As the capital of the Bahamas (and subsequently, an utter gem in the global travel scene), Nassau is well-equipped to provide any and every definition of paradise you could fathom. Thrill seekers, beach-nappers, honeymoon couples and summer-break families can all find an abundance of bliss and delight packed into this one island. But, all that said, we’d be remiss not to focus on the food.
Did you know that Nassau has developed a delectable food scene in tandem with its status as a vacation destination? Not many do, but those in the know, know that the best meals aren’t just fried conch on the beach. We can’t do justice to every sumptuous restaurant worth savoring when you visit, but we can highlight a handful of the best restaurants Nassau has to offer.
Nestled in a former century-old library, Café Matisse exudes timeless elegance. Authentic Italian cuisine (with a flair of Bahamian flavor) is the name of the game here, though there is an emphasis placed on innovation — the prix fixe menu changes regularly, resulting in creatively flavorful dishes to accompany the extensive wine list. If you can, snag a table in the outdoor courtyard; the sea-breeze-filled open-air seating just might be the secret ingredient.
Doubtless that you expected excellent seafood on a tropical island in the ocean; doubtful that you expected world-class sushi while visiting Nassau. Renowned master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi has set up the 10th iteration of his shop at Cable Beach, and the results are delectable in every regard — though no doubt the restaurant’s design by the fabled Philippe Starck certainly adds to the meal’s ambiance. Signatures dishes such as yellowtail sashimi and Japanese octopus carpaccio sit side by side with regional exclusives like conch-oyaki, allowing your palate to sample a whole new world of fine seafood, all the while situated within a modern temple of tasteful.
For the aspiring sommeliers and diehard wine aficionados, a dinner reservation at the Graycliff Restaurant is an absolute. While the cuisine at this certified five-star restaurant is certainly enough to cement its status as one of the best restaurants in Nassau, the wine list is what pushes the venue into the realm of “jaw-dropping.” That’s because Graycliff is home to an award-winning wine cellar, boasting over 250,000 decadent bottles to choose from to pair with your meal. Whether you’re savoring the conch chowder, the foie gras with black truffles or a vintage 19th-century bottle, it’ll undoubtedly be a night your taste buds remember.
JOHN WATLING’S DISTILLERY
Connoisseurs of fine spirits will certainly hold the estate of John Watlings in high regard, but in any case, those just seeking to wet their whistle with Bahamian rum will be equally pleased. Housed in the Buena Vista Estate, a self-guided tour of this historic distillery proves to be the perfect activity for working up a thirst for “the Spirit of the Bahamas.” If the tasting wasn’t enough to satiate you, then it might be best if you enjoyed a cocktail at the Red Turtle Tavern — or secured yourself a bottle to bring home from the gift shop.