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Santiago's Bodega

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Since it opened, Santiagos’ Bodega has filled an important niche in Key West by being an affordable, food-savvy destination. With olive and terracotta walls, paintings on the wall, and soft warmth, it offers the intimacy of a stylish restaurant. But with a flexible, mix-and-match, small plate concept, it permits diners to work within varying budgets, and appetites. A decadent selection like warm camembert (topped with sautéed garlic, onions, almonds, apricots, dates, and bell peppers) alongside, say, a refreshing ceviche (yellowfin tuna, mango, avocado) or the exotic spiced lamb patties, adds up to a meaningful dining experience that doesn’t blow your bank­—since nothing on the menu costs more than $13. Tapping the resources of boutique wine distributors, Santiago’s emphasizes lesser-known labels, varietals, and regions. The daily happy hour from 3-6 ($10 off bottles, half off sangria and beer, plus a special $5 food menu) is one of the reasons Santiago’s Bodega recently expanded to double its size. The word is out, and appreciative diners can’t get enough.