Restaurants are about more than just food.
When we go out to eat, we aren’t doing so because we have to — we do it because we want to.
Because restaurants make our lives more interesting. They break up the monotony, they teach us, they bring us together — and they make us happy.
And for those who didn’t realize it before, this past year has reminded us of just how integral a role the restaurant and hospitality industry plays for us, how much we need it.
That’s particularly true when traveling.
Visiting a place and eating in its restaurants teaches us so much about its culture, its people and the things people care about.
The massive disruption to the global travel industry did not spare the Caribbean, and it forced the region’s restaurants to immediately adapt to new realities.
Happily, they’ve done that — and, all across the Caribbean, travelers can dine safely, securely and comfortably.
This is the eighth annual edition of what began in 2013 as a landmark list of the 50 best restaurants in the Caribbean and remains the leading annual celebration of restaurants region-wide.
While we’ve focused this year on destinations that are open to visitors (and with restaurant sectors that are open), our evaluating criteria remain the same: we focus on the three pillars that define the restaurant experience: food, service and ambience.
And this year we’ve added a fourth — every restaurant on the list must at least give diners the option of eating outdoors or in an open-air space.
Let’s not forget that this industry only exists because of the risk-takers, entrepreneurs and adventurers who choose to open restaurants – and serve the food, drink and hospitality that helps enrich our daily lives.
So let’s celebrate them and our favorite places to eat. And when you next come back to the Caribbean, make sure you pay them a visit.
Here are the best restaurants in the Caribbean for 2021.
Brass Boer, Bonaire The husband-and-wife team of Jonnie and Therese Boer have been behind the three-Michelin-star De Librije restaurant in Holland for nearly three decades, and Brass Boer, their first Caribbean endeavor, is a masterwork, with inspired, out-of-this-world gastronomic creations both continental and Caribbean and everywhere in between. It’s yet another sign of Bonaire’s growing stature as a regional culinary powerhouse.
Sheer Rocks, Antigua There may be no more beautiful dining setting in the entire Caribbean than this cliffside eatery in Antigua led by local Chef Jamal Warner, one that continues to get better year after year.
Graycliff, Nassau, The Bahamas It’s the most memorable meal in the Caribbean: dinner at the Garzaroli family’s legendary Graycliff restaurant in Nassau, with world-class French, Italian and Bahamian cuisine bookended by champagne cocktails and house-made cigars. It’s the pinnacle of great service in the Caribbean, and a meal that you talk about years after finishing your after-dinner cognac. And this year, Graycliff took things to another level, providing tens of thousands of meals to Bahamians in need during the lockdown.
Le Pressoir, St Martin Set in a restored 19th century building, this Grand Case classic now helmed by Jerome Droingt is a master class in French and French Caribbean food. Even better? Head to Le Part Des Anges next door for a selection of the Caribbean’s greatest rums.
Screaming Eagle, Aruba Chef Erwin Husken sets the standard for sourcing at this Eagle Beach standout, long Aruba’s destination restaurant, with a global menu that continues to push the envelope.
Le Petibonum, Martinique Martinique’s most creative hospitality mind is behind this Le Carbet favorite, a traditional Caribbean beach bar that just happens to serve up marvelously made, gourmet food and some particularly spectacular desserts.
Parallel 23, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos The most romantic restaurant in Turks and Caicos is also the best, thanks to the gastronomic artistry of Lauren Callighen, whose contemporary menu and world-class wine list make for an unforgettable combination.
Flying Fish Gastrobar, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas Chef Tim Tibbitts has almost single-handedly helped to turn Grand Bahama into a foodie destination, and his signature Flying Fish restaurant just keeps getting better, buoyed by an impressive wine list.
Savant, St Croix Dine by torchlight at this stone-walled stunner on the outskirts of Christiansted, with an ever-changing menu, a wonderflu bar program and outstanding service.
Orlando’s, Saint Lucia Long one of the world’s leading advocates for the power of the region’s cuisine, Chef Orlando Satchell continues to set the bar for contemporary Caribbean food in an endlessly charming Soufriere-area restaurant.
