As someone who goes to Key West every year, I decided to look at some restaurant reviews to see if there was anything new this year. I saw all the negative reviews of Louie's, and thought I was the only one who didn't like it. Although I didn't have as bad an experience as most writers, the food was so-so, lots of flies, and the table we reserved(with a supposed view of fireworks as it was the Fourth of July)had no view at all. When we told our waitress that we had reserved a better table, she said ok and actually moved us to a worse table. As one reviewer wrote that her boyfriend wasn't feeling well, the same with my husband, so we didn't order a lot of food, but tipped very well. I still had the feeling
that I wasn't appreciated as a customer on any level. I won't go back, I tell everybody, and a lot of the locals have told us it is overrated. I wonder if Jimmy would still wander over!
If I could give this restaurant ZERO stars, I would! We were HORRIBLY insulted!!!
To make a VERY long story short, from the moment we arrived to the restaurant, the staff seemed arrogant and rude. We made a reservation for 13 and when we went upstairs, we found two separate round tables. We mentioned to the host/manager (still trying to figure out whether he's the owner) that we thought we'd be seated together, and we were then told that when one makes a reservation for any number of people, you should always ask whether the party will be seated together. We then simply asked whether there was a way the two tables could be pushed together, and we were told he didn't like the way it would make the restaurant look and that he did not appreciate us trying tell him how to run his business..
At that point, we obviously decided it was best for us to leave and when we told the host/manager that we felt it was an inappropriate way to treat patrons, he said our party was not important when he had another 20 people waiting to be seated. While we were walking away, he and other staff members proceeded to call us extremely vulgar and insulting names. It was absolutely the most incredible, offensive, disrespectful and abusive experience at a restaurant any of us had ever experienced!
To sum it up, most of the people in our group have eaten at the best restaurants across the world and have NEVER been treated this way. Because this restaurant is such a tourist trap and knows they will continue to get business, they do not value their customers and simply, DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU!!!
Needless to say, we, nor anybody we've told our story to will NEVER return to this ungracious, classless and vulgar restaurant, and I am willing to beg you not to either.
Me and my boyfriend were looking forward to our meal at Louie's. We had already spent some time on other days sipping on cocktails whilst the sun went down. But this time it was time to try the food in the restaurant, we booked a table for 10pm. My boyfriend wasn't too well, however we carried on with an order for just one main course each and a bottle of Sancerre. After our meal, which was very nice, we had hardly touched the wine which cost some 50 dollars. The waitress suggested that it could be corked and taken home with us, which we accepted. So she gave us the bill, she took the wine, brought it back wrapped in foil. At this stage I signed the bill which included a 10 dollar tip and informed the waitress that we were going to the afterdeck for a short while where I had a cigarette. Some minutes later we returned to the table to found the bill had gone, the wine had gone and the table was cleared. I turned to another waiter and asked where my card might be and he immediately replied "its at the front desk with Michael" So we went to the front desk where 'Michael' offered me my card without us saying a word ( we were about to say thanks very much - great night), and then he started SHOUTING "we gave your wine to the server as you only left a 7% tip which is an insult to my staff" he continued SHOUTING do you know hard our frigging staff work" "its an insult an insult" My boyfriend and I were absolutly gobsmacked and totally shocked, infact we still are. "I am shocked" I replied, I can't believe you are speaking to us like this, and you have given the wine to the server ? You have stolen our wine right? "Your tip was an insult" We thought you had gone so i gave it to the server". THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE, Quite happy on the afterdeck and completly unaware that anyboby was upset with our tip and completely unaware that they were trading the expensive bottle of wine that I had purchased with legal tender!
What happened to us was outrageous and disgusting. How can this guy be running this restaurant? How could anyone in his position treat us like this? OK the tip appeared to be short in percentage but fair for what we had, until he shocked us and went into a rage for not giving more ! So the moral of the story is, the 10 dollar tip was 10 dollars too much, Michael should be fired, I should take legal action against the restaurant for stealing my wine that had been prepared by the waitress to take home.
We are now taking advice. My Advice to you, stay away - they don't really care about you - trust me. It's a shame we didn't have a better experience, it could have been a magical night for both of us.
We should have known it was going to be a bad lunch when our waitress would barely make eye contact with us- requiring much hand-waving just for some attention. Then no bread as we waited! But the WORST was yet to come! My wife got an inedible metallic tasting shrimp dish and sent it back to the kitchen. At the end of the meal- A SHOCKER! The manager refused in the most rude manner to remove the offending dish. We should have read the other reviews before we came here- the manager is clearly uninterested in satisfying his customers and is not interested in return business. We will advocate to others that the beautiful view is the only thing this place has going for it- certainly not the food, not the service and not the management!
