Santiago’s Bodega, Key West FL

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Visited October 2012

Value *****
Atmosphere ****
Service ****
Food *****

“Best Food in Key West, Hands Down!”

Let me start by saying that I am from NY and therefore I am 100% spoiled by access to excellent food. Because of this, I am constantly disappointed by restaurants when I travel. Key West is one of the few places where I have to admit does have some great food options and over the last 6 years I have tried as many as I can.

Santiago’s is by far, hands down, the best food on the island and it would easily compete in NYC or any other culinary mecca. We have returned 3 times on this trip alone and in that time we tried 12 tapas dishes. Of those 12 only 2 were only ‘okay’ and those were the lamb patties and the bacon wrapped mushrooms. I don’t know if I would have thought they were better if the other 10 items I ate over my three visits weren’t beyond amazing! If you like hot sauce you must get the ‘patatas bravas.’ They are roasted potatoes tossed in a spicy, addicting hot sauce and they are quite possibly the most addictive thing I have ever eaten. (these were ordered twice! and I even brought a friend there solely so he could try these potatoes) My mouth was on fire and yet I couldn’t stop going back for more. If you are not scared of spices the ‘seasoned grouper’ should not be missed. The pecan encrusted lamb chops were phenomenal as was the beef tenderloin, korean short ribs, saganaki, the happy hour mussels, crab cakes and empanadas. Of the sangria choices, my favorite is the sparking red sangria. I could go on, but my point here is, if you are someone who enjoys quality food and top notch flavor combinations Santiago’s should not be missed. It is on the ‘fancier’ side for Key West (if there is such a thing!) and feels appropriately dark and rustic for a Spanish influenced tapas restaurant. If you are looking for conch chowder and a view of he water, this is not your place. If you want a good bottle of wine and a leisurely, delicious culinary experience, then I recommend a stop at Santiago’s.