Bodden Town Road, Bodden Town, Cayman Islands
For a true taste of local life, head to Bodden Town—the Caymanian capital before George Town rose to prominence in the 1800s—and pull over at the roadside fish fry where the likely queue tips you off to the impending tastiness: Grape Tree Café. Granted, on any given day, the crowd may include as many chickens as humans (the former seem to love nothing more than strutting from palm-shaded table to palm-shaded table on Grape Tree’s patch of beach sand). Atmosphere aside, the big lure here is the array of fried fish: snapper, mahi-mahi, swai, and wahoo—served with fritters, cassava, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit.
245 N Church St, George Town KY1-1107, Cayman Islands
A local institution, the Lobster Pot serves up its crustacean namesakes, among other Caribbean delicacies, on a vista-blessed seaside deck. If you can, arrive at sunset for the nightly tarpon feeding (much more engrossing in person than you’d imagine). And even if you don’t get there exactly at the appointed hour, you can still spot these giants as they continue to patrol the dramatically floodlit waters off the restaurant’s deck for leftovers. As you take in the view, you’ll be eating the likes of lobster-and-mango salad, lobster bisque, or lobster sautéed in a tomatoey, peppery blend and served with fried plantains, rice, and beans.
Pedro Castle Road, Savannah, Savannah KY1-1501, Cayman Islands
Giving new life to an old haunt, the Cayman Spirits Company has turned the onetime bar area of the historic Pedro St. James into a rum-centric saloon and café: the Outpost Bar. Go for a tasting, and you’ll try as many as five local rums, one of which—the 1780—is aged and available exclusively on-site. The next most important variety to sample here is the Seven Fathoms, if only so you can say you’ve tasted rum that’s been anchored and aged 42 feet (i.e., seven fathoms) below the Caribbean’s surface. Of course, considering the Outpost’s view—prime, uninterrupted seascape—you could have pretty much any drink in hand and be happy.
When you’re in the Cayman Islands to begin with, the idea of “getting away from it all” for a meal may strike you as redundant. Until you get to Morgan’s—the best kind of escape within an escape. Tucked into the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, this ocean-to-table spot becomes particularly dreamy by night, when the waterfront deck is illuminated by little more than candles, lanterns, and twinkle lights. Staring out at Governor’s Creek, you’ll feast on the likes of mixed-seafood risotto or crepes with shrimp and scallops in a white-wine sauce, and perhaps toast with something from the island’s extensive champagne list.
Seven Mile Beach, KY1-1209, Cayman Islands
With its world-renowned chef and ultrachic decor, Blue—tucked discreetly into the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman—seems the sort of place you’d find in New York or Paris. But the main draw is decidedly local: spectacularly fresh ingredients sourced largely from the sea right outside and served up in such specialties as lightly seared wahoo with bok choy and kimchi broth; or poached halibut with sunchokes, salsify, and truffle jus; or bread-crusted red snapper with squid and sofrito sauce. If you’re feeling ambitious, go for the gusto with a six- or seven-course tasting menu—and tack on the wine pairings.