Tamarin, St Barth In one of the region’s most competitve culinary scenes, the Saline-area Tamarin has risen to the top as the island’s true destination restaurant, with a diverse menu with everything from duck foie gras en croute to Wagyu picanha.
Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant, Curacao The food by culinary star Rene Klop is a mix of French-International and Asian Fusion, and the setting on the Baoase resort’s private beach makes for a magical dining experience.
CocoMaya, Virgin Gorda Going to this Spanish Town eatery always manages to feel like an event, with a playful, outstanding menu focused on tapas and a hard to-beat view of BVI water.
Dune, Paradise Island, The Bahamas Legendary Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Dune remains Paradise Island’s signature place to eat, with a simple but exquisite menu featuring international favorites and some inspired takes on Bahamian seafood.
Too Chez, St Croix, US Virgin Islands Dustin Kendrick’s open-air eatery set in an enchanting Christiansted courtyard has quietly become one of the leaders in an increasingly competitive culinary world in St Croix.
The Old Stone Farmhouse, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands Chef Justin Werle’s “OSFH” is set in a two-century-old field house, with St Thomas’ best wine list and an expertly crafted menu that serves up the island’s most memorable meal.
Orchidea, Guadeloupe This Saint Francois favorite is the brainchild of Chef Arnaud Bloquel, with a system of tiered prix fixe tasting menus that are a true culinary tour de force.
Straw Hat, Anguilla The best place to eat in Anguilla’s current Meads Bay “bubble,” this eatery set at the wonderful Frangipani Beach Resort is the essence of Anguillian dining: gastronomic excellence right on the beach, served without pretense.
The Tides, Barbados This grand, coral stone waterfront eatery set in a former Platinum Coast home emphasizes fresh seafood,and a very, very good wine list.
La Table du Poisson Rouge, Guadeloupe The tiny town of Deshaies is the Caribbean’s great undiscovered culinary destination, and the flagship eatery at the Tendacayou eco-lodge in the hills above the town is simply sublime — with some breathtaking views to boot.
L’Auberge Gourmande, St Martin Set on the Caribbean’s most delicious street, Grand Case Boulevard, L’Auberge Gourmande is a Grand Case classic, with a warm, inviting, layout and the essence of the French Caribbean creativity that typifies Saint Martin’s food scene.
The Restaurant at Round Hill, Jamaica The flagship eatery at the Round Hill hotel is the setting for Chef Martin Maginley’s always-inspired take on modern Jamaican cuisine, with impossibly good sourcing. Every bite feels like you’re tasting the essence of this remarkable island.
Pearl Beach, St Barth You’ll instantly fall in love when you walk through the eponymous hotel and get to the eatery itself, set on the sublime sands of St Jean beach. This is classic St Barth food — Caribbean and Metropole-sourced ingredients in a hip, fun, marvelous package.
Ocean82, St Martin This is all about St Martin cool, with an elegant, crisp layout perched above the beach and a menu that’s mostly Italian, mostly vegetarian and completely terrific.
At Sea, Bonaire Set in an early 20th-century building just across from the water in Kralendijk, the star of this show is actually the meat, with a range of outstanding steaks on offer (although the seafood dish is always a home run, too).
Barranco, St Martin The family behind Saint Tropez’s Riva Plage is a stunning mix of Latin and French Caribbean fusion, with a plum perch overlooking the beach in Grand Case.
La Voile Blanche, Martinique The location on the sands of Diamant Beach is alone worth the trip to the southern tip of Martinique — but the food takes things to another level, with perfect execution and excellent service.
Le Temps de Cerises, St Martin Set above the beach at the lovable LTC Beach Hotel in Grand Case, this tiny eatery will stun you with a creativity that’s hard to find even in a Caribbean culinary epicenter. Order the “Plateau de la Terre” and thanks us later.
Scotchie’s, Montego Bay, Jamaica Plainly, the jerk chicken (or sausage or fish or pork) at this Montego Bay favorite is one of the best things you’ll eat in the Caribbean. And it’s about as simple as that.
The Landing, Harbour Island, The Bahamas It’s the first thing you see when you get to the dock in Harbour Island, and with good reason: this intoxicating restaurant set in a charming boutique hotel is, well, a true Bahamian classic.
