This is the second installment of Barbados Naked series. Read Part 1 here.
Food and Cooking Barbados style
You can eat well on the island – some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean are along the West Coast but you really should venture out from the tourist areas if you want to really ‘taste’ Barbados.
Local food also has its own strong tradition in Barbados, and this can be interesting to experience. Most hotels have a weekly buffet of local food, which gives a taster. Barbadian food is quite hearty, with stews accompanied by rice ‘n’ peas or hefty vegetables such as plantain or sweet potato.
Being an island there are of course plenty of fish dishes, but a favorite is flying fish, which is served steamed in a tasty but light onion and tomato based sauce on coo-coo (not unlike polenta, made from cornmeal and okra) or the fish is seasoned with Bajan Seasoning (a blend of spring onions, thyme, marjoram, onions, garlic, black pepper, spices and salt, which you can buy in any local supermarket) and then dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and pan fried. A flying fish cutter (local saltbread roll with salad) is very popular, and is usually enhanced by a dash of the local yellow pepper sauce.Black pudding and souse, a local delicacy, is very much a special treat in Barbados.
The black pudding is a blood sausage with sweet potato and herbs and the accompanying souse is pickled pig’s head and trotters (thankfully, many places substitute this with more traditional cuts of pork) with cucumber and breadfruit. Such local fare is most often found at street festivals, rum shops, and on occasions even at fresh food counters at supermarkets. A well-loved late evening out is Baxter’s Road in Bridgetown, where you can get a fish or seasoned chicken fried on a brazier served with macaroni pie, grilled corn or other vegetables, such as coleslaw. Over recent years, the spot for local food has become the Fish Fry at Oistins, a fishing village on the South Coast, which sees a nice mix of locals and visitors and makes a fun and cheap early evening out. In fact there are a number of places with a Friday night fish fry. At Six Men’s Bay in the north of the island you can go along to the fish fry with a bottle of wine and cutlery provided by the Fish Pot Restaurant.
True to form, the restaurants along the West Coast of Barbados are smart, quality and expensive. You can eat well there, putting paid to the Caribbean’s traditional image of ‘burger-tory’. The West Coast restaurants also have excellent settings, either on the cliffs or directly onto the sand and the ocean. There are some good growers on the island, producing local salads and herbs as well as normal tropical produce.
Unfeasibly, chefs in Barbados can get fresh ingredients from the States and Europe, delivered on a weekly cargo plane. And the fishermen in Barbados actually carry mobile phones and phone back their catch, which enables the restaurateurs to plan their specials menus properly. The south coast also has some good places to eat, along with a whole string of less expensive bars where you can get a reasonable meal.
While VAT will be included in the price of your meal, restaurants have different policies about service charge. Sometime it is written on the menu, but you may want to check whether service has already been included in your bill.
What follows is personal gastronomic trip. You can follow it or you can select your own places to visit, I know that selecting restaurants can be a personal issue but my recommendations are there for you to try.
Cafe Indigo, Holetown, t 432 0968
Located upstairs with traditional wooden floors and jalousie shutters. Relaxed atmosphere for breakfast or lunch.
Calabaza, Prospect, t 424 4557
Classic cliffside setting on the West Coast, top notch cuisine in an eclectic mix, run by the amiable Peter ‘Huggie’ Harris.
The Cliff, Derricks, t 432 1922
Ever-fashionable, exquisite setting on cliffs overlooking a tiny cove, consistently good, top quality cuisine, an excellent elegant evening out.
Cocomos, Holetown, t 432 0134
Popular beach front bistro and meeting place, simple fare, burgers, salads and fish platters. See a Review of visiting Cocomos with Children.
Daphne’s, PaynesBay, t 432 2731
Elegant wooden veranda looking over flaming torches to the beach, refined Italian cuisine adapted to the Caribbean.
The Fish Pot, Little GoodHarbour, t 439 2604
Charming setting in an old fort right and on a wooden deck right above the sand, excellent lunch or evening out, well worth the drive beyond Speightstown.
Fisherman’s Pub, Speightstown
Very local waterfront bar and restaurant in Speightstown, chicken and fish (it’s next to the fish market).
La Mer, Port St Charles, t 419 2000
Classic waterfront setting on the limpid waters of Port St Charles, elegant dining, refined continental cuisine, famous for its Sunday brunch in season.
Lone Star Restaurant, Mount Standfast, t 432 1099
Superb Caribbean setting, on a wooden deck just above the waves, tastes from around the world. See a Review of visiting the Lone Star with Children.
Intimate, atmospheric setting on a deck hung with palms above the beach. Good Caribbean and international fare of mostly fresh fish and seafood – their grilled lobster is a popular choice. Art gallery featuring the work of Michael Adams and Terence Piggot.
The Mews, Holetown, t 432 1122
Popular for dinner and for its bar, international menu with lots of fish. Live music every Friday.
Olives Bar & Bistro, Holetown, t 432 2112
Classic townhouse setting, bar upstairs, Mediterranean cuisine with spicy Caribbean flavors.
