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Nov 22, 2007 09:39 PM

solo in the Bahamas (nassau and pi)

In searching the board, havent come up with much recent info, seems Cafe Matisse, Mesa Grill and Poop Deck are all recommended but thats about it.

I will be in Nassau for one night and Paradise Island (atlantis) for the next 3 days. Any suggestions for drinks and/or great food? solo dining is not a major issue for me, i will not have a car though.

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  1. I'm afraid I can't help immediately, but please post whatever you find since I'll be heading there shortly as well. I plan on posting every bite I take, pretty much, since as you say, there's not much info to be had. I did see a couple of positive comments on Tripadvisor for food on Arawak Cay. Mostly local stands and such.

    1. Here's my dining & food tips on Paradise Island/Nassau based on my experience. I've been there once a year over the past 4 years, stayed once in the Atlantis Beach Towers, once at Atlantis Harborside Resorts and twice at Comfort Suites (great value: includes all Atlantis amenities and use of their facilities)
      Atlantis restaurants overall (including restaurants in the Marina Village): food quality not worth your money. I'm sure some of the more expensive places have good food but is very expensive, like Dune and Cafe Martinique.
      Murray's Deli - just okay, nothing really special, good for sandwiches and soup.
      Bimini Road - if you want Bahamian food, take a taxi to Fish Fry(Awarak Cay). Convenient when you're staying on P.I. but just not good Bahamian compared to what you can get at a much lower price at Fish Fry area.
      Water's Edge Buffet - you get a lobstertail with dinner but the rest of dinner is nothing to write home about. Pricey.
      Lagoon Bar & Grill - Caeser salad was barely edible, stale croutons & bad bottled dressing. Pizza was doughy and blah. Conch chowder was okay. Wished we didn't get lazy and went to grab food from the lunch trucks and spent 1/3 the money.
      The Point - this restaurant is located in the Harborside Resort area, long walk. It's a nice place by the water for a drink and lunch. Good conch salad, burgers and fries.

      Hurricane Hole Shopping Plaza:
      There's an Italian restaurant on that strip that is okay, Zio Gigi's. They had an great conch risotto special last year but not last week when I was there. I practically licked the plate clean. Their pizza is not bad for what it was. Melted cheese on a craker like crust.

      Best deal for lunch and great chance to eat what the locals eat is to visit the lunch trucks across from the corner market in the parking area. We got food from here everyday for lunch on our last trip. Found it when we followed some hotel workers talking about a lunch truck...haha. Dorothy's Kitchen & the other one is called Tasty Delights. You choose a main dish and it comes with choice of rice and choice of two sides for $6-8. It's a lot of good homey food. We went late around 1:30-2pm and they were out of most seafood by then.
      Dorothy's Kitchen - Jerk chicken was really good, spicy, smoky deliciousness, the bbq chicken was on the sweet side but still moist and flavorful. The steamed veggies was just steamed cabbage&carrots. White rice and rice'n'peas were nicely cooked.
      Tasty delights - the lamb curry and oxtail stew from were both really amazing. Their peas n rice and potato salad was good. Corn was just cold corn from a can. Baked chicken was moist tasty as was the steam snapper.
      Green Parrot Waterfront Bar & Grill - past the police station, nice spot for some beers, fun vibe at night. Passable food, burgers, fries and mexican selections.
      Anthony's Caribbean Grill - grabbed lunch there twice in the past couple of years but vaguely remember it not being good (couldn't even recall what we had) so we didn't hit this spot this year.
      Now we come to the good places for dinner: Arawak Cay, aka Fish Fry... $12 cab ride from P.I. don't let them bully you into paying more.
      Seafood Haven - Best conch fritters we've had on the island $2 for 8. greaseless, crispy on the outside wonderfully fried savory doughnuts. Put a huge squirt of hotsauce in the orange sauce for a nice kick. The conch salad was good but enjoyed the scorch conch more. Not so impressed with the steamed snapper but it seems that's how it's prepared throughout the Bahamas. Seafood platter was perfectly fried pieces of grouper, shrimp and cracked conch. Sky juice drink was delicious and refreshing - gin, coconut juice and sweet milk. The waiters are friendly and dance around whenever the mood strikes
      Twin Brothers - They really have the best frozen drinks, the pina colada and strawberry daquaries. Should've ordered a large or had a 2nd one. We had their special pea soup with dumplings...soup was really nice with pieces of ham hock, not so crazy about the huge dumpling in it. Scorch conch here was really, really good, salty-sour lime dressing with onions and sweet raw conch meat, like eating a bowl of ceviche. The baked chicken was moist and tasty. The spiny lobster tail tasted like a giant shrimp, a little different from maine lobsters. Sides were all good.

