at about $10.50-12.00 and sandwiches hovers at about $14-16. — but dinner can get a bit tricky. Our suggestion? Calamari for $8.25 and then a 7.25 Caesar salad. But, you know, that's just a thought.
3. Old Town Mexican Cafe: Don't be thrown by the "dolphin" on the menu at this Caribbean-infused Mexican joint. That's just a colloquial term for mahi-mahi, so don't worry that you're chomping into Flipper when you order the $14.50 dolphin enchiladas or baja tacos with dolphin. If you're not into eating fish at all, Old Town Mexican Cafe has vegetarian options, too, and they're often cheaper: the spinach and mushroom quesadilla's only a little over ten bucks.
4. Croissants de France: You can easily wander off budget at this French-inspired eatery — cordon bleu goes for $21 — but it is possible to construct a fulfilling meal with little money. For example, the French onion soup, a reliable choice, will run you $8.25. The escargot appetizer is $10.50, and the island infused sirloin skewer entree is $16.75. Or, if you'd rather not dine her, you can just pop in to pick up some sweets at the bakery, which also carries gluten-free options.
5. Rum Barrel: Don't fill up on the inventive rum-based drinks at this hot spot on Front Street, because you'll definitely want to save room for their equally creative and reasonably priced dinner menu. Though a full rack of ribs breaks the $20 rule, you can get a half-rack for $16. But if you're hoping for a more robust, well-rounded dish, try one of their killer island fish tacos for $11. Or may the penne pescatore for $16 is more your speed? If you go with the former, though, you'll still have
the $6.95 needed for their famous cinnamon bun bread pudding. It's worth every penny.