Now that many Caribbean islands have reopened their borders to US travelers*, there will undoubtedly be a surge of Americans seeking white sand beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and the laid-back tranquility of a luxurious island getaway.
While the pandemic restricted our ability to travel freely, many of us have also missed the simple pleasure of dining out. The massive disruption to the global tourism industry forced restaurants to adapt to new realities. Fortunately, all across the Caribbean, travelers can now dine safely and comfortably.
In recent years, several highly acclaimed chefs from around the world have opened restaurants on popular island destinations—marrying their signature style and trademark cuisine with all the diverse flavors, locally grown produce, and bounty of fresh seafood that the Caribbean is famous for. The result? Some incredibly unique dining experiences that you won’t want to miss on your next trip to paradise.
Here are seven exceptional island eateries helmed by celebrity chefs that are open to American tourists (a few even debuted during the pandemic). The summer of hedonism is calling—go forth and indulge (safely, of course).
(*in some cases, there may be entry requirements based on the destination)
In March 2021, a new concept led by superstar chef Daniel Boulud was introduced at Rosewood Baha Mar in Nassau. With sister restaurants in Palm Beach, Toronto and The Berkshires, Café Boulud offers upscale traditional French cuisine in a sophisticated setting—coupled with the warm, approachable hospitality of a neighborhood café. Chef Boulud worked closely with area producers, fishermen and suppliers to develop the unique menu, ensuring the offerings accurately reflect the Bahamian destination and match the seasonality of the Caribbean. Guests can expect some of the more popular dishes found at Boulud’s other esteemed restaurants, along with locally grown vegetables and supremely fresh seafood such as rock lobster, conch ceviche, salt fish and red snapper.
The Caribbean’s first restaurant from Best of the Best winner Edward Lee is inspired by one of life’s most fundamental building blocks: NaCl (the chemical abbreviation for salt). Located within the lavish Hodges Bay Resort Antigua, this fine dining stunner delivers technique-driven dishes that are exquisite in both taste and presentation. Lee, a former Top Chef-testant and nine-time James Beard Award nominee, serves an inventive dinner menu featuring high-end cuts of prime aged meat and the freshest seafood infused with global flavors, local produce and Caribbean spices. To complement your meal, try a recommendation from the resident rum sommelier or one of the expert mixologists behind the bar.
Eighth-generation Italian master butcher, Dario Cecchini, opened this sophisticated steakhouse—located next to the SLS Baha Mar resort—that showcases some of the finest cuts of meat in the world. The celebrity meat maestro (also known for his larger-than-life personality) sources steaks directly from farmers in the most prominent locales—including Catalonia, Spain, and his hometown in Tuscany. Here, meats are dry rubbed with Cecchini’s signature sea salt blend, cooked on a charcoal grill to fully express the flavor profiles and served tableside. Specialties include Chianti Wagyu beef tartare (with truffle aioli, watercress, and quail egg yolk), a 32-ounce 21-day dry aged Angus Tuscan porterhouse and a 54-ounce wood grilled and boiled Wagyu Tomahawk. With a focus on top quality and all-natural ingredients, Carna also offers fresh seafood, seasonal vegetables and an extensive international wine list.
Fish by José Andrés
Michelin-starred chef José Andrés’s newest fine dining eatery at The Cove in Atlantis offers a premium selection of responsibly sourced seafood that creatively pays homage to traditional Bahamian cuisine and the ocean surrounding the islands.
Celebrated for his humanitarian efforts as much as his culinary prowess, Andrés’s menu underscores the resort’s dedication to protecting the ocean. Spotlighting sustainability, the restaurant’s signature dish is fried local lionfish—a species that tastes divine, yet has been severely damaging to Bahamian coral reefs. Andrés—also an avid fisherman and deep sea diver—is committed to hunting this invasive fish to help the reefs and marine life continue to flourish. Additionally, a portion of the cost from this dish will be donated to the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, the resort’s non-profit organization dedicated to saving marine species and their extraordinary habitats. Fish will officially reopen on June 18th exclusively for dinner with a newly appointed executive chef working in collaboration with Andrés.
Following a major two-year renovation and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Eden Rock at St. Barths emerged more glamorous than ever. Sand Bar is at the culinary heart of this iconic resort, featuring a laid-back island vibe and refined cuisine masterminded by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A range of gourmet dishes—including exotic salads, homemade whole-wheat pizzas, fresh local seafood and inspired interpretations of classics—are offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Representing St Barths’ unique character, the restaurant overlooks the beautiful Baie de St. Jean—a picturesque setting to savor a meal or sip a refreshing beverage while taking in stunning seaside views.
Global culinary icon Nobu Matsuhisa’s famed restaurant, Nobu, is one of the finest dining establishments in the Caribbean, located at Atlantis Paradise Island. Nobu devotees can expect the beloved restaurant empire’s trademark gourmet Japanese fare, but with Bahamian twists and local ingredients that are unique to this location—everything from roasted Bahamian lobster and wood-fired Wagyu beef to cracked conch and Nobu-style ceviche. Executive chef Felice Rubio (who has worked with Nobu all over the world) even created a ‘Nobu at Atlantis’ riff on traditional fish and chips made with native lionfish and specialty seasonings to complement the Asian flavors. Pro tip: Take a tour of Nobu’s hidden “jewel” (the sake cellar) and try the brand new housemade sakes with a Bahamian spin—infused with pineapple or mixed berries and steeped for several days.
Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House
Six-time James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson is upping the ante on Baha Mar’s already impressive culinary lineup. Debuting on July 12th, Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House will celebrate Samuelsson’s deep-rooted passion for exploring flavors—from sourcing the freshest local ingredients and Bahamian seafood to sharing his creative takes on comfort food classics. Spirited signature dishes include an extensive selection of locally caught fish—raw and cured—along with several preparations of conch, the national dish of The Bahamas. Work from prominent Bahamian artists is displayed throughout the vibrant dining room and a rooftop cocktail bar, Marcus Up Top, will feature live nightly entertainment from local DJs and musicians set against spectacular sunset views—a truly special day-to-night dining destination.