Cemetery Beach

A Food-Lover’s Guide to the Most Delicious Caribbean Island

It’s safe to say that food in the Caribbean has made huge strides from the sad “Continental” fare that was so popular a few decades ago. It’s also safe to say most people don’t go to the islands to eat.

I flew to Grand Cayman to attend a pop-up dinner hosted by Clare Smyth, the former Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London and one of a handful of female chefs (and the first British one) to earn three Michelin stars. She has plans to open her own restaurant in Notting Hill later this year, but decided to take a Caribbean tour, partnering with local chefs and cooking up a storm.

That dinner, held at the months-old Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, started with a terrine of foie gras and tuna tartare and a bright and citrusy gelee, and ended with a chocolate truffle with eggplant cream, with Clare’s snapper ras el hanout as the main event. It was definitely a highlight of my four-day trip, but more than any one meal, what really surprised me was how consistently great the food was.

That dinner, held at the months-old Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, started with a terrine of foie gras and tuna tartare and a bright and citrusy gelee, and ended with a chocolate truffle with eggplant cream, with Clare’s snapper ras el hanout as the main event. It was definitely a highlight of my four-day trip, but more than any one meal, what really surprised me was how consistently great the food was.

That dinner, held at the months-old Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, started with a terrine of foie gras and tuna tartare and a bright and citrusy gelee, and ended with a chocolate truffle with eggplant cream, with Clare’s snapper ras el hanout as the main event. It was definitely a highlight of my four-day trip, but more than any one meal, what really surprised me was how consistently great the food was.

A Food-Lover’s Guide to Grand Cayman

The One Food You Should Try

I had heard that the food to try was turtle which, I’ll be honest, did not really appeal to me. Still, I was prepared to try turtle in the name of research if that was required. Happily, I discovered that while stewed turtle is traditional, it’s definitely not all that common — surely not as common as fish rundown (a fish stew with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, and garlic) or heavy cake (made with cassava, and as dense as it sounds).

But if I had to pick just one, I’d say a pattie, preferably picked up at a gas station, which is what I did when I got peckish on a long walk to Georgetown one morning.

A pattie is a hand pie with an outer crust that’s similar to a puff pastry, but quite a bit denser. It’s filled with meat or veggies or some combination, and often quite spicy. Many locals have a fierce loyalty to Island Taste patties, but it’s worth trying a few different ones and deciding for yourself! The Frozen Beverage to Sip You might think this would be something tropical, fruity, and spiked with rum, but no: The frosty beverage of choice on Grand Cayman is the mudslide, a combination of vodka, Kahlua, and Bailey’s ice cream.

Allegedly, the best on the island is to be found at Rum Point, on the north shore. But you can find versions elsewhere, including (conveniently for me) at Coccoloba at the Seafire Resort (where I stayed).

The Dish I’d Fly Back For I ate a lot of great food on this trip, but — no contest — the coconut grouper at Heritage Kitchen is the one I’d fly back for. Lightly fried, topped with a mess of coconut and onions, and served with fried bread and rice, it is just what I want to eat after a day of sun and sand.

A Food-Lover’s Guide to Grand Cayman

The One Food You Should Try

I had heard that the food to try was turtle which, I’ll be honest, did not really appeal to me. Still, I was prepared to try turtle in the name of research if that was required. Happily, I discovered that while stewed turtle is traditional, it’s definitely not all that common — surely not as common as fish rundown (a fish stew with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, and garlic) or heavy cake (made with cassava, and as dense as it sounds).

But if I had to pick just one, I’d say a pattie, preferably picked up at a gas station, which is what I did when I got peckish on a long walk to Georgetown one morning.

A pattie is a hand pie with an outer crust that’s similar to a puff pastry, but quite a bit denser. It’s filled with meat or veggies or some combination, and often quite spicy. Many locals have a fierce loyalty to Island Taste patties, but it’s worth trying a few different ones and deciding for yourself! The Frozen Beverage to Sip You might think this would be something tropical, fruity, and spiked with rum, but no: The frosty beverage of choice on Grand Cayman is the mudslide, a combination of vodka, Kahlua, and Bailey’s ice cream.

Allegedly, the best on the island is to be found at Rum Point, on the north shore. But you can find versions elsewhere, including (conveniently for me) at Coccoloba at the Seafire Resort (where I stayed).

The Dish I’d Fly Back For I ate a lot of great food on this trip, but — no contest — the coconut grouper at Heritage Kitchen is the one I’d fly back for. Lightly fried, topped with a mess of coconut and onions, and served with fried bread and rice, it is just what I want to eat after a day of sun and sand.

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A Food-Lover’s Guide to Grand Cayman

The One Food You Should Try

I had heard that the food to try was turtle which, I’ll be honest, did not really appeal to me. Still, I was prepared to try turtle in the name of research if that was required. Happily, I discovered that while stewed turtle is traditional, it’s definitely not all that common — surely not as common as fish rundown (a fish stew with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, and garlic) or heavy cake (made with cassava, and as dense as it sounds).

But if I had to pick just one, I’d say a pattie, preferably picked up at a gas station, which is what I did when I got peckish on a long walk to Georgetown one morning.

A pattie is a hand pie with an outer crust that’s similar to a puff pastry, but quite a bit denser. It’s filled with meat or veggies or some combination, and often quite spicy. Many locals have a fierce loyalty to Island Taste patties, but it’s worth trying a few different ones and deciding for yourself! The Frozen Beverage to Sip You might think this would be something tropical, fruity, and spiked with rum, but no: The frosty beverage of choice on Grand Cayman is the mudslide, a combination of vodka, Kahlua, and Bailey’s ice cream.

Allegedly, the best on the island is to be found at Rum Point, on the north shore. But you can find versions elsewhere, including (conveniently for me) at Coccoloba at the Seafire Resort (where I stayed).

The Dish I’d Fly Back For I ate a lot of great food on this trip, but — no contest — the coconut grouper at Heritage Kitchen is the one I’d fly back for. Lightly fried, topped with a mess of coconut and onions, and served with fried bread and rice, it is just what I want to eat after a day of sun and sand.