Local lobster or grouper?
Maybe you want to try some conch fritters. (They’re delicious!) But if a burger or pasta is what you are in the mood for, you can find that too. The restaurants of Nassau offer virtually every type of cuisine—Chinese, South American, Italian, Steaks, Mediterranean, Sushi, even Indian (at the appropriately named and popular Taj Mahal).
The Fish Fry at Arawak Cay is famous for Bahamian delicacies like conch salad and fried fish as well as the traditional drink of coconut and rum, while the stalls at Potter’s Cay dock serve up scorched conch – all made in front of you.
One night we ate overlooking the sea at the terrific Dune at the One&Only Ocean Club where Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten developed the menu. Think pumpkin soup, roasted grouper, sweet rice in a banana leaf. How about banana cake with salted caramel ice cream for dessert?
The island’s famed Atlantis Paradise Island, of course, boasts 21 different restaurants, including the famous Japanese restaurant Nobu. We loved Bobby Flay’s Southwestern cuisine with a Bahamian twist at Mesa Grill with dishes available only here. (How about Bahamian spiced chicken Crispy Squid and Cracked Conch Salad with Orange-Chipotle Vinaigrette, Bahamian Lobster Tail with Red Chile-Coconut Sauce and Green Chile Rice.)
The Bahamian Club at Atlantis is considered one of the Bahama’s leading restaurants. (You’ll think you’ve time traveled back to British Colonial times.)
At Atlantis We also loved Virgil’s Real BBQ and Carmine’s—both welcome imports from NYC.
Another night we were treated to a gourmet feast at the historic mansion hotel Graycliff that has become Nassau’s first five star restaurant known for one of the most extensive private wine cellars in the Caribbean—from escargots to tenderloin to cappuccino cake. I loved the dining rooms set with candles and overlooking the gardens. There is also a cigar factory here where you can make your own or buy one for after dinner.
While you are in Nassau, sample peas and rice, a Sunday dinner staple, with peas, bacon, celery hot peppers and rice. Remember that beyond Nassau, the outer islands like the Abacos, Exuma and Bimini boast some of the best fishing sites in the world, delivering fresh fish to restaurants and hotels there and on Nassau and Paradise Island. Have you ever tried grouper fingers? (Think fish sticks but a whole lot better!)
One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was a beach barbeque on a deserted island off of Green Turtle Cay where our host free-dived for spiny lobsters and conch, cooked the lobsters over an open fire and prepared a fresh conch salad. Yum!
Frommer’s recommends Sun and… originally built in the 1930s as a private home and now serving international cuisine in Red Mill House in upscale residential neighborhood. Have you ever tried grilled octopus? Go for the Bahamian fisher’s platter—all local fish.
Other foodies suggest Café Matisse, an Italian restaurant in a century-old Nassau house. Eat in dining rooms decorated with Matisse prints or outside at tables with candles. This may be the place to splurge on local lobster.
For down-home Bahamian food at modest prices, you can’t beat Bahamian Kitchen located next to Trinity Church in downtown Nassau. This is the place to try fried red snapper, curried chicken, okra soup and peas and rice. You can get take out here for a picnic.
If you’d rather have lunch with a view of Nassau’s famous harbor, try The Poop Deck, a fixture here since 1972 just across the bridge from Atlantis and Paradise Island. (There is a second location SandyPort on the beach with ocean views just west of the Cable Beach hotels. Here’s the place to eat fish or Bahamian lobster caught the same day you are eating it. Try conch fritters, cracked conch and conch chowder. But you can also get a grilled cheese sandwich, burger or fried chicken here. This is also a great spot for dinner.
Pass the grouper fingers please.
Eileen Ogintz is a leading national travel expert, syndicated columnist of the weekly column Taking the Kids and the creator of TakingTheKids.com whose special sections including the latest 50-plus places to Light Up the Holidays and Fun in the Snow have become a go-to resource for families planning getaways.
She is regularly quoted and featured as a family travel expert in newspapers, magazines and websites across the country. Eileen is the author of nine travel books, including the most recent The Kid’s Guide to New York City, and The Kid’s Guide to Orlando.