Cayman Islands Dining

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Cayman Islands Dining
Pride of place in Caymanian cuisine goes, naturally, to seafood, with lobster, conch, and fish straight off the boat. Turtle soup is considered a delicacy. There are numerous high-end and romantic restaurants, many of which have stunning ocean views.
By Jordyn Kraemer, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by age fotostock
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    Local Specialties
    The Cayman Islands' food specialties include turtle, lobster, conch, and jerk dishes. Try Capt. Herman's East Side Fish Fry, on Grand Cayman, where you order at the counter. For the freshest experience, get the catch of the day, and don't forget a side of fried plantain. Get your spice on at Seymour's Jerk Centre, just outside of George Town, where the jerk chicken and pork come highly recommended. If you're up for eating turtle, make sure it's properly sourced; sea turtles are on the endangered species list so there are limited legitimate suppliers.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Farm-to-Table Dining
    The farm-to-table movement is very much alive in the Cayman Islands. Visitors can tour the garden at George Town's gourmet restaurant, the Brasserie, to see the tomatoes—and cauliflower, and callaloo, and cucumbers—that they'll be eating momentarily. The restaurant has two fishing boats, so the daily catch never sees the inside of a freezer, and it keeps the menu as fresh as the fillets. Every Thursday night, Cayman Cabana Oceanside Restobar, also in George Town, hosts a Farm to Table Dinner Experience that consists of 7-8 courses of local produce, meat, and seafood.
    Photo by Jordyn Kraemer
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    Family-Friendly Restaurants
    Kids love the outdoor tables and the swimming pool at the George Town Yacht Club, which is at The Barcadere Marina on Grand Cayman. Also in George Town, Margaritaville has a kids' play pool and a water slide inside the restaurant, and if pizza's on the menu, try Gino's for eat-in or delivery. Over in West Bay, Ristorante Pappagallo serves Italian food in a thatched hut. Just off Seven Mile Beach, Duke's Seafood and Rib Shack has a fun, surfing-inspired atmosphere and lots of messy ribs. And if you make it off the big island, PoPo Jeb's on Cayman Brac serves Chinese food, pizza, and ice cream.
    Photo courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
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    Wine's the Word
    Add an extra touch of class to your meal by choosing a restaurant with an extensive wine list. LUCA is a seafront Italian restaurant located within the Caribbean Club on West Bay Road, Grand Cayman. With 3,000 different bottles of wine from around the world, you're sure to find the perfect pairing. The Grand Old House in George Town is one of the most historic buildings on Grand Cayman, and is the setting for the island's only wine club, which continually hosts special events. Their private Wine Room comfortably seats up to 10, and has been repeatedly lauded by Wine Spectator magazine.
    Photo courtesy of LUCA
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    Superlative Seafood
    One way to judge a seafood restaurant is to see how often its menu changes: The catch of the day should be just that. The menu of Calypso Grill, in the West Bay on Grand Cayman, lists "Fresh Fish From the Dock"—the available fish always changes and is as fresh as it gets. At the famous Cracked Conch, also in the West Bay, try the namesake chowder, the ceviche, or the fritters. Lobster Pot, in George Town, serves the best Cayman lobster. If you're only peckish, try the bisque; but if you're famished, go for the Cayman Trio—a broiled lobster tail, grilled mahimahi, and garlic shrimp.
    Photo courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
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    Romantic Dining
    With romance written right into its name, Casanova by the Sea, in Grand Cayman's George Town, has oceanfront tables, an extensive wine list, and traditional Italian fare. Out in Breakers, also on Grand Cayman, The Lighthouse has outdoor tables lining a long dock that overlooks the Caribbean waters. Their Lighthouse Signature Dish for Two is made for lovers, and the extensive wine list has a pairing for your every pleasure. With an interesting and varied menu, Osetra Bay draws the curious diner. Book a table overlooking the waterfront and sample from their selection of caviar.
    Photo courtesy of Osetra Bay
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    Rum Cocktails
    Pull up a beach chair at Macabuca Oceanside Tiki Bar & Grill, which is attached to the Cracked Conch restaurant, and order their signature punch, a generous blend of five rums, ginger ale, and passion fruit. For a great blended drink with history, head across the bay to Rum Point and try The Wreck Bar and Grill's Mudslide. This adult milkshake—made of ice cream, vodka, Kahlúa, and Baileys—was allegedly invented at the bar by a bartender named Old Judd. Finally, head to the Rare Rum Bar at Kaibo in the Cayman Kai marina. With more than 40 Caribbean rums at the ready, you might be overwhelmed; start with the Rare Rum Mojito, made with Ron Zacapa, a rum that's aged 15 years.
    Photo courtesy of Macabuca Oceanside Tiki Bar & Grill
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    Smoothie Power-Ups
    If all the sun and excitement start to sap your energy, refuel with an all-natural, seasonal, and locally sourced juice or smoothie at Jessie’s Juice Bar, located in Camana Bay. For something a little more sinful, Gelato & Co. Cremeria Italiana is just down the street from Jessie's and showcases local produce in its creamy concoctions. George Town visitors can enjoy a real English afternoon tea at Every Bloomin' Thing. Seating is in a beautifully overgrown garden located in a nursery and garden center, and after tea you can explore the selection of unique gifts.
    Photo by Elisabeth Cölfen/age fotostock