Conch and grouper are specialties of Turks and Caicos found on pretty much every restaurant menu. Of the two fish, conch is definitely more popular and highly versatile; it was prepared as Conch Tacos, Conch Ravioli, Conch Wontons, Conch Empanadas to name a few. The possibilities are endless.
Each restaurant my friends and I dined at had something to offer, for instance, Bay Bistro had the best food, Hemingway’s was the most romantic with amazing ambience, Mango Reef had the best service, and Somewhere Café & Lounge had the best casual atmosphere with an incredible view + a phenomenal Banana Rum Cake.
Here to share with you is my dining experience on the beautiful island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
1. Somewhere Café & Lounge @ Coral Gardens Resort (dinner)
Watch spectacular sunsets at this local hangout with great Mexican Food, amazing Banana Rum Cake. Everything here is fresh and homemade.
We started off with drinks… left to right.
Virgin Pina Colada – tasty.
Classic Mojito – fresh & minty.
Some Drink made with Bambarra Coconut Rum.
For appetizer we enjoyed Chips & Guacamole (right). The guac tasted fresh, very citrusy with some cilantro.
For our entrees, we enjoyed…
Fish Tacos – My dish. A signature dish at Somewhere Café. Pan seared red snapper that was tasty, but quite oily too. The tacos were good, but the fish could have been seasoned a little better for additional flavor.
Chicken Burrito – Jhiane’s Dish. Excellent and loaded with flavor. Great combination of rice, black beans, and grilled chicken. My favorite dish!
Vegetarian Nachos – Marian’s Dish. Good and greasy nachos. Although Marian wanted vegetarian nachos, an addition of black beans or chicken would have added a lot more flavor. I tried the Chicken Nachos for lunch and they were fantastic.
We ended with 2 desserts…
Key Lime Pie – I’m not a fan of Key Lime Pie, but this tasted okay to me, it was way too limey for my liking.
Banana Rum Cake – this cake was extraordinary. Warm banana cake topped with cold vanilla ice-cream, I don’t think it gets any better than that.
LOCATION: Corals Gardens Resort, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
MENU: Somewhere Café & Lounge Menu
VERDICT: 4 / 5
Our first meal in Turks and Caicos since we were staying close by. We ventured to Somewhere Café twice on our 5 day trip. Great food at affordable prices. If you dine here daytime, you’ll be able to enjoy a scenic ocean view, however if you dine here at night, you’ll enjoy a more romantic and causal setting. The service was great and laidback. My favorites were the Guacamole, Chicken Burrito, and Banana Rum Cake, the cake will easily make my list of the Top 15 things I ate in 2013! Highly Recommended!
Food: Very Good | Drinks: Good | Décor: Casual/Laidback/Fire Torches | Service: Very Good | Value: Excellent
2. Hemingway’s Restaurant @ The Sands at Grace Bay (dinner)
Romantic and candlelit lighting with soft rock tunes in the background. An overall good meal.
My friend started off with a drink – Mojito, it tasted minty and fresh.
For our dinner, we ordered…
Seared Blackened Salmon – my dish. The salmon was well cooked, the mashed potatoes weren’t as creamy or buttery as I would have liked. Additionally the side of grapefruit sauce was a bit too bitter for my liking.
Hot Shrimp Pasta – Jhiane’s dish. Creamy pasta dish with shrimp, it was delicious and my favorite dish. I loved the shavings of parmesan cheese.
Coconut Shrimp – Marian’s dish. A bold flavor of coconut and slightly sweet and crunchy, the shrimp was good but nothing out of the ordinary.
We ended with 2 desserts.
Key Lime Pie – tasted fresh, creamy, and it wasn’t too limey. The pie sat in a pool of some kind of apple-apricot sauce. Delicious! My friend, Marian, a lover of Key Lime Pie, felt Hemingway’s version was the most exceptional out of all the places we tried Key Lime Pie.
Rum Cake – the cake consisted of so much rum and it was way too overpowering for my friends and I. Having said that, if you enjoy cake flavored with high doses of rum, this island favorite dessert may be right up your alley.
I ended my meal with a hot cup of coffee, I would have preferred cream over milk, but that’s okay.
LOCATION: The Sands at Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
MENU: Hemingway’s Restaurant Menu
VERDICT: 3.75 / 5
Hemingway’s was the most romantic restaurant we went to… I loved the ambience with 80s soft rock tunes playing the background along with fire torches everywhere. The service was good and friendly. At Hemingway’s you can request romantic candlelight beachfront dining, but I’m sure it’ll come at a higher cost. The food was good, especially the blackened salmon and seafood pasta dish, but the mashed potatoes could have been a bit more creamier and buttery, additionally I didn’t particularly enjoy the grapefruit sauce on the side which was a bit too bitter for me. Also, considering Banana Rum Cake is so popular on the island, it was a huge disappointment since the cake consisted of way too much rum and not enough banana. Next time I visit Hemingway’s, I will consider ordering the Conch Empanadas and Grouper Creole, an island specialty.
