10 KEY WEST BITES FOR UNDER $20
By Andrew Belonsky
(Save some dough, and a cow, by trying the $10 veggie burger at The Cafe.)
6. Pepe's Cafe: The oldest eatery on the island, Pepe's Cafe has been a local favorite since 1909 - and for good reason. Again, it is possible to spend over $20 here, but with oysters on the half-shell for $1.10, a chopped beef dinner for $14, a three vegetable plate for just over $10 and a grilled fish sandwich for just a bit more, you can definitely create an entire meal for a reasonable price. And you should!
7. Camille's: Camille's may look unassuming, but this belle of Key West's culinary scene really has it going on in the kitchen, and always keeps an eye on your back pocket. Breakfast dishes like eggs benedict with Key West lobster, yellow corn cashew waffles and French toast with white chocolate Godiva sauce are all under $14, and lunch's grilled mahi-mahi and hand-pulled chicken salad are similarly priced. Again, dinner entrees can break the $20 limit, but there are definitely plenty of options on their "big bang" dinner menu, which includes a crisp pear salad, grilled mahi-mahi and cracker dusted grouper with avocado and chive. The dinner prices vary depending on season, but you'll definitely find something to sink your teeth into at this cheeky establishment.
8. Harpoon Harry's: Another institution where Key West's zany creativity remains on full display — the plastic doll chandelier is a favorite — Harpoon Harry's has been serving up diner fare since the 1950s. The BELT [bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato] starts your day for $7, or baked pork chops or a Cuban sandwich can both be had for ten bucks at lunch. And even dinner's reasonably priced: fish and chips are caught for $11 and baked lasagna is about the same. This isn't groundbreaking cuisine, but it also won't break your wallet.
9. The Cafe: Fruits and vegetables rule the roost at this mostly vegetarian and vegan cafe on Southard Street. The only dish on the menu that goes over $20 happens to be non-vegetarian, or at least non-vegan: mussels. Otherwise, feel free to graze on seitan peppersteak ($10), organic white polenta cakes ($16), fig and gorgonzola pizza ($16.25) or the colossal veggie sandwich with eggplant ($9.50).
10. Mr Z's: Inevitably some Key West travelers will find themselves roving the streets looking for a meal after a night at the bars. Rather than wandering like a zombie, sashay, saunter, stumble or just plain walk over to Mr. Z's and grab one a freshly-made stromboli, a signature cheesesteak, pizza by the slice or by the pie and other helpfully greasy bites to help you wake up feeling a bit more clear headed.