Photo by Angie Orth.
Pastry chef and chocolatier Erika Dupree Davis lived in Nassau, Bahamas for eight months while opening a chocolate shop and factory for Graycliff Hotel and Resorts. She was inspired by the local food scene to create the Minority Chef Summit, the first-ever gathering of minorities in the food and beverage industry, which kicks off in Nassau in May 2014.
“What I love most about the Bahamas are the people and the hidden gem spots locals go to around the island,” says Davis. “There is some amazing food being cooked on the island—pair that with the incredible views and you have true paradise.” Here, she shares some of her most delicious and inspired finds.
Dino’s Gourmet Conch Salad
“Dino’s is the originator of the Tropical Conch Salad and an absolute must for those seeking out a true conch experience. Dino and his crew make the conch salad right in front of you, stripping it from its shell and tossing it with fresh pineapple, mango, apple, onion, green pepper, and a very special and unique goat pepper, which is native to the Bahamas—it does not get any fresher than this. Dino and his crew are on island time, so put your order in and enjoy the music, the locals, and the amazing view in the meantime.”
Gambier Village, West Bay Street Nassau City, New Providence, Bahamas, 242-422-6624
“Mahogany House was built on the belief that simple is good, and I couldn’t agree more. From the moment you walk through the door, the staff makes you feel special, and it continues throughout the night. Each meal starts with a complimentary amuse-bouche, a tiny gift from the chef to get your palate ready for the meal that you are about to indulge in. A simple, one-page menu ensures that the kitchen is focused on delicious and fresh food. No matter what you order at Mahogany House, you won’t be disappointed. The quail with grilled radicchio, pancetta, and barley was my favorite appetizer. Main course–wise, the lamb rack and shank, and Loch Duart salmon were quite memorable. Again, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, and when it comes to the cocktails, the mixologists at Mahogany House sure know how to highlight local island spirits. If wine is more your speed, Mahogany House offers one of the biggest and most diverse wine lists on the island. Additionally, they have the coolest wine cellar, which is available for private parties. If you are celebrating something special in Nassau, this is the best spot to do it.”
West Bay Street South, Nassau, New Providence. 242-362-6669, mahogany-house.com
“Gone Fishing is a jerk grill located right on the beach in Arawak Cay. Gone Fishing is my spot to hang and eat the best jerk pork ever while relaxing on the beach and sipping a vodka-spiked lemonade. You can’t beat the atmosphere or the food when you want a laid-back afternoon on the beach. The grill guys love country music, which I know sounds funny in the Bahamas, but it’s a lot of fun. And be sure to ask for extra sauce—it’s spicy and some of the best I’ve ever had.”
West Bay Street on the beach of Arawak Cay (Just look for the sign)
Olive Meze Grill
“Olives is my favorite restaurant to people-watch, eat, and sip peach bellinis. This is where you see the who’s who of Nassau—every minister from the Tourism Department in the country has dinner or a social drink with others at Olives. When it comes to the food, Olives has the best steaks on the island, served with potato croquettes and a small Greek salad. To top the night off, ask for the chocolate truffles and a glass of red wine.”
West Bay Street, The Shops at Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas, 242-327-6393, olivesgrill.com