When it comes to food, Grenada has all the usual Caribbean suspects—snapper, grouper, mahi mahi—plus lots and lots of spiny lobster. But unlike other islands, the Spice Isle also boasts a plethora of fresh produce, fruit, and aromatic herbs and spices, which shine through in signature dishes like oil down (a rich stew of breadfruit, salted meat, coconut milk, and spices) and crabback (local land crab with herbs, cream, and cheese).
While most restaurants here are as casual as your own backyard, there are a few swankier options in hotels and along Grand Anse Beach. Below, we’ve gathered all the can’t-miss food across the island to ensure you experience a true taste of Grenada.
Oil down at Deyna’s Tasty Foods
The best place to eat oil down is in a Grenadian’s backyard, with an open fire heating the pot and the party in full effect. But if you don’t manage to snag that sort of invitation during your trip, go instead to Deyna’s Tasty Foods, near the cruise ship terminal in Saint George’s, and try the island’s most famous dish there instead. Thick with coconut milk, breadfruit, callaloo, chicken, pork, turmeric, and more, oil down is Caribbean comfort food at its most satisfying, so bring your appetite. If it’s not on the menu when you visit—it’s a labor-intensive dish, so sometimes the kitchen takes a day or two off—you can always poke around the market in Saint George’s, where several vendors often sell the specialty.
Goat curry at BB’s Crabback
Of all the great curry in the Caribbean, the Grenadian kind is among the best, thanks in part to the island’s bountiful spices. See for yourself at BB’s Crabback, where local fixture Brian Benjamin serves a version with slow-cooked goat and paper-thin shavings of coconut. The dish is very clearly the house favorite, but diners at BB’s—which features breezy tables overlooking Saint George’s Harbour—should also try the crabback, another island specialty, with big chunks of land crab cooked with herbs, cream, and cheese. Both offerings, as well as many other menu items here, include ingredients grown in Benjamin’s family garden, from fresh herbs to passionfruit and even pineapples.
Conch at Umbrella’s Beach Bar
If you’re looking to try conch in its many configurations, Umbrella’s Beach Bar is a good place to start. The popular seafood restaurant, located about midway down Grand Anse Beach, pairs scenic vistas with conch served a rainbow of ways, including in fritters, ceviche, and the particularly delicious lambi souse (slow-cooked conch with onions, garlic, herbs, and lime juice). For the best views in the house, ask for a table on the second floor, which overlooks the beach.
Fresh seafood at Savvy’s
For a classy seafood dinner at one of Grenada’s prettiest beach resorts, book a table at Savvy’s, located in the main clubhouse at Mount Cinnamon. Start with a cocktail—the margaritas and mojitos are mainstays—while watching the sun sink over Grand Anse Beach, then order up some of the restaurant’s signature fresh fish. You can’t go wrong with the pan-seared catch of the day, which might be mahi mahi or barracuda, but more complex dishes like Moroccan curried shrimp and yellowfin tuna with ginger-sesame-pumpkin sauce are also worth a try. Even the pastas feature a bounty of delicious seafood, like the creamy butternut squash risotto with pan-fried jerk scallops, and the Mediterranean spaghetti with mussels, clams, and shrimp.
Prix-fixe menu at Dexter’s Restaurant
Local chef Dexter Burris worked for 14 years on cruise ships and then another 20 at Grenada’s celebrated Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel before opening his eponymous restaurant, set just back from the northern end of Grand Anse Beach. Book a table in advance through the restaurant’s Facebook page to enjoy his five-course, prix-fixe dinner menu, which highlights island ingredients from land and sea. While dishes change regularly, you can expect to enjoy things like lobster, tuna, snapper, and delicious dorado with plantain cakes, all enhanced by local vegetables, herbs, and spices. The beer and wine selection is limited, but you’re really here for the food and Dexter’s warm hospitality anyway.
Tapas at Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant
There are usually between 15 and 20 dishes made for sharing on the tapas menu at Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant, located across from the Port Louis Marina in downtown Saint George’s. As such, it’s a great place to dine with friends so you can try a bit of everything, including Grenadian favorites like cod fish cakes, green papaya with cheese, callaloo soup, and ginger pork. There are even some vegan options available, meaning everyone will be happy here. The low-slung, wooden building was designed to resemble a traditional Grenadian home, with a breezy porch that makes for lovely outdoor dining.
Coconut pie at Coconut Beach Restaurant
If you didn’t eat warm coconut pie with your toes in the sand, did you really even visit Grenada? Ponder that while stuffing your face to the sound of crashing waves at Coconut Beach Restaurant, a popular seafood spot on the north end of Grand Anse Beach. Here, round picnic tables shaded by thatched umbrellas set right in the sand create the perfect, Caribbean-casual ambience. On the menu, you’ll usually find spiny lobster prepared a handful of ways (the simple grilled version is best), as well as curried lambi (a Grenadian take on conch, flavored with island spices like pimento—what Grenada calls the locally grown allspice—and ginger). No matter what you order, be sure to finish your meal with a slice of that homemade coconut pie, served warm with a cherry on top.
Beach barbecue at the Aquarium Restaurant
If you happen to be in Grenada on a Sunday, join the locals at the Aquarium Restaurant on the southern end of Magazine Beach for some excellent seafood and epic liming (that’s Caribbean parlance for partying). At this waterfront favorite, the deck is just steps from the sand and the open-air dining room boasts sweeping ocean views. Sunday afternoons bring the liveliest scene, with a reggae band crooning on the deck from 3 p.m. onward and lobster, steaks, and jerk chicken sizzling on the barbecue. The rum punches (topped with grated local nutmeg, of course) never stop flowing and everyone gets looser as the day goes on. When night falls, white lights strung in the trees add to the lively vibe for those who came to dance.
Street food vendors at Dodgy Dock
Located right on the water at True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, Dodgy Dock is always busy, but it draws the biggest crowds on Wednesday nights, when vendors line the terrace selling both island-style and international street food. The selection varies from week to week, but you can typically count on a spread of Asian eats, whole fried fish, roti, and more. A favorite of medical students from nearby Saint George’s University, the event is as festive as it is delicious, with a live band urging the party people along. Wild dancing is all but guaranteed.
>>Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Travel Guide to Grenada
Terry Ward Terry Ward is a Florida-based travel writer whose work appears in CNN, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, and the Washington Post, among many other outlets.