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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Barbados Restaurant Experiences

Here's our family eating experience along the south coast from Bridgetown to Oistins.

Most restaurants prefer reservations but we got a table for 5 phoning on the day and there were empty tables at all the restaurants we visited during the last two weeks in July 2010 so don't be put off by this.

There wasn't much variation in prices either with almost all meals working out at between $100-$120 per person for a three course meal.

This list is roughly in order of preference and we were in broad agreement but do bear in mind this was a family of 5 with varied tastes.

Champers
Reservations 434-3463
Christ Church
As a family Champers was our favourite restaurant by a clear margin. It has recently moved to a new location with a large car park so if you've been before the new location overlooking Accra beach is even better.
The staff were friendly and unpretentious, the service was prompt, the atmosphere was lively without being too noisy and the temperature was just right.
The food was all excellent, my highlight was a crab crepe starter.

Mama Mia Deli and Pizzeria
Reservations 434-3354
Christ Church
Mama Mia's is an excellent Italian Deli stocking all the Italian essentials for anyone self catering or living on the island.
In the evening the Deli transforms into a lively restaurant and it was also one of the cheapest so it's another family favourite and the only place we ate twice.
You can eat inside, which was too cold and too bright or outside which is OK but people do smoke there. The folding chairs used throughout were too uncomfortable for the length of time it takes to eat a meal and the service was fairly slow but everyone was really friendly and the food was well worth the wait.
If you like traditional thin crispy Italian hand made to order pizza cooked in a proper stone oven you've got to visit. The selection of pizzas on the menu was a bit eclectic but you can create your own pizza - just ask the waiter and name your toppings.
The pasta and salads are also homemade and the antipasti was also excellent.

Tapas
Reservations 228-0704 (Closed Tuesdays)
Christ Church
Tapas is a fashionable and trendy restaurant located on the popular Boardwalk with a great sea view. The Tapas car park is too small for the number of people they can cater for so parking could be tricky if it's full but we managed to squeeze in. You can opt for tapas dishes or choose from the "a la carte" menu.
The food was good. My main course was a delicious sea food kebab served on a bed of crisp vegetables flavoured with a memorable dressing which was my favourite dish of the holiday.
On the downside the place is up itself and the service is slow and impersonal. It's probably better as a daytime stopoff for tapas than a full evening meal venue.

Josef's Restaurant
Reservations 420-7638 (Closed Mondays)
St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church
This stylish restaurant is located in the heart of the Gap with a sea view and a small car park. There's a large private car park just around the corner which only costs $10 and makes it easy to visit any of the restaurants along the gap where parking is generally tricky.
The menu choice was an odd mix of Bajan and Asian cuisine with a limited choice but the food was all well received. The staff were polite and the service was efficient. It's a good choice for sushi and the restaurant has a Japanese feel to it.

Brown Sugar
Reservations 426-7684
Aquatic Gap, Bay Street
We visited Brown Sugar because it's within walking distance of the Hilton. It looks great with tropical plants and a water garden mixed in with hand painted murals which all help create a traditional Barbadian atmosphere.
Unfortunately it was far too hot and far too noisy. We think they'd given us pride of place with two huge portable air-con fans pointed towards our table but it was still sweltering hot and the noise of the fans and the crickets made conversation impossible.
We should have asked to be moved outside but we were too polite and this ruined our meal before we started. The food was good featuring genuine Bajan cuisine. Brown Sugar has the potential to be a great restaurant and I'd be prepared to give them another chance.

Oistins Fish Market
Friday Evenings. No Reservations.
Oistins is the south coast fish market town and it's geared up to cook for hundreds most Friday evenings. It is an essential Barbados experience where the locals and tourists mix side by side for a Friday fry up and street party.
Oistins has a lively market atmosphere and there's either live music or a local DJ. The fish is always good and comes with rice, macaroni cheese and all the usual Bajan side orders and flavours.
Parking is near-impossible so you either have to arrive really early, take a taxi or a tour. This was my third visit to Oistins so to avoid the travel hassle we took a tour bus which included the food and a drink at Pats Place but you can't leave when you want and on balance it's better to make your own arrangements and take a taxi.

Street Meat
St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church
After the sun goes down there are several food stalls which set up on the roadside along the Gap and they serve the tastiest burgers anywhere on the island. These are the perfect antidote to restaurant dining with 5 burgers costing less than a starter at most of the restaurants listed here so it's a very tempting snack option. My favourite is the stall just to the left of the entrance to the South Gap Hotel, opposite the Ship Inn.

Hilton Lighthouse Terrace
Reservations 426-0200 Extension 5949
We only ate in the hotel because we'd returned our hire car and didn't want to mess around with taxis on our last night. The restaurant is located on the first floor balcony with a lovely view of the sea, hotel pools and the beach beyond.
The service was friendly but slow and the food was generally awful and overpriced. Unsurprisingly there were hardly any other diners and we could only ever imagine this restaurant being full for business conventions where somebody else was picking up the tab!
The Hilton does have a more trendy restaurant aimed at both hotel guests, locals and tourists but their menu is even more expensive and I wouldn't risk it.

KFC
You'll find KFC restaurants dotted around the island and they'll even deliver takeaway to your hotel. I haven't eaten KFC for decades but I caved into pressure from my kids who wanted the KFC Barbados experience.
Even Colonel Sanders wouldn't have eaten the family bucket of grilled chicken we were served with. Some of the chicken was still red raw which is an inexcusable health hazard and the chicken skin was pretty much all greasy and slimy so not much chance for the Colonel's secret blend of secret spices and crispy coating to work its magic - I won't be eating a KFC again.

2 comments:

  1. damn fine review if you ask me!

    p.s. Hannah, I'm sure that street meat review is missing something. Care to extend his review? ;-)

    ReplyDelete