Where should we eat?
Grand Cayman is not only known for its stellar diving, but also for its diverse culinary scene. When guests look online for restaurants, it’s almost overwhelming to try and decide where to eat. It’s therefore no surprise that one of the most commonly asked questions of our staff is “Where should we go to eat?”
We get this question so often, we decided to make a blog post about it. All of our staff members were polled, and asked them what their favorite restaurants were, and why. It's worth noting all of these establishments are on the west side of Grand Cayman, so if you are looking for restaurants on the east side of the island, it's best to ask the staff at Ocean Frontiers.
In no particular order, here were the top recommendations:
For a great dining experience:
Casa 43 Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar – When asked, almost every single staff member mentioned this Mexican-themed restaurant as one of their favorites. Judging by how busy this establishment constantly is, it’s pretty clear Casa 43 is a hot spot for many locals. Featuring an amazing array of margaritas and exotic tequilas, they also have some of the best food you’ll find on the island of Grand Cayman. If you go, be sure to arrive before 6:00. Any later and you’ll find a long wait, and Casa 43 does not accept reservations. https://www.casa43.ky
Craft Food & Beverage Company – A huge assortment of bottled and draft beer, complimented by a modern and tasty menu made this establishment very high on our staff list as well. Craft features themed daily specials, from fondue night, to raw bars, and ‘wild game’ night. A steampunked themed décor is prominent, complimented by an assortment of board games for guests to amuse themselves. Craft is a good ‘mid-week’ dining experience, as the acoustics aren’t great, and when the weekend crowd bustles in, it can become quite loud and hard to hold a conversation. http://craftcayman.com
Kazoku Japanese Bistro– We are not sure how, but this is one of the best-kept secrets on Grand Cayman. This is probably because of its odd location in a small plaza that is off the beaten path for tourists. This has no bearing on the food or service, which is wonderful in both cases. Fresh sushi, and numerous Japanese dishes, with a modern décor, excellent service and reasonable prices make this a highly recommended experience from the Divetech staff. https://www.kazoku.ky
For fresh local seafood
Catch Restaurant & Lounge – Catch is located right on the pier at Morgan’s Harbor. As a result, they are the first stop for local fisherman as they bring in their fresh fish of the day. Catch has a diverse menu with something that will appeal to every taste. Divetech customers also receive 20% off their bill at Catch. (Coupons available for customers at our dive shop.) http://www.catch.ky
Heritage Kitchen– This is a true, authentic Caymanian eating experience. Fresh local seafood prepared in a variety of Cayman dishes. Heritage Kitchen is not your typical dine-in restaurant, but more of a take-out window with adjacent picnic table seating. It’s a cash-only business (they do accept US dollars) and also a BYOB establishment, but one that is not to be missed during your stay. http://www.heritagekitchencayman.com
For date night
Bacaro – Tapas style dining, great drinks, and great ambiance located on the edge of the Cayman Yacht Club. One staffer remarked, “It’s the kind of place they’d film a rehearsal dinner movie scene at.” It’s not cheap, so bring your platinum card, but is a great place to impress your date. https://www.bacaro.ky
Ristorante Pappagallo – This fine eatery has been an institution in Cayman for over 34 years. When you arrive at Pappagallo’s, you’ll be greeted by a very polite maître d, who on most nights is the owner. With a unique thatched roof overlooking a private lagoon, this restaurant offers Italian food with a Caribbean flair. But it’s not just the menu that makes Pappagallo’s amazing; it’s the experience of dining. This is the type of establishment whose entire staff considers serving food to be a life calling, and not just a job. Don’t forget to see the large parrots outside on the patio. https://www.pappagallo.ky
Ragazzi Ristorante & Pizzeria– When is the slow time at Ragazzi’s? Answer – never. This restaurant isn’t terribly obvious, located in the back of a plaza on Seven Mile Beach, but the fact that every single night of the year it is booked solid should tell you something. Arrive early, as after 7:30, the wait for a table will be very long. Great drinks, great staff, and some of the best Italian seafood entrées you’ll find in the Caribbean. https://www.ragazzi.ky
