Bermuda Dining is an essential part of the Bermuda experience and key to a great vacation. But where to go? What to look for? What not to miss? Luckily in Bermuda your dining options run the gamut, from fine dining at a world-famous chef’s restaurant to family-run diners and food trucks.
Many visitors want to “eat where the locals eat.” Rest assured: All the restaurants rely on their local trade, so you won’t find any tourist traps here! You’ll come across restaurants in their fourth, fifth and even sixth decade of welcoming guests in the door for a good meal.
Bermuda’s cuisine reflects its culture and heritage, and you will find restaurants with European, Caribbean and Portuguese influences, along with the latest food trends.
As a tiny speck in the middle of the North Atlantic, fish features prominently on menus; and during lobster season the spiny lobsters are served up in a variety of ways. Traditional Bermuda fish chowder is on the menu island-wide, varies in colour depending on the chef and, in some instances, has been re-imagined. Originally a poor man’s dish, fish chowder’s base comes from cooking down the rack, head and tail left behind once all the fillets are cut away from the fish. These days the fillets are put in too, along with plenty of Goslings Black Seal Rum and Outerbridge’s Sherry Peppers!
If you are looking for a fine-dining experience, you’ll be spoilt for choice — there are historic homes converted into romantic restaurants with classic European cuisine; modern bistros that source their produce from local organic farmers; and upscale hotel restaurants offering a weekly chef’s table. For a casual meal, the classic Bermuda Dining pub is a great choice for a few pints, burgers, fish and chips, or pie of the day, and to catch a game on a big screen. Many of them host live bands or DJs on the weekend, and a Friday evening meal can easily turn into a lively night out!
If you want a no-frills, homestyle meal, a good place to start is at the neighbourhood diner, many of which have been open for decades, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner specials and homemade desserts — and all at a reasonable price. Look for taxis and trucks in the parking lot and you’ll know you’re at a good spot. For a quick bite on the go, stop at one of the food trucks parked in the City of Hamilton or even at an attraction like the Bermuda Golf Academy & Driving Range in Southampton. They offer burgers, codfish cakes, steak-umms and local-made pies; or try a Portuguese speciality. In October, the Food Truck Festival took place on Front Street with 15 trucks participating, one of which started out as a horse and cart in 1939.
For waterfront dining, visit the historic Town of St. George and plan to stay for lunch or dinner, as the original capital boasts four restaurants with beautiful views of the harbour. If a meal with vista of Bermuda’s South Shore beaches is on your list, try one of the hotels, which stretch along the coast and welcome guests to their oceanfront restaurants.
One topic Bermudians do not always agree on is: Where can you get the best fish sandwich? Everyone has their favourite spot for the biggest, tastiest, freshest Bermuda fish sandwich; so your best bet is to ask your taxi driver or the person sitting next to you on the bus. They may suggest the takeout window at a local cricket club, a grill on North Shore or the reinvented fish sandwich at one of the chef-owned restaurants.With a distinct lack of overseas franchises, Bermuda’s restaurant industry has remained authentic and unique. Fresh-caught wahoo served with seasonal fruits, hearty Portuguese red bean soup, spicy Jamaican beef patty, Indian curry, brick oven pizza… the choices are plentiful. No matter what you are in the mood for, Bermuda’s restaurants will serve you an experience to remember.
Whilst Bermuda may not appear to be a party destination, the locals do know how to let loose after the sun goes down. Many of Bermuda’s restaurants and bars transform into the hippest lounges and nightclubs after dark, with some parties going on deep into the night.
To get the party started, enjoy a classic Cuba Libre, Rum Swizzle, classic Mojito or Dark ’n Stormy; or have one of Bermuda’s skilled and knowledgeable bartenders prepare one of their fabulous, delicious signature drinks. The complete island experience features Bermuda’s world-renowned Goslings Black Seal Rum. This deep, luscious rum is so versatile it can be sipped like a fine single malt or star in any rum-based cocktail, providing an extra level of richness. It pairs superbly with most any cuisine and is the heart of several popular Bermuda recipes. As Bermuda’s oldest company, you’ll find all of Goslings award-winning rums available islandwide, in Goslings own shops in town and duty-free at the airport. (298-7337, 298-7368; goslingsrum.com)