There are so many reasons to add the Cayman Islands to your tropical bucket list, and I’m not just saying that because of the insanely blue water, beautiful sandy beaches, Sting Ray City, and no-filter-but-it-definitely-looks-like-I-used-a-filter sunsets. OK, all of those things are for sure why you should go, but I want to talk about the food.
THE FOOD, you guys. The addictive rice and beans, the moist and boozy rum cake, the flaky and fresh fish, and so much more will have your mouth watering long after you leave the islands. And something you might not expect? One of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever eaten at (and I’ve been to Italy!) is right on the water in Grand Cayman.
I’ve been going to Grand Cayman with my family for years. It’s one of our favorite places in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. While many destinations have built up their main cities with things like Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, the Caymans are still so beautifully untouched. Yes, there is a Burger King in Georgetown, but unlike other tropical spots, you’ll still feel like you’re in a whole new world . . . and that includes the food.
If you’re like me and want to have a healthy mix of low-key meals and treating yourself on vacation, this list is for you. From a place where sand and sunburn are basically part of the dress code to fancy dining with killer views, here are six restaurants on Grand Cayman that are little slices of paradise.
1. Coconut Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill
If you want that “island life” feel with a laidback atmosphere and seriously delicious food, this place is a must. Located right across the street from the Marriott Beach Resort on West Bay Road just five minutes from downtown Georgetown, Coconut Joe’s is the perfect place to go after a few hours at the beach. For breakfast, try their coconut french toast with an actual fresh coconut for drinking, and for lunch, wash down their coconut shrimp and fajitas with a cold beer.
2. The Wreck Bar & Grill at Rum Point
At Rum Point, you can literally walk straight out of the water or off a jet ski to a table (or hammock) to have lunch. If you ever pictured what Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” would look like if it were a real place, this would be it. Even if you choose to sit at a table, your feet are in the sand, the menus are weighted down to the table with a coconut, the waiters and waitresses are in bathing suits, and people are snorkeling just a few feet away. Food wise, their jerk chicken wrap and fish and chips are the way to go. When it comes to drinks, their tropical cocktails are amazing (it’s Rum Point after all), especially the Blue Iguana.
3. Calypso Grill
Calypso Grill in the West Bay is the definition of a warm island welcome. When you walk in the restaurant’s blue french doors, you’ll feel like you’re in somebody’s living room (with the most enviable decor), which is exactly how chef George Fowler wants you to feel. Between the bright colors of orange, red, and blue, the restaurant features quirky lamps and artwork, a drink and dessert board they bring to every table, and a back deck and pier that overlooks the water. This is a spot where you’ll want to make reservations, but the watermelon margarita and sticky toffee pudding will honestly make all of your dreams come true. And it’s not uncommon to see chef George wandering the restaurant or sitting at the bar, making sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Trust me, it’s hard not to at this heavenly place.
Every time my family and I go to the Caymans, Paradise is a very high priority on our list of things we want to do right away. Located in downtown Georgetown right next to Eden Rock Diving Center (you’ll probably see scuba divers in the water), Paradise has some of the best views on the island. Most of the seating is outside, so you can watch the colorful sunset while enjoying the best rice and beans on the island.
This is the Italian restaurant I mentioned above. It’s amazing. And if you’re thinking you wouldn’t want to eat Italian when you have so many traditional spots to choose from, this place will instantly change your mind. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be hooked. Not only are there photos covering the walls of all the famous people who have been there, but the owners — who are from Italy and I’m pretty sure are brothers — loudly bicker in front of their diners (and not in a bad way, it’s actually really hilarious and really heartwarming). You’ll want to make reservations, and with seating both inside and outside, you’ll get the best of both worlds — an Italian piazza and the Caribbean sea. All of the pasta dishes are life-changing, so take your pick.
6. The Lobster Pot
If you really want to treat yourself one day — and I mean white table clothes and limited seating kind of treat —you need to go to The Lobster Pot. The name speaks for itself, because it’s the best lobster I’ve ever had. The veggies are buttery, the potatoes are smooth, and the fish is as fresh as you can get. The setting is a little fancy and you definitely want to make reservations, but you should not — I repeat, do NOT — leave the island without eating here.