By Sherice Major
Although there are 30 more days until the summer season officially kicks off, we’ve already started our summer adventures. Over the weekend, we packed up and sped off into the sunset to Harbour Island, The Bahamas to escape the hustle & bustle of city living in exchange for the deliciousness of the island life.
Briland,’ as it is affectionately called is located three hours away from the capital Nassau [via boat], and is one of the [not so] best kept secrets in The Caribbean! For centuries, the island has attracted the rich & famous, who, in their pursuit of all things major, found one of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, the most enchanting architectural structures, the most hospitable islanders, and the most palatable plates this side of town.
Part of the pleasure of exploring Harbour Island is checking out the restaurants. When compared to other Bahamian islands, Harbour Island has one of the best selections of restaurants — all within close proximity to any place you stay. Harbour Island has its own take on Bahamian food. It’s very fresh and tasty, and served with flair. Dining out is casual.
First, head to town. Mornings must begin with freshly baked Bahamian herb bread or croissants at Arthur’s Bakery. The Landing is wonderful: amazing local ingredients (langoustines, grouper, fresh chicken curry), refined yet simple cuisine, a beautiful setting under trees, twinkling lights. Kids love the easy feeling of the India Hicks-backed venture; parents love lazing on outdoor settees aside the odd luminary. The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Uma and Arki — all island regulars. Sunday Brunch is very popular here as well, where they serve ricotta pancakes and fresh-baked coconut bread.
For the best views on the island, guests head to The Boat House Restaurant where guests have the choice of enjoying meals on the open-air deck or you can choose to dine in air conditioned comfort, without sacrificing the joy of our Harbour Island waterfront view. Favorite dishes include Lobster Quesadillas and Lobster Benedict for breakfast!
The jet-set crowd can then often been found in the evenings at The Rooster Tail Bar, where live entertainment is provided weekly (Friday and Sunday).
When you’re ready for a bigger night out, head to Rock House for the Euro/fabulous scene and the cuisine. Here, too, the focus is on fresh, locally caught fish and ingredients. The crowd stays late, lounging on couches around a central, sleek pool area.
Other top restaurants include Romora Bay Club and Harbour Lounge. And there are so many more…
For local fare, Ma Ruby’s should not be missed. Sybal’s Bakery is known for local Bahamian breakfast of grits and stewed fish. If you are feeling brave, Avery’s offers the local dish of souse in all of these delightful flavors: chicken feet, pig feet, chicken, sheep tongue. This meat is what the local plantation workers ate, and they found ways to make it taste very nice. After a morning lying on the pink sand beach you will want to wander into Sip Sip for lunch. “Sip-sip” is the local term for gossip! And at Sip Sip you will indeed hear all the gossip, local and otherwise, and see anyone who’s anyone. Popular dishes are the Lobster Quesada and a Gombay Smash drink. The Queen Conch shack at the top of the PLP dock is a must for a late-afternoon snack. Here, local conch salad is made to order from local giant conch meat is pulled from its shell, chopped and mixed with the juice of limes and sour orange and local tomatoes, onions and green peppers.
Beware: ask for “tourist strength.” Anything else might blow your bikini off. If you are feeling adventurous ask for the conch’s pistols. Harbour Island men say, “It puts lead in your pencil”.