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Aug 4, 2011 06:35 AM

Recommendations for restaurants in Bermuda?

Would appreciate recommendations for restaurants in Bermuda. If you can recommend some that are "relatively inexpensive" for Bermuda that would be well as a few that are worth the splurge!

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  1. What part of the island will you be staying and will you be mobile? Renting a scooter gives you run of the island, taxis are more limiting due to the potential expense and buses are a slow leisurely way of seeing things.

    Are you looking for all meals? Any food aversions?

    14 Replies
    1. re: bdachow

      Staying in Paget and will be renting a cycle. Will also be able to take the ferry into Hamilton for dinner.

      1. re: Duncan

        Worth the splurge (for me at least):
        Harry's (American in Hamilton) - go for lunch in the bar area and enjoy the good weather, mojito's are a favourite.
        Pearl (Sushi in Hamilton) - ask the sushi chefs what's been caught locally, if you're lucky, maybe some snapper, tuna, wahoo, rockfish (usually never at the same time unfortunately). Ask for a patio table and enjoy the view of the Harbour (if the cruise ship isn't in town from Tuesday night to Friday lunch).

        Inexpensive (relatively speaking):
        Tribe Road Kitchen (Bakery-ish in Hamilton) - it's my new favourite breakfast and lunch spot for baked goodies and sandwiches, just search for the thread on this board. Closed on Sundays & Mondays.
        The Dining Room at Gibb's Hill Lighthouse (Italian leaning in Southampton)- smaller place, love the thin crust (like a cracker almost) pizza's. Try and get a window seat so you can have views out all over the island.
        Wahoo's in St. George's (Seafood in St. George's)- I personally like the fish tacos and someone else loves their rockfish picasso, it's a leisurely way to spend an afternoon, relaxing on their back patio and just watching the world go by...
        House of India (Indian in Hamilton but take a taxi from the ferry) - the sauces are addictive and demand a large carb overload in order to soak it all up. Having said that though, they tend to run a little sweeter than authentic Indian but I definitely am not complaining, it's still delicious. They have a lunch buffet that's a pretty good deal.

        I personally haven't gone to Blackbeard's Hideout (?) in St. David's but others have recommended it for seafood as well.

        Hope that helps, I think a couple others will be able to offer up their views as well.

        1. re: bdachow

          And so, the disappointment of Bermuda eateries. A visitor asks and all we can really do it list: Italian, Indian, sushi venues, sandwich cafes, and pub style places. The list is a good one, but standing back we can see how limiting Bermuda really is in terms of food it can offer tourists. I would never go to, say, Jamaica and seek out a sushi place, or Italian. Devil's advocate here. In any event Duncan, enjoy your stay.

          1. re: hungryhog

            And I thought I was a bit jaded! ;) But yes, I do find it oddly limiting to eat in Bermuda, you don't know how many times I've stared down in Flatts Inlet at the sea urchins and wondered, why aren't you on my plate?!?!?! We're surrounded by the ocean and yet, seafood is not the specialty of the island. Bit of a head scratcher there.

            *sigh* you've got me thinking about all the great food I miss, all varieties of Asian, middle Eastern, southern BBQ...

            1. re: bdachow

              I know, it's hard to come on here and trot out the usual suspects for visitors. In my opinion, the best Bermudian food is to be found in people's homes, at Cup Match and county games, in little joints in places that you really don't want to send visitors to for fear of their safety.

              Bermuda's food has never had the cultural influences that produce the diversity of Caribbean islands' foods. Historically, the food has been plain and used what little was available locally. There has also, from the time the first foreign-owned hotels were built, been a difference between what was served to tourists and what locals ate. Tourists were not expected to want to chow down on suckrock stew or codfish and potatoes.

              Bdachow, if a range of seafood - aside from sea urchins - is not available, how can seafood be a specialty?

              I continue to be absolutely fascinated by the proliferation of sushi joints - I heard something on the news on the way home about a barbecue and sushi place. I need to find where that place is - not for the sushi - but the bbq!

              1. re: Athena

                This is enlightening..what praytell is suckrock stew? Sounds intriguing.

