The Cayman Islands have a reputation for being good with money — but life on the island is as much about the big blue as the green.
This three-island archipelago was uninhabited until the 16th century but is now a world-class hotspot for diving thanks to crystal clear waters, the depths of the Cayman Trough and wildlife wonders at the Stingray City sandbars.
Visitors come with an appetite for adventure, but Grand Cayman’s growing reputation as the culinary capital of the Caribbean means they can find something for their taste buds too. An abundance of seafood, a diverse international community and the support of multi-Michelin-starred chefs have helped to foster a blossoming food culture. From Mudslide cocktails to turtle steak, here’s how to get a proper taste of the Cayman Islands.
Eric Ripert isn’t just the biggest name in the Cayman restaurant scene — he’s also one of the most influential chefs in the world. The man behind New York’s three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin is also chef patron of Blue at Grand Cayman’s Ritz-Carlton, where guests can enjoy tasting menus featuring “tuna-foie gras” and langoustines with sake butter. For another chef-led experience, head to Avecita at the Kimpton Seafire for a seat at the Chef’s Counter and watch Massimo De Francesca’s team prepare a five-course tasting menu for just 10 diners.
For authentic Cayman cooking you need to hit the beach and try the fish fry restaurants. The pastel beach shack Heritage Kitchen is an Instagram magnet, but the food tastes as good as it looks — Cayman-style wahoo with spiced pepper sauce is a thrill. Nearby Alfresco offers ocean views from its terrace and a Cajun-spiced, blackened red snapper that is cooked to perfection on its barbecue. Cocktail connoisseurs should make a pilgrimage to Rum Point Club’s Wreck Bar — it’s said to be the birthplace of the Mudslide, a vodka-fuelled coffee cocktail which goes down smoothly in the palm tree shade.
Keep it eco
Sustainability is a big concern in restaurants the world over, and the Cayman Islands are no exception. At farm-to-table frontrunner The Brasserie, the menu consists almost entirely of produce grown on its own land — from coconuts and kohlrabi, to wild raw honey and eggs laid by their own chickens. Those looking to ditch dairy should head to Vivo, a cafe championing vegan eating with coconut bacon and chickpea omelettes. For a health kick, pop into Jessie’s Juice, where smoothies are made from locally sourced ingredients, all served in minimal, eco-friendly packaging.
Seafood is what the Cayman Islands do best, and first-class fish is the trademark of many of their best restaurants. One that does it notably well is The Cracked Conch. This waterside restaurant serves its namesake fried with fennel and curried tartare sauce, alongside locally caught fish dishes. Head to the Lobster Pot for Caribbean lobster tail served with plantain.
The Cayman Islands have a tiny population of just over 60,000 people — but among them you’ll find more than 110 nationalities. The restaurant scene is almost as diverse. At Italian-influenced Agua, pasta dishes sit on the menu alongside Peruvian-inspired ceviches. Beachside hotspot Coccoloba serves Mexican street food made with local ingredients — think elote grilled corn salads and mahi-mahi fish tacos. For pan-Asian flavours, Mizu offers a varied menu — from Singapore noodles to delectable dim sum — at its ocean-view teppanyaki table.
Go big at brunch
Brunch is a big deal in the islands. Anchor & Den is one of the most popular spots for weekend feasting, boasting a buffet of mind-boggling proportions — sushi, oysters, charcuterie and made-to-order crepes are just some of the dishes on offer. Luca puts an Italian spin on brunch — a pasta station allows you to design your perfect plate, while bottomless prosecco is in full flow. Ave — the sister restaurant to aforementioned Avecita — offers a bountiful spread, complete with sea view and craft cocktails.
Shake up your restaurant routine by heading to the annual Cayman Cookout. Eric Ripert hosts the five-day culinary celebration, which sees world-class chefs — including London’s Clare Smyth — jet in for special events. Throughout the rest of the year, foodies can take the Flavour Tour at Camana Bay, which allows diners to eat in a different restaurant for every course. Keen cooks should take a trip to the Cayman Farmers’ Market, where they can discover organic growers and artisan food producers.
Details: Cayman Islands
British Airways flies from LHR to Owen Roberts International airport, starting at £548. britishairways.com