Welcome to the stunning Cayman Islands. A Caribbean paradise known for its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and vibrant culture. But the island is not just a destination for sunbathing and swimming. Grand Cayman, (known to locals and seasoned visitors as simply, “Cayman”) is also a food lover’s dream. It boasts a diverse culinary scene that combines traditional Caribbean flavors with international influences. From casual beachside eateries to fine dining restaurants, there’s no shortage of delicious options to explore.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the must-visit restaurants and dishes on Grand Cayman. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, hearty Caribbean stews, or international cuisine, we’ve got you covered.
So grab a seat, relax, and prepare to embark on a culinary journey through the flavors of Cayman.
Dining out in Cayman is an experience that every foodie should savor.
Here are some things to keep in mind while dining out in Grand Cayman:
Seafood is King
Grand Cayman is surrounded by the bounty of the Caribbean Sea. It’s no surprise that seafood is the star of the local cuisine. From succulent local lobster to fresh fish, the seafood in the Cayman is some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world. In fact, if you’re an early riser, you might spot one or two of our local chefs buying the day’s fresh catch at the open-air market in George Town. If you’re a seafood lover, make sure to try the conch fritters and the locally caught snapper. If not, don’t worry- there are plenty of non-seafood dishes from which to choose!
Try Local Specialties
Grand Cayman has a rich culinary tradition that is heavily influenced by Caribbean, African, Spanish, and British cuisine. Local specialties include jerk chicken, oxtail stew, and turtle stew. Many restaurants in Grand Cayman offer fusion cuisine, which combines traditional Caymanian dishes with international flavors. Insider hint: Some restaurants offer seafood prepared “Cayman Style”. It is a mixture of locally grown sweet and savory seasoning peppers, onions, and island spices. A little hot, but so delicious!
Tipping: Please Do
Tipping or gratuities are a normal part of the Cayman dining experience. Grand Cayman features world-class restaurants. From formal dinner houses to casual beach fare, all brought to you by dedicated food service professionals eager for your satisfaction. You should expect 15% to be added to your bill as an automatic gratuity. Insider hint: Grand Cayman is one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. The same goes for its standard of living. Things just cost more here than almost anywhere else. If I’ve had a typically wonderful dining experience (as I almost always do). I often match the automatic 15% with an additional 15% to compensate for the level of service, food, ambiance, and satisfaction I always receive.
Dress Code Matters
While the Grand Caymans are known for their laid-back vibe, some restaurants have a dress code. If you’re planning on dining at one of the upscale restaurants on the island, make sure to pack some smart casual attire. Grand Cayman is a British Overseas Territory, so governed by and loyal to Great Britain. While welcoming and cheerful, Cayman culture dictates decorum and reverence for propriety. Almost all restaurants welcome collared shirts, tailored shorts, khakis, and knee-length dresses for ladies. Swimsuits and flip-flops are for the beach! When staying in a hotel and coming indoors from the pool or beach, ladies often feel more comfortable in a light wrap or cover-up.
Book in Advance
Grand Cayman is a popular tourist destination, so it’s essential to book your table in advance, especially during peak season. Many of the island’s top restaurants have limited seating. With that, booking in advance is the best way to ensure that you get that perfect table. Insider hint: If staying at one of our great hotels, ask your concierge to make the reservation for you-it will often lead to a great table!
Enjoy the View
Many of the island’s restaurants have stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Be sure to take advantage of the scenic vistas while you dine. Some restaurants even have tables set up on the beach. It allows you to enjoy your meal with your toes in the sand.
Embrace the Local Rum
Grand Cayman is known for its rum, and there’s no shortage of delicious rum-based cocktails to try. To get right to the source, visit Cayman Spirits Company for a tour and tasting of their world-famous Seven Fathoms rum and other spirits made right in Cayman! Then create your own “Rum Renaissance” as you travel the island exploring classic rum punches to creative concoctions like the Cayman Lemonade, as the island’s bartenders are masters at mixing up the perfect tropical drink.
Keeping all of this in mind, we’ve compiled a few of our best recommendations for your next visit to Grand Cayman:
Agave Urban Agaveria: Our new island favorite! A foodie’s paradise of Latin and regional Mexican cuisine, where practically everything is locally sourced and made in-house. Literally, everything on the menu is a winner, including the Birria and Al Pastor tacos. Insider hint: the beams crossing the ceiling of this intimate dining room are sourced from an original Cuban tobacco drying barn-as if we needed another reason to love this place! Agave also has a fantastic outdoor seating and dining area out back, perfect for that after-dinner Cayman cigar and aged vintage Reposado tequila.
Macabuca and the Cracked Conch: Up the beach a bit in West Bay just past the Turtle Encounter, Macabuca has a killer location right on and over the water! Popular with locals and visitors alike, Macabuca is a casual waterfront mecca for great drinks and lighter fare and a ladder that will take you right into the lagoon for a pre or post-lunch snorkel! Upstairs at The Cracked Conch, be prepared for a refined dining experience with jaw-dropping views of the Caribbean Sea. Insider hint: You must have the Conch Ceviche-some of the freshest and most flavorful we’ve tasted!
The Lobster Pot: Established in 1965, The Lobster Pot is one of Cayman’s most venerable seafood restaurants. Perched on the second floor overlooking the waters of Georgetown Harbour, this is the place for seafood and sunsets! Owned and operated by the same family for over 50 years. The Lobster Pot has become one of Cayman’s most popular brunch, lunch, and dinner places. Insider hint: When dining here, one can’t go wrong with the “Cayman Trio” of Caribbean lobster, grilled wahoo, and shrimp. It’s a signature dish, and for a good reason!
The Grand Old House: This Grand Cayman landmark has a colorful history, wonderful food, wine, and cigars! Originally built in 1908 and named Petra Plantation. This piece of Grand Cayman’s history is alive and well, celebrating 115 years in 2023! A hallmark of Cayman architecture and perseverance, Petra was used as a Sunday school, a hospital during WW2, and, due to its construction with local ironwood, a storm-proof shelter for Cayman’s many hurricanes and tropical storms over the decades. Converted into a restaurant in 1969, the Grand Old House has been serving fine cuisine, wines, and service ever since. The “deconstructed” lobster thermidor is not to be missed!
Insider hint: Grand Old House has a new cigar grotto on its 5000 square foot outdoor deck. With a cigar roller on duty most evenings, you can select a cigar rolled right before your eyes, or relax with a Cayman cigar as you enjoy a beverage and a beautiful sunset.
The Beach House at the Westin Grand Cayman Resort and Spa: Located perfectly on famed Seven Mile Beach, The Beach House enjoys a reputation for top-notch food, an impressive wine list, and of course, Cayman Cigars! Tucked under the beachfront portico, the outdoor patio is the place to dine, but if you’re wanting to go all out, reserve the private cabana for two on the beach and dine with your toes in the sand! Under the deft supervision of Chef Sandy Tuason, The Beach House features the freshest local catch and tender steaks, all delivered with a smile from the superb waitstaff.
Insider hint: Ask for Damian’s section, go for the Surf and Turf, and yes, you should have the Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. Then, ask Manager Norbert for the Rum Cart to be brought tableside so you can select the perfect aged rum to accompany your Cayman cigar.
Dining out in Grand Cayman is an experience that you won’t soon forget. Whether you’re looking for upscale dining or casual beachside eats, the island has something to offer every foodie. So pack your bags, bring your appetite, and get ready to savor the flavors of the Cayman Islands.