                I guess my thought process is that with the vast bounty of the ocean around us, why is seafood limited to tuna, wahoo and rockfish generally? Isn't there more to the sea than just those 3 critters? And why don't I seem to encounter more local produce used, like loquats, paw paws, surinam cherries? I feel it's a real shame that things like that are generally not featured or is rare to encounter unless you have a fab friend who makes loquat chutney or loquat brandy. Shame shame on restaurants sometimes. Sorry, I shall get off the soapbox now.

                Yes, the proliferation of sushi is a bit ridiculous. I know you don't eat it and I do but even I find it absolutely ridiculous. How does bbq and sushi go together? Why can't someone just focus on doing one thing well? Oh and if you hear more about the bbq place, please post. I've been dying to get my fingers all sticky from some great bbq, can be from any state, just do it right...brisket, pulled pork, ribs, burnt ends, hams, all things pork, etc....droooooolllll.....

                1. re: bdachow

                  At issue is the fact that (almost) all restaurants are owned and staffed by people who come from outside of Bermuda and they do not have a traditional connect with local foodie culture. Year-round there should be places that serve up cassava pie and breads; plantain; beef stew; fish stew; pawpaw (baked, mashed, casseroled; spice cakes and banana breads; loquat, tomato, pawpaw and prickly pear chutneys; Surinam cherry, Bay Grape and other types of sweet jams and jellies. Then, allowing for greater outside influence there wold be some West Indian style curries.....As has been said, many of these dishes are eaten only in private homes -but many of them should be available year-round in restaurants. I understand the chefs at Harley's (Hamilton Fairmont) are turning out some local style dishes with some success.
                  Suck rock stew. Avery poor and meagre dish. Suck rocks are the trilobite animals you can see on rocks at the medium water mark. These can be pried off and boiled...and boiled...and boiled, perhaps with green pawpaw to tenderize, mixed with veggies at hand and served as stew. It was never a widely eaten dish!

                  1. re: hungryhog

                    Wanna open a restaurant HH? ;)

                    Shame that the outside world seems to embrace the "local food" movement and it just hasn't come to these shores yet. In the meantime, I will have to keep hitting up friends for recipes to try on my own.

                    1. re: bdachow

                      @hungryhog, I'm not sure what kind of 'places' you would like to see - casual? higher end? Everything you list is available – the Supermart, Lindo's, MarketPlace at lunch, conveniences stores, Farmer's Market, church bazaars, bake sales, small family restaurants. Herbie Bascome at the South P has been bringing Bermudian-inspired food to the table there for a long time. I honestly don't know how Bermudians would react to a restaurant - along the lines of Little Venice – serving all the things you mention for dinner.

                      Suckrock stew kept many people going during hard times way back when.

                      @bdachow, due to overfishing, and whatever it was that led to mussels and calico clams disappearing, there there's a lot of ocean and not so much bounty. A lot of work has, and is going, into restocking fish supplies. Samia Sarkis seems to be having success with farming scallops.

                      Loquats, Surinam cherries, pawpaw are on peoples properties and along the roadsides, they have to be foraged (though I have occasionally seen paw paws for sale) and the first two are labour intensive to prep - why I rarely make loquat upside down cake :) – which I think would make it prohibitively expensive for a restaurant to work with.

                      I think many Bermudians have embraced local food - the raw ingredients anyway.

                      1. re: Athena

                        All true, but I don't really lump supermarket buffets in with the same category as restaurants. I know Herbie Bascome, but the SP is not a magnet for local cuisine either. And based on the responses here (see above) a tourist asks a questions about eating local, and we list sushi, Italian, Indian, etc. All good, but hardly what I would call a round-up of Bermudian cuisine.
                        And I am not sure about the accuracy of suckrock stew keeping many of us going during hard times....yes, it was there, but I think today it is more of a romantic vision of how bad things were for people.
                        Yes, I think there is an opportunity for a local cuisine eatery for both tourists and locals alike or simply a place in operation taking advantage of branching out a little. Of course different chefs have tried at different times, but in all honesty these are dishes kept for the home diner more than a 'going out' scenario.

