Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink. | Photograph courtesy of The Brasserie

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink. | Photograph courtesy of The Brasserie

“To truly learn about a culture is to go there and see the history of the country, but food is so essential, food tells you so much. One of the most important aspects of travel is where to eat. We want local; we want the best.”- Chef Lidia Bastianich at the Cayman Cookout

Skip the salmon and opt for indigenous seafood of the Caribbean. 

Here is a list of the seafood that chefs recommend trying and their picks for restaurants to discover them.

Seafood | Conch

How It’s Used

“Conch is a seasonal item that is available for about five months of the year. It is acquired by free diving for them in unprotected areas of the sea. I really feel it is best eaten as a ceviche, meaning raw with citrus juice, fresh herbs and peppers found here on the island (scotch bonnets and seasoning peppers). Conch has its own unique ocean sweetness to it and is best served sliced very thin so that it is not too tough. It is also served as fritters, but unless you have a local make them you are not having the proper conch fritter. It should be made into a batter with flour, milk, peppers, seasonings and then pan fried like you were frying good old fried chicken, the real way.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie


“Conch has a great texture and is unbelievably sweet with a long lasting flavor. You would not think that you are eating seafood. When it is in season, I eat it all the time.”
- Chef Jose Andres


When chef José Andrés visits Grand Cayman, he loves to eat conch ceviche at the Cracked Conch and next door Macabuca as well as Morgan’s Harbour Seafood Restaurant.

North West Point Road, West Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.945.5217 |

Morgan's Harbour, West Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1. 345.946.7049 |

Photograph courtesy of The Brasseria | Photograph courtesy of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Photograph courtesy of The Brasseria | Photograph courtesy of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Seafood | Lionfish

What Is It?

If chef Thomas Tennant had his wish, every restaurant in the Caribbean would serve these invasive predators on their menu. Sweet to eat, they are high in omega-3 and are similar to snapper and grouper. But they are threatening the beauty of the islands, eating anything and everything they can. They are eating away many of the native fish which in turn destroys the natural ecosystem. They are also are growing at rapid rates themselves. Lionfish have the ability to reproduce every 4 days, with a single lionfish spawning over 2 million eggs in a year.

“If the fish that clean the reefs from algae overgrowth are decimated or hurt from lionfish there’s nothing cleaning the reefs. The reef starts to die. When the reefs die there are no fish. When there are no fish what am I going to come look at when I come here for diving? Some dead rocks? No. People want to see live coral, live fish.”
- Chef Thomas Tennant

Where Chefs Go To Eat It

One of the large proponents of serving lionfish on Grand Cayman is Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. The lionfish is spear-caught and often by chef Thomas Tennant, who is a licensed lionfish hunter. He serves it as a ceviche or in a chowder.

Tennant likes Tukka in the East End for their signature Thai Lionfish Fishcakes. Tukka was the first restaurant on the island to serve lionfish and recognize it as something worth eating.

Canella Court, The Crescent, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.640.6433 (make a reservation)

898 Austin Conolly Drive, Gun Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.2700 |

Wahoo | Wahoo at Blue by Eric Ripert (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Wahoo | Wahoo at Blue by Eric Ripert (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Seafood | Wahoo & Trigger Fish

How It’s Used

“Wahoo is one of my favorite fish in the ocean. It is has a very lean flesh and a mild and lightly sweet flavor to it. I prefer to eat this fish raw with flavors of spice, citrus, sweet, and salt. We use this for sashimi dishes, ceviches, even grilled or seared, but only to mid-rare at most (anything else would begin to dry the fish out). It could be served with vinaigrettes, buttery sauces, gremolata style sauces.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie

“If you’ve never had Trigger before, it is a little more dense than snapper with a meaty texture, but very little fishy flavor.”
- Chef Dylan Benoit of Market Street Group

“Triggerfish is a local favorite, also know as island turbot. It has a bit more fat than wahoo, so it should be cooked through. We pan roast it. I prefer to baste this fish when it is coming out of the oven with butter, thyme and finish it with a bit of the local seville orange, it’s like an orange flavor with hints of lemon and lime, so it can be used as you would lemons when finishing fish during the cooking process.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie

Where Chefs Go To Eat It

The Brasserie owns their own fishing boats, so this is where you'll find chef Eric Ripert, known for his own phenomenal work with fresh fish, coming for the sea-to-table dining experience. If you go to Catch at Morgan's Harbour you can watch the fishermen coming back from a day's work and walking through the dining room with their fresh catch.

Ritz Carlton, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.943.9000 |

Elgin Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.945.1815 |

Morgan's Harbour, West Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1. 345.949.4321

Land Crab (Photo Credit: WilsonB / flickr) | Land Crab Cakes at Over The Edge (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink)

Land Crab (Photo Credit: WilsonB / flickr) | Land Crab Cakes at Over The Edge (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink)

Land Crab

How It’s Used

“They’re a little bit different from the crabs that you get from the sea, like Dungeness or Snow crabs, since they're found mostly in swamps and mangroves. They are sweet, earthy and taste like where they're from, and that's a good thing.”
- Chef Thomas Tennant of Michael’s Genuine

“We use them in sauces or in small fritters or crab cakes.”
- Chef Dean Max of The Brasserie

Where Chefs Go To Eat It

Chef Tennant orders them at Over The Edge in the North Side of the island. On the appetizer menu they serve land crab fishcakes.

312 N Side Road, Old Man Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.9568 |

Take Home a Taste of the Cayman Islands

Tortuga Rum Cake  (Website)

Though not artisanal and definitely ubiquitous, they make great gifts. You can find them in liquor stores, grocery stores and at the airport. They are moist and sweet. Follow the advice of chef José Andrés and dip ithe rum cake into a rum sour before eating. Chef Dean Max uses it to make a rum cake bread pudding.

A Small Backyard Marmalades  (Website)

A variety of citrus marmalades (and fresh-baked bread) sold at the Camana Bay farmers market each Wednesday. The fruits for the marmalades are sourced from trees in the maker’s backyard (hence the name) or from her neighbors’ trees. She makes a Seville Orange Marmalade, a Wild Tangerine Marmalade, a Lime Marmalade, as well as a Pumpkin, Tomato and Pepper Chutney. The Seville Orange Marmalade is a strong marmalade with large chunks of peel and a rich, bright flavor.

Cayman Sea Salt & Sea Salt BBQ Rub  (Website)

Take home a taste of the pristine, clear sea waters to season your food. They let nature do all the work and are using recycled glass from sliding doors discarded after Hurricane Ivan. Their salt is used by chef Eric Ripert’s team at Blue at the Ritz-Carlton and at other restaurants on the island. They also make a Sea Salt BBQ Rub using a blend of sea salt, cane sugar, onion, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, allspice and cumin. The result is a salty, sweet, smokey, hot rub that’s ideal on pork, chicken, roasted vegetables, and even popcorn.

Cayman Gourmet Pepper Jelly  (Website)

This pepper jelly is truly artisanal. Carol Hay started making the pepper jelly as a hobby, using scotch bonnet peppers and seasoning peppers from her back yard. She adds freshly ground Jamaican pimento, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, onions, and other locally grown species of West Indian peppers and sweet peppers to round out the flavors.

Cayman Smoke Island Fruitwood BBQ Chips  (Website)

These BBQ chips are made by Elizabeth and Mark McCoy on Little Cayman and are created from local fruitwood. Elizabeth discovered the wood in the mid 80s when building their house on the north shore of Little Cayman. When they started winning amateur cooking competitions, they knew they were onto something. Bring some home and add some island fruit and smoke to you food.

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