They’re the kinds of meals you savor. Not just when you’re finishing dessert, but months and years in advance.
This is the experience diners are seeking when they come to any strong culinary destination, and, thankfully, the Caribbean is full of them.
Whether you’re in a seaside food stall or a Michelin-level fine-dining destination, the Caribbean is filled with world-class culinary experiences, a reminder that this remarkable part of the world is a full-fledged global gastronomic destination.
It’s hard to believe, but this year marks the 10th anniversary of Caribbean Journal’s groundbreaking list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the Caribbean, a list that is still the authority, that is still without peer: our on-the-ground, exhaustively-experienced guide to the most memorable places to eat in the Caribbean. What hasn’t changed in 10 years is our loyalty to our three pillars: Food, Service and Ambience, the essential ingredients to any great restaurant.
These are the fundaments of an unforgettable meal — the kind that stay with you long past dessert.
Congratulations to all of this year’s selections!
#1 Brass Boer, Bonaire The Caribbean leader remains in the top spot. This Bonaire classic, the Caribbean outpost of three-Michelin-star Chefs Johnny and Therese Boer (the team behind Holland’s De Librije, has created the Caribbean’s true destination eatery, with a level of culinary artistry the region has not seen before, all in a setting at the ocean’s edge at the Delfins Beach Resort.
#1 Le Pressoir, St Martin For the first time in the history of the 50 best restaurants in the Caribbean, we have a tie for the number one spot. The remarkable Le Pressoir, long the flagship restaurant in Grand Case, has returned to the top slot with its marvelous mix of culinary mastery, delicious French Caribbean ambience, a magnificent rum pairing experience and outstanding, ultra-attentive service.
Graycliff, Nassau, The Bahamas It was the first five-star restaurant in the Caribbean when it debuted a half-century ago, and it’s still the epitome of fine dining in the region. Set in a three-hundred-year-old estate in the hills above historic downtown Nassau, Enrico Garzaroli’s legendary eatery remains as memorable a meal as you’ll have anywhere on earth, with exquisitely-sourced French, Italian and Bahamian food, the best service of any restaurant in the region and a truly timeless atmosphere.
Sheer Rocks, Antigua There’s no more breathtaking culinary setting in the Caribbean than Sheer Rocks, perched above Ffryes Beach. It’s a scene straight out of the Amalfi Coast or the Cote D’Azur, with superb tapas-style food helmed by one of the Caribbean’s top young chefs, Jamal Warner.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, St Barth The world of Joël Robuchon has come to the Caribbean for the first time, and it’s delivered, with a world-class tasting experience in a buzzy two-level space just across from Gustavia Harbour. It’s not just fantastic, it’s one of the best Robuchon outposts anywhere.
Screaming Eagle, Aruba Screaming Eagle continues to be the flagship restaurant in Aruba, with some of the best sourcing anywhere in the region and a magnificent wine list, all steps from Eagle Beach in a hip, lounge-style eatery.
CHEFS, Bonaire There are just a few seatings a week here, and it’s only open for dinner. More a journey than just a dinner, it’s the brainchild of best friends Han ten Winkel and Mark Tromop, who have created one of the most unique gastronomic experiences in the Caribbean in a tucked-away setting at the Bamboo Bonaire resort.
Blue by Eric Ripert, Grand Cayman If you’ve been to Le Bernardin, you’ll instantly recognize the menu at this bucket-list dining journey at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, where Ripert has taken his infinite culinary talent to the canvas that is the Caribbean. The result is an extraordinary dinner — every time you’re here.
Le Petibonum, Martinique You simply can’t come to Martinque and not enjoy a meal at this Le Carbet hotspot, helmed by former Caribbean Chef of the Year Guy Ferdinand. For lunch or dinner, Ferdinand will welcome you to his beach and give you a truly unforgettable meal. Just make sure you try the foie gras with banana. Even more remarkable is the restaurant’s quick comeback from a devastating fire earlier this year.
Fish by Jose Andres, Nassau, The Bahamas The signature restaurant at Atlantis Paradise Island, Jose Andres’ Bahamian outpost lives up to the hype and then some, with some truly spectacular seafood (the deep-fried lionfish is unforgettable) in a grand, fun, energetic space at The Cove.
Orlando’s, Saint Lucia Perhaps the world’s premier ambassador for Caribbean cuisine, this Soufriere stalwart serves up the eponymous Orlando Satchell’s gastronomic masterpieces, with a constantly changing, inspired menu that’s an example for the whole region.
Blue 11, St Thomas Chef David Benjamin aka “Chef Benji” has cultivated the US Virgin Islands’ new destination restaurant, with a sustainability-focused tasting menu that’s become the hottest table in the USVI — and an inspired amalgam of global classics and local flavors in a stunning setting at the Yacht Haven Grande Marina.
Savant, St Croix You feel it the moment you walk in and see the torches’ flames; this is somewhere special. And that’s exactly what Savant is, a place where the menu is different every day, the service is excellent and the only thing that’s really constant is that you’ll leave with the memory of one of your favorite meals in the Caribbean.
Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab, St Barth St Barth’s coolest restaurant, set in the heart of historic Gustavia, offers a slate of endlessly creative, marvelously sourced Asian street food. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also home to the largest collection of both rum and bourbon of any establishment in the entire Caribbean.
Sugar Mill, Jamaica It’s the most enchanting meal you can have in Jamaica, a magical corner of the Half Moon resort with the soundtrack of tree frogs and a culinary tour de force — just make sure you have the jerk short ribs.
Amis, St Barth The centerpiece of St Barth’s top resort, Le Barthelemy, is a French Caribbean-meets-the Mediterranean eatery, with stunning décor and a jaw-dropping setting perched right above the Grand Cul de Sac sand.
Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House, Nassau, The Bahamas Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s first-ever restaurant in the Caribbean is a hit, with a beachside Baha Mar location serving Samuelsson favorites like cornbread and Fried Yard Bird and new island-inspired takes like jerk roasted cauliflower and grilled whole snapper.
Bistrot Caraibes, St Martin There’s no more delicious street in the Caribbean than Grand Case Boulevard, and Bistrot Caraibes continues to be right at the top, with a quintessential French Caribbean offering and a terrific wine program, too.
Serendipity, St Kitts Alexander James and Pauline Horton’s Serendipity is the essence of St Kitts: warm, inviting and charming, with a deliciously diverse menu of local seafood and eclectic accompaniments like panko-breaded brie and Caribbean bouillabaisse.
Flying Fish Gastrobar, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas Chef Tim Tibbitts almost single-handedly turned Grand Bahama into a culinary destination when he first opened Flying Fish, and it’s still the island’s destination restaurant. That means a high-style take on comfort food, from “pizza monkey bread” to the Caribbean’s best burgers and traditional Spanish boquerones – the range is that broad. And Tim’s wife Rebecca, one of the premier sommeliers in The Bahamas, has cultivated a diverse, thoughtful wine list to boot.
Mango, Nevis The oceanside eatery at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis has the best views on the island, and an extraordinary take on West Indian favorites, married with the mixlolgical genius of Kendie Williams. And did we mention the Volcano Curry?
Parallel 23, Turks and Caicos On an island beloved by foodies, this is the centerpiece, a romantic, beautiful eatery at the center of the Palms resort, with an inspired continental menu and an even better wine list.
Too Chez, St Croix, USVI The Kendrick family have been the culinary standard-bearers in St Croix for decades, from Jane and Dave Kendrick’s extraordinary (and now sadly closed Uptown Eatery) to their son’s new Too Chez, which marries simple, elegant fare with a dreamy courtyard in the middle of historic Christiansted.
Nobu Barbuda It isn’t the first Nobu in the Caribbean, but there’s no other Nobu like it in the world: set right on the impossibly white sand in Barbuda, equal parts sushi bar and beach club, with breathtakingly good seafood in a jet-set, breezy setting. It’s part of the in-development Nobu Beach Inn, the brand’s first Caribbean hotel.
Scotchie’s, Jamaica A Mecca for Jerk, this Montego Bay classic is worth the trip alone. The formula is simple: order your jerk pork, chicken or fish (or even sausuage), pay at the “cash.air,” and then watch the maestros of jerk cook your food on their pimento-wood grill and give it to you in aluminum foil. The rest is history.
Roxxy Beach, St Maarten This isn’t just the best beach bar in St Maarten (and among the Caribbean’s best) — it’s also the best place to eat in St Maarten, too. The food is South of France-meets-Asian fusion, from Peking Duck to local snapper to out-of-this-world sushi, all set right on the sand in Simpson Bay.
The Landing, Harbour Island, The Bahamas It’s one of the first things you see when you reach Dunmore Town by ferry from North Eleuthera, and it’s one of the first places you should go: this legendary, venerable, unforgettable hotel-restaurant will take you to another place and time. Period.
The Cliff at Cap, Saint Lucia It’s hard to imagine a more romantic place to eat than this eatery perched above the cliffs at the Cap Maison hotel on Saint Lucia’s northern tip, where Chef Craig Jones keeps churning out world-class food that’s endlessly faithful to its surroundings.
Boase Culinary Beach Restaurant The premier place to eat in Curacao, Chef Rene Klop’s toes-in-the-sand restaurant at the Boase Luxury Resort is an impossibly romantic, wonderfully intimate international restaurant with the island’s best sourcing.
Cafe Boulud Bahamas Yes, this is actually Daniel Boulud’s first restaurant in the Caribbean, but the new outpost at the Rosewood Baha Mar delivers the goods, with Boulud’s signature cocktail of unsurpassed elegance, exacting culinary skill and the wine list to match.
Sky’s the Limit, St Martin If you’re in the culinary capital of the Caribbean, you simply must enjoy a meal at the famous Lolos, the beachside food stalls featuring just plain splendid creole specialties, and Sky’s the Limit remains the signature experience.
Rhodes Restaurant at Calabash, Grenada Grenada is quickly finding itself on the Caribbean culinary map, and the namesake eatery of the late Gary Rhodes has long been the island’s premier place to eat, with Grenadian and international favorites in a charming setting just a stroll from the sand.
