Five unmissable culinary experiences in Nassau Paradise Island, from colonial-style fine dining to fried fish with the locals

One of the great joys of a trip to Nassau Paradise Island is the food and drink of The Bahamas - here are five places not to miss if you're taking a trip.

English, Spanish, Dutch, African, American… the list of influences on Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is as long as the fascinating history of this famously beautiful string of islands. From the moment that Christopher Columbus first set foot here – The Bahamas was where he first made landfall – there has been no single culture here. Instead there are endless strands incorporating the best of the Caribbean and beyond in one great melting pot.

From the pirates who once used Nassau as their refuge through to the post-independence entrepreneurs who have settled here, generations have made their mark on language, culture, architecture – and, of course, food. 

The Bahamians are passionate about food and drink, and Nassau Paradise Island is full of experiences to help you enjoy that to the maximum. From fine dining as good as you’ll find in the world’s biggest metropolises to the simple joys of the Fish Fry on the beach, here’s our guide to five culinary highlights not to miss when you’re visiting this joyous spot. 

Graycliff Hotel  

The Graycliff isn’t just a hotel with a restaurant: it’s a true Nassau landmark, a building first erected in 1740 which has seen almost all of The Bahamas’ history come and go. Since 1973 it’s been a restaurant with a great reputation, but never has it been stronger than it is today and was recently voted the best restaurant in the Caribbean.

The food itself is a mixture of European and local dishes, while the wine list is legendary thanks to an award-winning cellar that’s without doubt one of the best in the Caribbean. You can get dressed up in your finery and enjoy a meal in the colonial-style dining room, or for something a little different there are ‘Chef’s table’ experiences, cookery courses and private dining in the cellar itself. 

Fish by José Andrés at Atlantis


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Not many restaurants can boast a chef who made it onto Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ list, but this wonderful place at the Atlantis resort does. Chef and restauranteur José Andrés was recognised in part for his efforts in disaster relief across the Caribbean, but also for the mark the Spanish-born chef has left on the food of the Americas. The seafood menu is superb and ambitious: the stated aim is to ‘transport and inspire guests, reflecting the colors, shapes, and textures of the Bahamian seascape.’ 

Sip Sip at The Cove 

No Caribbean holiday is complete without a dinner by the beach watching the waves roll gently onto the sand, and at chef Julie Lightbourn’s Sip Sip restaurant – one of the dining options in The Cove at Atlantis resort – you can enjoy the experience with stunning food. Spicy conch chilli is one of the favourites, while the cocktail list is also rightly renowned. 

The Fish Fry at Arawak Cay 


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Though Nassau is full of history, Arawak Cay – known by locals as ‘The Fish Fry’ – didn’t exist until 1969, for the simple reason that this land was only created when the harbour was dredged. Today, it’s a wonderful sight to stimulate the senses: a whole area of Nassau where food is celebrated and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike at a street full of eateries.  

Don’t expect silver service and swish furniture – don’t even expect tablecloths. But do expect fish pulled straight from the ocean and fried to perfection in front of your eyes by locals who are passionate about their food. There are 50 or so shacks along this stretch; many locals swear by Oh Andrews, while for a place with a few more creature comforts Twin Brothers is a good starting point. Then all you have to do is choose between grouper, snapper, conch salad or one of the other specialties. 

The Skybar at Baha Mar and the Jazz Bar at the Grand Hyatt

The Jazz Bar at the Grand Hyatt in Baha Mar. Photo: Tadeu Brunelli

The Jazz Bar at the Grand Hyatt in Baha Mar. Photo: Tadeu Brunelli

It’s not just about food at Nassau Paradise Island: with a huge wealth of bars and clubs to choose from, there are all sorts of different places to get a drink – and even see the drinks being made, as you can with craft beer at The Pirate Republic Brewing Company or rum at the John Watling rum distillery. For an unforgettable place to get a drink Baha Mar has a plethora of options, but the Skybar is the only rooftop bar on the island – and once the sun has set, stroll across to the impossibly elegant Jazz Bar for music and drinks with a 1920s vibe.  

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The Skybar at SLS Baha Mar