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Bermuda Restaurants...need some feedback

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  • ncara May 5, 2008 02:21 AM
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Here are a few restaurants I have on my list for my trip at the end of the month. Would appreciate any comments good and bad. Thanks!
Pickled Onion
Ponciana Terrace
Barracuda Grill
Blu
Coconuts
Hog Penny
Bouchee
Seahorse Grill
Swizzle Inn
Harborfront
Frescos

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  1. The only guarantee with Bermuda restaurants is that you will certainly pay a lot- and the results are hit or miss no matter how much you spend. I'm an on and off local with family on the island. I would add to your list the Lobster Pot, and go there for the Bermuda fish chowder. Probably the best on the island. Hit Port O' Call on Front Street for dinner, and ask for Fritz's escargot- it's off the menu, but out of this world good. In general, I would skip fish labeled as "local" at any upscale restaurant. They're most likely lying. The only way to guarantee that a fish is local is the catch it yourself, or get it from a fishmonger that you know and trust. Miles Market is reputable and convenient. Check out Cafe Acoreano (Azores) right next to the Hamilton bus station for a Portuguese donut, they're very good first thing in the morning. Their cafe au lait is excellent as well. If you happen to be passing through Smith's on the South Shore, hit North Rock Brewery for a pint of local beer. My personal favorite is the wheat. You can also buy North Rock's beer on the West end of the island (Dockyard) at the Frog and Onion pub. If you're on a bike, consider stopping at the Reef's in Southampton for lunch at Coconuts. They make an OUTSTANDING fish sandwich, and they have a fruity drink called the Gombey with is terrific.

    1. Pickled Onion on the balcony is OK for lunch; never heard of Poinciana Terrace - is that a hotel restaurant? The mojitos and the view at Blu are very good. Hog Penny - pub atmosphere and pub food - haven't been there in a long time but it never seems to change. There are two Swizzle Inns now, the original in Bailey's Bay and the second in Warwick. I'm very fond of the original, even though the food is not spectacular the swizzles are. The original Habourfront is gone, I believe its moved down to the Bda Underwater Exploration Institute. Frescos is good for lunch and dinner. I can't comment on the food in the other places, been too long since I've been to any of them - both Barracuda Grill and Coconuts make me feel a little claustrophobic.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Athena

        If going to the original Swizzle, I recommend just the Swizzle. I found the food mediocre at best. Coconuts at The Reefs is fine but I do not fancy eating the evening meal down there hence why we passed on staying there last month. Hog Penny is best for a brew IMHO. I did not love Lobster Pot at all. We found Island Cuisine had local fish or so they called it, Rockfish. It was ok. I have yet to find amazing food in BDA aside from The Reefs, Cambridge Beaches and a few now closed places. We tried everything in and around St. Georges. PURE YUCK. Dennis's Hideaway was fun and Black Horse Tavern in St. David's was good too.

        1. re: phelana

          remember reading on another forum that Dennis' had closed, as he had died. not sure if there are plans to reopen.

          Cashew City Rd.
          St. George's Parish, Bermuda
          (441) 297-0044

          call first before venturing over there.

      2. I liked BLU - see my review in my thread 'Best trip ever'. If you go, be sure to order the caesar salad. It sounds simple but the presentation put a whol new twist on it and it is delish.

        The Swizzle Inn was fun because the owner is a big supporter of the Chelsea soccer team and they were playing the day we were there. There was a large and enthusiastic crowsd watching the game - which may not be to your liking but my husband loved it. They have a very good fish chowder but the conch fritters I ordered weren't cooked all the way through. The rum swizzles are divine.

        1. That's quite the list you've got there. I'd agree with the others that Swizzle Inn is good for swizzles and that's about it. Be forewarned, it's mighty strong. Barracude will set you back a pretty penny but I find the food is consistently good. Would recommend Ten which has smaller tapas style food and does all meals. Love going in for breakfast there, which Bouchee is also good for. Seahorse is nice and again pricey. Hit and miss though depending on what you order. I'm not terribly fond of Blu as I've found whatever I order disappointing. But friends who order the meat dishes (i.e. steaks, chops, etc) are always happy. Hog Penny and Pickled Onion are pretty standard pub-like food although I love the chicken pot pie at Hog Penny. Port O Call is currently closed for renos.

