Obviously seafood reigns supreme in the Cayman Islands, where it's served everywhere from tiny family-run shanties to decadently decorated bistros. But befitting Grand Cayman's reputation as a sophisticated, multinational destination (with residents from 113 countries at last count), you can find a smorgasbord of savory options from terrific Tex-Mex to Thai to Italian. Menus could highlight by-the-book bouillabaisse or barbecue, kebabs or cannelloni, ceviche or sushi. This is one destination where larger resorts generally have excellent restaurants. Two must-try local delicacies are conch, particularly fritters and chowder, and turtle (protected but farmed); the latter is stewed or served like a steak. Many restaurants offer kids' menus, and vegetarians should find acceptable options.
Meals and Mealtimes
Most restaurants serve breakfast from 7 to 10 am, lunch from noon to 3 pm, and dinner from 6 to 11 pm. But these hours can vary widely, especially at remote resorts on Grand Cayman's East End and West Bay, as well as on the Sister Islands, which have few independent eateries. Every strip mall along Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach has at least one restaurant open late (often doubling as a lounge or nightclub); many beachfront bars also offer late dining, especially on weekends. Restaurants are likeliest to shutter on Sundays, especially in the less-trafficked areas. Since most markets also close, prepare for contingencies, especially if you're staying at an individual villa or condo. If you arrive on Saturday, when most villa and condo rentals begin, make sure you do your grocery shopping that afternoon. Most grocery stores will be closed on Sunday.
Unless otherwise noted, the restaurants listed are open daily for lunch and dinner.
Major credit cards are widely accepted, even on the Sister Islands, though some smaller local establishments only accept cash.
Reservations and Dress
Grand Cayman is both cosmopolitan and conservative, so scantily clad diners are frowned upon or downright refused seating. Many tonier establishments require long pants and collared shirts for gentlemen in the evening (lunch is generally more casual). Footwear and something to cover bathing suits (a sarong or sundress for women, T-shirt and shorts for men) are required save at some beachfront bars. The Sister Islands are far more casual. Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner at most restaurants throughout the islands.
We mention dress only when men are required to wear a jacket or a jacket and tie.
Beer, Wine, and Spirits
Beer, wine, and spirits are readily available at most restaurants. Some pricier restaurants take great pride in their wine lists. Aficionados of local products may want to try the refreshing Caybrew beers (the nutty, smoky dark amber pairs well with many foods) and Tortuga rum (the 12-year-old is a marvelous after-dinner sipper in place of Cognac or single-malt Scotch).