Cheap nights out
Fidel Murphy's Public House– Fidel Murphy’s actually consists of 2 restaurants side by side – Public House and The Kitchen. Public House is as an authentic of an Irish Pub experience as you can find in the British West Indies, and they pour a quality pint of Guinness. Their menu is simple, and tasty Irish fare for very reasonable prices. Be sure to tell the barkeep where your distant family hails from in the old country. https://www.fidelmurphys.com
XQ'S Pizza, Bar, Grill– Here you’ll find the island’s best happy hour specials every night from 5:00 to 7:00, XQ’s is also known for it’s pizza. Complimented by a good menu for reasonable costs , this makes our list for having a night out without breaking the bank. http://www.xqs.ky
Lone Star Bar & Grill– Unrelated to the Lone Star Steakhouse chain found in the United States, this establishment is one of Cayman’s old bars. It features a sports-bar like atmosphere coupled with a BBQ menu. Warning – You’re not in the United States anymore, and some of the sports shown will be unfamiliar to Americans – rugby, cricket, and football that is actually played with one’s feet (soccer.) However don’t fear - with ample televisions, and an international sports package, if you ask nicely a bartender will put your favorite game on, whatever it may be. http://lonestarcayman.com
Vivo Cafe & Restaurant - The amount of vegan employees Divetech has is exactly zero, but that didn't stop Vivo Cafe from making our list. Located on the ironshore immediately next to our dive shop, Vivo specializes in 'sustainable fare.' This includes organic eggs, and fresh caught lionfish - both locally sourced and sustainable for the environment. Their dishes are very tasty, and all food is served on wooden plates and cutlery. Die-hard vegans and meat eaters alike will love this quaint cafe. http://www.vivo.ky
Drinks on the beach
Calico Jacks Bar & Grill– You’re very likely to run into one of the many Cayman dive shop employees here, but if this does not deter you, Calico’s is a true Caribbean tiki-hut beach bar. Enjoy a drink and watch the sun set over Seven Mile Beach, or roll up your shorts and wander through the soft sand. Join in a volleyball game, or just admire some of the many shirtless patrons. Enjoy while it lasts – sadly after 15 years of business, Calico’s will be moving to a different location when their lease expires in 2020.
Macabuca– This is the ‘casual’ side of what is properly known as Cracked Conch Macabuca. The Cracked Conch is the upscale restaurant side, where Macabuca is the outdoor bar. Sitting on the ironshore of Grand Cayman’s northwest point, this bar offers good drinks with an amazing view. Macabuca is also a popular shore diving location known as ‘turtle reef.’ For a great half-day, enjoy a shore dive followed by a Macabuca punch while watching the sun go down. https://www.crackedconch.com.ky/macabuca
Royal Palms Beach Club– This bar sits right in the prime of Seven Mile Beach’s white sand. Palm’s features a very nice beachside bar with ample table service, adjacent to a poolside lounge complete with cabanas. Palms is popular with the cruise ship crowd during the daytime, but as these customers fade back to their ships, it becomes a very popular spot for a rum punch and sunset view. As the evening goes on, live bands or local DJ’s will provide entertainment into the night. https://royalpalmscayman.com
Cimboco– Described as a Caribbean Café, this is what you get when you combine an old-style diner, with modern Cayman flair, and bright paint. Excellent dishes like ‘Cayman omelet’, and ‘early morning bake’ alongside coffee, served in clear mugs. https://www.cimboco.com
Eats Café– Eats is one of 3 restaurants immediately adjacent to one another that have common ownership. While it’s 2 sisters, Yoshi and Legends have a common kitchen, Eats has more a short order grill all to itself. This establishment has a small diner feel, with a 50’s décor, that makes a great breakfast.
Waterfront Urban Diner– This restaurant would fit in nicely in a trendy area of any large city. Except that here, no matter the time of year, you’ll find it warm outside. Waterfront is located on the edge of Camana Bay’s marina. Waterfront has indoor and outdoor seating available, and is home to the island's best cinnamon bun. http://waterfrontcayman.com
We hope this helps when you are trying to decide!