          1. here's a recap I wrote for a friend visiting for the first time:
            Subject: Bermuda
            > Remember: All Roads Lead to The Swizzle Inn. A must stop for a pitcher
            > of Rum Swizzles on the way to the hotel and on the way back to the
            > airport. Everybody does it; there is no reason not to join in. Swizzle
            > In....Swagger Out. They also serve food, but it's hard to get
            > past the swizzles.
            >
            > We stayed in the town of St. George's. There are 2 beautiful public
            > beaches there with great views. Tobacco Bay beach is great for a
            > sunset picnic. And St. Catherine's is mighty fine for swimming and
            > having yourself some Dark n Stormy's, a refreshing beverage of
            > Gosling's Black Seal rum and Ginger Beer. You'll find yourself calling
            > out for Dark n Stormy's at the oddest times.
            >
            > If you get into St. George's, there is the Wench Dunking on her
            > ducking stool. It is quite funny, and the pageantry is most amusing.
            > And while waiting for the ceremony (complete with human parrot; trust
            > me you'll know what I'm talking about), grab a bite on the balcony of
            > Freddie's Pub located on King's Square. They serve really good Bloody
            > Mary's, which will be the only time you're not drinking rum. Also take
            > time to stroll around quaint St. George's to get a feel for the real
            > Bermuda. The architecture is beautiful. You'll never look at chimneys
            > and white roofs the same again.
            >
            > The best and only way to get around the islands is by moped. Helmets
            > are a must, and no trip would be complete without a road rash.
            > Fortunately I had an ace driver, and I managed to stay off the rum
            > while riding, so I escaped injury.
            >
            > A day trip to St. George's and then on to the St. David's Lighthouse
            > is well worth it. You can grab a couple of curried mussel pies from
            > Reed's on the road leaving St. George's and take them over to
            > Clearwater Beach for lunch and a swim. If you have time, there is a
            > very local joint called the Black Horse Tavern, which makes a mean
            > shark hash and curried conch. And oh yeah, great Dark n Stormy's.
            >
            > Traveling back from the East End of the islands, you'll pass, you
            > guessed it....the Swizzle Inn. No time like the present to get a
            > pitcher of swizzles. They also do a fish chowder; ask for more than a
            > splash of sherry peppers and black rum.
            >
            > You'll get to a fork in the road, take it. Seriously, either road is
            > picturesque. Hopefully you'll have time to travel both sides, as there
            > is much to see.
            >
            > If you venture into Hamilton for dinner, there is a quaint place
            > called Bistro J, where you'll find a great wine by the glass list, one
            > of a few on these rum soaked islands. The food there is outstanding,
            > especially the fresh tuna or salmon.
            >
            > While in Hamilton, you can hop on a ferry on your way to the
            > Dockyards. There are a few restaurants and shops out there, but half
            > the fun is getting there. The ferry is a great way to see the islands.
            > You can take your moped on board, which is an even better way to get
            > around and not back track on yourself if time is pressing on.
            >
            > The road back from the Dockyards is breathtaking. There are many
            > places to stop for a bite and beverage., like the Somerset Country
            > Squire Pub and Restaurant on the waterfront. And there are many
            > beaches along the ride that are worth a squint. Leaving Somerset and
            > entering Southampton, visit the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. Great pit stop
            > for views of the islands, as well as a quick bite or cuppa tea.
            >
            > All of the beaches on the South Shore are spectacular. At the Elbow
            > Beach Hotel, you can grab a bite at Mickey's. It is only open from May
            > to October, so don't miss it. Or make arrangements for the four course
            > wine and food menu in the sand at Coconuts, in the Reefs Hotel.
            >
            > Well there you have it. Fortunately for us, we have friends who live
            > there (part of the Gosling's Rum family). We were able to take in some
            > deep sea fishing, went hiking through the caves near the Tom Moore
            > Tavern, and were even invited to a black tie and Bermuda shorts party
            > at Sheila Goslings'. Now she make a mean Rum Swizzle. And she's got
            > the rum to back it up.
            >
            > We were there for a week and let no grass grow under our feet. The
            > sand and waters are some of the most bermudaful I have ever seen. The
            > islands are lush and tropical. And don't forget to Swizzle In and
            > Swagger Out on your way back!

