Fun Fact, the Turks and Caicos Islands the islands were once governed indirectly through the Bahamas. It’s not surprising when you consider that the island chain lies just 94.4 miles southeast of Mayguana. Our proximity means that Turks Islanders and Bahamians have shared histories, intricacies, cultures and food. In years gone by, it was common to find Turks Islanders living throughout The Bahamas for work and education. Today with its booming economy, many Bahamians live and work there too. This constant exchange means that our bloodlines are mixed, and you can ask any Bahamian from Eight Mile Rock to Acklins, Mayguana and Inagua in the South, and they’ll connect their lineage to a Virgil from South Caicos or a Missick from the mainland.
So why would a Bahamian who already lives where you vacation visit Turks and Caicos? What experience exists there for a city resident of Nassau that doesn’t already exist in the beautiful islands that make up our own Bahamas chain? The answer is that a foodie finds joy everywhere!
Turks and Caicos- Provo, in particular, boasts a large foreign population that has added colour to the character of the place and the best restaurants to the landscape. It is not by chance that a country famous for shipping salt to the world through Salt Cay would bring senses to life through cuisine so tasty I threw all my Weight Watchers points out the window. I am not kidding, I literally only ate for the entire 4-day experience. Here is a list of where to eat in Turks and Caicos
Fancy-Smancy: Coco Bistro
Apparently, this gorgeous restaurant with stunning Palm Trees outside and along the famous Grace Bay Strip requires reservations days to weeks in advance. How my husband managed to sneak us in for Valentine’s Day at 6 pm, I’ll never know, but I’ll always be grateful.
The menu was a fusion of Caribbean, Asian and Mediterranean flavours and every single dish brought out to our party of 5 was outstanding in presentation and scrumptious in taste. I indulged in the Porcini and Caicos Coffee Crusted 8oz Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Bacon Marmalade, Crispy Heirloom Carrots and Peppercorn Gastrime and it was terrific. Seriously, if I could make Brussel sprouts like that, I would eat them every day!
The meat was tender, cooked to perfection and juicy like biting into some delicious, delicate melon. The appetiser and dessert didn’t disappoint either, and the wine recommended by our waiter complemented it all. They also had fresh bread while we waited and as someone who grew up dining in fine restaurants Freeport’s hay-day, I’ve got to say I miss the days of free bread at restaurants though my waistline may beg to differ.
Chill Vibes: Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl
I have a shell-fish allergy. If you are reading this from some landlocked state like Arizona or a country like Zambia this may not be a big deal to you. If you’ve grown up steps away from the nearest beach like I have, a shellfish allergy is downright devastating, especially when it’s a late-stage allergy and you’ve been able to enjoy delicious things like conch, shrimp and lobster all your life. So where to eat in Turks and Caicos when you are allergic to shellfish?
Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl might not be the obvious answer. Conch is the name for goodness sake. But Boogaloo’s Conch Crawl was precisely what the doctor ordered for a day full of rest and relation. Located in the Five Cay’s settlement of Providenciales, the restaurant is right on the beach. Old boats have been carved out and turned into bars, and a gentleman is cutting up conch salad right on a sandbank in the middle of the water.
A soulful singer entertains guest, and when he takes a break, good old Bahamian music (yes, Bahamian, I told you about the connection earlier) plays softly on a stereo. Sweet daiquiris and frozen drinks flow as sweetly as the waves lapping the shore and the whole vibe screams “paradise.” While my allergy prevented me from eating the many conch delicacies on the menu, I wasn’t disappointed by the delicious snapper in the least. It was seasoned to perfection, big enough for my husband and I, and eaten to the last morsel.
Hometown Heart: Big Al’s
This was not my first visit to TCI. I’d been on marketing business for the first Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival some years before, and then two years ago Carlos and I stayed at an Uncle’s stunning condo at the family-friendly Somerset Resort. Gorgeous though it was, my hyperemesis gravidarum didn’t make it the best for eating. One night though steps away from the Somerset, Carlos and I found a restaurant that baby Cairo and I could agree on, Big Al’s.
Like a picture from an era gone by, Big Al’s would fit perfectly into a show like “Happy Days” or a retro episode of “Saved by the Bell.” Old posters line the wall, and there is a rack of wall friendly surfboards perfect for souvenirs. It’s all burgers, fries, milkshakes and the best chicken, sausage, mushroom pappardelle pasta you have ever hard.
That pasta was everything two years ago when I was pregnant, and it was everything when I ate it again. This time I also tried their “award-winning guacamole” with chips and loved it. I topped my meal off with a root beer float, and while this was the night that my Weight Watchers app yelled back at me, it was worth it.
Classy Casual: Casual Caicos Cafe
We ended our taste bud exploration with a stop at Caicos Café. Located at the end of a little plaza, the outdoor deck space is a casual but classy atmosphere for good food. We were almost an hour early for our reservation but were accommodated by the owner/manager immediately. Wahoo was the special of the day, and the wahoo tartar was one of the most delicious appetisers I’ve ever had. It was Carlos’ birthday, and the waiter’s brought out a beautifully decorated plate and a trick candle that made us all laugh. It was the perfect end to the perfect weekend with family.
So, get down to TCI a country so sweet in food, beauty and people that even Southwest Airlines began flights there in November 2017. The beaches are beautiful with water so clear you can see your nail polish at the bottom, but the real deal is in the cuisine, and now you know where to eat in Turks and Caicos.
Where to eat in Turks and Caicos?