As soon as I entered the Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, I felt myself being transported back in time. Built in 1920 the hotel has a strong presence that combines an old Key West laid back atmosphere with contemporary luxury. Stepping out into the lawn two rows of palm trees reach out to meet the peaceful blue waters of the Atlantic and you just want to keep on walking straight into the water.
On the beach, right next to the pier, tables are set right on the sand. Here the Sun Sun restaurant offers a romantic toes in sand dinner. My husband and I chose a table that looked out into the sea. It was our first night in Key West and as we sat there sipping our cocktails and played with the cool sand between our toes (yes this might be one of the few restaurants where no shoes is actually encouraged) a complete sense of relaxation took over and all the stress that was still lingering from the busy past few weeks at work just floated away with the warm ocean breeze.
Our server was attentive and knowledgeable and made excellent recommendations from a menu that offered a great selection of dishes made with the freshest local seafood and locally grown produce. My husband had the ceviche; raw fish cooked in key lime juice with a blood orange glaze garnished with plantain chips. It was the perfect appetizer to cool of on a warm Key West night. I started off with the braised kurobuta pork belly with spicy cider poached pears in aged balsamic. The succulent moist and tender pork with light crispy top was melt in your mouth delicious.
Casa Marina has the perfect location to enjoy a beautiful Key West sunrise, as the sun sets on the other side of the island, but just before dusk the tropical sky changes colors no matter where you are on the island So as we enjoyed our appetizers we witnessed how the clouds in the sky went from light oranges and pinks to violets.
As the dusk set in we continued our dinner under the warm glow of candlelight while the stars started to peek from behind the clouds in the deep, dark blue sky. I had the garam masala marinated chicken with apricot-raising chutney while my husband enjoyed the grilled mahi-mahi accompanied with roasted pineapple and red pepper emulsion.
We finished our meal by sharing a delicious key lime pie. I consider myself quite the key lime pie connoisseur and this was one of the best key lime pies I’ve had, it was pucker your mouth tart, had a great texture and just the right amount of sweetness. The fresh berries, berry sauce and whipped cream balanced the tartness perfectly.
We ate at many wonderful restaurants during our stay in Key West but I have to say that the experience of dining right on the beach while you witness the day turning into night over the ocean as you enjoy a delicious candlelight dinner was by far one of the most romantic meals we’ve ever had.
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