            2 Replies
            1. re: edible complex

              Thanks for my morning laugh edible complex! I hope you come back often...

              Can't remember if it was Sheila Gosling or one of the West's who made rum swizzle in one of those old washing machines - the kind with the mangle attached.

              1. re: Athena

                it was Sheila. we were up very late, and our swizzles kept "evaporating".
                the mangle squeezed the fruit going into the tub.

            2. Just returned and had great meals at Bouchee, Frescos, BLU, barracuda Grill and pretty good at Pickled Onion. Also went to Swizzle South and had good burger and fish sandwich. Enjoyed sitting outside, relaxing after morning at beach.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ncara

                We just got back last night--we were staying in a house in Fairylands, so our eating was mostly focused on Hamilton. We had good meals at Bouchee, Barracuda Grill, and a wonderful tasting menu at Waterloo House (which is closing btw--more condos going up). Hog Penny was better than expected, and Silk had very good Thai food. We were kind of underwhelmed by Ascots in the Royal Palms hotel--it had been hyped in the guide books but the food seemed dated--of the "continental" variety that used to be so popular at resorts. (Fussy service, too much going on on the plate.) We made friends with our cab-driver, Miss Trott, who took us to two great places--Indigo's, in Flatts, and Greg's Steakhouse in town. Greg's was a lot of fun--the crowd was local, and the steak was very good. My prawn appetizer at Indigo's was probably the best thing I had during the visit--Indian-inflected, with an amazing cilantro chutney. The panzanella salad at Mickey's at the Elbow Beach hotel was memorable. Caffe Gio in St. George's did a decent linguine with clams. A trend we noticed was the proliferation of sushi bars everywhere--even the North Rock Brewery was offering spicy tuna rolls in addition to bangers and mash!

                1. re: whs

                  Thanks for the report on Indigo - I drive by it everyday and wondered if it's any good. Did you have dinner at Ascot's? I find lunch is more relaxed, but that may have changed. Sounds like you hit a good night at Greg's.

                  And yes, we are awash in sushi these days.

                  1. re: Athena

                    Service at Indigo's could use a little polish, but the food was worth the trip out of town. My entree of scallops was also good--not overcooked, as they so often can be. We had dinner at Ascot's--lunch may be a better option. Our enjoyment of Greg's may have been enhanced by its liveliness after the stodginess of Ascot's--the bar scene was wild, my preconceptions about "proper" Bermudians were shattered!

                    1. re: whs

                      Greg's is surrounded by the House, law firms and Government – it's where we go after a long day of being 'proper' ;)

                      1. re: Athena

                        Have been wondering about Indigo's myself. Friends went for dinner and he ordered a lasagna which came out with a frozen middle still. Sounds like it's improving and hopefully trimming down the menu a bit (heard it's pretty much the same size as the Upper Crust one), not surprising seeing as it's the same people.

              2. @ncara - Thanks for starting this thread! We're off to Bermuda in a few weeks as well, and we're looking for an anniversary dinner place. I'm looking at this Food & Wine article (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/w...) and wonder if folks have feedback on Aqua, Tamarisk Room and Aggie's Cafe.

                5 Replies
                1. re: bkim0001

                  Aqua and Aggie's have closed. Cambridge Beaches (where Tamarisk is) would be a great choice for an anniversary dinner - it's way out in the west end though. La Coquille is now Harbourfront. The Lemon Tree Cafe that backs on to Par-la-Ville park is good for lunch/snack - the food is far superior to what Aggie's produced.

                  1. re: Athena

                    Could also try Waterloo House for an anniversary dinner. Just had lunch there on the waterside terrace. Food was nice and light for lunch and the atmosphere is lovely.