      12 Replies
      1. re: clafouti

        Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll follow up with posts on any additional things we might find. Really appreciate it.

        1. re: clafouti

          I will be staying at the Breezes in July. Are there any restos that I should stay away from? HOw about pointing out some good shopping spots?

          1. re: clafouti

            Well, this is long overdue, but hope it helps all those who have posted at various spots on this board regarding Paradise Island and Nassau.

            As many have said, Paradise Island is not paradise when it comes to food. For a variety of reasons, we didn't get off the island to Nassau that much. So, about all I can do is follow up on other posters' comments. We stayed mostly mid- to low-rent, as we were watching the budget a bit.

            The Paradise Island corporate restaurants.

            We ate at Bimini Rd. and the deli by the marina, Murray's.

            We had grouper (which was really expensive for what it was, but good), conch (scorched) and a fish chowder. The fish chowder was not anything like what was described on the menu. It was basically fish, broth and onions, no potatoes or celery or peppers. The conch was pretty good, saved mostly by the bitter orange marinade with lots of sweet red peppers and squash (matchsticks). The shrimp, which they sell individually if you want, were salty but good.

            Nothing to rave about overall as a destination. The specials tended to be pretty expensive, so be sure to ask. Watch what you order when you order a drink, they'll pour the most expensive if you don't specify

            (Sorry if I'm sounding like a miser, but pouring Bombay Sapphire instead of the Gordon's gin right next to it for a "gin and tonic"???). Wine, not good for either price or selection.

            Sandwiches from Murray's were actually pretty good.

            We didn't hit the higher end stuff at Atlantis Royal Towers, and a bunch of the restaurants in the other hotels were closed because it was off-season???? just before Xmas. If you go on off-season times, be prepared, places close without warning. For example, one day the deli was closed. No notice, just closed, then open the next.

            If you're in the Marina Village, watch out for the food at some of the chains. For example, the Jamba Juice place had a board out advertizing sandwiches and salads. All pre-made, all made early in the morning, all looking like hell at 7 pm......

            Other spots

            The Green Parrot.
            Looking out at a working harbor might not be to everyone's taste, but I loved it. Everyone at the bar was very friendly (mostly folks from the marina the place is in and locals). We had burgers there that actually justified the price of 11 bucks. Just so you know, the cook's notion of medium might differ from yours. Mine was rare not medium but still very good. If you pay cash for cocktails, you avoid the ever-present "sales-tax" of the 15% gratuity. Or that at least seemed the pattern between cash and credit. Make sure you check to see if they're still there when you go, if you go. I heard rumors they were closing that location, moving or something.

            Zio Gigi's, we tried mostly because we wanted a decent glass of wine at a decent price. Which they have in abundance. The Noblio sauvignon my wife drank was a good buy at 9 per. I've paid that much for the same wine in the States. The cheaper stuff was pretty drinkable the more expensive ($10, $11) very good. As clafouti noted the pizza isn't that great, but we had some positive things to say about it upon further inspection and the calzone with mushrooms was pretty good. I also had gnocchi, which was handmade and pretty good. Not the quality of Cleveland's little Italy, for example, or New York. I'd get something other than the tomato basil cream sauce if the choice appears, it was only okay. We made two trips and ate at the bar both times. No rush, no squabbling kids and parents..... very nice

            Anthony's is indeed nothing to rave about. But not terrible, we picked up some carry-out for dinner one night. The black bean soup was actually pretty good, and the barbequed chicken was decent as well. We had breakfast prior to departing, which was okay. It's Paradise, and beggars can't be choosers, that's for sure.

