Skip to main content

Why the Cayman Islands are the Ultimate Foodie Destination for 2022

Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

When it comes to culinary destinations, there are plenty in the world to choose from. You can head to Rome, Tokyo, New York – really, by visiting any major city, you’re granting yourself access to a bounty of chefs and likeminded, food-forward individuals. But what do you do when you want those sorts of bounties without the stressors that come with big city life? You go to the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands, a collection of three islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac) located south of Cuba in the western part of the Caribbean sea, have been slowly making a name for themselves on the global level for more than just their scuba diving, snorkeling, and beach-sitting opportunities. Those are all there — and those are all definitely things you should be doing while visiting — but you might be surprised by the level of cuisine that you’ll be dining on. Whether you’re looking for fresh-caught fish cooked just yards from where it was brought to shore, farm-to-table explorations of the bounty of fruits and vegetables available to locals, or a high-end meal that combines the best of various cuisines, the food and drink scene of the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, specifically) is ready to serve you.

With so much to choose from in a relatively small space, we suggest making a trip that coincides with one of the major festivals on the island, which we discuss below.


Blue Dot Studios


There is what may to some, a surprising amount of Italian cuisine on Grand Cayman. One of the standouts is Agua, which recently moved into a new location in the heart of Camana Bay (the waterfront town which features many of the upscale shops and restaurants on the island). In a fresh, lively environment, you’ll find classic Italian dishes — if those dishes went on a Caribbean vacation. Cayman-style ceviche is served along with beef carpaccio. For the main course, you’re just as likely to see a catch of the day as you would lamb Bolognese.

Cracked Conch Macabuca

The premier oceanfront Tiki bar-cum-upscale restaurant on Grand Cayman, Cracked Conch Macabuca exists to serve the best of multiple worlds. If you’re looking for cold drinks, good bar food (such as conch fritters), and a beautiful sunset, you stay at Macabuca. If you’re looking for global cuisine with a Caribbean flare (such as their Garlic Wild Shrimp with kedgeree rice, sweet peppers, lemon crème fraiche, and coconut bacon), then you head up the stairs to Cracked Conch.

Cayman Cabana

With a total area of only 102 square miles (Grand Cayman is 75 of those square miles), farm-to-table dining might not be the first thing to come to mind, but owners of Cayman Cabana, Luigi and Christina Moxam, are trying to change that. They work to source as much of their ingredients as possible from the island in addition to running “Farm-to-Table Thursdays,” a weekly family-style dinner that showcases the bounties of the island and the surrounding waters.


Rhian R. Campbell

You can get high-quality cocktails or other drinks at many of the establishments above, but the Cayman Islands is also home to one of the largest wine stores in the Caribbean, as well as a number of alcohol-producing establishments.

West Indies Wine Company

Located in the town center of Camana Bay, the West Indies Wine Company is the place to go when you’re looking for a good glass of vino. Why? Because they’ve got one of the largest selection in the Caribbean. What’s even better is that WIWC also serves 80 wines by the glass, all of which are on tap for you to pour yourself. Unsure of a glass? Get a small pour. Want to go to town on some Sauv Blanc? You can pour glass after glass to your heart’s content.

Cayman Islands Brewery

The larger of two breweries on the island (the smaller being the 1981 Brewing Company), Cayman Islands Brewery produces beers perfectly suited to the Caymanian climate. You won’t find super hoppy IPAs or double barrel-aged porter-gose hybrids here. Instead, you’ll find good, clean, easy-drinking beer. Why would you want something other than that when you’re sitting on a beach with the tide coming in and the sun slowly crisping your skin? Caybrew, a lager, is the brewery’s flagship, but you can also find an IPA, a mango wheat, a bock, and more available around the islands.

Cayman Spirits Company

If you’re looking to get your fix on local liquors (perhaps to make some Cayman Boilermakers), Cayman Spirits Company is the place to go. While Seven Fathoms and Governor’s Reserve rums are perhaps their most popular products (again, it’s the Caribbean, what would you expect?), CSC also produces a range of other products complement the island lifestyle. A vodka, numerous liqueurs, and even gins are all available at their tasting room.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

To add to the bustling food and drink scene, Grand Cayman also hosts three major food and drink-related events every year: Cayman Cookout, Taste of Cayman, and Cayman Cocktail Week, which (more or less) bookend the year for culinary Caymanians.

