places to eat
One of the best Caribbean nations for foodies – there is a blend of high-class beachfront restaurants and delectable local specialities.
Click on some of the pictures below to link to the restaurant's site
Reserve a table at the Fish Pot, or The Cliff restaurant if it’s a special occasion or get a ‘flying fish cutter’ from a little cafe for everyday deliciousness or Chillin & Grillin at Oistins fish market on the Friday night fish fest… or try Aunty Benn’s Bar – the aunt involved being the female relation of the boxer Nigel Benn or try the delectable five-star beach front cuisine as listed below
Just like the Bajan lifestyle, the food here combines diversity, excitement and easy-going comfort. Bajan food is a kind of fusion cuisine; an eclectic mix of African, European, Indian, Chinese and the wider Caribbean foods. This means it’s flavoursome, exotic and more than a little spicy. Bajan Seasoning, which is a subtle blend of spices, is used quite commonly in local dishes and you’ll find an enormous prevalence for zesty sauces to be placed on everything – even on the fast food staples you know.
Fresh seafood is readily available and fish is a part of many of the traditional Bajan meals. Make sure you try the ‘flying fish cutter’ – a kind of fried fish sandwich that’s utterly delicious. The national dish is known as ‘Cou Cou and Flying Fish’ and should definitely be sampled if you get the opportunity. Aside from its plentiful, excellent value local food, Barbados also does gourmet cuisine better than almost anywhere else in the Caribbean. The Cliff is one of the most famous restaurants – a beautiful beach-side property serving up elegant meals in modern chic. You’ll find it on the west coast between Bridgetown and Holetown, and reservations are strongly recommended.
Dining out is not always expensive with typical mid-market restaurants costing less than £20 per head. It’s worth noting that restaurants often don’t open for breakfast, and those that do often open late, around 9 am.
So in no real order here are a few ideas……..
Food to die for and a warm welcome guaranteed
We did manage to find this lovely, ticked away restaurant at St James called Cariba. It’s like visiting a friend’s house, homely and humble , and the chef Glen trained at Sandy Lane and cooks an amazing shrimp curry. Set in a former chattel house, and off from the main highway coast road in St. James its a well kept secret place with fabulous Caribbean fare with Asian flavours and good value for the island prices; the "cosy" lime-green-filled space – which features a fully enclosed veranda means you have some interaction with the chef
Cuz’s Fish Shack
Popular amongst local divers looking for a place to re-energise after a morning spent in the sea, Cuz’s Fish Shack in Bridgetown is an excellent choice for lunch. This low-cost casual shack stands out from the crowd thanks to its bright colours and fish sandwiches which are said to be the best in Barbados. For a very reasonable price you can enjoy a freshly prepared piece of fried fish, topped with crispy salad, a fried egg and smooth cheese, all tucked into a fluffy white bun.
Each sandwich is cooked to order, so although you might have to wait a while, it’s worth it to be able to enjoy one of the freshest sandwiches you’ll ever have under the cool shade of a palm tree on the beach close to the shack. There are plenty of different types of fish to choose from, including flying fish, dorado and marlin, but if you can’t decide what to go for, ask Cuz to make you whatever he recommends.
Travel south from Bridgetown and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with Brown Sugar, a restaurant which is famous for its decadent all-you-can-eat planter’s buffet lunch. This four-course unlimited meal is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, with an incredible selection of Bajan dishes presented elaborately on a table for diners to enjoy. You’ll find loads of Barbadian and Caribbean specialities available here, including cou cou, flying fish, bul jol, fish cakes, souse and a seemingly never-ending choice of homemade desserts. The perfect fusion of casual and elegant dining, Brown Sugar is decorated in a fitting tropical theme, with fern-filled patios, exotic flora, cascading waterfalls and chirping tree frogs, making it feel like you’re dining in a natural jungle. Authentic Bajan cuisine combined with strange surroundings is sure to create a dining experience which you’ll never forget, earning it a space in our top ten places to eat in Barbados.
As the name suggests, The Cliff is found perched on top of a small cliff overlooking the shimmering Caribbean waters, with each candlelit table awarding diners with stunning sea views. Situated in a quiet area of St James, this restaurant is quite expensive, but it’s worth splashing out for a special occasion or an ultra-romantic evening. Due to the immense popularity and sparkling reputation of The Cliff, reservations days or even weeks in advance are highly recommended. The eclectic menu ensures everyone is catered for and incorporates some unusual dishes. A few recommendations include smoked salmon ravioli with garlic sauce or grilled Portobello mushroom on greens with truffle vinaigrette to start, with char-grilled swordfish with Thai yellow curry sauce and seared tuna with saffron caper sauce to follow. There are also plenty of sinful desserts on offer such as warm bread and butter pudding, caramelised lemon tart and chocolate mousse, for those who really want to indulge.
Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant
After earning the reputation as one of the best restaurants in Barbados, Champers relocated to a quiet area, just off the main South Coast road, in a traditional Barbadian building. The restaurant now boasts a unique cliff-top location which overlooks the Accra Beach and awards guests with panoramic views which stretch out across the glistening ocean. Here you’ll find two dining areas – a waterside casual gazebo downstairs and an elegant dining room upstairs, both of which provide diners with lounge and bar, as well as internet access. Like many restaurants in Barbados, Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant specialises in freshly caught fish and seafood, although there are plenty of vegetarian and meat-based dishes for diners who aren’t in the mood for fish. With an incredible collection of wines and champagnes from all over the world, wine lovers will be in their element and if wine isn’t your thing, you’re bound to be impressed by the extensive cocktail list, with a number of drinks made from fresh locally-sourced fruit.
Nishi Bistro & Sushi Restaurant
The award-winning Nishi Bistro & Sushi Restaurant in Holetown offers diners an exquisite fusion of Asian and Caribbean cuisine. The restaurant’s head sushi chef has been in the industry for 15 years and has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Miami and New York, as well as the highly-regarded Shangri-La Hotel in Indonesia. There are two menus available at Nishi: a combined sushi and sashimi menu and a bistro menu, ensuring something to suit every diner’s palate. Diners have three seating areas to choose from: the upstairs dining room where you can watch skilled chefs prepare sushi, the downstairs dining room which boasts a chic atmosphere and the open-air courtyard which is perfect for a casual meal with friends or family. As well as the dining areas, there is also a bar and lounge open to guests, where you can choose from a large list of speciality cocktails.
Daphne’s is one of Barbados’ most highly acclaimed restaurants, situated on the West Coast in Payne’s Bay. Here diners can enjoy a mixture of island seafood and classic Italian dishes, each of which as a contemporary touch bringing it straight into the 21st century, all in sophisticated surroundings overlooking the glistening ocean. The ideal location for a luxurious afternoon lunch or a romantic evening dinner, Daphne’s offers refined yet inviting dining with genuine Bajan hospitality. The service is utterly flawless and the décor is reminiscent of a fairy tale, with sprinklings of tiny candles, coconut shell lampshades and muslin curtains sharply defining the restaurant’s character. The head chef at Daphne’s has done an excellent job by creating a menu which combines the very best of Italian cuisine with island seafood, whilst always taking a fresh approach to ingredients, and this is why it’s earned first place in our top ten places to eat in Barbados.
Oistins Fish Fry
Just a short drive away from Dover Beach in the lively fishing town of Oistins, Oistins Fish Fry in Oistins Bay Gardens is always packed on Friday and Saturday evenings, when locals and visitors alike head to the area to sample freshly prepared local delicacies. Here you’ll find a number of stalls to choose from, each of which is grilling or frying batches of fish. There is an excellent selection of food available, including swordfish, tuna, mahi-mahi, marlin and flying fish, as well as lobster and chicken. There is plenty of casual, rustic seating available for everyone, although because of the popularity, you’re almost guaranteed to find yourself sharing a table with other diners or possibly some locals playing dominoes. The atmosphere is truly Caribbean with the smell of fresh fish floating through the air alongside the sound of Bob Marley, with a beautiful sunset taking place in the distance.
Regarded by many as one of the best fine dining restaurants in Barbados, Tides Restaurant is located at the water’s edge in a prestigious coastal area of Holetown. There are four different dining areas to choose from, each with its own ambience and character. The tree house is an outdoor dining area ideal for casual meals, whereas the red tile section is also open, but it imbues a more sophisticated atmosphere and features fantastic sea views. The garden gazebo is the most popular dining area, where you can enjoy your meal surrounded by lush flora, as well as fantastic ocean vistas.
There are various menus available for diners to browse – including a dedicated vegetarian menu and a full kids’ menu – ensuring something for everyone to enjoy. The main evening menu features several fish and seafood dishes, with a few meat-based options to choose from, too. To accompany your meal there is a vast array of red, white and rosé wines, as well as several champagnes, available which have been imported from all over the world.
Cin Cin By The Sea
The perfect choice for dining on the island. Very modern, vibrant and a cool hangout for locals. If you're feeling a little too uncomfortable to be seen in a nightclub, it's absolutely perfect. It offers that hip environment, but with a more chilled vibe.
Established since 1972, Pisces Restaurant boasts a privileged oceanfront location in a bustling area of St Lawrence Gap. Popular with locals and tourists alike, this eatery is known for its friendly service and charming ambience which should not be missed. The establishment itself is decorated with tropical indoor gardens which, when combined with the authentic flavours of the food, creates a real sense of Barbados. Here diners can choose from an extensive international menu which has a touch of West Indian influence and a number of fresh seafood specialities. With so many options available, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it’s time to order. Starters such as seared scallops and local asparagus grace the menu, followed by delicacies like West Indian chicken curry and Caribbean live lobster for the main course. If you’re still feeling a bit peckish, you can indulge in a decadent dessert, such as caramelised fresh bananas or white chocolate cheesecake.
