- The Bahamas
- A. J. Samuels
Dining in The Bahamas is as much about the atmosphere as it is about the food itself. The capital city, Nassau, offers several restaurants located on the some of the island’s many beautiful beach resorts, where international dishes, stylish designs, and striking locations are the order of the day. In this guide to Nassau’s restaurants, we reveal the city’s top ten unforgettable places to eat.
Luciano’s of Chicago
The Italian restaurant Luciano’s of Chicago welcomes its guests into a beautiful waterfront mansion that used to be the private residence of The Bahamas’ Prime Minister, Roland Theodore Symonette. Situated by the turquoise sea, the location offers stunning panoramas of Paradise Island, which can be enjoyed from the restaurant’s outdoor terrace. Inside, Luciano’s menu, rich in both options and flavors, offers a broad selection of Italian culinary highlights, including simple but unforgettable classics such as arancini di riso, ciambotta, parmigiana and a tempting variety of pastas.
Luciano’s of Chicago, E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 323 7770
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Café Martinique is the re-creation of an original Café, with the same name used as the set for a scene in the 1965 Bond film Thunderball. As perhaps expected of any restaurant that James Bond would set foot in, Café Martinique exudes style and elegance in every detail. A fascinating blend of Caribbean and European decor, the airy and sophisticated dining room amazes with its high-pitched ceiling, mahogany furnishings, refined upholstery and etched-glass windows. The owner is the acclaimed chef and successful restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who spoils Café Martinique’s guests with an impeccable array of classic French delicacies.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten also owns another beautiful restaurant on Paradise Island called Dune. Very different from Café Martinique, but equally iconic and memorable, Dune offers a fusion of French and Asian cooking, with touches of the local Bahamian flavor mixed in as well. The restaurant is housed in a picturesque venue, designed by celebrated interior designer Christian Liaigre in British colonial fashion. In striking contrast to the white used for the external walls, on the inside, dark hues pack a stylish, contemporary punch. Dune is perched atop a breathtaking, white sand beach, and its outdoor patio overlooks the ocean.
Olives Meze Grill
The Olives Mediterranean Café in downtown Nassau is a popular bar which serves Greek gyros (a sort of pork kebab), panini, flatbread pizza, grilled seafood and other snacks. The owners have also opened Olives Meze Grill, a fully-fledged restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine with a special emphasis on Greek delicacies. With no hint of the colonial or tropical ambiance that characterizes most restaurants across The Bahamas, Olives flaunts an unusual dining room of stone walls and very dim lighting, which make for a rustic setting and an intimate atmosphere hard to find anywhere else across the island.
Olives Meze Grill, W Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 327 6393
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After dining at Nobu‘s, two things will stay in the customer’s mind, one is the distinctive, glowing green entrance, which is impossible to overlook; the other is the outstanding Japanese fare, which is gently combined with the flavors of Peru. With an amazingly varied menu of sashimi, salads, tempura, soups, noodles, sushi, rolls and other Japanese specialties, Nobu lives up to the challenge of pleasing the palate of even the most discriminating guest. One in an international chain of restaurants, with outlets in Beijing, London, New York, Las Vegas, Manila and many other cities, Nassau’s Nobu boasts an intimate atmosphere. It is an ideal place to while away some time in the company of good friends and good food.
Nobu, Royal Towers, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 363 3000
Part of the prestigious Graycliff Hotel, the Graycliff Restaurant is situated inside a splendid colonial mansion built in 1740 at the heart of Nassau and surrounded by a wealth of verdant, tropical plants. The first certified five-star restaurant in the area, Graycliff offers exquisite continental cuisine, whilst drawing from the local culinary tradition. In addition to the main restaurant, which boasts four elegant dining rooms and an outdoor dining space, Graycliff Hotel also comprises the Humidor Churrascaria, where guests can enjoy a more casual dining experience inspired by Brazil’s rodizio restaurants. Here, the customer pays a fixed price and is then free to serve themselves as they please from the food (mostly roasted meats), which the waiting staff offer.
Graycliff Restaurant, 8-12 West Hill Street, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 302 9150
Conveniently located just off Bay Street, Nassau’s most popular shopping street, Café Matisse draws its name from the numerous prints of masterpieces by the celebrated painter hung on the venue’s walls. Despite the French art, however, the Café serves up Italian-inspired food, and is particularly proud to serve fish freshly caught from the Caribbean sea. Customers can start with the scrumptious octopus salad, continue with the paccheri (a type of pasta) with lobster and chickpea sauce, and finish with the mixed seafood platter or the grilled salmon with spinach and ginger. Dining at Matisse is best enjoyed al fresco, in the restaurant’s leafy courtyard or on the delightful veranda.
Café Matisse, Bank Ln, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 356 7012
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Courtyard Terrace is an elegant restaurant found within the Ocean Club resort on Paradise Island. The al fresco dining area is shaded by white parasols and four tall, leafy palms, set along side a large, green lawn, and surrounded many other lush plants and tropical flowers. Tables are arranged around a cross-shaped pool with a gushing fountain at its center. At night, the romantic light of many candles set along the poolside reflects upon its calm surface. Offering a memorable experience, Courtyard Terrace is a safe place to enjoy an intimate meal and taste exquisite Mediterranean cuisine prepared by the restaurant’s kitchen.
One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island Dr, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 363 2501
As is the case with Luciano’s of Chicago, the premises of Montagu Gardens once belonged to an illustrious figure from Bahamian history, finance minister Stafford Sands. The old villa and the adjoining grounds, which are now the site of the Montagu Gardens restaurant, are situated by the picturesque Waterloo Lake. The simple decorations of the dining room make for an elegant and unpretentious atmosphere. Here, customers can taste well-prepared continental dishes. The menu’s extensive selection of fish courses, including the blackened Bahamian grouper and the cracked coconut conch, are particularly noteworthy.
Montagu Gardens, E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 394 6347
Virgil’s offers a menu of delicious and authentic barbecued meats and comfort snacks. The restaurant on Paradise Island followed the opening of the Virgil’s on New York’s Times Square, and, like the one in the Big Apple, Nassau’s Virgil’s brings with it the authentic, succulent, barbecued cuisine of southern United States. The large restaurant features an imaginative design, seemingly inspired by wooden barrels: The structures behind the booth tables resemble barrel staves, whilst the metal hoops on the ceiling create original, quirky chandeliers. With a friendly and pleasant atmosphere, Virgil’s is especially recommended for families looking for an enjoyable meal.
Virgil’s, 1 Casino Drive, Paradise Island, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 363 3000