Ocean 362, St John, US Virgin Islands This Cruz Bay standout delivers what it calls “island to table” fare, with everything from Korean fried chicken to crispy pork belly with mofongo. Just make sure you get there before sunset.
Black Ginger, St Barth This Gustavia insittution led by a team of chefs from Thailand serves up always-impressive Thai expressions in a hip, open-air eatery just across from the harbor.
The Cliff Bistro, Barbados The Grande Dame of Barbados restaurants recently rebranded as the Cliff “Bistro,” with a more playful, but equally exceptional menu led by Chef Peter Lister. And the waterfront setting still sets the standard.
The Cliff at Cap, Saint Lucia Set at the northern tip of the island, The Cliff at Cap is one of Saint Lucia’s halo restaurants, with an an unmatched wine list, a breahtaking view and an indulgent, exquisite menu by Chef Craig Jones.
Rhodes at Calabash, Grenada The only Caribbean restaurant by the late remains the pinnacle of dining in Grenada, with impeccable service, a broad wine list and a simple, elegant menu that represents the best of Rhodes’ culinary philosophy.
Le Cottage, St Martin Set right on Grand Case Boulevard, Le Cottage is an intimate, comforting, exceptional eatery led by Chef David Hanquer, who cut his chops at Paris’ three-Michelin-star Le pré Catelan.
Wilhelmina, Aruba Chef Dennis van Daatselaar has a growing culinary empire in Aruba, but it’s this one that’s the best, with a menu of Aruban and international speciaties in a captivating urban garden setting.
Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab, St Barth It’s arguably the hottest culinary destination in Gustavia, one that has injected new energy into the historic downtown, thanks to otherworldly Asian-fusion cuisine and a celebrated mixology program unrivaled anywhere in the Caribbean.
Jellyfish, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Rustic, laid-back, perfect. Drive down a dirt road in Bavaro and you’ll find a true gem: this massive jellyfish-themed beach restaurant that’s home to some of the best seafood you’ll ever have in the Caribbean.
Sand Bar, St Barth It just doesn’t get any better than a meal at the newly-relaunched Eden Rock St Barths, with the perfect marriage of St Jean scenery and Jean-Georges’ eclectic menu.
The Poop Deck at Sandyport, Nassau, The Bahamas For decades, the Poop Deck in Nassau Harbour has been a Bahamian institution, but it’s the brand’s Sandy Port outpost that is its master stroke, with exceptional Bahamian cuisine and an ethereal setting on the coast. Make sure you go for a toes-in-the-sand table.
L’Esprit, St Barth Chef Jean Claude Dufour’s L’Esprit delivers wonderful Southwesetrn French cuisine with a St Barth twist in a gorgeous spot at the edge of Saline Beach.
Catherine’s Café, Antigua From the group behind Sheer Rocks, this is the essence of the gourmet beach bar, with French-Antiguan fare and a breezy, chic vibe on the sands of Pigeon Point Beach.
Au Bon Vivre, Terre de Haut, Guadeloupe There are few more charming places on earth than the tiny island of Terre de Haut in the Guadeloupe archipelago, and this eatery set in an old stone building in the harbor is one of its jewels, with a classic French Caribbean menu, a warm, intimate ambience and even its own Rhum cave.
Roxxy Beach, St Maarten It isn’t just the coolest beach lounge in St Maarten — it’s home to some seriously good eats, with a South of France-meets-the-Caribbean menu that also includes some stellar Asian fusion options, too.
La Cantina, Bonaire It’s hard not to become enamored with this Kralendijk eatery set in a garden plaza and anchored by, you guessed it, a brewery.
Le Tropicana, St Martin In-the-know foodies have always flocked to this waterfront French Caribbean eatery on the Marine Royale in downtown Marigot, with a simple but almost impossibly well executed menu of local and French expressions like the foie gras “mille-feuille” above.
Oceana, St Thomas Set in a mid-19th-century estate, Oceana has been delivering some of the leading cuisine in the USVI for nearly two decades, with seasonal, international menus and a terrific Sunday brunch.
Le Telegraphe, St Martin This beach bistro is at the heart of the comeback of Orient Bay, with an all-day menu marked by an exquisite range of tartares and a fun, energetic atmosphere.