A buzz has been surrounding Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne’s new cafe Key Pantry: Eat.Drink.Shop. since it opened earlier this month. They’ve brought in local favorite specialty coffee brand Panther Coffee, and the coffee beans are hand selected and roasted in small batches onsite. The cafe boasts freshly made sweet treats along with sandwiches, and my husband and I dropped by the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami recently to have lunch at the new cafe and check it out for ourselves.
Since it has pantry in the name I was expecting something smaller. The space was large though and felt upscale with high ceilings, cheery lighting and row after row of displays.
I wandered around the shop, which was full of delicious looking goodies that I would expect to find at Whole Foods or a boutique grocer.
There were gift items such as Cocktail Kingdom Craft cocktail accessories, cookbooks and MAST Bros Chocolates.
The ice cream is house made, as are the cupcakes, cake and other pastries.
Sandwiches are made to order and I pored over the selection, finally settling on one with Feta cheese and roasted vegetables.
If I had wanted to take some food items to go for a picnic or a day trip there were all kinds of meats and artisanal cheeses in portions that weren’t too huge along with crackers, chips, drinks and other snacks.
I think there was a subtle hint in the shop somewhere too, about going on a picnic… 😉
There were bottles of wine available, and a full menu so you could easily check the price before grabbing a bottle and heading up to the room.
The barista was more than happy to answer questions about any of the different types of coffee.
I was told that a professional taster uses a process called cupping to measure the taste/smell of the coffee to get the correct caramelization of the sugars and reach just the right level of tanginess.
There were so many coffee options they had an easy to read menu.
Once the food was ready we went to go find seats. It was early afternoon and some folks were there waiting for their room while others were meeting with friends, working, eating or just relaxing.
It was a popular place to hang out and even being a large room many of the seats were taken.
We got lucky and some people that had been waiting for their room were told it was ready so we took their seats. I liked the blue-green casual, beachy feel of the room.
The barista had gestured that he’d bring the coffee over once it was ready.
The made-to-order sandwiches were delicious, with freshly baked bread.
My husband’s Guatemalan coffee arrived and he said it was outstanding.
The cupcake frosting ended up being a little too mayonnaise-y for my liking, but I was pleased with the rest of the lunch as well as the bill. The total for lunch for 2 came to $33, including two sandwiches, a bottle of water and coffee. Reasonable, considering this was at the Ritz. I didn’t like that an automatic percentage was added to all food items though. I would have preferred to have tipped the barista separately rather than it being a mandatory set amount.
From the seating area I could just peek into the Ritz’s second newly redone space – RUMBAR.
The Havana styled lounge had palm frond ceiling fans, warm dark colored decor, and I was invited to come listen to a 7-piece live band that plays Latin music every Friday and Saturday night.
Even there were only a few people in RUMBAR the afternoon I was there, I could imagine the ambiance.
They don’t call it RUMBAR for nothing! 102 different Rums are offered, from 23 countries. I’m sure it won’t be long before someone tries to taste them all. Will you be the first?
The drink menu included piscos and cachacas too, for those needing a little variation.
To accompany the drinks, the food menu featured shareable dishes like Tostones Rellenos, Ropa Vieja Sliders, Braised and Pulled Churrasco and Beer Battered Red Snapper. Here’s a link to the full menu.
On my way out I spied a wall of cigars too.
The new Key Pantry: Eat.Drink.Shop. isn’t up on Ritz’s website yet, but RUMBAR is.
I would absolutely eat lunch at Key Pantry: Eat.Drink.Shop. again. I appreciated having a wide selection of drinks and food to choose from, and if staying at the hotel I wouldn’t hesitate to just run down and get something to bring back to the room as well. The coffee lives up to the hype, and I like that the Ritz-Carlton has brought in a fresh alternative to Starbucks as well as a skilled barista. Would you stop in for a meal or a cup of coffee?