7 Top Caribbean Islands for Foodies
The Caribbean offers plenty of food-centric enclaves paired with quintessential beach bars, turquoise waters, picturesque sands and striking backdrops. Plus, the Caribbean’s versatile culinary scenes are well-known for their diverse offerings, fresh ingredients, interesting flavor combinations and unique local cooking techniques. Even better, in-demand Caribbean hot spots offer a wide array of lodging options, from budget-friendly all-inclusive retreats to luxurious resorts.
Still, if you’re angling for a tropical getaway in a foodie paradise, some islands offer more options than others. Here are some of the best Caribbean destinations for discerning eaters.
Anguilla is commonly referred to as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, and for good reason. The island’s 100-plus restaurants feature emerging and established chefs. Plus, traditional island cuisine is influenced by native Caribbean, Spanish, French, English and African cultures, with a focus on fresh local seafood. Top restaurants for foodies include Bob and Melinda Blanchard’s Blanchards Restaurant, which features award-winning wine varieties, the Barrel Stay Restaurant’s French and creole cuisine and Cobà, a Four Reasons Resort and Residences Anguilla eatery that serves up prime meats and mouthwatering seafood entrees.
St. Barts is known for its upscale surroundings and high-end restaurants. The Caribbean paradise is even hosting the 5th annual Saint Barth Gourmet Festival from Nov. 2-5, which will feature the island’s famous French cuisine, along with famous chefs from around the world. Visitors commonly flock to the popular Tamarin St Barth for French and international gastronomy, along with the On the Rocks waterfront restaurant at Eden Rock – St Barths, which features French cuisine along with European-inspired gourmet specialties.
From Nov. 16-19, visitors can attend the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, a foodie festival dedicated to the island’s finest cuisine and their love for rum. An eclectic mix of American, European and Asian influences are all featured in the unique style of Bajan cooking at this event. Travelers to Barbados should also visit the weekly fish fry at Oistins, which features dozens of booths with unique takes on fresh fish and Bajan side dishes (think: macaroni pie). Popular restaurants for foodies in Barbados include The Cliff Restaurant, with its gourmet take on local seafood and ideal perch for catching striking sunsets and local favorite, My Friends Place, which is famous for its laid-back setting and Caribbean seafood delights.
Turks & Caicos
Like the rest of the Caribbean, seafood is king in Turks & Caicos. However, the group of islands is renowned for one dish in particular: conch. Travelers to Turks & Caicos will find conch in every type of dish imaginable, from conch fritters to conch salad to fried conch to conch chowder and more. Bungaloos Conch Crawl is a waterfront restaurant in Providenciales that lets you try each of these dishes and more in a gorgeous tropical setting. Stelle Restaurant at Gansevoort Turks + Caicos, A Wymara Resort, is another popular foodie haunt where executive chef Joel Vallar serves dishes infused with a unique mix of Caribbean- and Asian-inspired influences.
Just a short boat ride away from St. Kitts, Nevis is a secluded and upscale island ideal for foodies and nature lovers. This island is famous for its culinary outposts, which do not include brand names or chain restaurants of any kind. Travelers flock to Nevis for its dramatic landscapes, its unbelievable beaches and its superlative food scene. Visitors can take a quick car ride up the mountain to Bananas – an intimate bistro that serves quality seafood, vegetarian and meat dishes with a tropical flair. Another must-visit is the local Gin Trap, which serves delicious entrees that feature local seafood and live music that’s perfect for pleasing everyone in your group.
Even the local hotels offer excellent fine dining options in Nevis. Visitors to the island flock to the Hermitage Plantation Inn on Wednesday nights for a weekly pig roast that features interesting salads and side dishes made from local produce and spices. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club’s Thursday night seafood barbecue is also popular with foodies who want to fill up on delicious seafood, along with salads, sides and desserts. Patterson’s Pub Crawl, which leaves from Nisbet Beach Plantation, offers island visitors the chance to visit a selection of local bars with a group instead of venturing out on their own.
The Cayman Islands offer more than 200 unique restaurants and eclectic local eateries, many of which are led by celebrated chefs from around the world. The cluster of three islands is known for its fresh seafood and international culinary influences. No matter whether you stay on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, you are bound to have a memorable meal at a locally owned eatery. Popular foodie restaurants include Le Vele, a new Italian waterfront restaurant offering fresh seafood, homemade pastas and a taste of Italy with island flair. Pani Indian Kitchen offers a Caribbean take on traditional Indian cuisine much to the delight of local diners. Meanwhile, adventurous eaters can sign up for the Camana Bay Flavour Tour, a guided walking tour of three signature restaurants in Camana Bay that feature small plates matched with expert-picked cocktail pairings.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Croix offers everything from traditional recipes dating back to the 18th century to innovative farm-to-table and sea-to-plate dining concepts. The town of Christiansted is especially buzzing with up-and-coming eateries that feature local fresh seafood prepared by famous chefs. Popular Rowdy Joe’s Northshore Eatery serves the best fish tacos on the island, along with an array of interesting international and American dishes, while Zion Modern Kitchen wows guests with Caribbean food, seafood and vegetarian options.
St. Croix even hosts its own annual culinary event, Taste of St. Croix, which features local restaurants. The St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, which is one of the Caribbean’s best known festivals for foodies, also takes place each year.