Our wonderful island is known for a lot of things, and indulgence is one of them. From our theme songs “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Margaritaville” to the ubiquity of restaurants advertising bottomless drinks and 2-for-1 happy hour appetizers, we aren’t known for restraint. For tourists, Key West is a place to let loose (both their inhibitions and belt buckles) and indulge in local delicacies like conch fritters and Cuban mix sandwiches. But what to do if you live here year-round and don’t want to miss out on dining out? Here are our recommendations for the best healthy, delicious, plant-based fare in Key West.
Date & Thyme Organic Café and Market
829 Fleming St. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week
Date and Thyme offers vegan and gluten-free options for all dietary preferences. With sandwiches like the spicy tempeh wrap with chipotle vegan mayo and the adventuresome Indian summer salad, with chickpeas, quinoa, curried cashews, carrots and raisins, the cuisine surprises and delights. There are even options for meat-eaters, like the satisfying chicken salad wrap and the fresh-caught yellowfin tuna wrap with sesame seeds and avocado. The outdoor atmosphere is as breezy as you’ll feel after a meal here, plus there’s a market inside with provisions to take home.
Grain & Berry Key West
2722 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Newly opened in November, Grain & Berry is the spot for acai bowls and fresh smoothies. Tucked away in the Winn-Dixie Plaza, the friendly café offers acai bowls brimming with fresh tropical fruit like pineapples, kiwi, coconut and strawberries. Topped with nuts, oats and granola, the bowls have plenty of vitamins and calories to get you through the day without the unhealthy heaviness of greasy breakfast fare. The Spirulina bowls boast “6 times more protein than eggs, 50 times more iron than spinach, and 7 times more calcium than milk.” Visit them and build their local following among fit foodies.
Mellow Café and Gastropub
1605 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Mellow Café grew out of Mellow Ventures, a watersports outpost for paddle boarding, kayaking and more. But its culinary component has gained a great local reputation: from happy hour with craft beers and wines to delicious brunch offerings. Okay, beer isn’t necessarily the healthiest food on earth, but Mellow offers plenty of variety. Mellow has smoothie and taco menus featuring fresh local ingredients, as well as a “greens” section of the menu, served as salads or wraps. The chili melon salad tingles the taste buds with melon, mango, queso fresco, pickled onion, and citrus oil, and the kale and sweet potato salad offers superfoods topped with pumpkin seeds and vegan chipotle aioli. Try topping the southwest salad with the house-made nut pate, a vegan treat that mimics ground beef (with no guilt).