- Nina Koo-Seen-Lin
Barbados is a Caribbean island with a rich choice of cuisine. Its history incorporates many diverse cultures and the island is known for its array of flavors that tantalize the taste buds. From upscale restaurants to street food markets, here’s our top ten restaurants to enjoy classic Bajan cuisine.
Flying Fish at Champers
Champers is considered one of the most delectable restaurants on the south coast. With a dining terrace showcasing the stunning oceanfront views it is one of the must try restaurants on the island. Renowned for its fresh seafood dishes (that come in generous portions), the standout dish is the Bajan flying fish served with a caper dressing and mixed leaf salad with lime vinaigrette. Lunch attracts a business crowd while dinner has a more laid back ambience. Before or after a meal it is worth heading upstairs to the art gallery to observe the display of quality Caribbean artworks.
Coucou at Brown Sugar
Brown Sugar’s patios are adorned with the flora of Barbados, giving a quaint feel to the restaurant. Yet it is not just the decor that attracts crowds of people to lunch here on a daily basis. With a fantastic all-you-can-eat buffet at great value for money, many flock to Brown Sugar to sample food such as perpperpot stew, macaroni pie and bread pudding. Their much praised local specialty dish of cou-cou (cornmeal and okra) is also a highlight.
Stewed Guavas at Cin Cin
Located directly on the seafront along the west coast of Barbados, Cin Cin is worth a visit. The decor is simple with pristine white interiors, hardwood floors and simple cream and grey furnishings. The decor allows diners to focus on the spectacular panoramas of the Caribbean sea. The dishes served are creative and full of Caribbean flair with a slight twist of Mediterranean cooking. Expect jumbo crab cakes and Italian pasta dishes. For dessert try the highly traditional stewed guava served with drunken strawberries.
Lamb at The Lone Star
The Lone Star restaurant’s name is deceptive, as it is one of the hippest spots in the whole of the Caribbean. This ex-petrol garage retains something of an automotive aesthetic, but thankfully the smell of petrol fumes has been replaced by alluring aromas drifting from the kitchen. The Lone Star’s extensive menu boasts a surprising combination of influences from Asian to Caribbean, Indian to European. The lamb shank (made from lamb on the island) with basil mash is exquisite. Expect to dine alongside people in media and creatives from all over the world.
Fish Sandwiches at Cuz’s Fish Shack
The loyal local following at Cuz’s Fish Shack is a good sign for prospective diners. Divers working nearby flock to Cuz’s after a dive session in search of an energy boost. Although not as fancy as some of the other restaurants in Barbados, the shack is brightly colored and there is no skimping on delicious flavors. Made with freshly prepared fish topped with crispy salad, a fried egg and cheese, assembled on a fluffy white bun, the fish sandwiches here are known to be the best on the island. To complete the experience, diners can select a spot under a palm tree to enjoy their leisurely lunch in the shade.
Fish cakes at the Waterfront Café
The Waterfront Café is a popular lunch spot favored by those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the island’s capital city. Overlooking the deep-sea sports fishing boats moored along the Careenage, its also a good place to pop in for a drink. Salads and sandwiches make for substantial fare but the various Bajan dishes such as fish cakes and jerk chicken are exceptional. During the day diners can sit and admire their pleasant surroundings and in the evening local jazz bands perform for customers.
Pumpkin soup and green peppercorn paté at Mango’s by the Sea
Another bar and restaurant that looks out over the water is Mango’s. The venue’s position on the second story of a clapboard building creates a charming and airy ambience. The creative and tasty menu features the delicious pumpkin soup with green peppercorn paté – a wholesome meal that is often cooked in Bajan households. On select nights the dining experience is further heightened by local entertainment.
Fried fish with macaroni at Oistins Fish Fry
Bajans know how to celebrate Fish Friday: with a trip to Oistins Fish Fry. Everyone from local Bajans to tourists gather together and embrace Friday night fun and festive feeling. A cluster of beachside shacks form crowds of hungry customers to feast on fresh fish (grilled, baked or fried) caught the same day. An evening composed of delicious food, upbeat music from local calypso and reggae bands, dancing in the streets and games such as dominoes make for an experience of pure Caribbean joy.
Curried Vegetable Roti at Couples Barbados Veggie Bar
The Veggie Bar opened up at the Couples Barbados hotel resort opened in 2013. The vegetarian restaurant is located inside the resort in a bright and spacious room decorated in white and dusk pink. Potted plants adorn the walls with pink flamingo lilies on the tabletops. A colorful menu features wraps, pittas and rotis for a substantial and proper Barbados meal prepared by a talented kitchen staff. Highlights include the traditional dish of curried vegetable roti.
Afternoon Tea at the Sunbury plantation
Afternoon tea is huge in Barbados, deriving from the island’s history under British rule. A pot of English tea at the Sunbury Plantation will transport you back in time with its decor that harks back to a bygone era. Sunbury was built over 300 years ago and was once a thriving plantation. Today the house and grounds have been carefully restored and include an excellent collection of antiques and vintage horse drawn carriages for visitors to admire. The tea is served al fresco in the Courtyard Restaurant, and is the perfect setting for friendly groups and family outings.