The recently-opened Waterside combines all the right ingredients needed to become a favourite amongst discerning diners – an unbeatable location, outstanding food and excellent service. Found along the seafront in the vibrant St Lawrence Gap, this restaurant is home to a multi award-winning head chef who is supported by a dedicated team. The chef and his team work closely together to create the elegant fusion of flavours in each and every dish that Waterside is known for. The menu focuses heavily on fish and seafood, with choices such as pan-seared ruby snapper and tandoori roasted tiger prawns proving popular. If you’re not in the mood for fish, there are plenty of other options available, including oven-roasted rack of lamb and char-sui glazed Angus beef skirt. The dessert menu is sure to pique the attention of anyone with even the slightest sweet tooth and features opulent items like spiced banana spring rolls, homemade sorbets and white chocolate soufflé.
Fish Pot at Little Harbour Hotel
Luxury places to eat in Barbados rarely come with the rustic, down-to-earth charm you find at Little Good Harbour, but the owners, Andrew and Patricia, have somehow managed to accompany boutique style with a welcome as warm as the weather. Once a 17th-century fort (known, somewhat underwhelming, as Fort Rupert), the hotel's main building is home to the Fish Pot, a restaurant that has been making waves across the international gastro-scene, thanks to its wonderful way with seafood. From its private wooden terrace on the beach, you can still see traditional boatbuilders working on their vessels in the shadow of the palm trees.
Situated in the north-west of the island, a couple of miles from the restaurants and bars of Speightstown, the dining room sits snugly on the beach beside a little fishing hamlet (Sherman's), offering an authentic Bajan alternative to the increasingly homogenised resort hotels of the Caribbean. You won't find snooty Hollywood glitz, but you will find family-run friendliness, beautiful Bajan artwork and hands-on management who'll do everything in their power to make sure your meal the kind of experience you bore friends with for years afterwards.
Lone Star Hotel and Restaurant
This boutique Bajan beach hotel's past incarnation, a 1950s garage, informs its modern-day aesthetic in a big way: rooms named after cars, retro furnishings, staff clad in boiler suits - all coloured in the hotel's smart signature white and blue.
Once the main garage, the restaurant is now a permanently buzzing Barbados institution. Lined with gilt mirrors and touched with retro flashes, with rows of cool white ceiling fans, it serves skilful cuisine with a Caribbean twang.
Part of the Lone Star restaurant, the bar is a mirror-lined mahogany countertop, frequently propped up by champagne-sipping pre-prandial A-listers.
Animal Flower Caves at St LucyT
The Cave has a coral floor which is estimated to be about 400,000 to 500,000 years old. Whereas the younger coral section above the main floor is about 126,000 years old. This dating was carried out by the German Geological Institute.
The swimming pool is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its depth but looks deceptively shallow.
The smooth floor of the cave worn down by the water and the rubbing action of the coral rocks over time has an undulating formation and the light lends a magical quality to this chamber.
At certain times of the year when they have large sea swells the caverns become filled with water and the entrance acts like a giant blowhole.
Here they run guided tours of the cave manned by local guys who have been working with there for many years. A bunch of real Bajan characters! The tours are not at set times so just go along and enjoy the experience.
Inside the last cave chamber there is a natural rock pool that is around 8ft deep at the lowest point. Absolutely perfect and tranquil, closed off from the rest of the world around you you can be at one with nature. Just you and the sea outside.
Come prepared with your swim suits and towels!
Swimming is sometimes not possible on certain days depending on the heaight and strength of the waves, this is generally during the winter months.
lobster Alive Food & ALL THAT Jazz
Art Taylor, the owner of Lobster Alive, has a small single engine Cherokee aircraft which he flies to the holding tank on Bequia Island. He returns to Barbados with the lobsters dry, just in time, to thier big distribution tank at the restaurant. In season the tank often has 2000 to 3000 pounds of Live Lobster in it – quite a sight to see!
The restaurant initially began as a wholesale distributor for the island’s hotels and restaurants. Cooked takeaway service was added; along with a friendly free beer while you wait. Shortly after that the health inspector demanded we go the whole way or “wholesale only”. This was around 1998.
Long time friend and fellow musician with the local VSOP Jazz band “Stu Jenkins” became the resident artist (designer) and we named the up coming restaurant “LOBSTER ALIVE and all that Jazz”.
From thier own site they say, We felt our way; with many of the usual restaurant mistakes. But it seems now, we have scored quite well with international critics, restaurant guide books; and our many repeat customers.