Cayman Cookout

Hosted by famed chef Eric Ripert, Cayman Cookout is the premier culinary event on the island. Every January, chefs, wine and spirits experts, and others in the culinary who’s who gather together for a five-day festival dedicated to celebrating the bounty of talent and good food on the island. If you can think of a famous chef, chances are they are participating this year or have in the past. Anthony Bourdain was a common guest; some key names from the 2019 lineup include Emeril Lagasse and one of the men who seem to single-handedly be helping everyone in need in the world, Jose Andrés. From cooking demonstrations to beach bashes, there is a wide variety of events for participants to engage in.

When: January 16-20, 2019

Taste of Cayman

Occurring less than a week after Cayman Cookout in 2019, Taste of Cayman is a festival that celebrates all things edible and Caymanian. In its 31st year, the festival features local Heavy Cake and mixology competitions, and a wide variety of vendors from around the island. If you’re looking to see what Cayman cuisine is like in a nutshell, this event is it.

When: January 26, 2019

Cayman Cocktail Week

Cayman Cocktail Week is the yin to Cayman Cookout’s yang — this celebration centers of all things sip-worthy. Whether it’s industry legends coming in to do intimate tastings of their spirits, cocktail pairing dinners, or any number of happy hours around the island, the weeklong celebration is a great way to see what’s being shaken and stirred on Grand Cayman. Cayman Cocktail Week also allows you to see what the local chefs are cooking up, as many work with their bar staff to produce special menus throughout the week.

When: October 19-26, 2019

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
Why Vancouver and Tofino Should Be Your Introduction to Exploring British Columbia
vancouver tofino british columbia canada travel guide city pic edit 17

British Columbia's cities and towns share an incredible connection to the wild that surrounds them, from majestic mountain ranges to windswept sandy beaches to rainforests filled with wildlife. Cities like Vancouver are only moments from nature, making it easy to explore the endless possibilities of the outdoors. The vast landscapes in British Columbia, like the surf-filled beaches of Tofino, inspire personal journeys and just call out for endless adventures. The Pacific Northwest of the United States stretches far beyond Seattle into Canada's southwestern province, which can appear intimidating on a map due to its size. For an easy introduction to B.C., consider starting in the major city of Vancouver and heading over to the tiny, yet wildly impressive surf town of Tofino.
Navigating Vancouver
As Canada’s most popular city, Vancouver's international tourism flourishes year round. The majestic scenery that includes urban forest, mountains, and stunning coastlines supports an outdoorsy, sporty lifestyle. As a city that prides itself on its diverse immigrant cultures, Vancouver brings world cuisine to Canada’s stunning west coast. In a place where 40% of metro-area Vancouver residents have some sort of Asian heritage, top-notch Asian venues dominate the city, from Filipino delights to authentic Indian and Chinese staples. Always, the city leads with its West Coast-based sister cities’ farm-fresh and healthy fare — its natural environment and outdoor lifestyles a constant reminder for sustainability.

Where to Eat and Drink

Read more
Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary: Where to Visit, Eat, and Stay on the Canadian Island
canada newfoundland road trip guide fogo island inn fnewfoundland featured image

Planning a road trip? Here's everything you might need to plot a cross-country journey, a family vacation, or a solo trek.

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country. Newfoundland and Labrador form the most easterly region of Canada; while Labrador is on the mainland, the much smaller island of Newfoundland is home to the capital and a handful of accessible airports.

Read more
Why You Should Visit Yukon, Canada
yukon canada travel guide  2019 17

The Yukon is one of those destinations we hear or read about online, in travel articles, or through documentaries. It’s a place so remote that most of us can only imagine what really goes on there. It can be freezing, naturally gorgeous, and super adventurous. Visiting the Yukon in northwest Canada is also a year-round possibility as the region is open for business even in the depths of winter. Flights into Whitehorse, one of the two major cities in the territory, are easier to come by than you might think. Just be sure to pack your cold-weather gear if headed there during the winter, which you should, because it’s so damn cold that it’s actually fun. What follows are some of the winter highlights that one can only experience in Yukon, Canada. Grab your hand warmers and read on.


Read more