Cayman Island restaurants range from casual eateries that serve traditional favorites to fine dining establishments that are bringing a whole new edge to the dining scene. Grand Cayman food is the most diverse, as Grand Cayman is the largest and busiest island in the Caymans, though the smaller islands can more than hold their own. Some talented chefs have taken up the task of creating savory menus at the restaurants across the Cayman Islands, and this includes the restaurants on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Many of the best Cayman Island restaurants can be found at the main hotels and resorts, and guest meal plans are often available. All inclusive packages are also available at some of the hotels and resorts, and these plans include the food.
Grand Cayman food comes in many different varieties, and visitors can even find some fast food restaurants on the island. In terms of trying some of the more traditional foods on a Grand Cayman visit, turtle and conch could be considered the two national foods. A traditional specialty, turtle meat can be prepared any number of ways. More often than not, however, it is served as a steak or as a main ingredient in a savory soup or stew. One of the best places to try some turtle meat in Grand Cayman is the restaurant at Boatswain's Beach Turtle Farm. This farm raises green sea turtles and provides turtle meat to the local market. This, in turn, cuts down on turtle hunting in the wild. A good number of Grand Cayman restaurants serve turtle meat, so it's possible to try some even if you don't make it to Boatswain's Beach.
Conch can be found across the Caymans, and it too can be prepared any number of ways. Due to the rubbery texture and relatively bland taste of this pink mollusk, chefs have to apply some skill during preparation. After conch is tenderized, it is most often added to a chowder or stew. Conch can also be a featured ingredient in a fritter or be seasoned and fried in a pan. There is no end to the number of ways that conch can be used, and it's common to see dishes such as conch burgers and breaded conch patties on the menus of the Cayman Island restaurants.
Trying some rum cakes in Grand Cayman is also worth adding to the itinerary if you want to get a good idea about the local dining scene. Rum cakes are a favorite delicacy in the Cayman Islands, and many family recipes have been handed down over the years. A secret rum blend is often used when making rum cakes in Grand Cayman, and it is responsible for giving the spirit-soaked dessert its distinctive taste. The rum also serves to moisten the cakes, and it all goes back to the Caymans Islands' maritime days. In the early days, Cayman sailors often returned from their adventures with rum in tote. Over time, the Cayman women started to use the rum as an ingredient in their cakes. This is how rum cakes in Grand Cayman were born. No Cayman Islands vacation would arguably be complete without trying some rum cake.
Many of the hotels and resorts in the Cayman Islands boast at least one good restaurant, with larger lodging establishments like the Marriott Grand and the ritzy Ritz-Carlton boasting more than one. These hotel restaurants cater to tourists who come from all corners of the globe, so they tend to offer a lot in the way of variety. Buffet restaurants are popular at the resorts, as are eateries that offer Italian, Asian, American, British, and all around international fare. It's worth noting that since the majority of the Grand Cayman food is imported, the restaurant rates are generally higher than they are back home. Alcohol can be especially expensive when dining out. A service charge is often added to a restaurant bill, and it generally takes the place of a tip.
While the Cayman Island restaurants are relatively expensive on the whole, there are some affordable eateries. Many are casual, seaside restaurants that specialize in seafood and roasted meats. As you might imagine in a Caribbean island chain, seafood is easy to find in the Cayman Islands. Red snapper, yellowfin tuna, and mahimahi are just some of the fish that are often featured on the menu at the Cayman Island restaurants. For those who are interested in enjoying an upscale seafood dining experience, spiny lobster is widely available. The tail of the spiny lobster is the part that is consumed, and it is best enjoyed between the months of April and August. That's when it's in season.
Roasted meats are popular throughout the Caribbean, and many locals also take to grilling meat. Curried meat dishes and jerk dishes are also popular, with chicken and pork being the meats that are most commonly consumed. Some of the hotel restaurants across the Caymans throw weekly barbecue parties that meat lovers will want to keep in mind. Sam McCoy's Diving & Fishing Lodge on Little Cayman Island, for example, throws a weekly, Saturday night barbecue that has become popular over the years.