Paradise Cafe (Cuban Cuisine)
1000 Eaton Street, Key West, Florida
Phone: (305) 296-5001
Yes, it’s on Eaton Street; no pun intended, and if you’ve read any of my previous reviews/commentary you’ve probably figured out that I love Cuban anything. I have also officially become addicted to café con leche (a good Cuban coffee infused with milk), and I will drink it with breakfast, lunch or dinner. To date Paradise Cafe rates # 1 in the con leche Dept. and just about everything else food wise is served on Cuban bread toasted on a press. It’s on the other side of the island from where I live, work and play, but I will make the effort to stop by on my days off and enjoy my ham, egg and cheese breakfast (served very hot and fresh) while getting into a good book, reading the Key West Citizen or chatting with other diners.
Let’s get a few negatives with positive sidecars out of the way here. Parking is limited to only about 6 spaces and it’s a busy corner, so be patient. You can eat inside or out and I need to be where the people are so one of the umbrella-topped tables to the back of the small building is my choice. You order inside and they will bring your meal to you when it’s ready. It’s located at a very busy intersection where a great deal of commerce takes place so it can be loud and active. Still and all a great people watching spot. You will have a wait if you pop in for breakfast since any place with good food and friendly service will be busy. Again, just be patient. Last item to note is that Paradise Café is only open for breakfast and lunch unfortunately so don’t plan on taking out dinner here.
The menu selection is concise, so no complications there. The food preparers are among the hardest working I’ve seen anywhere and they still do it with good humor. I’ve never walked out without an acknowledgment and appreciation for my patronage by the women at the counter. I get the sense that they really look forward to seeing me again. You can eat in or take away. With the old seaport just a block away you might choose the latter so you can sit and eat as the charter boats head out in the am and while the schooners are being prepped for their sunset sails.
Paradise Café is aptly named. Even in Key West you can get into a daily grind that requires a step back from time to time. It’s like those commercials on TV where 1 person is at normal speed and all around them everyone is operating at hyper speed. You can enjoy such an oasis right in the middle of it all on Eaton Street.
Doug Heyman in Key West for the Food Reference Website
We fell in love with Key West last week and a good part of the hedonistic experience was due to the restaurant reviews on your website. We appreciate great value when we travel and this was remarkably helpful and accurate. We are by no means gourmets, but we had some great inexpensive meals. Most notably, some outstanding, creative and unusual breakfasts at Camille`s, and the Cuban Mix Sandwich at the Paradise Cafe has to be one of the great bargain lunches, anywhere. (We split one of the huge things, had a beer and some chips and weren`t hungry again `til midnight.) Perhaps our favorite was Duffy`s Steak and Lobster House. The casual, but warm ambience, genial and attentive service, and the simple but wonderful menu were so memorable, that we returned 3 times in a week. Many thanks for helping to make this a pinnacle vacation experience for us both. Craig and Ted in Boston