Grand Cayman dining
I am from Cayman.... here are some of the local favourites.
Fine Dining - The Brasserie. Exceptional food, great wine list, charming atmosphere. Google search or ask your concierge how to get there. Not on the beach. www.brasseriecayman.com
Vivine's Kitchen in East End - Similar vibe to Roland's Garden but all Local food. We always take visiting foodies up there, both for the drive along the coast and the delicous food. You are served in the Vivine's back yard and she only makes a couple things a day.
I think Calypso grill isn't as good as it once was BUT right next door is Morgan's Harbor. Very simply prepared food with a great atmosphere. This is the ONLY place that my father will eat fish that he hasn't prepared. It is fresh, fresh, fresh! And the Chef is very willing to accommodate any requests. Only down fall, they don't have a great wine list, but very yummy margaritas.
Sunset House is a local bar with a great atmosphere and solid food. I LOVE the blackened dolphin (mahi mahi) sandwich there. Great place to spend the whole day staring at the water, playing some dominoes - there is a dive shop on site if you scuba dive.
Welly's has been mentioned a couple times - very local - very good. I even had them cater my wedding which was a pretty formal affair.
Stop at any gas station for a beef patty and some ting!
The restaurants at the RItz are good. My dinners there have ranged between excellent to passable. Good place to celebrate an occassion.
Chowhound is definitely lacking information on chow in Grand Cayman, so here is a detailed report on my dining experience there a few weeks ago...
Eats Cafe - I only went to Eats for breakfast, but it's definitely the most reasonable restaurant you'll find in the 7mi beach area. Food and service were very good.
Decker's - This was my LEAST favorite restaurant. My coconut shrimp w/salad consisted of 3 small shrimp and a dash of greens, and cost US$18! The nut-crusted fish entree took about an hour to arrive, was lukewarm, and crusted with herbs instead. Service was terrible, and, although our server apologized a no. of times for the delay, she still took forever to serve us anything, including the bill. The band that plays Wed-Sat plays what seems like a step above elevator music.
Reef Grille at Royal Palms Resort - I thought this restaurant was very good, and service was great. I loved the conch fritters and nut-crusted fish, and, although my boyfriend's sides were oversalted, they quickly exchanged it for him, and came back later to make sure he was content. The beach bar at the back is EXCELLENT. I enjoyed the live soca band that plays Thurs-Sat.
Calypso Grill - The fish is definitely better than the lobster at this restaurant. However, the highlight of the meal was certainly the sticky toffee pudding. Very sweet, but the best dessert I've had in a long time. Service was very good.
Roland's Garden - Per another reviewer's suggestion, my boyfriend and I dined at Roland's Garden, definitely an experience we won't forget. As the other reviewer said, Roland is a famous chef who, tired of red tape, decided to start cooking dinners out of his own backyard, a very Midsummer Night's dream-esque "garden", hidden from passerbys except at night, when glow from the candles that light backyard are visible. Roland doesn't offer a menu nor does he take suggestions, but he's very sweet and funny, and prepares and serves all your food. Diners pay what they feel he deserves. The entree he served was oversalted, but I'm very happy to have eaten there.
Champion House II - A local restaurant that we discovered in Georgetown by word of mouth, it served fresh, delicious and CHEAP local food. The menu consists of dishes such as oxtail, curry goat, jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, etc. We took the food to go, but the cashiers were really friendly. We enjoyed the food so much we went for breakfast the next day!
Welly's - Another local restaurant we discovered in Georgetown, it also served fresh and cheap food, though we preferred Champion House. The menu was similar to that of Champion House.
re: Friend of Bill
We had great burgers at Hemingways on 7 Mile Beach. It was recommended by a friend so we took a taxi there (we did helicopter ride first - it was terrific!!!!) as we were off a cruise ship. We sat outside with the beach in front of us - heavenly. We also love TJ at Rackams in town. It is down around the corner from the cruise ships and was recommended by a local. We had some time to kill in the morning before the helicopter so we walked over there. Had some conch chowder (casino late night before lol!!!) and a drink. DH and I would have gone back there for our burgers if not for the other rec.
re: Linda VH
Whoops sorry - didn't mention that TJ is the bartender at Rackams. Apparently he is one of the top sellers of Jack Daniels in the islands (offered us shots of same but it was 11 a.m. and I don't think I could do them at any time but 11 a.m.!!!). Another couple came in from a different cruise ship and had shots - whew!! LOL!!!
I remember the Almond Tree! The food was great! The original owners used to have slide shows of underwater scenes during dinner.
We loved Captain Morgan's Steakhouse (long gone, I think), where you grilled your own steak at the table.
The Lobster Pot was excellent. (prolly gone, too)
I haven't been to Grand Cayman in some years. Is the Grand Old House still around?
re: Sloppy eater
I HIGHLY (yes, in caps) recommend Calypso Grill, in West Bay overlooking Morgan's Harbor. Had two dinners there recently; one of them (I had crab cakes and sauteed wahoo, both off of the extensive daily specials board) was one of the best meals I have had anywhere in quite some time.
There are lots of good choices in Cayman. Unfortunately, my real favorites (Almond Tree and Crow's Nest) were destroyed by Ivan and have not been rebuilt. But, that said, we just got back and found a couple of new favorites. Paradise, just to the north of Eden Rock and just south of the harbor, had wonderfully seasoned turtle and great conch fritters. Since Sunset House (basically a dive hotel that is a great place for cocktails, snacks, lunch and watching the sunset) had a function, we ate at Paradise and watched the sunset there. Bacchus, in Georgetown, was pretty good on their all you can eat lobster night. The tails were ample and the thermidor was wonderful. The Lobster Pot and the Wharf are long time favorites.
Being from Texas, I have long been partial to the Lone Star: they had the best filet (with peppercorn) I have had on the island: tender and tasty. This is a great place for drinks, snacks, or a full diner.
All of major hotels (Ritz, Hyatt, Marriott, and Westin) have top notch restaurants, thought I stayed away from them.
On the way to the airport, we ate at the Hard Rock and it was great as well.
There are lots of other great places to east in Cayman. If you go home hungry, it will be your own fault or because your billfold has run out of money (like the 10 ounce US$20 hamburger ($14 CI + 25% to US + 15% tip) at the Hard Rock).
When we were there a few years ago, we ate at an "unoffical" restaurant named "Roland's Garden." Apparently Roland was some high end chef at a restaurant that is no longer, and tired of red tape, regulation, and inspection he opens his own garden to "friends" who come by and eat whatever it is that he is serving, and make a "donation" of whatever they thought the meal was worth. It was a really delightful and delicious experience. Bring your own wine - no liquor license (or any other as far as we knew).