Edmund White doesn't hesitate when asked about restaurants in Key West. The writer has been vacationing there since the 1970s, and he and his partner, fellow author Michael Carroll, still head down at least once a year, so they know the culinary scene like the back of their hands. You can be sure, then, that their gastronomical guidance should be taken seriously.
For example you can be sure you'll get a good meal if you pop into Ambrosia, the sushi spot at the Santa Maria Suites, or the upscale Seven Fish bistro, both of which high on White and Carroll's favorites list. So too are The Flaming Buoy Filet Co., Santiago's Bodega, a tapas joint and the self-explanatory cuisine at Colombian Grace.
The gents saved their most emphatic praise, however, for Blue Heaven, a quaint and quirky fine dining spot with a lush garden and, according to White and Carroll, the best brunch in town. But no matter how delicious the beef tenderloin benedict may be, they insist Blue Heaven truly excels at creating perfect Key Lime Pie. It's all about balance, says White: the key limes must be the perfect mix of sour and sweet and the pie/meringue ratio has to be just so.
"Some restaurants put on a meringue topping nearly four inches thick — no one needs all that!" Not if the lime is right.
(Image via Denny Holland.)