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Aug 23, 2010 11:15 AM

Looking for unique, local food in Bermuda


I will be in Bermuda for 5 days next month and am interested in recommendations for local, delicious food that I wouldn't be able to find in North America. I have searched the boards for old Bermuda posts already but most seem to discuss fine dining options. However, I live in NYC so I have lots of fine dining options where I live and thus like to eat more local cuisine when I travel.

We will be staying at the Fairmont Southampton but will be willing to travel anywhere on the island.

Thanks so much!

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  1. ML, I defer to the locals here to speak to this great question. I am a foodie and love local dining. Unlike the Caribbean what you are seeking is rather a challenge to locate. Bermuda local cuisine is a mixture of Caribbean, British and African influence. If you can experience a local Bermudian breakfast, go for it. For fish and a funky atmosphere, Dennis's Hideaway is a place to try. Island Cuisine had rockfish, mac and cheese and rice and peas. It was pretty good. If you seek a Caribbean local sort of experience, it really isn't going to happen. Let's see what Athena and BDW Chow say...they are in the know. One l favorite for tourists is the Bermuda Fish Chowder. It is made with saltfish, a Caribbean staple and is in a tomato broth. Make sure to put in some sherry peppers, in fact bring home a few bottles of Outeridges. Good stuff...

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrwynter

      I've been pondering this one a bit as I really didn't know what to say. Athena would probably be your best resource on local cuisine. As far as I can expand on the subject is that mrwynter is correct that it is a big mix of influences with the Caribbean being the biggest and the Portugese the next. Local favourite dishes are rice and peas, mac and cheese and fish chowder. Local seafood would be wahoo, tuna and rockfish. There is occasionally escarole, and bonitos (type of snapper I believe). Local drinks would be the rum swizzle and dark and stormy (made properly with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Barritt's ginger beer, lol). A typical breakfast would be boiled salted codfish served with potatos, plantain and avocado. It's really hearty. The Fairmont Southampton I believe serves up the breakfast at buffet brunch on Sundays. One of my girlfriends, who is local, says it is quite good.
      With regards to fish chowder, don't forget to add some black rum as well as the sherry peppers!
      If you're staying at Fairmont Southampton, Island Cuisine is about a 10 minute walk from the bottom of the hill (take the tram/trolley to the bottom of the hill on the Waterlot side) and turn right and walk about 10 minutes down the road. You should see the grocery store, Island Cuisine is in the next little plaza. It's a locals favourite hangout, food is diner style. I always go there for my hangover breakfast so can't vouch for how good any of the other food is aside from them having a mean bacon, fried egg, cheese and ketchup sandwich.

      I had previously suggested fish sandwiches at Art Mel's in a different thread but there is some concern about safety in that particular neighbourhood these days unfortunately.

      1. re: bdachow

        Thanks to you both! Hopefully Athena will chime in, as well!

    2. Local Fish in Season Wahoo, Tuna, Swordfish, Rockfish (like grouper) Hogfish, Porgy, Rainbow runners, Mahi-Mahi, Coney’s are just some of our local fish – matter fact Swizzle Inn does a mean Wahoo burger! Yummy! And if you are here after September 1 …LOBSTER season

      Hog Penny, they have a vast menu to select from, service is great and the Bloody Mary’s are out of this world! Located in Hamilton .

      Pickled Onion, also, located in Hamilton with some kickin’ entertainment, they have a cosmic martini selection to choice from. Not to mention some great eats. I personally have a weakness for their nachos!

      Latin - A newer place i keep forgetting about...located in Hamilton on Victoria Street - not much of a view and they do not serve Bermudian fare, but they have a great tapas menu an open air area with comfy seating and tasty drinks at a good price.

      The first three are all owned by the same group of companies and each place is having specials this month and check out the websites

      Bistro J, is one of the most interesting restaurants in Bermuda, I love the fact the menu is written on giant blackboards with a only a couple of selections of appetizers, entrees and desserts and the menu changes according to what is fresh, so local ingredients being used!
      This is another place that it has been some time since visiting, but what I remember is was super delicious.

      For some Happy Hour bites, you could try Harry's a their menu can get very costly, but it is on the water so you do get a very nice very.

      If you want to venture to Dockyard...
      Frog N’ Onion Pub, They have great daily specials, super duper lunch combos and different live entertainment what more could you ask for. however as some say it has a cave like décor,

      Freeport,( we are still in Dockyard) it is a good place and where locals do tend to visit (a lot) there is also Bonefish grill, you can sit outside and watch the world go by...with a tasty beverage of choice of course.

