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Nassau/Paradise Island in Bahamas

  • j

Any recs for good chow? I'm looking for one or two very nice meals and the rest, inexpensive 'hound finds.

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  1. Cafe Matisse in Nassau for great Italian or Dune at the One and Only Resort for possibly the best food and atmosphere on the island.

    For cheap eats try Anthony's Grill right across form the Atlantis resort, or hit the Fish Fry a few miles west of town for some cheap fresh fish and cracked conch.

    Avoid the places at the Atlants. IMO they are way overpriced and I have been told from an extremely reliable source that almost none of the seafood is fresh. It's almost all previously frozen due to the quantity of food they have to prepare every night.

    3 Replies
    1. re: toro head

      We just got back from a trip to Atlantis and luckily had read this review before we went. Although we enjoyed the resort, we avoided eating there. We ate at each of these restaurants mentioned above and loved them all. My favorite was Cafe Matisse (fabulous atmosphere and food) and my husband's favorite was Dune (although Dune was extremely expensive, it was worth it). We ate at Anthony's Grill for breakfast and a couple of lunches (and my husband boasts that they have the best ribs ever). The Fish Fry was quite a "local" experience and delicious food! The Poop Deck was great too. It was more than worth it to take the cab into Nassau to eat! Being forewarned, we had decided to try the buffet at Atlantis one night and was extremely disappointed in the quality of food, not to mention the price. But we made it up with the dining we did off of Paradise Island. I must say that the little stand on the beach in Atlantis between the Beach Tower and the Lagoon that served lunchtime munchies did have great fish & chips. It was the only thing worth buying there besides the $7 pina coladas! Thanks for the help on making our dining decisions!!

      1. re: cyninco

        Glad you saw my thread and ate well in Nassau cyninco!! When I was there, I met up with a friend who was living on island, so he had the inside scoop on the above places and took us out to the Fish Fry. He was my 'extremely reliable source".

      2. re: toro head

        Even the sushi at Nobu? We have reservations there next week....

      3. Nassau is a weird town. I'd say that other than Cafe Matisse, everything else is just blah. I always had the feeling, in Nassau, of getting just a little bit less that what I wanted. For instance, the fruity rum drinks are made with essentially, Tang, or some other processessed fake sugar water, not actual fruit juice, and they are weak, so all you really get is a stomach-ache.

        The Fish Fry is pretty good, however. Expect your fish to come with the head.

        1. travellers rest for an early dinner, original poop deck for lunch and the fish fry should give you a flavor for decent food at decent prices. all three bring something to the table.

          high-end is very subjective. i don't mind wearing a jacket and tie to graycliff but others might. it's expensive but after sailing for a week or so, i want (need?) a "splurge" meal. this place works for me. buena vista is a decent backup but not in the same category.

          my basic rule of thumb in the bahamas is to always eat local. try the exumas (family islands) next time you visit.

          1. Having just returned from a weekend in Nassau, my two cents:

            McPhee's food wagon - this was the unequivocal chow find of the trip, a food truck on the beach, about a 10 minute walk west of downtown Nassau. Phenomenal conch fritters, and a jaw-droppingly good grilled crawfish served with plantains, onion, and tomatoes, in a genuinely spicy habanero lime broth.

            Poop Deck - good, if not great seafood. The whole red snapper was quite tasty, as were the crab legs. Pretty nice wine list with a good selection of French whites in the $40 - $70 range. Overpriced for what it is; apps and dinner for two and four drinks cost $160 after tax and tip.

            The Shoal - good Bahamian food, well off the beaten tourist path. Best peas and rice of the trip, very good plantains, well-prepared local fish, and a tasty, meaty okra soup. Business has apparently been seriously hurt since the owner had a religious change of heart in '04 and decided to stop serving shellfish or alcohol. But what remains is good, inexpensive, large portions of local fare served by a really friendly and gregarious staff.

            10 Replies
            1. re: finlero

              I've left a few LONG posts on a couple other threads this morning. Bottom line -

              Cafe Matisse is our favourite. MUST GO. http://www.cafe-matisse.com/

              Poop Deck East (by PI bridge) good - on the water

              Mesa Grille at Coves Atlantis - excellent, but not unique to here

              Dune - Phenomenal but really expensive - great brunch - perfect for that really upscale meal

              Graycliff & the Humidour Churascarrio - wouldn't bother - expensive and not very good

              Restaurants in Mariner Village - expensive and mediocre, with the exception of Cafe Martinique, with is expensive, but very good.

              Downtown - Athena - great Greek - sauteed octopus melts in your mouth and the hummus is to die for.