Food: Average-Good | Drinks: Very Good | Décor: Romantic/Amazing | Service: Very Good | Value: Good
3. Bay Bistro @ Sibonné Beach Hotel (dinner)
Best meal on the trip! Romantic casual atmosphere with excellent food, but average service.
I started with a Sundowner made with coconut rum, crème de banana, orange & pineapple juices.
We were also served Focaccia bread with a cilantro based pesto sauce. The sauce was fresh, light, and delicious.
Since we weren’t super hungry, Jhiane and I split 2 award winning appetizers…
Princess Conch and Mushroom Crepes (top right) – made with roasted red pepper pesto sauce and a cream sauce. Loved the addition of conch to the crepes. Outstanding!
Conch Wontons (bottom right) – streaked with Hoisin sauce, this dish was Asian inspired, but they almost tasted like empanadas. Loved it.
Marian ordered the Grilled Tenderloin with Beef (left) which came with a side of mustard mashed potatoes. She said the pork was really good, and since I tried her mashed potatoes I can tell you they were so creamy with a slight kick.
We ended with Key Lime Pie and a Warm Banana Tart. Both desserts were really good in my opinion, but I preferred the Banana Tart more since it was served with Rum Raisin ice-cream with a butterscotch sauce. Delicious!
LOCATION: Sibonne Beach Hotel, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
CUISINE: Local Cuisine
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5 (food/drink score); 3.75 / 5 (overall score – average service)
The best meal on the trip! Why is it that restaurants that have the best food have the most average service? Here’s my spiel… the food at Bay Bistro was outstanding, everything here was delicious. I loved the creativity of the 2 award winning dishes, to be more specific, the addition of conch in the crepes and wontons. Both delicious. Although I’m not a fan of Key Lime Pie, I found this dessert to be light and tasty with just the right amount of lime. It’s unfortunate that I was pretty full since I ate a big lunch a few hours prior otherwise I would have ordered the Pecan Crusted Conch which I heard is pretty amazing.
My issue with Bay Bistro is the lack of attentive service, I totally understand slow service in the Caribbean, but considering how windy it was by the beach our waitress failed to take away empty soda cans, untouched empty water glasses, and our empty bread basket with a paper lining. Also, Bay Bistro is located at the Sibonné Beach Hotel which isn’t in the best location. This hotel is located close to an abandoned building, and thus waiting for our cab driver to show up in such a secluded area with no one in sight and no available hotel staff made my friends and I particularly nervous. In the future I would consider dining here daytime or in a larger group at night, regardless – Highly Recommended!
Food: Outstanding | Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Casual/Tables too Close | Service: Very Average | Value: Good | Location: Secluded
4. Mango Reef Restaurant @ The Alexandra Resort (dinner)
Lively casual atmosphere with good food and especially great service for a Caribbean restaurant.
Marian and I started with Mojitos, I went for a Mango Mojito while she went for a Classic Mojito. Check out the size of these mojitos, I drank like one third of my drink. Good and succulent!
We were also served complimentary warm bread with butter.
For our entrees…
Shrimp Pasta – my dish. Shrimp Fettuccine cooked in a concasse tomato sauce with onion, garlic, and sweet basil… flavorful, light, and spicy. It was good, but nothing amazing.
Deep-Fried Conch Fritters – Jhiane’s dish. The conch fritters did not taste great, they were extremely oily, a little mushy, and the orange sauce that accompanied the fritters tasted old.
Coconut Shrimp – Marian’s dish. The shrimp was good and slightly sweet, but nothing special.
Once again, we ended with Key Lime Pie since Marian is a huge fan. The dessert tasted more like cheesecake and less like pie. It was good, but definitely not the amazing.
LOCATION: The Alexandra Resort, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
MENU: Mango Reef Menu
COST: $$ – $$$
CUISINE: American / Local Cuisine
VERDICT: 3 / 5
Mango Reef offers an extensive food menu, but an extensive drink menu was just way too overwhelming. They had every drink in the book and it was 6 pages of just cocktails. By the end of it I was so confused and ended up going for a basic Mango Mojito. It would be a good idea to condense the drink menu to about 10 specialty drinks and give the customer the option to order other drinks as well. The food here is decent, but the service is prompt and friendly. No slow Caribbean service seen here which I don’t mind anyway when I’m on vacation. Consider dining here if you are looking for food/drink variety and a lively atmosphere, however this was my least favorite restaurant on the trip. I’m quite surprised by the rave reviews.
Food: Decent | Drinks: Good | Décor: Casual/Lively | Service: Very Good | Value: Good
Other Dinner Recommendations
Anacaona – recommended by many locals
Magnolia Wine Bar & Restaurant
TELL ME: Have you been to Turks and Caicos? If so, what is your favorite restaurant on the island?