Tropical Tastemakers: Bahamas for Foodies

What’s cooking in Nassau? Island epicures serve up Bahamian favorites with modish flair—and welcome new additions to the menu.

Craving a taste of epicurean Bahamas? For most people, what comes to mind is fresh conch salad and fruity rum drinks. And while pink-shelled conch is still a Bahamian delicacy and the Goombay Smashes are as colorful as ever, more sophisticated eats have made their way onto menus around New Providence Island.

When it comes to the Bahamas for foodies, progress in Nassau’s food-and-wine scene warrants a quick tropical getaway to savor for yourself.

Tropical drinks at Graycliff Hotel. Courtesy of Graycliff Hotel

Lionfish

Floridians know as well as Bahamians the destruction caused by the invasive lionfish, an eye-catching species native to Asia that made its way into Atlantic waters via personal aquariums.

With no natural predators, the lionfish population proliferated and quickly ascended the food chain, disturbing the delicate balance of our ocean’s ecosystem. Spearing these reef-killers is encouraged, but Michelin-starred chef José Andrés conceived a more creative way to do his part.

Enter Fish, a fine-dining affair where patrons can order a whole fried lionfish for dinner. A portion of the sale of each dish supports Blue Project Foundation, an organization dedicated to saving marine species and their habitats in Bahamian waters.

Fried lionfish at Fish at The Cove. Courtesy of Atlantis, Paradise Island

Bahama Barrels

A hallmark of Bahamian elegance and home to renowned cigars, Graycliff Hotel is a long-standing favorite of the jet set, including celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Further augmenting this allure, the property recently debuted the first winery in the Bahamas.

At Bahama Barrels, visitors have a chance to create their own blend of wines from around the world. Wannabe vintners can taste, mix, bottle, and name their one-of-a-kind souvenir from Nassau.

Unsure about your sommelier skills? Jason Fernandez, winemaker at Bahama Barrels, offers a sage piece of advice: “Keep blending until you’re happy. People are usually pretty happy by their third blend.”

Best of all, the take-home bottles are recycled from the third largest private wine collection in the world, a passion project of Graycliff owner Enrico Garzaroli. The $20 million collection is housed in a cellar beneath the restaurant and consists of more than 275,000 bottles. To round out your wine-blending experience, book a private dinner in the cellar ($1,000, excluding food and beverage) with up to 18 of your closest friends.

Wine blending at Bahama Barrels. Courtesy of Graycliff Hotel

Sip Sip

In late 2017, Atlantis welcomed an outpost of the popular Harbour Island hot spot Sip Sip, now sandwiched between Paradise Beach and The Cove’s Vegas-esque pool.

Like its founding restaurant, Sip Sip at The Cove proffers Caribbean-inspired dishes made from locally sourced seasonal ingredients, aligning with the restaurant’s commitment to supporting area fishermen and farmers.

Choose a sandy-toed seat with an unobstructed view of Nassau’s rainbow of blue hues and order from a menu of flavorful seafood. The grouper Reuben and spicy conch chili are memorable, but Sip Sip’s legendary lobster quesadilla still reigns supreme.

Lobster quesadilla at Sip Sip. Courtesy of Atlantis, Paradise Island

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