Food and drink are what make the Bahamians tick, and Bahamas restaurants are famous for good hearty fare with a twist. A plate of red snapper washed down with a cold glass of Switcha (the locals’ take on lemonade, a refreshing soft drink made with limes) is a great way to pass an afternoon. It’ll no doubt be accompanied by the most colourful local music too. Because most eateries you’ll come across combine a treat for your ears as well as your taste buds.
So, which Bahamas restaurants are best to dine, recline and spend some time?
Nassau and Paradise Island
Foodie central across all 700 islands in the Bahamas is Nassau, the capital city.
Here, downtown dining is a relaxed affair, with walk-ins welcome and great flavoursome fusions on the menu. Bahamian meets Greek, Indian and even Italian with local ingredients, heady spices and a fresh catch bringing you tasty meals you’ll crave long after heading home.
The Bearded Clam Sports Bar is a rustic, must-visit food shack in Nassau where the cold beer and conch balls keep visitors’ mouths watering. Coconut shrimp is a speciality, while the great service and easy banter will make leaving almost impossible.
Or head to the strip between Cable Beach and East Bay Street for a taste of Asia, with enough Thai, Chinese and Japanese restaurants to keep you busy all holiday. But Marina Village is where it’s really at, for glorious fresh seafood with the most heavenly accompaniments in an authentic Bahamian atmosphere.
The Exumas are a tourist favourite for their fine, sandy beaches and azure blue waters. Food stops can be found throughout the most popular islands, but for sheer number and variety, head to George Town on Great Exuma. Here you’ll find many bars and restaurants serving good, local cuisine in the traditional way. Freshly caught fish and a beaker of Sky Juice, a Bahamian favourite with gin, coconut water and sweet condensed milk, always hits the spot.
Go all out with fine dining at Sandals Emerald Bay, where Asian, French and Italian favourites are on the menu, plus the high-end table service you’d expect. Or go native and eat barefoot on the sand at one of the island’s many beach cabanas, for authentic, local food served hot and quick, Bahamian style. Or take a water taxi to Stocking Island, just a mile across the water from George Town to visit Chat ‘N’ Chill, a heavenly bar and grill right on the beach for a cooling cocktail, locally-sourced food or even a Sunday pig roast.
Grand Bahama is a great place to sample local delicacies such as conch and coconut, so much so that there are even festivals dedicated to them. Plan your visit to take in the Pelican Bay Coconut Festival in Freeport during April, or the McLean’s Town Conch Cracking Festival in October.
Bahamas restaurants make breakfast a big deal, with favourite dishes including grits, stewed fish and johnnycake, a cross between a dense bread and a sweet cake, served warm with butter. A great way for you to kick-start a busy day’s sightseeing.
And with the Fish Fry being a Bahamian staple, head to Outriggers at Smith’s Point for all the history of how this way of cooking began on Grand Bahama. Or get right in the middle of everything at Port Lucaya Marketplace, where Giovanni’s Restaurant brings Italian foodie heaven to the Caribbean.