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How to Spend a Culinary Weekend in Grand Cayman

How to Spend a Culinary Weekend in Grand Cayman

Also known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is an island getaway that delivers gastronomic adventures in addition to paradise like beaches.

For those looking for an island getaway with soft white sands, cool ocean breezes, and plenty of gastronomic experiences, look no further than the Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands. If you plan vacations around food, consider visiting the iconic Cayman Cookout, featuring famous chefs worldwide, but this island is a great destination throughout the year.

Also known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, you’ll find the freshest seafood at seaside shacks or fine-dining restaurants. In this guide, we’ll break down where to stay, where to eat, and what to do on this picture-perfect Caribbean island.

Where to Stay

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is the perfect choice for a five-star luxury stay. Situated on the famous Seven Mile Beach, this 19-year-old hotel had a massive $50-million renovation during the pandemic. The food and beverage program is plentiful, including rare aged rum tastings, Celebrity Chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant Blue, and several other delicious options. We’ll get into more details a bit later. As for the rooms, The Ritz-Carlton boasts the Carribbean’s largest suite, a three-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot penthouse for $25,000 a night. For a more modest option, enjoy any of the other 365 classic rooms exuding a contemporary feel with dark blue and cream tones, a comfy four-poster bed, and, depending on the room, views overlooking the ocean, pools, or other parts of the 144-acre property. With a golf course and water park, amongst several other amenities, you’d barely have to leave, but we recommend going out and exploring. Additionally, if you’re an art lover, this Ritz-Carlton operates the most extensive gallery on the island.

Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman
Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman

If you’re seeking a kid-friendly option, check out The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa. The Westin is located on Seven Mile Beach and is home to the largest pool on the island. The staff is friendly, and the rooms are great and airy, but you will only spend a little time there with all the different activities you can book at The Westin. Whether you want to reserve a quick boat ride to Stingray City, take a stand-up paddleboard lesson, or choose self-care time at the Hibiscus Spa, there is plenty to keep you and the family busy.

Westin Grand Cayman
Westin Grand Cayman

Where to Eat

Although Grand Cayman is only 22 miles long and 8 miles wide, taxi cabs can be pricey. There are no ride-sharing services on the island, but fear not–– buses traverse the Grand Cayman on the same routes as taxis and are $2 to $5 per ride as opposed to the $50 to $100 fare you’ll pay using taxis. For a local experience, leave the resort and drive to Heritage Kitchen in West Bay. This literal seaside shack serves excellent fresh seafood without any frills. You’ll want to order some conch fritters and a Cayman-style fish for something Caymanian. The dish is stewed grouper, mahi, or wahoo with tomato, pepper, and onion, served with rice and crispy bread.

Heritage Kitchen

For another local spot, head to the historic George Town, the island’s downtown area. Check out Cayman Cabana, a casual eatery where the owners showcase Cayman Island farmers, local producers, and fishermen. The move here is to order the whole fried local snapper. Make sure to order a fresh passion fruit margarita to seal the deal.

Whole Fried Snapper at Cayman Cabana
Whole Fried Snapper at Cayman Cabana

One of our favorite meals was at the beautiful Bácaro for a more trendy and elevated restaurant vibe. This Italian restaurant uses local ingredients but touts flavors from Venice. The space overlooks the Cayman Islands Yacht Club and has a nautical feel. Start with a gin and tonic with thyme and olives or a Venetian Spritz. The daily caught raw fish served on a salt block is a must-order. The longer it sits on the salt block, the saltier it gets, so beware. The grilled asparagus, parmesan foam, truffle oil, crispy egg yolk, and polenta chip will do the trick for a decadent start. Order the homemade spaghetti with the duck ragout for a comforting and delicious meal.

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Bácaro

If you’re looking for the quintessential fine-dining experience, make a reservation at Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Blue, inside the Ritz-Carlton. You can choose from a few tasting menu options, including Eric Ripert’s menu starting at KYD 290, the Blue four-course starting at KYD 190, or the six-course menu for KYD 255. Enjoy innovative cocktails like Clarified Colada, a nod to a piña colada with Appleton Signature rum, banana, pineapple, local coconut water, and clarified coconut milk. And if you can’t snag a reservation, check out the bar and order a la carte. Try a few of the standout dishes like Tuna-Foie Gras, or go for the simple yet incredible homemade fettucini with truffle butter and chives.

Eric Ripert's Blue
Eric Ripert’s Blue

For a beautiful outdoor restaurant, check out Saint June at The Ritz-Carlton. It’s the most romantic place to eat while the sun sets as you listen to the beautiful sound of crashing waves. Not only will you find the best piña colada on the island, but you’ll also find exciting ceviches too. Order the Saint June Trio, which comes with Peruvian-style wahoo ceviche, a seafood ceviche, and a vegetarian ceviche with hearts of palm and pineapple. Afterward, head back inside and check out Taikun for Japanese fare. For those who enjoy saucy rolls, you’ll love this restaurant. If you’re more into classic sashimi and nigiri, you have options but fewer than the many cut rolls (maki) on the menu. One of the highlights of Taikun is that the server will grate fresh wasabi tableside, which is a rare treat, as it’s primarily cultivated in Japan and extremely hard to grow.

Saint June
Saint June

The Westin’s Beach House is a fantastic option for another romantic sunset treat. It won the food festival Taste of Cayman’s People’s Choice Award and has a AAA 4 Diamond and Wine Spectator award. Regarding the menu, the Tandoori Carribean Snapper and Lobster and Miso Shimp Dumplings are popular here. For something sweet, save room for the Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel, rum, and bananas.

Westin’s Beach House Instagram

If you feel like a nightcap and your spirit of choice is tequila, you must check out Casa 43 Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar. With over 230 tequilas to choose from, you’ll feel like you’ve time-traveled to a cozy bar in Mexico. The bar is a tequila lovers’ dream with exceptional, hard-to-find tequilas and mezcals. Another unique drinking experience is back at Ritz-Carlton at the lobby lounge, Silver Palm. The bright green-painted walls and the plethora of plants give it a tropical vibe with many fantastic photo opportunities. You’ll find rare rums previously aged in bourbon casks dropped 42 feet underwater. The rum tasting is paired with local chocolate, making it a unique Cayman experience. 

Ritz-Carlton Silver Palm Rum Tasting
Ritz-Carlton Silver Palm Rum Tasting

In between gastronomic experiences, learn more about the history and culture of Grand Cayman by exploring Cayman Islands National Museum or National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Ask for a National Gallery guided tour and take in fascinating Caymanian art as you learn plenty from different exhibitions and art collections, including sculptures, cartography, and photography. Another great way to immerse yourself in the community is to inquire about eco-friendly and sustainable practices during your visit. Whether you partner with divers on their coral restoration efforts, understand how to protect the endangered turtles on the island, or sign up to be an ambassador at one of the hotel’s environment programs like the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment at The Ritz-Carlton, you’ll feel good about leaving the island better than you found it.

The National Gallery
The National Gallery
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