                    1. re: bdachow

                      Second Waterloo House--feels like old Bermuda. Elegant, refined and good food. When we had dinner there, there was a party celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

                      1. re: whs

                        I third Waterloo House, really lovely outside for dinner. We will miss it when it closes.

                        1. re: Athena

                          Thank you everyone! What a great help!

                2. Hope this is not too late but do not miss Black Horse Tavern. I was in Bermuda several years ago on a business trip and my husband and I sought out as we always do, authentic local restos. Because it was on the company dime, we ate at what were purported to be some of the best places but the only one we really remember was Black Horse, and not because this was on our own dime. We got the recommendation from a local and boy was she right. Everything was terrific, deeply flavored, fresh and the staff was so friendly.

                  1. We are going back to beautiful Bermuda late May -- staying at Rosedon in Hamilton. Is Greg's Steakhouse still around and worth visiting? Still remember the chateaubriand... What's on the radar that we should not miss? Is the restaurant at Tucker's Point worth the cab ride out of town? Hit us with your latest recs!

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: whs

                      Yes, Greg's is still around.

                      You can walk to Harry's (next to Miles Market) for lunch outside. Beau Rivage across the harbour at Newstead is also great for sitting outside at lunch and long into the afternoon.

                      Rustico in Flatts is my new favourite restaurant - interesting daily specials and I love the pizza - thin crust, never soggy.

                      Tucker's Point is so pretty - so far I've only been for dinner which was very good - can't wait for it to warm up so we can go and eat outside.

                      1. re: Athena

                        I will throw in my vote for Pearl sushi, upstairs at Port O Call on Front St. If you can, get them to reserve you a table outside and if you go between 5 and 7 pm, there's 30% off the entire menu (except for lobster).

                        1. re: Athena

                          so the question is: is Greg's still good?

                          1. re: whs

                            Sorry, never eaten there.

                            1. re: whs

                              I guess you're not going to let sidestep that one.

                              I have never had a good meal at Greg's, but a lot of people like it.

                              1. re: Athena

                                LOL, thanks for the candid report.

                                1. re: whs

                                  Do NOT eat at Greg's, agree with Athena, never had a good meal there!

                                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                    No wonder I've never gotten around to eating over there seeing as you both don't have good things to say about it.

                                    Incidentally, was at Latin/Rumbar last night and they have a new pork belly app on the menu which was awesome. The meat was juicy and tender and the fat from the belly was awesome, nice and tender. They paired it with an asian pear slaw that balanced sweet with some acidity that matched well, IMO, with the rich fatty pork. We ended up ordering 2 more of them after the first one. Soooo good!!!!

                                    And totally agree with the Fletch missing from Harry's assessment, just not the same.

                                    1. re: bdachow

                                      Did you see this in the NY Times? Greg's is apparently Mayor Bloomberg's favorite restaurant: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/nyr...

                                      1. re: whs

                                        When I think of a Steakhouse I think dry aged thick prime cuts of meat, not individually pre packaged steaks. I love walking into a place that has their meat cooler where you can see what is aging, that is such a beautiful site...the last steak I had there was an end cut full of silverskin and just plain awful, I wouldn't even feed it to my dogs

                                        1. re: whs

                                          As I was reminded of over on the Manhattan board, everyone has different tastes which is why chow is such a great website. I myself am reluctant to offer myself up to try it (plus not sure I can find any DP's to go with me) but if you do decide to go your own way, let us know how it goes, always great to contribute to the community knowledge pool!

                                          1. re: bdachow

                                            well, he does like Rustico too...

                                            last time we were in Bermuda we enjoyed Barracuda Grill--any thoughts?

                                            1. re: whs

                                              I enjoy Barracuda still, the food is quite consistent and I know the service is always good. Having said that though, it's never quite been the same since the chef left in Dec 08.

                                              I usually end up at Harry's these days on the bar side for food. More casual and the food is good (depending on the dish of course). The chef there used to be at Port O Call prior to it getting renovated.