Having recently returned from Key West October 18, 2007, I can say with gratitude that Louie's Backyard has defied time and is as great as ever. The last time I dined at Louie's was 20 years ago, shortly after Doug Shook took over as Executive Chef. Being in the restaurant business, Louie's those many years back, seemed like a jewel from the ocean, an oasis from the tourist environment of Duval Street. During this last visit I must have had 5 dinners and 2 lunches simply because no other on the island could deliver such consistently delicious food and gracious service. Each day Chef Shook fillets the freshest fish possible, caught and delivered by his fisherman. There may be fresh grouper served over braised red chard and brought together by a multi-layered vegetable demi-glace, or hog fish served over white chantrelle mushrooms, the lunch and evening "specials" are just that, very special. You must try their Bahamian Conch Chowder with Bird Pepper Hot Sauce. I have had other chowders that are OK, but come up short of the complete flavors of Louie's take on this dish. Other dinner entrees that have all been exemplary included Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads as tender as anyone could want; Pan Roasted Young Chicken that was as perfectly cooked as any chicken I have had and served with a melange of Artichokes, Eggpplant, and crist Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. A very special salad, not available outside of tomato season, brings together diced watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese. But it was layered in a circular ring with the goat cheese on the botton, the tomatoes and watermelon on top, placed on a bed of arugula and "sprikled" with balsamic jelly, not just the usual balsamic vinaigrette. It was truely inspired. Sevice was exemplary. I was made to feel as though I had walked into my own home. Wait staff were friednly, excited about the food served, and helpfull in every way that I could expect. Coupled with the ocean view, Louie's remains very special indeed.
The ambience of this restaurant is what attracts people and the reason our group was there! It was the weekend of my daughter's wedding and because they had gotten engaged at Louie's, they wanted us to join them there to start the wedding weekend! She had made our reservations in advance - they required her a $485 deposit for the reservations!!! When we got there we were treated rudely by the maitre d', I must say he's quite pretentious!!! He seemed quite disgusted that we had several reservations of tables that he was going to have to serve! They directed us to our tables so that we could be seated by the appointed time - we were missing 2 people of the wedding party who were inroute and advised our server who said it was not a problem - however, the maitre d' threatened to charge my daughter for the empty chairs at my table! They showed up within 5 minutes and all was ok. - The food was not the quality I expected and we had to send a steak and lamb back because they had overcooked it. - But the biggest disappointment came when one of my guests said that they had arranged for all of us to receive a complimentary drink upon our arrival which she had confirmed at 4pm that afternoon. The drinks were never served and she was told when she inquired, that it was too much trouble. Fortunately we did not let these people dampen our spirits, we enjoyed ourselves despite their rudeness. I can assure them that not any of the 40 people in our group will be back! And we know a lot of people!!! Attitude is everything and service to your guests is king - they lacked both!
Favorite Dish: not applicable
My personal favorite restaurant in Key West especially for dinner...
The food is very spceial and excellent, the setting charming and romantic, especially if you sit outside in their very romantic and charming terrace overlooking the ocean.. Don't forget to enjoy a drink at the outside bar before or after you eat at the afterdeck.
Reservations recommended (they're always full)
Note: this is a fine dining place for which you pay the price.
Favorite Dish: I try a different dish each time I go and have never been disappointed. Choose whatever appeals to you. However being in Key West, you should try one of the fish dish...
Beautiful spot, but we decided to just do a lunch here as the prices are rediculously high for dinner. We sat outside on the deck overlooking the bar area and the water. It is a lovely place...inside the building has a nice collection of artwork.
Favorite Dish: Calamari....great fried breading.
This is an elegant casual gourmet restaurant. The chef is passionate and inventive so depending on the season and Doug's mood, the menu changes. The view from your table is gorgeous, the service is exactly what you expect - I wish that service everywhere was like this. I've never had a bad meal or a bad experience. It can get kind of pricey, but it is worth it. You will definitely need a reservation - this place is popular.
Favorite Dish: The appetizer consisting of lobster braised in white truffle butter - it is heavenly. I think it is about $20...I savor each bite. I could make a meal of this. If you like lobster, then order this (if it's on the menu). You'll be thanking me later.
This place has a beautiful setting in a lush garden with a big deck overlooking the ocean and a small beach. The food is among the best you can find in Key West. It also has an extensive winelist and great drinks.
Louie's Backyard is a wonderful restaurant located on the east side of the Island tucked away under palms in a quaint victorian home. The views and atmosphere is spectacular . . .the food may be a little overrated. I recommend if you go to come during lunch - spectacular views as far as the eye can see without spending a fortune as you would during the night time hours.