As the Snowpocalpyse of 2015 dumps its fury of heavy flurries on much of the Northeast, here at The Daily Meal we are staying warm by channeling the island vibes of the Caribbean. We’re thinking about the sun, the sand, that crystal blue water, and, of course, all that delicious food and drink that make Caribbean cuisine so eclectic and delightful.
The Caribbean restaurant scene is one that is steadily on the rise, giving us even more of an excuse to book those winter getaways. Hotel restaurants in the Caribbean are fast becoming some of the best in the hemisphere, and a number have been named to The Daily Meal’s list of the 101 Best Hotel Restaurants in the World at in past years. Some our best restaurants in the Caribbean are led by familiar culinary stars, such as Eric Ripert of Blue. Non-resort restaurants — like Havana Blue in St. Thomas and Bolero Brasserie in Bermuda —also continue to introduce travelers to the rich flavors and fresh ingredients found across the islands that gives this region such a unique and surprising cuisine.
The Daily Meal recently put together a list of the 101 Best Restaurants of Latin America & the Caribbean, from which we draw this list of the Caribbean’s best.
To conduct our research we consulted industry experts, local food guides, reviews, and listings, and compiled our own knowledge from experiences at restaurants in the different regions. What we ended up with was a short list of 261 restaurants from 28 different countries and regions, across not just the Caribbean but also Mexico and Latin America. This list was then shared with our panel of judges (comprised primarily of restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, and assorted bloggers from across the globe), who undertook the tough task of selecting their favorites across a broad geographical area. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, panelists were asked to vote only for restaurants where they had eaten within the past 12 months. The voting — based on region, cuisine, and the style of the restaurant (budget, casual/neighborhood, and serious dining/special occasion) — narrowed the list to an honored group of 101, some 28 of them from the Caribbean (including Bermuda).
No one location dominates this list; these 10 restaurants take us from Puerto Rico to Jamaica to St. Croix. The culinary world of the Caribbean is a truly fascinating one, and this list represents only a small slice of the excellent cuisine and restaurants found across the region.
#10 Il Nuovo Perugino Enoteca (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Franco Seccarelli opened Il Nuovo Perugino to showcase the cuisine of his native Umbria in the heart of San Juan. Here, diners can sample such Italian dishes as pasta e fagioli, pappardelle with veal ragù, veal scaloppini, pasta amatriciana, sweet and sour pork, and a much-raved-about chocolate soufflé. The striking interior, using stone, glass, and various metals, with accents of bright color, was designed using advanced computer design technology.
#9 Café Christine (Christiansted, St. Croix)
With a charming indoor dining room and a welcoming porch with a handful of tables that overlooks historic buildings in downtown Christiansted, Café Christine attracts a loyal following of local workers and tourists alike for lunch (served on weekdays only). The chalkboard menu changes daily, but there are plenty of options, like the vegetarian platter and quiche. Definitely save room for the pie, which is a highlight, and comes in flavors like coconut and chocolate pear. Café Christine is typically closed for the summer months, so call ahead.