Experience Key West on a Budget


El Meson de Pepe, Authentic Cuban Food in Mallory Square

I can’t tell you how many times I walked by this place and didn’t consider stopping.  But, once I did, I will certainly be going back for more.  El Meson de Pepe is authentic Cuban food in Mallory Square.

Did I say Location?

El Meson de Pepe is located right in the heart of Mallory Square.  As a matter of fact, you have to walk by it to get to the nightly Sunset Celebration.  Given the location, stop by after sunset to enjoy a great cocktail or meal.  They offer many choices.  Sit outside in the courtyard and feel the breezes and watch the local chickens or head to the Patio bar and listen to live music.

El Meson de Pepe Key West

If you are unfamiliar with Key West’s Sunset Celebration, be sure to check it out, but make sure to include El Meson de Pepe in your plans.  Two hours before sunset, street performers, magicians, jugglers, local artists and other venders set up on Mallory Square to… celebrate sunset.  It’s truly iconic Key West.  But, back to the food.

Food is Great

They offer authentic Cuban food as well as sandwiches, fish, salads, oh my!  So many choices.  If you can’t choose I would recommend the Completa De Caballo Grande… it’s a sampler platter of their three most popular Cuban dishes.  It includes Lechon Asado (roasted Cuban port in mojo sauce), Ropa Vieja (marinated skirt steak with peppers, onion and tomatoes) and Picadillo (ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices).  You can’t go wrong with a sampler platter.  There is a lot of food on the plate, so it’s ok to share!

El Meson de Pepe Key West

Want something lighter?  The salad with grilled chicken is awesome.

El Meson de pepe Key West

Did someone say cocktails?

Well, you are in Key West, so of course, they offer cocktails.  Choose from a traditional mojito or try one of their house specialties.  The Tangerine Dream and Pepe’s Limeade really hit the spot after walking around Key West all day.  Not too hungry?  Enjoy a few tapas and sit out at the Porch Bar and enjoy the view of Mallory Square while sipping on your cocktail.

El Meson de Pepe Key West

Live Music

Here’s why I really love El Meson de Pepe… their live music.  They feature a live Salsa band.  I am no Salsa dancer, although in my mind …. I am awesome.  But, the music is so lively and I love watching people dance, laugh and truly embrace the Key West spirit.

The music drifts out on to Mallory Square as the sunset sets and I think it’s magical.


If you looking for great Cuban food, or want to try Cuban food, head over to El Meson de Pepe.  Located in the William Wall Warehouse (410 Wall Street) you can’t miss it, especially if you are heading over to Mallory Square to enjoy sunset.  They are open daily 11am to 10pm; which means you can check them out for lunch too!  They don’t take reservations, but if you call them in the morning, they can put you on the list for tables that night.  This family owned and operated restaurant has been serving great Cuban food for over 30 years, be sure to check it out the next time you are in Key West.

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