            We made a stop at Seafood Haven on the Cay, and I'll not elaborate, except to say, thanks a ton for the suggestion. Really good, and fun.

            To avoid, in my opinion, in Nassua, the Iguana Cafe. A great location, right on Bay, upstairs in an old courtyard (found it next to the internet cafe we were looking for), the balcony looks on the street, music......

            Went for lunch. The conch chowder was bland. I thought the stuff the kitchen at the Comfort Suites made was better. My wife ordered steamed snapper with rice and peas, and veggies. It came out with two rice and peas, sent it back. When it came back the next time, we noticed the snapper was fried not steamed. As other posters have said, service in the Bahamas is of a different order. But, the waitress didn't even notice the two rice and peas servings when she brought it out..... The sauce on the fish was good, and the fish was okay. But, we weren't thrilled.

            I also thought that using the typical paper ticket/bill and putting the ever-present 15% gratuity on the 'tax' line of the bill was a little sneaky. A tax it is surely, but........

            Well, thanks again for the suggestions. Without them, we wouldn't have had any compass and not eaten as well as we did. Paradise Island is paradise for the beaches, but.....

            Staying in Nassau next time I think. I'd rather pay my money and make my choice than having the corp. choose for me.

            1. re: mike_d

              Here you go - again - I've tried this three times now, but accidentally hit my back button and lost everything! Let me try again.

              Ok, as a local in Nassau, here are my suggestions.

              If you are in the Cable Beach area (Breezes is there):
              Moso - in Crystal Palace - Asian - decent wines by the litre, good food
              Black Angus Grille - in Crystal Palace - have heard it's really good, but haven't been
              Walking distance - going west past Burger King at the round about:
              Indigo - small selection of sushi and small regular menu. Great club sandwiches at lunch!
              Capriccio - small Italian place - lots of good reviews, but I don't find the food that great. However, you can bring your own wine.
              Jitney or cab another 5 minutes down the road - Provence - at the far right hand corner on the lagoon at Sandyport Olde Towne Marina (Just past Pizza Hut, Bally's Fitness in front). DO NOT drink the tap water there - tastes like soap - order bottled. I would not recommend the Oyster Bar & Grill nearby.

              Across the road is the Beach Club Cafe - right on the beach, behind the wooden fence - beautiful setting, pizzas are mediocre, the lobster and crab pasta dishes delicious, and lots of different salads - fabulous Mohitos and hand squeezed Margaritas, but order them early! They're getting better, but still take a long time. I order mine on the way in. Mmmm - going for lunch there today. They say there is no beach access (they're right on the beach), but technically you can order drinks and take them down to the beach.

              Poop Deck Sandyport is next to Beach Club Cafe. I wouldn't recommend it.

              Another 5 minutes down the road by jitney or car - at Caves Village, there is Mangos for lunch - ok, but not spectacular
              There is also Villagio - great wine list and the food is pretty consistently good. The twice roast duck is absolutely wonderful, and the sea bass preparation is usually really luscious.

              For ambience, you may want to take a cab even further out to Compass Point. Food's ok, but not great, but it's the one place where there is a bit of action in the evenings and it's on the water.

              Downtown, there isn't much. Athena is only open until 4 pm, and we love going there - the sauteed octopus just melts in your mouth. Great place to have some octopus, fabulous hummus, and other Greek delicacies. They are upstairs on Bay Street. I agree to stay away from the Iguana.

              One of our favourites is Cafe Matisse on Bank Lane. They are downtown, but have a wonderful courtyard patio. The food is always wonderful and the ambience unequalled here in Nassau. Ask if there are any wines not on the menu – sometimes Greg keeps some good bottles that he has limited quantities of.

