Isn’t it funny how people think of certain tropical destinations in terms of their amazing beaches, gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, sparkling sea waters, and different activities, but forget that they can also be remarkable dining destinations? The Cayman Islands is one such location and is, as one expert noted, “a vacationer’s dream,” abundant with spectacular restaurants.
Another expert had this to say of it: “With award-winning restaurants and a barefoot island vibe, it’s easy to see why the Cayman Islands is the self-proclaimed Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. Ocean-to-table cuisine and a commitment to sustainability, Grand Cayman, and its sister islands, delight guests with everything from fine dining and food festivals to local joints.”
So, it can be tempting to say “forget the beach and show me the food!” That is what we’ll do as we move forward and identify three of the hottest dining spots as well as noting any local favorites nearby or along the way!
Noted as a classic steakhouse and fine dining experience, it is also identified as one of the best values in the islands. This is because any entrée is paired (and includes in the price) with a delicious beer or iced martini, lots of tasty side dishes prepared in iconic styles, and features one of six, house-made steak sauces. These include bearnaise, green peppercorn, BBQ, burgundy mushroom, horseradish cream, and the house special.
As the website explains, “From 8-ounce Filet to 30-ounce Porterhouse…steaks are hand-cut and aged 28 days before grilling to perfection. If you fancy something other than steak, we offer scrumptious Rack of Lamb, Center-Cut Pork Chop, succulent chicken and seafood dishes, and several vegetarian options,” and there is also a Prime Rib dinner option two nights a week as well as their popular and notable ribs.
Is that it? No, there is a long list of impressive starters, including a baked brie as well as the house specialty foie gras. There are plenty of soups and salads, and dinners that include something for all. There is an expansive dessert and drinks menu, with the sticky toffee pudding a noted favorite.
The Culture Trip website describes the Sunshine Grill as offering plenty of Caribbean flair, and that it is a “fun, colourful poolside restaurant,” where the must-try options include “award-winning fish tacos with signature sauces, jerk chicken egg rolls, and Asian salad.” It is also TripAdvisor’s top-rated eatery in the Cayman Islands and it is popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A favorite of locals and travelers alike, it offers up Angus hamburgers but is a huge hit for the breakfast crowd thanks to its continental breakfasts (served for free to guests of the hotel in which the restaurant is housed) each day from 6:30 to 9:30 AM. It is noted for the pancakes and the Cuban French Toast, banana oatmeal crème brulee, and its many omelet options.
And if lunch or the afternoon hunger pangs have you craving island cuisine, there are amazing luncheon and poolside snacks. Dinner must include their Havana chicken, which they claim sells out first every evening it is on the menu, and if you don’t make it in time the grilled mahi is always a big hit, too.
At least one artisanal cocktail has to be enjoyed when paying a visit to the Sunshine Grill and their skilled wait staff is able to make suggestions for alcoholic and alcohol-free options, including everything from the local Caybrew beer to mojitos and the house specialty, the Painkiller.
According to Cayman Goodtaste, the Lighthouse has been “an iconic and much-celebrated restaurant on Grand Cayman…delighting discerning diners for over 26 years.” It emphasizes a nautical theme and provides visitors with one of the most enjoyable seating options possible – a dock-style deck that sits far out over the water and gives amazing views of the nearby lighthouse, the area known as The Breakers, and stunning coastal scenery.
The cuisine emphasizes Italian dishes but dolls them up with a Caribbean twist. There is an impressive wine cellar with more than 150 vintages from around the world. Travelers can enjoy lunch, dinner, and brunch on Sunday.
The dinner menu shows off the chef’s desire to highlight local ingredients and the menu includes a tuna tartare, a signature conch chowder, a stunning King Prawns on Ravioli, and their Signature Dish for Two Grilled Seafood Platter with Caribbean lobster tails, fillets of fresh fish, jumbo prawns, and more!
They also offer up chicken, duck, beef, New Zealand lamb, popular brick oven pizzas, and a long list of signature cocktails – especially their mojitos that use the Cayman’s own Seven Fathoms Rum.
Naturally, there are many other dining options from which to choose during a visit to Grand Cayman or the Cayman Islands in general. Some of the other highly recommended options include:
The Beach House at the Westin Grand Cayman – A recipient of the coveted AAA 4 Diamond Award, it offers some of the best views of Seven Mile Beach and is often associated with “boutique” producers of key ingredients. Their five-course tasting menu is a must for those eager to make the most of a visit
The Lobster Pot – As one might expect, this dock-side restaurant specializes in Cayman-style lobster as well as conch fritters, marinated queen conch and lobster mango salad. Any daily catch dishes will feature only the freshest of local seafood. Their desserts are hugely popular, with a house coconut pie the most coveted of them all.
Morgan’s Seafood – This al fresco eatery gazes out towards Governor’s Creek and is an “ocean-to-table” menu that emphasizes all of the daily catches of the nearby fishing area. Their hottest dishes are their ceviche, their key lime pie, and their jerk burgers. A signature cocktail is also a sure hit with most guests.
There are many other eateries to savor during a visit, and whether it is a beach shack or a fine dining establishment, you are sure to enjoy the freshest ingredients prepared in classic or creative ways.