The cuisine of Barbados is distinctive for its herbs and spices that lend it a gentle heat. When in Bridgetown, the colorful capital of the island, there are multiple places to sample Bajan flare – Culture Trip curates nine of the best.
Cuz's Fish Shack
Food Stand, Caribbean
This little shack boasts some of the best fish sandwiches you’ll ever get on any beach, anywhere. They are so good that tour drivers will often take visitors to Carlisle Bay just for this little blue shack right beside the Hilton Barbados. Locals will also drive from all over Barbados to grab a bite before it shuts for the day, which is at 5pm, or when they run out of fresh fish. The must-try is their fish sandwich – called a cutter – which is served with a chilled beer. This is a destination that’s hard to beat.
At Harbour Lights, you can tuck into shrimp, chicken, fish or steak with lively entertainment from the beach, which doubles up as a dance floor. The entertainment varies from live bands to fire dancers, limbo acts and Bajan dancers. The staff are very attentive and always eager to please. It’s the place to visit for an all-encompassing Caribbean experience.
Brown Sugar Restaurant is a quieter place to enjoy Caribbean fare. The lunch service is buffet-style, and although it’s not Bajan-style, you’ll get the taste of the Caribbean islands off the main street for a great price. The absolute must-try dishes are the Bajan fish cakes and the macaroni pie, and with it only being walking distance from the Hilton Barbados, it’s a great place to go for a cheap but quality lunch.
More of a traditional restaurant, as opposed to Bridgetown’s ubiquitous beach bars, Zaccios is an expert in great Bajan cuisine. Alongside signature dishes like Bajan-style chicken curry, there’s American-style fare like pizza, burgers and fries for that picky eater in the group. You’ll get a fantastic view of the ocean and beach while you dine, but make sure you get there early, as it fills up quickly – with or without ships in the port.
Although part of the Bougainvillea Resort, Water’s Edge is open to everyone. Located on a private beach, guests can sit down on the boardwalk in peace and enjoy freshly made scones and cakes. Meanwhile, favorite dishes include the coconut and tomato soup and the calamari and mahi-mahi in coconut broth. Plus, it makes a brilliant date-night spot, since you can call ahead and book your own private table on the beach.
The Balcony is a small restaurant overlooking the heart of Bridgetown that is perfect for a cheap but tasty lunch. Another buffet-style serving, here the signature dishes include plantains, macaroni pie and flying fish. If you’re not a fish fan, there’s plenty of barbecue chicken available, too. Pro tip: pick the seats on the balcony for a great view.
If you’re in the mood for some of the best flying fish in Barbados in a lesser-known spot away from the crazy tourist-pack attractions, then Mustor’s Restaurant is the place to go. It’s packed mostly with locals, which is always a good sign. Here, you’re guaranteed to get some of the freshest fish on the island in versions of national dishes.
The Boatyard is a great lunch and hangout spot. You can get your own umbrella and chair on the beach, with a free drink, all while being served by some of the friendliest staff on the island. You pay BBP$40 (US$20) per person at the door, but then you use that money inside however you want – from food to drinks to the lounger rentals; think of it like a deposit. It’s an entire-day kind of place, where you can catch some sun and refuel on great food and drink.
Lobster Alive is a small restaurant on the outskirts of Bridgetown that is known for its live jazz. As the name gives away, there are live lobsters in the tank; there are plenty of lobster-based dishes to enjoy like the spaghetti, while another must-try dish is the conch samosas. You need to book ahead or come before the rush, however, as seating is extremely limited.