December 12, 2019

The Cayman Islands: Culinary Capital of the Caribbean

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Foodies flock to the Cayman Islands for its sophisticated farm-to-table and sea-to-table offerings. The above dish is an example of how The Brasserie incorporates a local catch along with ingredients from its edible garden into its dishes.

This sophisticated sun destination distinguishes itself with the range – and the quality – of options for the discerning foodie.

Pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and the perfect mix of exceptional dining options distinguishes the Cayman Islands from other sun destinations. Imagine a place that’s warm, inviting, friendly – and delicious. The Cayman Islands is the culinary capital of the . Situated in the western Sea, 160 km south of Cuba, Cayman’s award-winning restaurants include 10 Wine Spectator-rated restaurants within its 264-square-km radius. With internationally celebrated chefs, acclaimed mixologists and sommeliers, Cayman is the choice of food-lovers the world over for their epicurean vacations.

Canadians have been travelling here for years in pursuit of relaxation and adventure and with its three island options – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, each with its own distinct flavour and spirit – the sophisticated warm weather locale has established itself as a foodie favourite.

Camana Bay, known for its upscale shops and modern design, offers a variety of fantastic restaurants, a weekly local farmers market, food tours and the Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival. SUPPLIED

Cheers!

After a strenuous day at the beach, why not kickstart the evening with a cocktail? Head to the waterfront town of Camana Bay, known for its upscale shops and modern design, and enjoy a designer cocktail on Agua’s patio. (Ask for the daily cocktail discount.)

Or reserve a seat at Abacus. With its focus on sustainable farm-to-table cuisine, the restaurant’s artistically crafted cocktail menu features seasonal fruits sourced directly from Cayman’s farmers. Or if you’re in the mood for a glass of wine or craft beer, there’s no better spot than KARoo, where the bar is always hopping and drinks flowing.

At the end of October, don’t miss Cocktail Week. Now in its seventh year, the event – running the last week of October every year – offers many cocktail-friendly experiences. Hang out with the island’s top bartenders, learn how to make your own Gin or take a historic cocktail tour.

Opened in 1997, The Brasserie is celebrated for being the Cayman Islands’ sustainable cooking leader and innovator.SUPPLIED

On the Menu

Dining options are endless in the Cayman Islands. Whether you’re in the mood for Caribbean, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Tex-Mex or other flavours, the choice is yours. If it’s ethically and environmentally sustainable fare you’re looking for, take a seat at The Brasserie. The local favourite has been offering farm-and-sea-to-table dishes since 1997, including fresh lobster and conch, fish grilled on hardwood coals and homemade bread. The resto’s apiary produces their honey, a chicken coop their eggs and an edible garden their fruits and nuts.

If you’re a wine connoisseur, LUCA is a great option. Located at the Caribbean Club, the restaurant offers more than 5,500 bottles with which to pair your delectable dinner. And you can’t visit Cayman without checking out Blue by Eric Ripert at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The Caribbean’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Blue specializes in local seafood and comes with the culinary stamp of approval of its acclaimed chef.

In addition to its upscale Italian fare, LUCA offers breathtaking views of Seven Mile Beach whether dining al fresco or within its elegant dining room. The restaurant’s wine cellars offers more than 5,500 bottles, including over 1,300 labels and have been awarded Wine Spectator’s “Best Of Award of Excellence” many times over since opening in 2007. SUPPLIED

Of course, if it’s celebrated chefs you’re looking for, don’t miss the annual Cayman Cookout. From Jan. 16 to 19, 2020,  top chefs and culinary influencers from around the world, like José Andrés and Emeril Lagasse, will gather at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, for the epicurean event of the year. Hosted by Ripert, demonstrations, tastings and excursions are on the menu for the four-day Cookout.

Every foodie should also check out the Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival on April 4. Held at the Town Centre at Camana Bay, the event features dozens of tasting booths offering samples of local delicacies from restaurants across the island. There are also VIP champagne lounges, wine tastings and live entertainment.

Other Culinary Experiences

If it’s a full moon, enjoy the “Luna del Mar” celebration at Kaibo, where a DJ serenades you and your torch-lit alfresco dinner, and dancing on the beach is encouraged. Those looking for fresh, seasonal and locally grown produce – from yams and kale to jackfruit, coconuts and mangos – should check out the Cayman Farmers’ Market at the Cricket Grounds in George Town. You can also find local crafts, handmade jewellery and other items.

Heritage Kitchen is Grand Cayman’s picturesque food shack offering up local delicacies such as ox tail soup and ‘Cayman style’ grouper to name a few. SUPPLIED

And make sure Sunday brunch is on the itinerary. A Cayman institution, restaurants offer an array of impressive dishes for the auspicious meal, often accompanied by flowing champagne or sparkling wine. Popular brunch choices include the Westin Grand Cayman and Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa. If you’re in the East End, try The Lighthouse, which serves a Mediterranean style brunch, or Tukka, where the meal is served with an Australian twist.

Popular amongst locals and visitors alike, Grape Tree Café is a local fish fry shack serving up local fish, fritters, fried bread fruit and more along with its seaside views. SUPPLIED

Sometimes the freshest and tastiest food is found on the side of the road – or beach. Check out Grape Tree Cafe or Heritage Kitchen for authentic fish and fritters and local dishes served with all the fixings.

Located on the picturesque north side of Grand Cayman, “Rum Point” is famous for its island atmosphere, white sandy beach and shallow clear waters. It is an ideal spot for a day trip filled with water activities, relaxation, delicious food and rum punch or a mudslide. SUPPLIED

Finally, top off your trip with a tour of the Cayman Spirits Company Distillery. Get a behind-the-scenes look of the 5000-square-foot facility and sample the Distillery’s liquid goods, including their seasonal “Distiller’s Special.”

From wine bars, markets and events to acclaimed chefs and farm-to-table offerings, Cayman’s dining options rival those of South Beach, Vancouver and Toronto. Whatever your tastes, one thing’s for sure: you won’t leave hungry from the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Visit Cayman Islands.

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