Sundowners, Key Largo, With a Toddler: Restaurant Review
My husband, my three-year-old daughter, and I were in Key Largo visiting my in-laws, when my father-in-law suggested we go to a new restaurant where he and his wife had dined recently.
I thought, YES! I can take a few pics for a quick review on my blog.
My previous blog posts included beautiful photos of mostly uneaten food because these were times that my husband and I had gone on date nights. But this time, I had a very different experience.
My daughter is on a nap strike (or is perhaps weaning herself off of naps altogether) at the moment, and she will fight sleep like it’s her arch nemesis, so her mood during our meal changed from moment-to-moment and fluctuated quite drastically.
I’ll be including a description of my toddler’s mood at each stage of the meal, and, as an extra bonus, an actual pic of my little munchkin at the very end.
We arrived at Sundowners and the sign immediately stood out to me. It shows sun setting into a calm, blue ocean with the sea life represented by a large Marlin hanging just below it. I felt calm and soothed by the mental image that it evoked.
Tour boats leave from a dock in front of the restaurant.
The menu posted outside, right before you enter the restaurant.
There’s water surrounding two sides of the restaurant and they offer indoor and outdoor seating. Every table has a view of the ocean.
We walked in, and saw a small gift shop area right in front of us that I would’ve ideally gotten a better picture of, but here’s some of the merchandise they have for sale. TODDLER MOOD: Overwhelmed/Fussy
Gift Shop Corner.
We only waited a few minutes before they showed us to our table. They brought a high chair, and we got settled. TODDLER MOOD: Flight Risk.
My husband took our daughter outside to see the beautiful view while I looked at the menu to decide what to order for the kiddo and myself.
He walked her over to a small stage right outside the restaurant where a musician played his guitar and sang while my daughter danced, smiled, and waved at him. He waved and smiled back. TODDLER MOOD: Ecstatic.
My husband came back to our table in the air conditioned corner of the restaurant and tried to get our daughter interested in sitting at the table and coloring on her menu. TODDLER MOOD: Frustrated that she couldn’t continue dancing in the 90+ degree Fahrenheit weather because she has to eat to live.
The kids’ menu. Red crayon art by: my husband’s grandma and my daughter.
Here’s a closer look at the menu.
I ordered the shrimp, avocado, and grapefruit salad (with key lime dressing, pepitas, and lettuce) for me, and a side of Mac n cheese for my toddler tyrant. I don’t even know what anyone else ordered to eat because I was dealing with a TODDLER MOOD: Cuddly and whiny.
I noticed that my daughter’s diaper was extremely full, so I took her to the bathroom to change her diaper. She came willingly, but when I tried changing her diaper, she refused to get on the changing table. TODDLER MOOD: Vive la resistance!
My mother-in-law swooped in to save the day and was able to tell her a story that captured my daughter’s attention long enough for a quick diaper change. TODDLER MOOD: Half interested in grandma’s story, and half interested in continuing to resist the diaper change.
When we arrived back at the table, we had some conch fritters waiting for us to devour. What a lovely surprise! I couldn’t get a picture of the conch fritters because TODDLER MOOD: An extra appendage on mommy’s lap.
The fritters were a 2.5 on a scale from 1 to 4 with 1 being the worst conch fritters I’ve ever had and 4 being the best. (Write a comment below if you want to know where to get the best conch fritters I’ve ever had.) They tasted fresh but could’ve used more seasoning.
While we were waiting for our entrees, my mother-in-law pointed out a grey cat that was making friends with the customers sitting outside. TODDLER MOOD: In love with the kitty.
Just your friendly restaurant cat.
The entrees arrive. Isn’t my plate gorgeous?
Shrimp avocado salad with Key Lime dressing.
It tasted as good as it looks in this pic. The shrimp tasted incredibly fresh, and were cooked perfectly – they had a little snap when you bit into them. The pepitas were crunchy. The grapefruit tasted fresh and was mostly sweet. The lettuce was a healthy green color and had a pleasant crunchy texture. The key lime dressing was sweet, but I wish it had been a little tangier (which is what I expect from “key lime” a little sweet and a generous amount of tangy). I rate it a 3 for overall satisfaction (using the pre-established rating scale).
So, the Keys are known for their delicious key lime pies, but we didn’t order one.
The little guy looks impressed by the giant slice of Key Lime Pie. Are their slices really that big?
Ah… just kidding.
We did order it.
The more-than-half-eaten Key Lime Pie.
I apologize for the pic of the half-eaten pie, but at this point TODDLER MOOD: LET’S GET OUT OF HERE… oo… pie.
Let’s pretend that the pie had a beautiful presentation with pieces of cut-up strawberries surrounding a pretty dollop of yummy whipped cream on the side of an uneaten, not-too-big, not-too-small slice of pie. The meringue was fluffy and abundant. The slight char on the meringue gave it a pleasant texture. The key lime filling was sweet, and the crust was tasty. Again, I wish the key lime filling was a bit more tart, although, I did try a piece of pie with a tarty sliver of strawberry and it elevated the flavor to all new heights. I would’ve loved to have the tartness of the strawberry with each bite. Also, the crust was a bit bland. I would’ve loved more crunch or for it to have a more interesting texture. All-in-all, I give their Key Lime pie a 2.5 rating for overall satisfaction. (Leave me a comment if you want to know where I had the best Key Lime Pie I’ve ever eaten.)
I would go back for the awe-inspiring view of the water, the laid back Keys atmosphere, and the fresh food.
FINAL TODDLER MOOD: Victory over her nemesis – nap time.
She will live to not nap another day.
This restaurant experience isn’t the worst or the best we’ve had with our toddler. Tell me your nightmare/delightful toddler-in-a-restaurant stories. I’d love to hear from you!
What’s your favorite restaurant in the Keys? Is there a restaurant in South Florida that you recommend I check out?