Bahamian food is full of surprises. Though traditional fare is seafood-heavy (the Bahamas are surrounded by water, after all), did you know that macaroni and cheese, with its own Bahamian flare, is a common side dish when you visit restaurants, or for a home-cooked Sunday dinner? To discover more delicious surprises, here’s a quick rundown of where to get authentic Bahamian food for every meal.
Breakfast at Sip Sip
A typical Bahamian breakfast is grits and grouper, which you may find similar to Southern style shrimp ‘n’ grits, except this version is a bit more like a soup. It’s a breakfast best eaten overlooking the pink sand beaches at Sip Sip (Court Street, Dunmore Town, Harbour Island, 242-333-3316), where, surrounded by bright, colorfully painted walls, the cheery staff will make certain you start your day off on the right foot.
Typically called “boil fish” on menus, the grits are buttered and creamy and served on the side, and the fish comes in a rich, steamy broth, bright with citrus and a wake-up kick of hot goat pepper. The dominant flavors are celery, onion, lime, and, of course, flaky fresh fish!
Bahamian Cookin’ for Lunch
You haven’t eaten true Bahamian food until you’ve tried conch, and Bahamian Cookin’ (Trinity Place, Nassau, New Providence Island, 242-328-0334) serves the dish in its tastiest form: the conch fritter. Settle in next to a starfish-dotted fishnet at this cozy, family-run restaurant, and you’ll find that these scrumptious little shellfish donuts, accompanied by a smoky mayo-based dipping sauce, are the perfect food for midday, when you’ll likely be doing some walking afterwards. Or you may consider exploring other conch dishes, like a conch chowder or, perhaps, au naturale in a fresh, juicy conch salad.
Dinner at Sapodilla
For dinner, sample upscale Bahamian cuisine at Sapodilla (West Bay Street, Nassau, 242-327-0611) with the spiced island chicken breast. The menu combines the best of Bahamian flavors with European cooking techniques, so the goat pepper pineapple glaze on your chicken will be a local as it gets, but the grilled chicken will be cooked to a Mediterranean tenderness. Plus, your dinner is set at a fabulous, lush estate where tropical breezes waft in through giant windows overlooking a coconut grove, to remind you how great Bahamian life truly can be.
…And Graycliff for Dessert
End your night opulently with a Bahamian-style dessert and coffee (or the traditional cognac and a cigar) at Graycliff (West Hill Street, Nassau, New Providence, 242-302-9150), one of the finest dining establishments in the Bahamas. Even if you’re not staying in the hotel, you can enjoy their ridiculously cushy lounges and hushed tropical gardens.
Bahamian food includes coconut in almost every dessert, so Graycliff’s coconut soufflé—light, nutty, with a whiff of rum and served in a coconut shell—is a unique and authentic twist on the slightly heavier traditional desserts.
Or Take a Tru Bahamian Food Tour
If you’d like a more in-depth local experience, consider taking the Tru Bahamian food tour to get a taste of everything the islands have to offer. This dive deep into the local-est of local eating spots veers completely off the beaten path to give you a sense of what those who live on the island year ’round like to eat. Each three-hour excursion is guided by a charismatic local foodie and includes special deals and opportunities to shop for local delicacies, as well as some local-history morsels as appetizing as the incredible food. To order tickets by phone, call 1-800-656-0713 (from the US/Canada) or 242-601-1725 (from within the Bahamas).