Brit Gary Rhodes was one of the first to break into the Caribbean celeb chef scene with his eponymous restaurant at the Calabash Hotel in Grenada. The on-site garden provides much of the produce for rich dishes like buttered dorado in ginger butter with passion fruit and pineapple vinaigrette or coffee-rubbed pork with watermelon chutney. Comfort food gets an island touch in picks like blackened barracuda on mac n' cheese with plantain chips.
One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first island venture has a patrician British vibe with pillared patios overlooking the white sand outside. If you can tear yourself away from the view, we'd suggest sitting inside at the display kitchen to watch the staff turning out Vongerichten's signature French-Asian cuisine with some local touches thrown in. That might mean Bahamian lobster with Thai herbs and fried plantains or snapper crusted with local seeds and nuts in a sweet and sour jus.
W Vieques, Puerto Rico
Heavy Puerto Rican classics like bacalaitos fritters and mofongo benefit from Alain Ducasse's light touch at miX on the Beach at the W Vieques. Local ingredients like yucca, guanabana, and tamarind meet techniques and flavors from the chef's other favorite sun-drenched locale, the Mediterranean. The result? Refreshing salads like sweet and spicy crab with tabouleh, hearts of palm and mango, and desserts like pineapple tarts with coco-lime sorbet.
AtlantisParadise Island, Bahamas
The sprawling Atlantis resort in the Bahamas feels like the Vegas of the Caribbean with mega-restaurants and over-the-top pools aplenty. One such restaurant is the world's most famous sushi bar, Nobu. A massive neon green arch pulls guests into a dining room of backlit cherry blossom walls. The larger-than-life décor is matched by the massive menu, a combination of classic sushi and hot Japanese dishes, like the Nobu classics, black cod with miso and the rock shrimp tempura, as well as innovative twists such as pasta ribbons made of squid.
St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico
For his second Caribbean venture, Jean-Georges Vongerichten culled a greatest hits list of items from his other restaurants and combined it with new Afro-Caribbean inspired dishes using fresh local fish and produce from the hotel's hydroponic garden. French standards benefit from bright island flavors in dishes like foie gras brulee with pineapple lemon jam and quality ingredients take center stage in the "simply cooked" section of grilled fish and meats, served with punchy sides like roasted king oyster mushrooms with jalapeno and garlic.
AtlantisParadise Island, Bahamas
In addition to Nobu, the Atlantis resort called upon celeb chef Bobby Flay for an island outpost of his famous Mesa Grill. Flay created a menu of only-in-the-Bahamas dishes like lobster tail in red chile-coconut sauce and squid and conch salad with orange-chipotle vinaigrette. And if his name isn’t big enough, you can add on star-chitect David Rockwell who designed the interiors.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
It seems only right that the world's most celebrated seafood chef have an outpost in the Caribbean. Get the best taste of Chef Eric Ripert's impeccable French technique via tasting menus with items like crusted mahi mahi with grilled mango and roasted chili emulsion or jumbo prawns with spiced pumpkin puree and citrus sauce. And this is a meal you can feel good about: All seafood is locally caught or sustainably fished.
Ritz-Carlton San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sometimes when you're on vacation, you don't want fussy waves of emulsions and foams. Sometimes you just want simple food done well. That's where Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak comes in. Located in the Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, this restaurant is all about understated elegance, about quality ingredients beautifully executed. Start with some selections from the raw bar, throw in a porterhouse for two with baked potatoes and creamed spinach, and top it off with peanut butter chocolate mousse. Easy, breezy, but not bikini-friendly.