Half Shell Raw Bar • Key West, Florida

EAT IT RAW has been the motto of Half Shell Raw Bar since 1972 when it 1st opened its doors. It’s one of the busiest restaurants frequented by locals and visitors; this laid-back iconic venue, located in the oldest part of the town, offers fresh seafood, chilled peel-and-eat Key West “Pink Gold” shrimp; baskets of fish and chips; conch ceviche and a myriad of oysters. 

The restaurant is super casual with an oversized bar to the right of the entrance, a small Boutique on the left featuring logo T-Shirts, hoodies, and souvenirs. All the walls are covered with vanity plates from across the U.S. Menus are two-fold (scan the key bar code or read the blackboard menus hanging from the rafters). Small tables adjacent to the pier offers views of the water, boats and sunset.

Indulge in plump fresh oysters or better yet, the Baked Oyster Sampler as I did – a combo of Rockefeller, BBQ, and Key Lime Garlic Butter Oysters. My family assisted with the appetizers – Lobster Egg Rolls (lobster, roasted red peppers and goat cheese), spicy Hot Lips (flash-fried cream cheese stuffed Jalapeños); and Conch Double-Header (conch fritters with a side of conch chowder). All were delicious. Main plates were generous in stature; my grilled Blue Crab Stuffed Shrimp was finished in a butter, lemon, garlic sauce; the Whole Hog Fish was grilled and incredible. 

On the menu are sandwiches and Po’Boys as well as lobster combos; Lobster Surf & Turf – a grilled Ribeye with Lobster Tail, (or Shrimp or Crab Cake); and house specialty: Lobster Clam Bake Dinner – a melange of lobster tail, clams, mussels, shrimp, Red Bliss potatoes, corn all steamed in that beloved Key Lime garlic butter. 

  • Editor’s Note: By Nancy Radlauer, editor.InboundMagazine@gmail.com; June 2021 brought me back to Key West after many years. Half Shell Raw Bar remains the iconic seafood restaurant of Key West. Check out their Happy Hour. Enjoy fresh seafood. And buy a signature Eat It Raw t-shirt.

VISIT: Half Shell Raw Bar;   https://www.halfshellrawbar.com/ 231 Margaret St., Key West, Florida