                                          2. re: whs

                                            Greg's is where a lot of politicians hang out - it's across the street from the Sessions House. Another reason I avoid it :-)

                                2. re: Athena

                                  Harry's just updated their bar menu. New items: Steamed pork and chicken bun, sweet potato fries, pizza is now mushroom and merguez sausage. Can't remember what else but had the fries last night and they are far superior to the regular fries which I have noticed have become decidely limper since they moved to a thinner cut. The sweet potato fries were crisp and delicous. Also tried the steamed pork and chicken bun. It's actually 2 pieces of chicken "sui mai" served with a five spice dipping sauce and a pork bun (ala dim sum, white bun with bbq pork inside). While I would totally eat the bun again as it was delicious with pulled pork filling and nice light bun, I found the chicken sui mais too firm and a little too dry. They just need to keep the bottom of the bun from sticking to the bamboo steamer that they serve it in.
                                  Also noticed that they changed the bread on the goat cheese fondue. It's now a darker rye-like bread which I think they overtoasted because it was way too crumbly to effectively be held to dip in the goat cheese. Oh well, win some, lose some.

                                  1. re: bdachow

                                    Must have happened on Monday - we were there for one of our 6 hour lunches last Saturday- I agree on the thinner fries - not that that stopped us scarfing them down. The steak and lobster sandwich was pretty amazing. Can't wait to try all those new things, especially the sweet potato fries.

                                    1. re: Athena

                                      I thought I was the only one who did 6 hours lunches at Harry's! Last time they asked us to leave, however it has never been the same since Fletch left :(

                                      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                        checked out Harry's website--looks fantastic.

                                        1. re: whs

                                          Oops, check out my comments about some of the new bar items. The arugula salad on the dining room menu is good. And I actually prefer the cuban sliders here with the pickled ginger and beans to the one that I tried a couple weekends ago at the Spotted Pig in NYC. Also love the surf and turf sandwich which Athena mentioned above.

                              2. Just got back from Bermuda. Hated the Swizzle Inn, it is nothing amazing let me tell you. The Pickled Onion has a great view. But I recommend Freeport Seafood in the Royal Naval Dockyard. The owner Valerio is a real character, he cut up his homegrown tomatoes for us, drizzled them with a pinch of salt, basil, honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and they were out of this world! There's also a sushi bar there with utterly fresh and delicious seafood. Plus the place has real character and is not decked out like a quasi British pub or anything.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: bronwen

                                  Sorry to hear about the Swizzle. The food is definitely nothing exceptional but the Swizzle is quite nice depending on which one you go to. The original by the airport is slightly jet-fuelish, they are quite liberal with the rum. The South Shore one is quite delicious and it's a great way to spend an afternoon in the sun, sitting around nipping away at a pitcher.
                                  As for the quasi British pub, relics of colonialism plus the large number of UK ex-pats living on the island tends to dictate what the decor theme is.
                                  Glad to hear that you had some great food at Freeport, I think it's been recommended a couple of times for their seafood.

                                  1. re: bronwen

                                    My husband and I have known Valerio for 17+ years and yes he is a real character...I always forget about his place because we live the other side of the island. Must make our way to his place soon!

                                    1. re: bronwen

                                      Where is this quasi-British pub?

                                      If Freeport Seafood wasn't in Dockyard I'd try it - that whole area is just too depressing to go to.

                                      1. re: Athena

                                        Know what is sad, with living in Spanish Point, I haven't been to dockyard in about 2 years...that is sad....I mean when we travel we think nothing about driving to another state to go to a restaurant!!

                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                          Ladies,

                                          Seeing as we're all lacking in willpower to individually head up to Dockyards, perhaps a get together for us chowhounds could convince us to head up? Just throwing out an idea, what do you think?

                                    2. Hi y'all--we arrived in Bermuda today and so far, have had a very good lunch at Pickled Onion and fantastic dinner at Harry's.

                                      Question 1: Waterlot Inn or Tucker's Point?