      Mad Hatters is also quite reasonable with decent food. It definitely requires reservations as the restaurant is quite small. In Hamilton

      The Lobster Pot in Hamilton –

      Since you are staying at the Fairmont Southampton they have a private shuttle to their sister hotel Fairmont Hamilton (I think there is a small fee) and on Fridays they have an awesome happy hour! They even fire up the BBQ and serve food for a small fee.

      Some local places that are worth the ride into Hamilton – Fish Hut on Court Street – they can make some fish sandwiches, piled high with tarter and hot sauce!

      Jamaican Grill – my husband loves the goat dish


      1 Reply
      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

        Thanks! This was really helpful.

        We will be there Sept 2 - Sept 7 so lobster should be in season, right?

        Where do you think the best place for Bermuda fish chowder would be?

      2. stop by Somerset Country Squire Pub and Restaurant on the waterfront if you're driving back from the Dockyards.

        as previously mentioned: 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.

        Remember: All Roads Lead to The Swizzle Inn. A must stop for a pitcher of Rum Swizzles. Everybody does it; there is no reason not to join in. They also do a fish chowder; ask for more than a splash of sherry peppers and black rum.

        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. (hope it is still open)

        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.

        or 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.

        11 Replies
        1. re: edible complex

          Like bdachow, I've pondered this. Historically Bermuda food has been pretty simple - fresh fish, lobster, mussels, vegetables grown in home gardens, salt cod, Azorean red bean soup and chourico. Any Caribbean influence has been fairly recent.

          Bermuda fish chowder is made from fresh fish, not salt cod. There are as many ways to make Sunday morning codfish and potatoes as there are families - but I have never seen plantains on the plate.

          Reids restaurant has closed. Black Horse is still open and great for a lunch of fish sandwiches - and shark harsh if someone's caught a shark.

          1. re: Athena

            Thanks! How long do you think it would take to drive from the Fairmont Southampton to St. George and Black Horse? I was thinking of possibly renting a scooter for the day and doing a day trip to St. George to see the sights, go to Tobacco Bay. Would it make sense to go to Black Horse for either lunch or dinner then to the Swizzle Inn on the way back? I'm a bit concerned about drinking a rum swizzle and riding a scooter. Would it make more sense just to go to the Swizzle Inn closer to our hotel even though I've read the drinks are not as good as at the original location?

            Thanks again!

            1. re: ManhattanLawyer

              It would take me about 45 minutes by car. Go to St George's and then the Black Horse for lunch so you can sit outside on the water. Swizzles are deceptively powerful, you'd need to follow with soft drinks/water and wait before driving.

              Lobster season starts 1 September.

              I'll check on the fish chowder for you.

              1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                If you have a glass of Swizzle while eating, you should be ok. If you have a pitcher, definitely a problem! :)

                The drinks just aren't as strong at the South Shore location I find.

                1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                  we often put our scooter on the ferry to get around faster and not back track on ourselves. check the schedule to see they run to St. George.
                  we found a great place to picnic at Tobacco Bay. there is a grocery in St. George that had full meals to go as well as bangers n mash, fish pies, roast chickens, and many other sides/options.

                2. re: Athena

                  I have to agree....Bermuda Food is fresh and simple...However it is also a mix of all the wonderful cultures we have in the island...Caribbean, Portuguese and British influence being the biggest.

                  I have the luxury of being married to commerical fisherman who also have lobster pots so plenty of fresh fish and lobster and yes, season starts Sept. 1

                  Cod Fish breakfast...go out and pick your bananas off the plantains here...and when in season pick your avocado also ;)

                  The best fish chowder is made with rock fish (grouper) because it gives the stock a deep to where the best is made...that can be debateable through out the island...

                  Oh...just thought of a new place that opened in St. George's ... Wahoo Grill...I have yet to make it there but everyone who goes have raved about it

                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                    Thanks! This all sounds delicious! We are supposed to be in Bermuda from Sept 2 - Sept 7 and are hoping that Fiona won't throw too much of a wrench into our plans!

                    1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                      We'll have some wind and rain, but it should improve by Sunday.

                      1. re: Athena

                        Is that all they are forecasting for the storm? Supposed to head out myself this weekend and not sure how Fiona is going to impact the plans!

                        1. re: coco96

                          Max Sustained Winds: 45kt gusts 55kt

                          Closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hrs:

                          Date: 3 am Sat, Sep 4, 2010. Distance: 14 nm to the NW

                          Go here for flight info

                          Hope you get here - lobsters await!

                          1. re: Athena

                            Thanks! We came a day early so we would not delayed with storms here and New England. Gorgeous afternoon here. Can't wait to try the lobster. Do you have a favorite spot? Thank you!