Pushcart, Negril, Jamaica There’s just something ethereal about this water’s edge eatery at the Rockhouse hotel in Negril. Maybe it’s the cliffs, maybe it’s the music, or maybe it’s the truly outstanding, authentic Jamaican food — including some of the best seafood in all of the Caribbean.
Le Zandoli, Martinique It was always one of Martinique’s quintessential restaurants, but Nicholas Magie has taken things to another level at this Trois-Ilets eatery at the La Suite Villa art hotel, where the decor is as stunning as the panoramic views of the town and the bay of Fort de France.
Rokuni, Antigua You can guarantee that any restaurant by Antigua’s Rocks Group will be a hit, and that’s precisely the case with the new Rokuni, the new Asian eatery from the team behind Antigua’s Sheer Rocks at the Nonsuch Bay Resort, where Nepalese Chef Rana Magar helms a fusion restaurant that, in true Rocks Group fashion, is as much of a daytime hotspot as it is at night, from the dim sum to the rosé.
3 Palms, St Thomas, USVI Still a bit of a secret despite its close proximity to the main thoroughfare in Red Hook, 3 Palms, which bills itself as a bistro, bar and balcony, is just plain terrific, with the marvelous service and extraordinarily good seafood.
Mario Pagan Restaurant, Puerto Rico On an island of many great chefs, no one’s star is brighter than Mario Pagan, who is expanding his culinary empire across Puerto Rico, including at the new District T-Mobile. But it’s his eponymous eatery that shines above the rest, with a mix of continental favorites and gourmet spins on Puerto Rican favorites.
Veya, Anguilla On a tiny island blessed with more than 100 restaurants, Veya is right at the top, with just spectacular international-Anguillian fusions from jerk tuna to Korean BBQ pork and citrus-garlic red snapper – all in an impossibly romantic treehouse-style setting.
Le Cottage, St Martin Another Grand Case essential, Le Cottage is warm and understated, but the food isn’t. Chef David Hanquer, who honed his skills at the three-star Le Pre Catelan in Paris, serves up an array of creative, surprising and spectacular dishes: think a tasting of escargots; lobster cream soup in puff pastry and foie gras with mango and pineapple chutney.
La Playa, Marie Galante, Guadeloupe It’s not easy to get to the rum-soaked island of Marie Galante, but if you can make the journey you’ll find the exemplary La Playa, a seafood haven steps from the beach that’s as adept with a ti’ punch plate as it is with a Guadeloupean lobster.
Straw Hat, Anguilla Meads Bay’s preeminent place to eat is also Anguilla’s best beachfront restaurant, with a creative, clever and wonderfully playful menu featuring everything from curry goat to Anguilla’s famous crayfish.
Ocean82, St Martin Another Grand Case stunner, this eatery perched above the sand and led by Chef Frank Vuillemin, is mostly about two things: seafood and pasta, and both are done exceptionally well.
Tamarin, St Barth Make the drive out to the salt pond of St Barth and you’ll be rewarded with Chef Jérôme Lebeau’s impeccable eatery, equal parts artful and playful, in a leafy, enchanting setting in Saline.
Le Tropicana, Marigot, St Martin Hidden away in St Martin’s Marine Royale is this French Caribbean standout at the water’s edge, where the emphasis isn’t on flash or pomp, just on exquisitely prepared food, including arguably the best foie gras on the island.
Catherine’s Cafe, Antigua Arguably the Caribbean’s hottest Sunday brunch spot, this Antigua favorite is the essence of the gourmet beach bar, with exotic seafood, beautifully-sourced charcuterie and caviar and outstanding seafood. (Don’t forget a bottle of Domaine Ott or two).
Marguerite’s, Montego Bay, Jamaica For more than four decades, Marguerite’s has set the seafood standard in Montego Bay, with an impressive mix of European classics and Jamaican seafood, paired with one of the island’s greatest wine lists. The biggest star, though, is still the view.
Le Bistro, Antigua It’s been around since 1981, a place that started as Antigua’s first authentic French restaurant and is now a full-fledged culinary destination. But what stands out here is the charm; something about this garden setting and warmth makes for an always-magical meal, under the careful stewardship of Chef Patrick Gauducheau.
The Terrace, St John, USVI It’s hard to shine in the increasingly competitive culinary world in St John, but The Terrace manages to rise above the rest, with Chef Erica Miner’s fabulous French-focused food in a lovely perch above downtown Cruz Bay.
QP Bistro, Barbados Barbados’ newest fine-dining eatery is also it’s buzziest, the first-ever Caribbean restaurant by the multiple-Michelin-starred Italian Chef Antonio Mellino set in the former Cliff site on the Platinum Coast.
Oceana, St Thomas, USVI Part of an increasingly outstanding culinary scene in the US Virgin Islands, Oceana, housed in a 200-year-old building on a 350-year-old estate, is only open for dinner, with a simple but spectacular menu ranging from five-spice duck breast to fennel-dusted local tuna.