Grand Cayman may be best known for its crystal clear water, pristine beaches, and lush bluffs, but it’s also becoming the culinary capital of the Caribbean. The island offers many local dishes and traditions, from the boozy Mudslide to the classic conch.
Many restaurants in Cayman embrace the “farm to table” movement. The Brasserie takes it to the next level with its fleet of fishing boats, an onsite garden, and a relationship with local farmers.
Camana Bay Farmers & Artisans Market
The Farmers & Artisans Market at Camana Bay showcases everything grown and made in the Cayman Islands. Every Wednesday, the more than 40 shops and restaurants of Camana Bay are joined by growers and purveyors offering fresh produce, specialty foods, gifts, jewelry, skincare products, crafts, teas, jellies, seasonings, and more.
Mounds of unidentifiable produce like custard apples and sour sop stack up beside heaping piles of breadfruit and callaloo, while vegetable vendors offer a variety of greens not found in your average supermarket. If you’re craving something sweet, various jams, including sea grape and guava, are on hand as homemade soaps and lotions with tropical aromas. You can also indulge your inner art lover by picking up a painting from the talented Shane Aquart or a piece of sculpture and bauble made with polished native Caymanite, a semi-precious stone found only in the islands.
For those who prefer a more hands-on experience, the Market is home to Miss Lizzie Powell, an expert at weaving bags out of thatch palm fronds right before your eyes. The artisan is also known for making traditional hats and woven brooms, and she can even custom-design her creations to suit your taste.
George Town Market
In a world where travel and tourism are a huge part of the economy, Caymanians have managed to keep a sense of local culture. This is very evident in the food that is consumed on the island. The restaurants in Grand Cayman take full advantage of their locale and add a unique flavor to every dish. From the gourmet sea salt created from the saltwater along the coast to hot sauces infused with chili peppers grown locally, you will find a distinct Caymanian touch on your meals.
The island’s farmers and artisans are proud of their heritage and the fact that they offer genuinely local products. Heaps of unidentifiable fruit like custard apples, sour sop, and sea grapes stack up next to vegetables such as callaloo and winged beans. Throughout the island, you can also shop for uniquely Cayman products, from jewelry made with native Caymanite to hand-woven baskets and hats, and paintings.
While you’re at the Market, stop by Rackam’s Bar and Grill (no more than 300 meters/yards from the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal). This shady spot has beautiful views, excellent service, typical Caribbean food, and free Wi-Fi, making it a must for savvy cruisers. Suppose you want to step away from the crowd. In that case, Nautilus is right next door offering underwater tours in a semi-submarine or sailing Catamaran excursions (3 hours) to the world-famous Stingray City.
The dazzling sunsets and spectacular Seven Mile Beach coral reefs may be why visitors flock to Grand Cayman, but our food scene offers much more. Fertile soil, a warm tropical climate, and prolific oceans provide the raw ingredients for our chefs to work with – sourcing local, seasonal produce to create outstanding Caribbean-European cuisine. Whether looking for a wallet-busting, pull-out-all-the-stops tasting menu or a funky fish shack serving fried conch, almost every island restaurant uses farm-to-table practices to make their dishes.
Caymanian-style cooking is heavily influenced by Caribbean, African, Spanish, and British cuisines. But the islands’ cosmopolitan population of more than 140 nationalities also means our restaurants can draw on outside influences to create unique gastronomic experiences. From the sophisticated menu at Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton to the authentic, Caymanian-style seafood at Miss Vivine’s and Heritage Kitchen to the boozy Mudslide blend of vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish cream smothered with cinnamon served up at Grape Tree Cafe, there is a wide range of options for every gastronomic personality.
Be sure to stop by The Wharf, a new retail and entertainment space, for wine and spirits tastings, themed dinners, and live music Friday nights. Pair wines with finger-licking ribs at Bourbon night or indulge in Moet & Chandon champagne specials while watching the world go by on the Waterfront Deck, which features spectacular views of George Town.
While other Caribbean islands may boast specific cuisines, proudly serving local dishes like luscious turtle stew and appetizing conch stew, Grand Cayman is unique in that it embraces the diversity of its people. The island’s 142 different nationalities allow residents to offer authentic foods from far-reaching corners of the globe. The products you’ll find at GTYC are a perfect example of this, with their menu appealing to all tastes, from the freshest fish and seafood dishes, including the renowned conch ceviche and lobster, to the delicious flame-grilled lobster skewers. They also serve lunchtime favorites such as the succulent pulled pork sandwich, and for those with lighter palates, the local tomato and mozzarella salad is a must-try.
With so many options, it’s no wonder the Cayman Islands have earned the title of the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. The fertile soil, warm tropical climate, and abundant oceans provide chefs with great ingredients from which they create delectable dishes. From internationally acclaimed signature restaurants to small, intimate dinners, there are countless ways for the foodie in you to discover the cuisine of this beautiful island.
Whether you prefer casual or fine dining, the chefs here take the time to listen to their customers and provide them with a truly unique culinary experience. Their passion for quality has not gone unnoticed, with the Cayman Islands being home to several prestigious culinary awards.