Thursday, 5 January 2012

Island Girl's Top 10 Restaurants in Nassau...a first in a series!

Off the beaten path (well not too far off) in my island World...

As 2012 rolls in I feel an incredible amount of patriotism towards The Bahamas.  I love the country that I live in and I want everyone who comes here to be able to experience the best aspects of it.  Today someone asked me what I really recommend doing and I was totally caught off guard.  It’s amazing how easily you forget your favourite spots when put on the spot, so this was part of the reason for my inspiration to do this series. 

I thought I would write a series of blogs giving people tips to things that I consider awesome in The Bahamas – so when people visit they do not miss out!

Since I love going to restaurants my first ‘Top 10’ will be my favourite restaurants in Nassau.  It is really fun to do a list like this because sometimes even I forget about places and this made me put my thinking cap on to reflect, and also verbalize what makes these places special.

  1. The Kitchen – I don’t like eating at just any place since you have to wonder what people put in the food.  I know the folks that own the Kitchen and they are good people! It is open for breakfast and lunch and their menu changes daily.  They offer a wide variety of Bahamian meals or traditional home cooked meals.  The yummy sandwich menu stays the same and their sandwiches are delicious.  If you are a sandwich connoisseur order the tuna salad.  
  2. Le Petite Gourmet – Another lunch spot, Le Petite Gourmet has provides a French twist on their dishes.  Chef Julie has a changing menu that always has a soup, a hot dish, a sandwich and a few other specials.  And if you do have dietary requirements Julie will customize two dishes into one to make your experience enjoyable.
  3. Chives Café – My favourite lunch spot!!! Chives is our healthiest option in Nassau, and there are always a couple of vegan options on the menu.  I plan my drives out west so I can stop at Chives while I’m in the area to either have lunch or at least pick it up to go.  Lise usually has premade meals to save you cooking that night.
  4. Seafront Sushi – This is my all time favourite restaurant in the world actually.  Perfect for Lunch or Dinner.  Sushi is my favourite food, and I have yet to go to a sushi place where I enjoy sushi more.  The service at Seafront is excellent as well! Try the headhunter roll, seafront crunch, birthday roll, sashimi appetizer, gyoza (steamed or fried) and the Seafront rice…just to name a few! But really you cannot go wrong with the rolls.  Be sure to sit downstairs – not sure why, but it’s much better!  Being gluten sensitive and lactose intolerant this is a great place for me.
  5. Olives – I’ve only been to Olives for lunch since I work in town.  The arcade where it is located reminds me of a little
    European street
    .  You can sit in a few different spots and they do have air-conditioned sections which is key for summer.  The best meal is an appetizer of fried calamari and a greek lamb gyro (or chicken) with fries, and a cool refreshing greek beer.  If you have dietary requirements like I do, they serve a nice array of salads. 
  6. Green Parrot Harbour Front Lounge – Location and ambience are my favourite and beat out Seafront in that department.  Sitting in the little courtyard makes me feel far away (and because I love traveling this is a great thing! And if you are visiting Nassau, you will just love it!).  A nice glass of wine with a thin crust ‘Yukon Gold’ pizza (mushrooms, potatoes and truffle oil) or ‘Napa Valley’ pizza (goat cheese, figs and prosciutto) are perfect for a week night dinner.
  7. Lucianos of Chicago – okay okay, I know I love the setting of Green Parrot, but this is my all time favourite setting on the harbour.  It was the home of first Prime Minister of The Bahamas, so the building offers charm and character whether you are dining inside or out.  It is on the pricier side in comparison to the other restaurants on this list but it is typically delicious and the service is usually exceptional.  This is not to say they don’t have an off night.  We have had a few, but I keep going back because it is a timeless classic and enjoyable place for a special dinner.
  8. Café Matisse – Again, a little more on the pricier side, so for me it’s a special occasion spot but it is such a pleasurable experience.  The service is ALWAYS wonderful, and the food is delicious.  Café Matisse closes for about a month in the summer while the owner goes to Italy, and then reopens with a fresh new menu.  It is the chosen spot for many business lunch meetings, and a popular dinner spot, so do make reservations.  If it is cool enough sit in the courtyard.  Can’t you tell I love dining al fresco?
  9. Nobu – Yes the chain… Nobu is located in the Royal Towers of Atlantis.  It’s trendy, it’s busy and it’s expensive.  So why is it on my list? Because there is no where else I can find a Lychee Martini! Be careful though.  One and I’m tipsy, two and I’m drunk, and three you’ll be carrying me straight home but they go down so smoothly. The famous rock shrimp and miso cod are also scrumptious.  Make a reservation if you can, if not, be prepared to eat in the bar area if it is a busy time of year.
  10. Blu – Is new! I’ve only eaten at Blu once so far but it made my list because I am a big fan of the rejuvenation of downtown Nassau, and Elizabeth on the Bay is the first new project.  The container port is being relocated and soon tourists will be able to wander down the harbour front and actually enjoy the beauty of the harbour.  I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia for four years, and the waterfront is the best spot to go, especially in the summer.  People could wander and stop at restaurants to eat and/or drink while buskers played along the walkway providing background music to be enjoyed.  The memories bring feelings of happiness and relaxation back to me.  And so that is how I felt when I ate lunch at Blu.  There have been varying reviews and it's not cheap, but my lunch was tasty and delicious and the service was first-rate.

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