                        1. re: hungryhog

                          There are Bermudian foodways and there is food for tourists and Bermudians who want something different when they go out. Maybe you need to get in there and do something to change it.

                          Believe me, I have done thousands of hours of research on Bermuda's history and culture - including food – and I have "no romantic vision" of how difficult life was for the majority of people for much of our history.

                          1. re: Athena

                            Interesting because I have also done research into Bermudian foodways and have written and put quite a bit into the Bermuda archives on the subject, so let's not get to Bermudians here....What I said I stand by, but by telling me to go and change it is not the answer. Bermuda either wants to create and maintain a cultural food identity, or it does not. Me opening a restaurant is not the answer, but the sort of response one tends to get on the island. I was at the Black Horse yesterday which serves great local food. Where else can one get hash shark or mussel pies and conch stew SERVED IN A RESTAURANT.Pretty limiting. There is an answer, but it starts from the top; through culinary competitions; showcasing local foods and cuisine at Government official dinners; expanding on the idea created by Fresh (Elmore Warren) on Father's Day - a Court Street BBQ cook-off with locals showcasing rubs/sauces/sides; perhaps getting (god forbid) the Bermuda College to sponsor a local culinary event....So, there are things we could do collectively.

                      2. re: bdachow

                        LOL> Yes, personal recipes are the answer. Some of the old cookbooks are useful but they include too many foreign recipes incorporated into them so you have to go through a lot of weeds. A really good reference book on local cooking is Traditional Cookery in Bermuda, compiled by Thatcher Adams. A real nice mix of British/Island/Bermudian interpretations and done in an unusual longhand style. The dishes here on seafood reflect some of the oldest traditions of Bermudian cookery you might find.

                        1. re: hungryhog

                          Thanks for the reference to the book, I'll have to go look for it next time I'm in the bookstore.

      2. I've been watching this post as my husband & I will be on Bermuda next week. We've been to the island several times before, but it's been about 5 years since our last visit. We'll be staying in St. George's where the dining is quite limited. However, here are a few pointers from our previous trips:
        1. Our favorite restaurant on the island is Blackbeard's Hideout. It is in St. George's (NOT St. David), near Fort St. Catherine. Anthing made with rockfish (there's usually a special) is very good here. If the food weren't so good, it would still be worth coming here for the view---arguably the best on the island. Prices are on par with most "good" Bermudian restaurants---we consider it to be "pricey" compared to similiar restaurants at home. Still, even if you just come for a Dark & Stormy (a local drink) while watching the sunset, I think you'll be happy. Downside is that it's pretty hard to get to without a scooter.
        2. Yes, it does seem sad that there is little "local" flavor to be found in the restaurants on Bermuda. HOWEVER, don't overlook what IS available. Nearly EVERY restaurant, from the least expensive to the most, will offer a version of Bermuda fish chowder. I've never had 2 that tasted the same, but they've all been very good! Don't forget to add a bit of the (LOCAL) sherry-pepper sauce and Black Seal rum that will be brought to your table with the chowder.
        3. If you're at the Dockyard end of the island, forego the burgers at the pubs (you'll get better at home) and head to Freeport Gardens instead. It's off the beaten track, near "the gates". The fishcakes here are OUTSTANDING. You'll see that many locals will be getting take-out here. This may be the best "Bermudian" food you'll find on the island. Very unpretentious place, with no view from inside the restaurant. There are a couple of tables on the patio with a nice view of the harbor there, though.
        Mmmmm....getting hungry for Bermuda food!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Anne

          Thanks to all for the replies! Looking forward to, again, visiting your beautiful island. Just one more quick question: we are thinking of using traveler's cks to pay at restaurants...will we sometimes get Bermudian currency for change? And, if so, how do we exchange it for American currency when we leave?

          1. re: Duncan

            If I were you, cash them on board and pay cash at restaurants. If you use the TCs you will need either a passport or photo i.d. You will be given either Bermuda or US dollars -they are interchangeable. Check on board as I would assume the purser would cash out any Bermudian currency left over.