                                      Question 2: where did the chef from late, lamented Waterloo House go? We're at Rosedon and that big gaping hole is pretty sad.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: whs

                                        I'd pick Tucker's Point, great food and it's so pretty there.

                                        Don't know about the Waterloo House chef, he may have left the island. I miss WH too, it's not easy living through all these changes.

                                        1. re: whs

                                          Tucker's Point for sure. I've never had good service at Waterlot.

                                          1. re: bdachow

                                            Thanks for the tips--we secured a res for TP on Sunday (our last night). Going to Port O'Call tonight and Waterlot tomorrow night. Dined at Harborfront last night--I had an incredible octopus dish. It was sliced very thin, and served with a sauce of yuzu, sesame oil and soy. My black cod entree was very good, but somehow the plate didn't quite come together--served with rice and bok choy, which did nothing to enhance the plate. Dining partner's tuna tartare and salmon carpaccio app was also delicious, but he said his duck breast entree was nothing special. Should have stuck with the sushi offerings, which looked very interesting.

                                            1. re: whs

                                              Enjoy Port O Call tonight. If you like cheesecake, everyone I know raves about it. Personally I love their cheese plate.

                                              If you like sushi, you should try Pearl upstairs at Port O Call, I find their sushi/sashimi offerings far superior to Harbourfront in freshness and innovativeness.

                                              I have no love for Waterlot unfortunately, the food is ok but as I've said before, service is poor to mediocre. It's taken half hour to get the bill before. But hopefully they will have turned things around a bit. Good luck and good chowing!

                                              1. re: bdachow

                                                Port O Call was very nice; my crab 3 ways was excellent. Sauteed rockfish was a tad overcooked, but overall a terrific dining experience. The white and dark chocolate mousse was delicious. Attentive service, chic room, and very lively. We had lunch today at a place rec'd by our cab driver--Pasta Basta (?). A good choice for a reasonable lunch, a little funky, no tourists.

                                                1. re: whs

                                                  Waterlot was terrific; the service was actually the best we've had on the island so far. We were greeted at the door, escorted to our table by the maitre d', the sommelier made a thoughtful, reasonable wine selection, and our waiter was informed and attentive. The food, though not inventive, was perfectly prepared. Steaks were prime and that potato gratin was insanely rich.

                                                  1. re: whs

                                                    Whew, I am so glad to be disproved that the service was excellent. I may have to give it another try once again one day.

                                                    Glad to hear that you're having some good food during your visit.

                                                    1. re: bdachow

                                                      The sun finally came out and we trekked out to Elbow Beach. Had lunch at Mickey's--what happened here? Last visit we had a great panzanella salad, now off the menu. Pizza was like Domino's. Mickey's used to feel like a beachside place in Italy; now it's been dumbed down to American tastes, though you can get a hot dog stateside for under $15.

                                                      Tucker's Point--the setting is gorgeous, though a tad sterile. Feels a little like a stage-set, not a real place. The food and service were excellent. My sweetbreads were perfectly crispy, and served with white beans and chorizo. At first I thought it was a strange combo, but the creaminess of the thymus gland was helped by the rustic quality of the other ingredients. Dining partner's lamb chops were sublime. Vanilla souffles with grand marnier sauce for dessert--wow.

                                                      Back home in NH now. Thanks to all for your excellent suggestions! We're already planning our next trip.

                                                      1. re: whs

                                                        Am glad to hear your report on Mickey's (which confirms my suspicions yet again, great setting, terrible food). I have eaten up the stairs at the Seabreeze Terrace and have been very unimpressed with the food so not a big surprise for me that the food is sub-par. I have a beef with the Little Venice Group about the quality of their food in general and they have taken over all the food at the Elbow Beach hotel. Expensive and only mediocre, I personally think they've over-extended themselves and as such, the quality has declined somewhat. Ok, personal rant over.

                                                        Glad to hear about Tucker's Point as I have yet to actually make it out there but have only heard good things about the food there. Am looking forward to trying it in the near future.

                                                        And next time you come back, let us know and we're always more than happy to keep you posted about the comings and goings of food on the island!