              PI - Hurricane Hole - Zio Gigis - thin crust pizzas - build your own are the best ones - we have the Margherita and add speck, roasted red peppers, onions, spinach, and goat cheese

              If you're interested in anything west (Cable Beach and West) let me know.

              1. re: Food on the brain

                Food on the brain (or anyone else who can answer), I had a question regarding Cafe Matisse.

                Despite all the good reviews on this site, we actually specifically avoided Cafe Matisse because we live in the Boston area, home to any number of phenomenal Italian restaurants.

                So my question: How does Cafe Matisse stack up against Italian restaurants in your hometown and/or elsewhere in the world? Or to put it another way, if CM moved to your hometown, how excited/non-plussed would you be?

                1. re: finlero

                  That's too bad you passed up on Cafe Matisse. Even though it is listed and advertised as an Italian restaurant, I don't consider it your typical Italian restaurant, as I would Luciano's or Villagio.

                  While Matisse's menu items are all listed in Italian, I don't feel that all the items or preparations are particularly Italian, but perhaps they are just unfamiliar to me. Some items are very typically Italian, but many are not. They will bring in different meats sometimes, including wild boar and buffalo, which I don't think of in Italian cuisine.

                  Matisse's draw for us is the atmosphere, in combination with the consistent food (95% consistency at a very good to excellent rating), decent wine list, and consistently excellent service, even by North American standards, which would be absolutely fabulous for Nassau standards.

                  The atmosphere in the courtyard is fabulous - a sunny, enclosed, quiet tropical courtyard for lunch, or a candlelit and romantically lit courtyard for dinner; upstairs on the verandah, it is quiet and intimate, and inside there are lots of small dining areas. Outside is best - we rarely go if we can't get a table outside.

                  We live in Nassau, and we think of it as one of the best - actually, the best in Nassau. Over on Paradise Island there is better, but also way more expensive. Matisse's price point is perfect for that casual or important lunch or dinner, and the price point is mid range.

                  If Matisse were located in South Beach, or New York, or Chicago - we would still go often because all the pluses are consistent. Greg and staff always leave patrons feeling like old friends, even if it is your first time, and you can go in jeans, shorts, or tuxes and feel comfortable. There is no pretence. As I said though, it isn't what I would consider a typical Italian restaurant - if I want a really good Italian menu and good Italian food, I have to go away (from Nassau - to Florida at least).

                  Check out the menu: http://www.cafe-matisse.com/menu.php

                  Hope that answers your question!

                  1. re: Food on the brain

                    It definitely does. Thanks for such a detailed response!

                    1. re: Food on the brain

                      You are right on target. I used to live on Paradise Island having formerly been the General Manager of a major hotel. There is no question about the quality of Cafe Matisse. Greg and Alan try real hard to provide a wonderful dining experience. Don't miss the Calamari appetizer. Not a large portion but overflowing with taste. Also, the Veal Tonnato - just great. Of course, try to get a table outside, especially on a nice night.

                      One little known restaurant is Design Divas on Shirley Street. It is in an old house and the food is really marvelous. Definitely one of my faves.

                      1. re: Alfred G

                        What type of cuisine is Design Divas?

                        1. re: finlero

                          How would you describe American/Contental? Simple food elegantly prepared. Small restaurant so resv are essential.

                  2. re: Food on the brain

                    Boy do I dissagree with that. We have had some absolutly fantastic meals at Graycliff. The Fish is incredibly fresh and service is excellent. We thoroughly enjoy Graycliff and consider it the highlight of any trip to Nasau

                    1. re: Food on the brain

                      I'm staying at the Sheraton on Cable Beach from Dec 27 to January 1st and would love to hear your Cable Beach recommendations!

                    2. re: finlero

                      Never did find McPhee's Food Wagon . I did find an extremely dubious looking converted U-haul badly painted as "Claudette's Native Food" where I got some shockingly good conch fritters and jerk chicken for the princely sum of $2.

                    3. I'm not a fan of Bobby Flay, but I must say Mesa Grill at the Cove (Atlantis) was fantastic.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: byeCalihelloBahamas

                        I thought the food at the Atlantis over all was of incredibly high quality for a resort/casino. I certainly wouldn't shy away from any of their establishments because the fish may have been frozen. There is nothing inexpensive about the Atlantis though. I'm not sure I would venture there to eat if staying elsee where but when staying on Paradise Island the only place we have felt worthy of leaving for is Graycliff.

                        1. re: Docsknotinn

                          My original post about avoiding Atlantis restaurants due to the fish being flown in frozen was prior to Mesa Grill and Nobu being open. I would assume that these 2 places have exceptional quality seafood and would be an excellent choice for a meal. At a price of course.