Where should we eat?
Updated October 2021. In the hopes of there Cayman Islands borders opening up soon, we've updated our list of staff-approved restaurants. Since we originally wrote this article in 2017, many businesses have closed their doors, and several new ones have opened. Enjoy.
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
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 something different
Tukka West - Tukka has long been a favorite for east-end dining, and not just because it was one of the few restaurants out there. Their success is largely due to an interesting menu of Australian and Caribbean fusion, and its works. So well, that during the COVID lockdown of 2020, Chef Ron Hargrave opened a second location at Morgans Harbor marina in West Bay. https://west.tukka.ky
For fresh local seafood
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
Legendz Classic Bar & Grill - If you're looking to grab a beer and watch a sporting event, this is your place. Located in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, they feature a age bar, ample tables, and numerous TV screens showing your game of choice on. The added benefit is Legendz is adjacent to its 2 sister restaurants Eats Cafe and Yoshi. Since they share a common kitchen, Legendz is able to offer an incredibly diverse menu, and reasonable prices. https://eats.ky/legendz.html
For a great lunch
Seven Mile Burger Feeling like something bad for you but totally delicious? Try the outstanding burgers offered at this little corner shop in Governor's Plaza. You won't be disappointed. An amazing assortment of hot sauces for those into spicy foods, along with a good selection of local beers. https://sevenmileburger.ky
Seven Mile Greens Feeling healthy? Try the sister restaurant to Seven Mile Burger - Seven Mile Greens. A diverse and healthy menu of signature salads, and your ability to request damn near anything you like in your bowl of greens. https://sevenmilegreens.ky
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
Island Naturals Cafe - This is a newcomer to the culinary scene in Cayman. We've never been, but it has rave reviews from our customers. In September 2021, a group of filmmakers spent 30 days with us. The majority of them were vegetarian, and they reported about 90% of their meals were eaten at Island Naturals. https://www.islandnaturals.ky
Drinks on the beach
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
Late night Grub
A La Kebab - Craving something sloppy after you got your drink on? If you happen to be in the lower Seven Mile Beach area, be sure to stop by A La Kebab and feat on some incredible Mediterranean street food. The line you'll encounter at 1:00 AM will confirm the food is good, but trust us, it's worth the wait. http://kebab.ky
Ginos - A good pizza-by-the slice place, Gino's is the closest thing we have to a northeastern United States city-style pizzeria. As American Expats from Boston and New York, we find this is a good as you can get while in the Caribbean. http://www.ginos.ky
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. https://eats.ky
We hope this helps when you are trying to decide!