Michael’s Restaurant (Fine Dining)
532 Margaret Street, Key West, Florida
Phone: (305) 295-1300
A Chef James Best of Key West Restaurant
There are lots of ways to define fine dining. My gut feeling is that most people use price as the determining factor, but I would prefer you use different criteria when placing that label on Michael’s Restaurant here in Key West. I say it’s one of the most romantic and enchanting eating spots in the southernmost city and that is how I establish Michaels as a fine dining experience.
Let your concierge make reservations for you and ask them to seat you outdoors in what I like to call the garden space so you’re near the fountain and muted lighting. In winter months the cool air is warmed by a small fireplace just in the far corner. Indoors or out you will find the atmosphere at Michael’s inviting and quite conducive to an intimate dining experience for just the two of you.
Now let’s say you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary and you want to invite several of your closest and dearest to join you. The staff at Michael’s can accommodate a small group easily by defining a space apart and adapting to the needs of the party. Speaking of servers and dining room staff; you won’t find any better then those taking care of you here. They get the job done and do so in a respectful and friendly manner.
When it comes to the menu you will find most items typical to a high-end restaurant, just prepared with an edge uncommon to all the others. I’ve had the filet and several fish dishes, but there was an attention to detail in the sauces and presentation you will see at only a handful of local eateries. Michael’s is historically known for its fine steaks and famous “Chocolate Volcano” (I’ll let your imagination operate on that one). A bit of a stand out surprise at Michael’s is cheese fondue. I remember a place in DC I used to go to in the 70’s called “The Great American Melting Pot” and thinking how much fun it was to have all your courses as fondue and what a wonderful concept it was. It has fallen by the wayside over the years, but Michael’s has brought it back and if you don’t mind sitting at the bar (since it’s the only spot they serve it) you will be guaranteed to come out smiling.
You won’t find this romantic hideaway on Duval St. or even in the heart of downtown. You will have to wend your way into the more residential part of our town to find Michael’s on Margaret Street. I recommend leaving your car at the hotel and either walking or cabbing since our small island has minimal real estate in its neighborhoods dedicated to parking.
I couldn’t help noticing that in recent years Key West is swiftly becoming a Mecca for weddings and honeymoons. A rehearsal dinner here would impress your family and if you guys take your special lady to Michael’s for the first or last night of your stay then neither one of you will forget the experience on your anniversaries to follow. I think what I am sold on the most here is I have always felt special on my visits and left feeling like I had an experience not just a meal.
Doug Heyman for the Food Reference Website