Grand Cayman is considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean, so of course I want to share some dining recommendations!
Heritage Kitchen quickly became one of our “go-to” restaurants on the island when we were craving something more casual, authentic, and Caymanian. In fact, calling it a restaurant actually makes it sound more formal than it is, as it is essentially a roadside stand. Except, this roadside stand is located immediately next to the ocean with some of the most amazing views of the sea. The owners make you feel like family, and are so warm and welcoming. We went to Heritage Kitchen so many times during our first two vacations to Grand Cayman, by the time we returned for our third vacation to the island in less than two years, the owners remembered us and it felt like we were reuniting with old friends!
The food: There is a full kitchen inside the stand, and all of the food is made to order. Don’t miss the coconut grouper, the whole snapper, and the fresh mango juice! All of the fish entrees come with rice and a piece of fried bread. There are picnic tables outside, just in case you want to enjoy the view while you eat.
Pro tip: Check their schedule at the beginning of your trip and make sure they are open on the days when you’re planning to go! And note that they tend to take vacation for a full week (or more) in August and are closed during that time.
Cimboco is a local gem and also another one of our favorites. The food is straightforward and incorporates the flavors of the island. We dined there for breakfast and a couple of dinners; however, breakfast seems to be their strength. We went there almost every day for breakfast (on all three of our trips to the island). We walked in, after having been away for six months, and the waitress said, “Welcome back! Your daughter has grown so much since we last saw her!” It’s things like this that make it so easy to fall in love with Grand Cayman and the people who live there.
The food: The French toast with fresh orange whipped cream is a go-to for our daughter. The island saltfish is my personal favorite, as it’s a typical Caribbean dish and is served with fresh bread and homemade jam.
Pro-tip: They offer a $5 breakfast special every day. This is my husband’s favorite, partially because it’s rare to find any other meal on the island for as little as $5!
Everyone who knows me knows I am a huge meat-eater and wouldn’t survive one day as a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. So, it’s quite shocking that we dined at a vegan restaurant during our trip AND, it may have been one of my top two favorite meals on the island! Vivo has some of the highest rated reviews on the island, and for good reason! Every element of our meal was perfectly executed, with incredible attention to detail. And the view (!) – oh.my.goodness. the view! We ate dinner at 5pm (early dinners are a must when dining with a toddler), which was perfectly timed with the sunset.
The food: While it is a vegan restaurant with locally sourced ingredients, they also serve lionfish, a mild, flaky white fish. The true show stopper was the vegan "calamari." How on earth they were able to get COCONUT to taste like calamari is beyond me! And it is paired with the most delicious tomato dip. It's genius. Heck, I could be vegan if all vegan food tasted this good!
We ordered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for our daughter – and let me just tell you, this was no average peanut butter and jelly! Homemade peanut butter, homemade jelly, and homemade bread. It was incredible and I’m afraid she will never eat another one of my ordinary sandwiches again!
Pro-tip: Go for dinner during the week, as it isn’t as crowded as at lunchtime. We felt like we had the entire restaurant to ourselves – which really was ideal since the little one was grumpy and a public tantrum was a possibility. (Doesn’t it seem like they save the really dramatic tantrums for when you’re in public?!?!)
Who knew that we’d get a slice of Italy in Grand Cayman? Casanova serves Italian fare, and we were stunned when we discovered that most of their servers are from Italy! It was a moment of nostalgia for us, as we have family in Italy who are so dear to us.
Casanova’s location is perfect, as the restaurant is situated in Georgetown on the waterfront. While we were eating, we saw a large group of divers board a boat and head out for a night dive. Virtually all of the tables on the balcony have beautiful views of the ocean. And I was thrilled to see so many other families with young children! As a mom, you always have a moment of panic when trying a new restaurant and worrying that the staff won’t be accommodating to your little one(s). This was not the case at Casanova, and we were grateful for that.
The food: Casanova immediately gained points with me for serving FRESH pasta. Maybe it’s our time spent in Italy that has made me a pasta snob, but I rarely order pasta dishes unless the noodles are made fresh and on the premises. And combine fresh pasta with fresh seafood that was likely caught in the sea about 100 yards from my shoulder? Sign me up! My husband ordered the fresh snapper entrée and he was thrilled with how simple and fresh the flavors were, coupled with the buttery texture of the fish. The little one was happy as a clam with her kid’s pizza, which was wayyyy too big for a two-year old! But we all know I can't say no to carbs, so I was happy to get it boxed up and eat it later.
Pro tip: Because of Casanova’s location in the heart of Georgetown, and somewhat close to the airport, I’d recommend dining there on the first day of your vacation. It’s casual, and the menu has a lot of variety. As soon as you sit down at the table and inhale the cool sea breeze, you’ll be happy that you chose Grand Cayman for your vacation.
*Disclaimer: Our dining experiences at a couple of the restaurants mentioned in this post were partially sponsored; however, all opinions and recommendations are my own.*