              Downtown, don’t bother with the Graycliff or the Churasarrio. Way overpriced, not worth it.

              Further down Bay Street toward the PI Bridge you will find Luciano's of Chicago - our second (and only other) decent restaurant on the water. Good Italian bread, decent wines, decent food.

              Just beyond is the new Green Parrot. The one on PI has now closed - such a shame! We loved the ambience there - sitting listening to live music on the weekends watching the big boats come in, sometimes with fresh catch. Food's cooked in a green trailer, and you always know what you'll get. The wings, burgers, and onion rings are abundant and delicious.

              Beyond the PI Bridge is the Poop Deck - this one is worth going to - different menu from the one out west, and nicer setting.

              Just under the PI return Bridge is Potter's Cay. Others have talked about Arawak Cay, and yes, that's always a fun place to go. Potter's Cay, though, is a lot more low key, a lot closer, and really, just as good. The local fisherman set up down there, and a lot of locals stop off for a snack after work. Conch fritters, conch chowder, conch salad, fresh fish. But, no cocktails, just beer.

              Now, over to PI – I would stay away from anything in Mariner Village – unless you want to check out Café Martinique. Over in the Coves at Atlantis is Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Wonderful! Nobu, in the Royal Towers, underwhelmed me, though. Dune, over at Ocean Club is overpriced, but wonderful setting – great for brunch.

              As I mentioned earlier, Green Parrot on PI is now gone. Zio Gigi’s in Hurricane Hole is really good though. We love the pizzas, contrary to what others have said. It’s the best we have here. The thin crusts are perfect, and we usually build our own – We start with a Margherita Pizza, then add Speck, Roasted Red Peppers, Grilled Onions, Spinach, and Goat Cheese…..mmmmmmmm. The toppings really make it. The Gamberi Zuchinni are also heavenly and luscious – very lightly breaded with a garlic aoli, accompanied by deep fried zuchinni string. Only problem is that it can be greasy at times. But, well, sometimes it’s also just perfect.

              Remember, here in the Bahamas, we have a small handful of really good restaurants. 15% gratuity is always added. If you are on Paradise Island and going through Mariner Village, the 15% is added on even at Starbucks, Haagen Daz, and other food outlets. Not so, though, if you are downtown.

              If you are on PI, you can easily get downtown by taking the water taxi for $6 per person return (although, you will likely also be expected to tip your “tour guide.”

              Hope this helps! Have fun!

              Cafe Matisse
              Zio Gigis

              1. re: Food on the brain

                I'm glad I got to the Green Parrot before it closed/relocated. Like I said, the 'view' may not be to everyone's taste, but it was great fun. Thanks for all the additional info. Next trip, the upscale restos.

                1. re: mike_d

                  Yes, we very much miss the original Green Parrot - the new one just isn't the same, but the Hurricane Hole area has been bought up (about a year ago) and slowly, the shops and restaurants and shops (including Zio Gigi's) are moving. Zio's hasn't moved yet, though. The new Green Parrot just doesn't have the same atmosphere.

                  Do check out Matisse next time - you likely will not be disappointed, although I caution you that this it tops in Nassau, not in New York or Chicago. Mesa Grille is phenomenal - never disappointing, but not unique at all to Nassau. Dune - well, there's nothing like Dune. Having said that, many say they are still hungry after dinner. We like multiple courses, so we're good there!

                  Have a great next trip!

                  1. re: Food on the brain


                    Thanks for the great post and we are planning our first trip to N.P. My wife and I are going with two 18 - 20 year old daughters and where do you recommend staying. I was thinking of the Hilton but it sounds like Comfort Suite is a good value and near all the fun.

                    This is late March. Is the ocean swimmable? We do want to do some fishing by renting or chartering and of course the girls will want to shop.

