nassau graycliff safe tourism
The historic Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant in Nassau.
Eat & Play

The Bahamas’ Legendary Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant Just Made History Again

By: Alexander Britell - April 9, 2024

NASSAU — For more than a half century, Nassau’s Graycliff has been the premier restaurant in the Caribbean (and the home of the region’s largest wine and spirits collection).

More than that, it has set the standard for food and beverage in the Caribbean, under the stewardship of the Garzaroli family and its unwavering commitment to gastronomy.

On Tuesday, Graycliff received another singular honor in the Caribbean — the first-ever Blue Plaque from the government of the United Kingdom, honoring that very gastronomic excellence.

UK High Commissioner to The Bahamas Tom Hartley and Graycliff owners Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli.

UK High Commissioner to The Bahamas Tom Hartley presented Graycliff proprietors Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli with the plaque in a classic English garden party-style setting at the Nassau hotel on Tuesday, accompanied by an impressive selection of British wine, spirits and cheeses (and, naturally, scones with clotted cream and jam).

It was British food and wine that was essential to the plaque, in large part due to Graycliff’s position as the first restaurant in the country and the wider region — to permanently feature English wines and sparkling wines (like the marvelous Gusbourne), part of an almost impossibly long list of wines and spirits at the property — one that numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

plaque presentation in nassau bahamas
Hartley; Roberta, Anna Maria and Enrico Garzaroli; and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board CEO Joy Jibrliu.

The plaque celebrates how Graycliff’s “passion for fine wines and spirits has not only enriched the Bahamian community but also helped strengthen the ties” between The Bahamas and the United Kingdom.

It’s not just the first time the UK government has awarded a Blue Plaque in the Caribbean – but anywhere in the world, modeled on the longtime tradition of adorning blue plaques on buildings of import in London.

“In my pursuit of bringing Britain and The Bahamas closer together through food and beverage, we could not have found a better partner than Graycliff, with an award-winning wine cellar, one of the best in the world, and with some of the world’s best gins and whiskies, also from Britain.”

“Graycliff,” he said. “Have set themselves apart for the quality of their products, for their discerning clientele, and their commitment to excellent service and staff training. There is no more fitting venue in The Bahamas to receive the High Commission’s first-ever Blue Plaque Award, the first Blue Plaque Award anywhere in the world.”

It’s not the first time that Graycliff has found its way into UK history, however.

The property has a deep and lasting connection to the United Kingdom; Sir Winston Churchill is said to have visited the property several times in the first half of the 20th century when it was a private home; and in the late 1960s it played host to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, when its residents were Lord and Lady Dudley, The Third Earl of Staffordshire.

More broadly, the accolade is another endorsement of the booming food scene in Nassau and Paradise Island, a destination whose culinary might has only been growing in recent years.

“I think it speaks to the greater offerings that we have from a culinary standpoint in that we are definitely recognized as the culinary powerhouse in this region,” said Joy Jibrilu, CEO of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board. “Whether you’re looking for the top international restaurants, international cuisine by global chefs or the best Bahamian chefs, it’s the perfect mix.”

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