Updated: Jul 25, 2019
by Alicia Wallace
Downtown Nassau is foodie central. Full of history, culture, and art, you can spend an entire day in the Bay Street area. There are dozens of restaurants vying for patrons with competitive prices, appealing menus, and fantastic service. They offer the usual safe options like hamburgers and fries, but there are few things Bahamians love more than sharing food. We want you to try local food for the first time, have our version of dishes you’ve eaten a million times before, and sample drinks you can only get here, with us. We have so much to offer that it could become overwhelming, especially if you’re only here for a little while. Luckily, we know how to make it easy for you to explore the flavor profiles of this paradise.
The Bites of Nassau food tour is the perfect way to try many Bahamian dishes and signature beverages from the people who make them best. Walk with people in the know, and get the inside scoop on the best spots for local food in Nassau. You’ll navigate around historical sites and vibrant murals by Bahamian artists as you make your way to the best Bahamian dishes, some of them well off the beaten path. Become an expert in your own right, all in a few hours spent with new friends.
We’ve put together a list of must-try Bahamian dishes to ensure you get the most of your time here, whether it’s just a few hours on a cruise or a few months to escape winter. Here are three dishes and three beverages you need to photograph, taste, and tell your friends about.
Classic Conch Fritters
Whether you’re a culinary adventurer or a mildly curious traveler, this Bahamian favorite is sure to delight you. We love our conch, any way we can get it — battered and fried, diced in a colorful, tangy salad, or in a rich, creamy chowder. You can’t go wrong with conch, and the conch fritter is a star in this galaxy. Fried batter, seasoned to perfection and loaded with chunks of tender conch is the perfect way to test-drive this Bahamian delicacy. Dip it in our creamy sauce with just the right amount of tanginess, and prepare for the immediate need to order a half dozen. Salt, sweet, zing! Your tastebuds will come alive like never before. Conch fritters are the perfect start to a Bahamian meal, a quick introduction to our native food, and make a great round of appetizers to share. This is everything you need in a bite.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Everyone thinks they make the best macaroni, but we know this is where we shine. It’s nothing like the blue box that may come to mind. It’s not a salad or a soup, and it doesn’t require a spoon. Our macaroni is loaded with the good stuff. Cheese, cream, and butter all help to make this dish incredible. If you’ve visited other Caribbean countries, you have probably tried macaroni pie. This one — the Bahamian version — is next level. There is no rue, stock, or cream-of-anything soup to distract you from what you came to get Cheese. Our baked macaroni has onion, salt, and pepper that work together to bring another dimension to the often-imitated pasta dish. This is, by far, every Bahamian’s favorite side dish. Try it, and find out why.
Is it cake, or is it bread? Here we have a debate with no end in sight, but one thing is for sure — Johnny cake (or bread) brings memories of grandmothers pouring love into us. Johnny cake is nothing like the pancakes you might have in mind when you see the name. This Johnny cake is the Bahamian answer to the cornbread of the southern states. Our ancestors learned to make the most of the little they had and, just as importantly, how to make it last. There is nothing quite like johnny cake fresh from the oven with butter atop, but it can certainly stand a journey. Some say its name evolved from “journey” to “johnny,” but we can’t be sure. We do know that it's the perfect starch for your favorite souse, soup, or stew. If you’re a cheese lover, melt a slice of your favorite cheese on a warm chunk (because a slice just won’t cut it), close your eyes, and see heaven.
Speaking of heaven, have you ever gone by gin? Sky juice is a perfectly balanced blend of gin, coconut water, and condensed milk. It’s served on ice, sometimes with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon. With or without the spice, it’s so good that Baha men wrote a song about it. Forget Gatorade! Sky juice is all you need to put the pep back in your step after a long day in the sun.
Most beverage menus include daiquiris of various flavors. Some of them are nice, but none of them compare to what we have in store for you. We live in a chain of islands in the sun. We know how to do refreshing. Native fruit flavors bring the sweetness you crave, crushed ice gives you the cool-down you deserve and the rum… Well, the rum does what rum does. The endless possibilities of mixing and swirling flavors give you the opportunity to concoct your very own original cocktail.
John Watling’s Distillery Rums
Did somebody say “rum?” John Watling's rum is the Spirit of The Bahamas. Not only will you want to sample it while on the grounds, but you’ll definitely want to take a bottle or two with you. It’s something to remember us by. Explore the 1789 Buena Vista Estate, enjoy a tour, and taste the best piña colada you’ll ever find. What are you into? Pale? Amber? They’ve got it. The Buena Vista (smooth and warm with fruity, nutty notes) and Single Barrel rums are attention grabbers too.
Are you ready to spend some time with a certified tour guide, making your way from one delectable delight to another? The Bites of Nassau Tour is the way to do it. Our guides only take ten people at a time, ensuring you’re able to engage with them and other group members as much as you like and don’t have to worry about long wait times or splitting up. The only thing you’ll have to think about is how you’ll get back to your favorite spots from the tour to enjoy even more of their menu items. Bahamian food delicious, the hospitality is unmatched, and everyone is determined to give you an experience you’ll never forget. Find out more about the Bites of Nassau Tour.
We're looking forward to sharing our culinary culture with you!