From resort eateries to restaurants, these are 10 of the hottest spots to eat in the Caribbean.
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.
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.
On an island full of pedestrian tourist offerings, Havana Blue is a standout for its Spanish cuisine with pan-Asian influences. Perched on a cliff overlooking Morningstar Bay, the airy, gazebo-style restaurant is awash in icy blue lighting accented with Caribbean touches like whitewashed wood, swirling ceiling fans, billowy white curtains, and candles galore. There’s much to offer, from added twists on classic Caribbean cocktails like the Mango Pain Killa (Parrot Bay Mango Rum, a blend of coconut, orange, and pineapple juices, and grated nutmeg) to the Pink Guava Punch (Bacardi Silver Rum, pink guava, muddled cilantro, house juice blend, and a float of Gosling’s rum over ice). Appetizers, mains, and desserts are expertly prepared and thoughtfully presented using the latest contemporary techniques. Try the mahi malo mahi (pan-seared yucca-encrusted mahi mahi with citrus jicama slaw, Malaysian red curry risotto, and coconut-Key lime sensación) and mojito skirt steak (mojito-glazed tender skirt steak with cilantro-chorizo mash and crispy tobacco onions served with mojito and cocojito dipping sauces). Save room for the Diablo Chocó Fondanté (rich dark chocolate cake with molten dulce de leche center, fresh berries, and coconut/almond/dark chocolate chip ice cream) and the strawberry tres leches shortcake (angel food cake with dulce de leche, fresh strawberries, and yuzu crema).
Since 1991, Tutto Bene has been, as the name suggests, “everything good.” Chef Negust Kaza prepares traditional southern Italian dishes for dinner only Wednesday through Sunday. Try to book the chef’s table, available twice a week by reservation only. The à la carte menu includes sweet potato goat cheese ravioli with mango rum and sage brown butter, fresh fish of the day, and grilled flatbread pizzas.
The motto of Michael's Genuine, both the Miami original and this bright, bustling Cayman Islands offshoot, is "Fresh. Simple. Pure." and Michael Schwartz's cooking lives up to the promise of that appealing trinity. Though the menus at the two locations do off similar dishes, Schwartz seamlessly blends local seafood, fruit, and other products onto the Grand Cayman menu. Schwartz's flavors are vivid, with Asian, Latin American, and Mediterranean accents: chili chicken wings creamy cucumbers; chargrilled octopus salad of gigante beans, roasted red peppers, green olives, tomato harissa, and torn herbs; slow-roasted and grilled short rib with roasted shallot, romesco sauce, and hazelnuts; and wood oven-roasted local mahi mahi with hearts of palm salad, ackee, and seasonal pepper vinaigrette.
This vegetarian restaurant, one of Negril’s most iconic spots since 1998, is a family-owned eatery, set in a lush, tropical garden, run by two sisters and their brother. Diners will find a variety of vegetarian, seafood, and Ital, or Rastafarian dishes — yes, Rastafarians have their own cuisine — at budget-friendly prices. Menu favorites are vegetarian burger, conch salad, and vegetarian lasagna, and Jamaican breakfast, which typically consists of ackee (with or without salt fish), sautéed callaloo (leafy greens), and fried dumplings (like biscuits) with homemade preserves and fresh seasonal fruit.
Chef Johnny Roberts opened Bolero Brasserie in 2007 with the hopes of becoming a neighborhood eatery that would evoke a warmth and charm to create an atmosphere and experience inviting all guests — from business suit-clad clientele to the more casually dressed — to dine at his brasserie. Since then, it has become one of the top spots in Hamilton, earning itself an esteemed reputation among locals and visitors alike. The menu at the brasserie changes four to five times per year, but the vision behind it remains consistent: brasserie fare with twist from Roberts’ own culinary training. On the menu, guests will find starters like snail and garlic beignets with roast garlic hummus, and mains including lamb chops with Moroccan beans and tomato and chile jam or ribeye with escargot forestière. And while most local restaurants seem to play it safe with fish chowder and grilled fish, here you'll find dishes involving duck confit, pig's feet, pork cheeks, and lamb's liver.
Renowned chef José Andrés' Mi Casa is located in Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort. The restaurant offers everything from breakfast to dinner to in-room dining, all in the signature playful style of chef Andrés. The array of tapas ranges from the traditional (jamón ibérico from the esteemed Fermin, croquettes of chicken or ham) to the innovative (coconut water and rum spheres with mint and lime in the style of Ferran Adrià, conch fritters with a liquid center). Dishes labeled "José's Way" include such modernist riffs at yucca gnocchi with hearts of palm and Puerto Rican pesto; there is seafood aplenty (for instance, sautéed baby squid with Puerto Rican red beans); and the "Simply Prepared Plates… José's Way" — pan-seared shrimp, herb-marinated chicken breast, etc. — are just right.
The sprawling Atlantis resort in the Bahamas feels like the Vegas of the Caribbean, with restaurants helmed by some of the biggest names in the culinary world and over-the-top pools every which way you look. 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, which contains a combination of traditional 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.
Ranked at #7 on our list of the world's 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World, Eric Ripert’s Caribbean outpost at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is also the only AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant in the Caribbean. Focusing on locally caught and responsibly fished seafood, executive chef Frederic Morineau — named a Maître Cuisinier de France, or Master Chef of France, by the French government — prepares an impressive set of five different tasting menus, including the Eric Ripert Classics Tasting Menu, inspired by the menu at Ripert's renowned Le Bernardin in New York City. Dishes include sautéed Dover sole with almonds, pistachios, and brown butter, and poached halibut with celery and corn chowder. Awarded the Wine Spectator "Best of Award of Excellence" since 2008, Blue also features a wine cellar with more than 800 selections.