When I think of Caribbean fine dining, I think, first of all, of fresh fish. And the Caribbean Sea is teeming with delicious options that restaurants in the Cayman Islands serve up with elegance in a variety of ways. Pairing these offerings with Cayman wine selections means I can count on a culinary experience rivaling that of anywhere in the world.
Dining on local food, sourced directly from the producer (or, from the sea, in this case), is trending worldwide, and the Cayman Islands are no exception. Combine this with waterfront fine dining, and all the ingredients are there for a top-rate meal in an exquisite setting.
The Cayman Islands have a small but burgeoning farming industry, which is a boon to local restaurants. Chefs can choose from an array of produce, including mangoes, cassava, tomatoes, breadfruit, ackee, potatoes, peppers and plantains. There are also farms that raise pigs, cattle, chickens and goats, but those are the basis for other meals, and my focus now is on the prized catch of the day: red snapper!
I must say my favourite dish today – all locally sourced (except for a small addition of chickpeas) – is red snapper surrounded by a variety of vegetables, with a luscious sweet potato cake, some tangy pickled melon and topped with crispy callaloo. For those who aren’t familiar, callaloo comes from the leafy greens of various plants and is similar to spinach. It is widely used in Caribbean cuisine and prepared in different ways depending on regional traditions. Restaurants in the Cayman Islands that source locally are growing in number and popularity, and this red snapper dish underscores why!
Pairing a particular wine with this meal really adds to my waterfront fine dining experience. Yes, I want to enjoy my seafood – and almost every meal – on the waterfront if I can, because that’s the beauty of being in the Cayman Islands! But back to the wine – there is a vast selection of Cayman wine, and I often stray from my favourite go-to selections to try something I haven’t tasted before. Traditionally, I would pair red snapped with a Pinot Noir from Oregon or a light Merlot from California. But, then, I might just toss tradition to the wind and tickle my taste buds with an extra-dry Prosecco from Italy, or tone it down a notch with a White Zinfandel from California or even go in a different direction with a German Reisling. In any case, I will savour my local red snapper in a bed of local vegetables with all of the gustatory attention the meal deserves.
Why not experience Caribbean fine dining and enjoy the best of fresh, local food expertly prepared and served in a stunning environment? Restaurants in the Cayman Islands consistently receive high ratings from consumers and reviewers, and I think it’s fair to say that diners will be very pleased with the quality and variety of the fresh fish and local produce.