                    1. re: mistercreosote

                      Although the food on PI isn't all that it's cracked up to be, I would recommend staying there. CS is a very good value. Only way to have access to all of Atlantis without staying there. Also includes continental breakfast. Mesa Grill is the only restaurant on PI worth your time and money, IMHO. But can't beat the attraction of Atlantis.

                      1. re: byeCalihelloBahamas

                        Hounds, my wife and I are staying in Gambier Village. Cable Beach seems close on google map. Are there any decent restaurants in Gambier Village or to the west of Gambier?

                  2. re: mike_d

                    Green Parrot Hurricane Hole is alive and well!! It is currently open and still offers the same, beautiful Harbour view. Their Nassu location, also on the water, is a great place for a burger or fresh Grouper Sandwich and a Kalik. They even opened up a 3rd location, downtown called The Pub with free internet and loads of TVs

                  3. re: Food on the brain

                    BTW, Green Parrot on PI at Hurricane Hole is still open. Still the best burgers and onion rings, and a great atmosphere!

              2. Hubbyy and I are coming in Feb. staying on Paradise Island, anything new? We love hole in the walls with great food, where the locals go. Definately do Mesa and Nobu too.

                12 Replies
                1. re: lexpatti

                  Lexpatti--I'm going in March, so please post your discoveries when you return. Enjoy the vacation

                    1. re: abu applesauce

                      We just got back, had a kitchen as we did timeshare right there next to Atlantis (actually tucked in between Marina Village and Harborside) which really helped keep costs down a bit as we could reheat leftovers and make our own breakfast, etc. I'm not sure how much this will help you since we mostly were in Nassau and Paradise Island but heard great things about #10 bus from other areas to get around.

                      We prefer local native food, where the tourist don't go but keep in mind we walked at lot to keep the lbs from creeping up on us. It's very expensive to dine in Bahamas, keep that in mind when you go.

                      We found a great place on Paradise Isl for our last night, overlooking the harbor - excellent food at decent prices ($18-$40 entres, $7-$10 apps) called Columbus Tavern. Ambiance was great, food was phenominal, service was fantastic (we found this was lacking a bit throughout our dining experiences - except for the real native local places - Potter's Cay (under the exit bridge) and Fish Fry at Arawak Cay - awesome friendly folks (several restaurants are there, everyone said Seafood Heaven was the best as was Twin Brothers - we did Seafood Heaven and loved it.)

                      Have a blast, you won't be disappointed if you just accept that it is expensive. Water Taxi is the best way to get to Paradise Island and back (we saw Nicholas Cage - waved to us from his yacht outside his home). If you like cigars, do Graycliff - tour the factory and watch them doing/rolling them. Base of the exit bridge is Potter's Cay - Mckenzies is fantastic and the most crowded for great local food. You'll see many vendors set up under the bridge, it's a real local gathering - some though didn't seem sanitary but McKenzies was awesome. All local native food, fantastic - I fell in love with conch, especially conch salad but really enjoyed snapper and grouper - l kept hearing that I should have gotten the crab rice, also loved their peas and rice (which was pigeon peas, more like beans to me). We had cracked conch which is very similar to fried calamari, we had conch fritters, I almost got the scorched conch but they said it was very similar to the salad .

                      One place we heard about from people like us who love local native food was the Nassau Stadium (??) but never made it there.

                      Have a blast, hope that helps. If you don't have a pick up from the airport - We really liked Tameco, taxi #177 @ 242-565-9892 (he was very helpful on our way to our resort).

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        Ooooh....sorry didn't check this thread earlier - if you have your own kitchen you MUST go to Montague - the seafood ramp - from about noon on the fisherman have their fresh caught stuff there - the hotter it is and the later it is, the stinkier it gets! And the more flies there are about! BUT, the fresh caught fish, conch, and crawfish is unrivalled. Piles of 3 crawfish in different size groupings, anywhere from 1 to 2 lb each to 5 to 6 lb each. If they have little, or it's later in the day, then your bargaining power is that much greater!

