Where To Eat, Key West: Mangoes!
There are over 315 restaurants here on our tiny 2 mile by 4 mile island…So where do you decide to dine on your precious few days here? Good news is, with such high competition, you’re likely to sit down anywhere to a good meal, but why settle for good when you can have GREAT?! Well, you’re in luck, because the food experts here at Key West Food Tours are on a mission to highlight Key West’s best. We’re exposing local eateries by diving behind the scenes and into the kitchen with their head chefs and owners to show you why each spotlight is a MUST!
To start, we stopped in on a partner from our Southernmost Food Tour–Mangoes.
This newly renovated Duval St hotspot refreshed an older version of itself and deserves some attention. All new decor, all new menu, Mangoes is making a statement, and it’s that it’s here to stay. They’re going back to their Florida and Caribbean roots, fusing old with new, Cuban with sushi (yes, you read that correctly), so we’re talking to their executive chef, Kathleen Sefcik, to get the scoop…
“My pride is that our menu is built with indigenous island flavor and spice.” – Chef Sefcik
KWFT: So Kathleen, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…How long have you been cooking here at Mangoes?
KS: It’s been a happy 2 years with Mangoes since we reopened in 2016.
KWFT: Impressive! You have basically shaped the new menu and we here at Key West Food Tours are loving it! Well done. What are some of the main inspirations you pull from when making a new menu? What’s your biggest influence towards food?
KS: I always found enjoyment cooking for others which grew into a passion as a kid. Coming from a large family we would always get together for a large family style meal each weekend and I would usually end up doing most the cooking.
KWFT: Cute, I can just see little chef Kathy making a mess your sibling were made to clean up! Cooking is definitely more fun than cleaning. And I totally agree, they make the best memories! Since you’ve found your place in the Mangoes kitchen, what would you say makes Mangoes unique, different, special?
KS: My pride is that our menu is built with indigenous island flavor and spice. We source our seafood locally
contributing to an authentic island cuisine offering. You can take a bite of any of our dishes and taste that we prepare most everything with traditional Bahamian and Caribbean cooking methods which, in my opinion, defines the true flavor profile our our menu.
KWFT: So true–you’ve got some fun ones! I have recently tried some of your new sushi rolls–the Ricky Ricardo roll and Double Lobster roll. Loved the skirt steak and chimichurri–honestly, I’ve never had a steak sushi roll before! And the double lobster with Maine and Spiny lobster? You can stop at double lobster…But, I want to know what dish YOU would recommend to a first timer to the restaurants?
KS: Our Seafood Paella is a great dish for 1st time Mangoes guests! It covers all the seafood basis with lobster, shrimp, snapper, and clams. It also pairs great with one of our signature craft mojito cocktails!
“…We prepare most everything with traditional Bahamian and Caribbean cooking methods which, in my opinion, defines the true flavor profile our our menu.” – Chef Sefcik
KWFT: Yes, great suggestions! I’ve had that mango mojito and our guides always recommend it to our guests when we stop on tour to have your homemade conch fritters with that amazing key lime aioli. Speaking of…why haven’t we seen you on one of our food tours? I know chefs work a lot, but where can we find you when you are not in the kitchen?
KS: Its true, chefs do work a lot–its part of the job I guess. But, on that occasional off day, I can usually be found on the bocce ball courts, fishing, or working in my garden at home.
KWFT: Sounds good, maybe we’ll join YOU instead! Thanks again for sitting down with us, chef!
So there you have it, folks…an insider view of the NEW and improved Mangoes! Here are the stats…
- Ambiance: Indoor/Outdoor, newly renovated
- Live Music: Occassionally at night
- Menu Originality: Caribbean fusion sushi!
- Menu Highlights: Conch Sampler platter, conch fritters, Seafood Paella, sushi menu, craft mojitos
- Location: Duval St on the corner of Angela St
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