Hilton Hotel, 245 Front St., Key West, Florida
Phone: (305) 292-4320
Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Price Range: Moderate - High
You know in Key West if you have a great location with a great view you’ve won 90% of your battle in doing business. One of the most famous spots on our island if not the world is Mallory Square on the Gulf of Mexico where a nightly sunset celebration occurs. Street performers and artists fill the area each night around 6 pm until the bagpiper plays acknowledging the sun dipping below the horizon. When one thinks of sundown you are probably thinking about dinner. The Bistro at the Hilton will become an obvious choice since it sets right on the Hilton pier at Mallory Square.
Yes, I mentioned dinner, but I want to discuss brunch. The Hilton and several resort hotels like Hyatt, Pier House and Wyndham Casa Marina unofficially compete for who serves the best brunch. All are well situated, but from strictly a food standpoint the Bistro has a long and consistent reputation. I haven’t been there recently, and the chef responsible for this weekly feast on my last visit is now at Wyndham’s Reach Resort, but the incredible choices and flavorful delectables are a sight to see.
Speaking of “sights to see,” the location in the daytime is a good news bad news scenario. We have a controversial issue in our fair city with respect to cruise ships. They are behemoths filled with vacationers and we have seen as many as 7 in port at one time. Hilton is right on the cruise ship pier and if one of them parks strategically you will be staring at its hull instead of the Gulf of Mexico. I have my opinion about the ships as does every other resident but going off on that tangent will get me off focus. My last outdoor Bistro experience was enjoyable because I was with my closest friends and the food was abundant and delicious, but I was staring at a Disney ship at least 10 stories high and was serenaded by its horns playing “When you wish upon a star.” I would have preferred to watch the yachts and charter boats moving about the waterway.
You can park easily here as Hilton has its own high-rise facility. You can eat inside or out and the windows facing the water are tall so inside can offer a good view as well. The buffet line provides all your breakfast favorites all the way to roast duck and seafood specialties if lunch is your preference. View or no view the Bistro will give you a great eating experience.
Doug Heyman in Key West
for the Food Reference Website