                        Pull the tails and Q them, and boil the heads. Use the broth for bisque. Pick the meat out of the heads for salads and such......mmmmmm.....heaven. Crawfish (Spiny lobsters) season ends Mar. 31 and opens again Aug. 1. Enjoy!

                        Potter's Cay has lots of fresh live crabs! Jan. they are often in abundance - cages of crabs of different varieties. MMmmmmmmm. If you have an efficiency and love fresh seafood, this is the way to go. For the price, you can figure out how to cook/boil your seafood with some garlic butter and be way less price wise than in restaurants that will over salt and even over cook.

                        Wish I had seen your post earlier, and had known that you had your own efficiency!

                        #10 bus covers Cable Beach and even west (depending upon how far west you need/want to go).

                        Now, never heard of the Columbus Tavern....curious! Tell me more.

                        Hope you all have fun on future trips!

                        1. re: Food on the brain

                          The ambiance at Columbus Tavern we loved - overlooking the harbor/marina. Service was excellent and food was fantastic. We started with a ceaser salad (hubby got this, huge and excellent, right amount of dressing) - I got the crab cakes - fantastic (too often I don't like crab cakes as the middle seems like mush). Our waiter actually seperated them into two dishes - he knew we were sharing. My dinner was a fantastic salad with scallops and shrimp but it was hard choosing - there are several great salads. Mine was very refreshing, seafood cooked perfectly with a light seasoning. Hubby got the mahi mahi over a bed of spinach with guava salsa. This was unbelievably tender, juicy. He said it was the best piece of fish he had ever had. The combo of spinach, salsa and fish really made this dish perfect. Hubby ended with johnny cake (been wanting to try since we got here) but not too impressed, he likes sweets and this didn't do it for him. I ended my meal perfectly with the guava duff - OMG phenominal - I'm not a big dessert person but this was fantastic. I'm dieing to try this at home (maybe not with quava but we'll see).

                          It's unfortunate that we didn't hit Cafe Matisse but honestly, prices really turned us away from a lot. Our business is down and we really had no right going away, never mind to a place where prices are sooo high. Do I regret it, absolutely not - such a beautiful place and wonderful people. Next time, (and I can't wait to go back) I will plan to spend and hit up Cafe Matisse and Bobby Flay's place - we've done Nobu in NY so wasn't too upset that we didn't get there. (and besides we have our favorite local sushi place that makes very simple but extremely fresh for us without the PI price).

                          by the way, they did say that it wasn't crawfish season and we didn't see it at Potter's Cay, they were cleaning loads of grouper and snapper for people to take home. But I really was talking about the tiny crawfish, not lobster.

                          and for anyone interested in pics - this is what we had at McKenzie's (potter's cay):

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Oh and here's the link - it's just between Ocean Club Golf Course and Paradise Harbor Club and Marina. It was a wonderful walk from our resort (base of the entry bridge).

                      2. re: lexpatti

                        We're headed there as well in early Feb. Right now we're thinking Mesa Grill and Chez Matisse and the Fish Fry. Curious about Dune but would want to see a sample menu online before commiting to it. Is one out there anywhere?

                        1. re: Donahue

                          Sorry I'm late in replying - haven't checked the site recently. Hope you had a great trip.

                          For future reference, Click on Dune for info about them at

                          Also, check out Shogun Revolver - here is the site - they also do a fun tasting/trust me menu...


                          Mesa is great, Cafe Matisse fabulous.....

                          1. re: Food on the brain

                            Just how expensive is Cafe Mattisse? I'm headed to Nassau on Friday morning. Staying in a B&B about 20 minutes west of downtown, near the airport (I think).
                            Does anyone have anything to report about Compass Point or Traveler's Rest?

                            1. re: abu applesauce

                              I remember from my booklets, that Cafe M was catorgized as $$$ or $$$$ but not sure exactly. Unfortunately can't find the book or the site that rated restaurants this way. If I find it, I'll link it. Have a blast.