Grand Cayman is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. It has every kind of food to suit even the fussiest of eaters. You will find some kind of restaurant or eatery on every street across the Island.
Obviously being in the Caribbean, fresh seafood is top of the list. If you ask for the fresh catch of the day at most restaurants you will likely get offered Mahi Mahi or Red Snapper. Both very delicious. During Lobster season (1st December to February 28th) you should not miss out on tasting this delicious dish. The Lobster Pot in George Town is a lovely restaurant overlooking the water. If you don’t like Lobster they of course offer other options on their menu.
Da Fish Shack is not a fancy restaurant but offers more authentic Caribbean flare and excellent fresh local fish dishes. Enjoy this waterfront setting washed down with one of their tasty cocktails. You can get fish served Cayman style if you want to try something local or they do lovely fish bites too!
If you want to see some fish and feed some fish whilst you enjoy fish then go to The Wharf on West Bay Road. Here you can feed the tarpon (these are not really edible but fascinating to watch). This adds to the atmosphere of this waterfront restaurant. They serve all kinds of food but their seafood is excellent too!
Lion Fish is an invasive species in the Caribbean because they are depleting our tropical fish on the reef. So how do we deal with the Lion Fish pest – we eat them. They are delicious too. Personally the Lion Fish tacos at Eagle Ray’s are fantastic but you could also try the Lion Fish Greek Salad at Guy Harvey’s. Either way – if you see Lion Fish on the menu – you must have it – it is helping save our Caribbean waters!!
Fry Fish and Fritters is very much a Caribbean cuisine. You will find this at a lot of places across the Island. A lot of these places are on the beach in local areas. If you are heading out towards the East of the Island, try and stop in at the Grape Tree Café. If you are heading out West then try the Heritage Kitchen.
We also have some nice Sushi restaurants in Cayman. Yoshi Sushi and Mizu are both lovely places to enjoy some fresh sushi. If you are feeling a little more fancy, then try Taikun Japanese restaurant at The Ritz.
Jerk seasoning is something that has come from other parts of the Caribbean and is very much alive and well in Cayman. Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork are particularly popular. What is Jerk? Usually spicy, Caribbean jerk seasoning gets its kick from a blend of ingredients such as chiles, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, and nutmeg. If you see large amounts of smoke coming from the side of the road, it’s not because a building is on fire, it is more likely a ‘Jerk’ standwhere they are cooking up Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork on the very hot grill. Don’t be afraid to try these side of the road places – the food is mouthwatering and you will feel just a like a local. Be careful of the spice though, it can be hot! Try Peppers Smokehouse or Di Kit- Chin or Red Bay Jerk Chicken. They offer all kinds of sides with it too.
Cayman Cabana is a waterfront ‘shack’ style restaurant. They are keen to use only local produce and refer to their farm to table dining experience as Cayman Locavore. They sometimes have local musicians entertaining you whilst you eat and enjoy the sunset. They are located next door to the fish market in George Town – so you know their fish is fresh too!
Because Cayman has a population of 60,000 people made up of both locals and expats, restaurants offer food from every country. You can try Mexican food at Agave, Casa 43 or Taco Cantina. How about Italian at Casanova, Agua or Ragazzi. Indian Food at Southern Spice or Pani both offering buffet options too. Try some Thai Food at Thai Orchid or Canadian Poutine at Craft. You really can find every kind of food here in Cayman. You can even get an Aussie/Caribbean fusion meal at Tukka in East End. A fantastic location overlooking the ocean and the food includes both local and Australian fayre. Definitely worth a visit and you get to feed the Frigate Birds which is an experience!
Fast Food Dining
There are numerous fast food restaurants across the Island. We have Burger King, Wendys, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, Dominos Pizza, Pizza Hut to name a few. The only one you will NOT find here in Cayman is McDonalds. Why? An urban legend maintains that McDonald’s filed a lawsuit against MacDonald’s Family Restaurant, an actual fast food establishment located in Grand Cayman. This false claim alleges that McDonald’s lost the case, and in addition, was banned from ever opening a McDonald’s location on Grand Cayman. While it is true that no McDonald’s locations exist on the island, the reason is not due to any lawsuit against MacDonald’s Family Restaurant, but we still love this story!
Food Truck Dining
There is a popular food truck culture here in Cayman. New food trucks are opening all the time. Ones that have been around for a while are Burger Shack and A La Kebab. Both very popular when you are on your way home from a few drinks after work but also a good place to grab lunch on the go. More recently there is the Good Mood Food Truck and Café Amazon. They serve fantastic sandwiches and healthy options too.
If you are looking for a more special dining experience for a date or an anniversary, then you have a number of fine dining restaurants to choose from. Seven and Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman both offer exceptional high quality fine dining cuisine and service. You could also have a nice evening out at Abacus in Camana Bay, where in fact there are many restaurants to choose from. For a high quality steak house, you must visit Copper Falls, free martini with every meal and exceptional food and service!
Tipping & Cost
Tipping is customary in Cayman and is an important part of a servers’ income. If a restaurant does not include a service charge, it is usual to leave a tip of between 15 & 20%. Most of the time the restaurant will include it on your bill so just take a good look before you pay.
It is not cheap to eat out in Cayman but the food is usually of very high quality using local produce where possible. The average cost of a meal for two people without drinks would be at least $75-$150. However, if you stick to the more local places as I mentioned above then it can be a lot cheaper.
Whatever your budget or taste buds, there is something for everyone here in Cayman.