Patisserie Bistro Flindt, Holetown, t 432 2626
Excellent array of deserts and light fare for breakfast (full English breakfast Sat & Sun), lunch and dinner. Open for dinner Mon-Fri only.
For pizzas and simple meals, with kids play area. Will deliver. See a Review of visiting Pizzaz with Children.
Ragamuffins, Holetown, t 432 1295
Brightly painted local house, fun bar, trusty Caribbean fare.
Sassafras, Sugar Hill Resort, t 419 9100
Eclectic international fare, with great views from a gingerbread veranda with pool side setting.
The Tides, Holetown, t 432 8356
A recent success on the West Coast, superb setting right on the beach, high quality cuisine, Caribbean with an Asian touch. Art gallery.
It is also worth noting that most of the villas in Barbados have their own cooks and they are always delighted to introduce you to local food.
Aqua Restaurant and Lounge, Hastings Main Road, ChristChurch t 420 2995 or 228 0891,
Stylish dining right on the south coast in a sleek-looking shorefront building of contemporary design. Upstairs is for pure dining, whilst downstairs the bar and lounge (open until late) is also a popular meeting spot where you can simply sit and enjoy a drink or a selection of starters. The service and food is top class, with an eclectic menu to cater to a variety of tastes which the chef calls “modern Caribbean food with International flavours”. Open for lunch (Sun-Fri) and dinner.
Bean n Bagel Internet Cafe, St Lawrence Gap
Popular for its all day breakfasts.
Bellini’s Trattoria, St Lawrence Gap, t 435 7246
Italian fare, fresh pasta made daily and a selection of seafood, overlooking the bay.
Brown Sugar, Aquatic Gap t 426 7684/436 7069
Traditional Bajan fare with popular lunch time buffet, famous for its pepperpot.
Bubba’s Sports Bar, Rockley, t 435 8731
Air-conditioned, serving American style food, at reasonable prices. Popular with families.
Cafe Sol, St Lawrence Gap, t 432 9531
Very lively early evening bar, then restaurant serving Mexican fare, burritos, taquitos with Latin music.
Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant, Skeetes Hill, Rockley, ChristChurch, t 434 3463.
An immensely popular restaurant, even more so in its new cliff-top setting with fabulous coastal views. The downstairs dining area extends out to open-air dining terraces and a large gazebo set along the seafront, whilst upstairs has covered dining gallery. International cuisine with Caribbean influence of a consistently good standard. Dedicated art gallery. WiFi available. Internet café. Open for lunch and dinner.
Carib Beach Bar, Worthing, t 435 8540
Simple but trusty fare, fritters, burgers and fish platters, on a deck right above the sand of Sandy Beach.
Josef’s, St Lawrence Gap, t 435 8245
Elegant dining in a former private home on the waterfront, tastes garnered from around the world.
Oistins Fish Market
Easy evening hangout for a fish platter, or fritters and a beer. See a Review of a visit to Oistins Fish Fry with Children.
Opa!, Hastings, t 435 1234
Traditional Greek cuisine in a relaxed ocean front setting.
Patisserie Bistro Flindt, Rockley, t 435 2600
Excellent array of deserts and light fare for breakfast (full English breakfast Tue-Fri), and lunch.
Pisces, St Lawrence Gap, t 435 6564
Ever-popular restaurant right on the waterfront in St Lawrence Gap, endless fish dishes.
Restaurant at Southsea, St Lawrence Gap, t 420 7423
Elegant dining on a veranda right above the sea, long, excellent menu.
Lobster Alive, Bay Street, t 435 0305
Fresh Grenadine spiny lobster and selection of seafood dishes. Beach front setting with umbrellas and lounges available.
The Waterfront Cafe, BridgetownMarina, t 427 0093
Popular café on the marina serving Caribbean cuisine. Live jazz every evening apart from Tues when it’s Steel Pan night.
Wispers on the Bay, Old Bayshore Complex, Bay Street, Bridgetown, t 435 9486.
A sophisticated beachfront restaurant overlooking a sweep of stunning white sand and Carlisle Bay in Bridgetown. There is an air-conditioned indoor dining area with walls of glass, white muslin drapes and table cloths, but you can also dine outside on the deck under canvas or one of their romantic cabanas tucked amongst the palms. First class international cuisine with some Caribbean influences, an a la carte menu for lunch and a fixed price menu for dinner. Open for lunch 11am-3pm and dinner 6pm-9.30pm. Reservations required.
The Atlantis, St Joseph, t 433 9445
Opened in 1884, famous for its Sunday Bajan Buffet lunch.
So with that lot to keep you busy I’d expect you to come home a couple of pounds heavier! Well yo will be on holiday and if you can’t indulge while on holiday we might as well all give up now!
Go to VIPvillas.com for a free in-depth report on restaurants on the island along with excursions and things to see and do.
Andy Parr is a respected travel professional who specializes in internet marketing.
Article Source: www.definitivecaribbean.com