Over the weekend I wrapped up my world food tour, aka Restaurant Month 2021. As a true foodie, I enjoy exploring new cultures through food. Restaurant Month provided the perfect opportunity to do that with the varied restaurants presenting their unique menus. And this year was truly an amazing food journey around the world.
Restaurant month is a Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) facilitated event with participating local restaurants in Grand Cayman in October. This is the 9th running year, despite the recent economic challenges. Now more than ever, it is the perfect opportunity to support local food industry and appreciate the wonderful food talent on the island. Cayman is truly the food capital of the Caribbean.
With our borders still closed it was nice to be transported to various exotic locations via food. And just when you thought you had it great, they threw in Cocktail Week to up the ante. One of the great things about this initiative is the price point. Lunch menus started from $15 for a two-course lunch and the maximum price point for dinner was $45. I don’t know where else you can dine with so many options. It was truly a steal of a deal.
To say I was excited is an understatement. A creature of habit, I had to try my hardest not to just go for my favourite restaurants but also try new ones. So, with a printed calendar in hand, I set about perusing ALL the restaurant menus on Cayman Good Taste’s site. After ticking the ones, I wanted to try I began mapping out my dates. With all of us living busy lives I don’t get to spend as much time with my friends as I would like. So, this was the perfect opportunity to set up one on one dates and spend an hour or two bonding over food.
A friend recently shared the above quote with me, and I just smiled because I think I am the Tiny Dragon. 🙂
With all my selections made and dates arranged it was time to get eating. My 2021 Restaurant Month experience started with lunch at Le Vele. I had not eaten there before, and I figured you couldn’t go wrong with Italian! Boasting the best views on the waterfront, they did not disappoint. And you all know I have a mango addiction, so I was delighted with the mango panna cotta dessert.
Good food satisfies. Great food transforms.
I was on a quest to find some great food and I was richly rewarded. Restaurant month might be over, but the restaurants are still open and offer great monthly specials on a regular basis. I will share with you my experience over the past month, by compiling a list of my favourites for you to try. I’ve selected my top two restaurants for, in my opinion, best sized meals, best in creativity, and best in taste.
If you have checked out any of these menus feel free to share your thoughts in the comments at the end. All the meals we had, in my opinion were a great value for the price point offered.
Restaurant month – best sized meal
My top pick for best sized meal was Cayman Cabana’s Vegan Lunch. I think I had one every week. The coconut ceviche was delicious served with in house sweet potato chips and the Ital Buddha Bowl (main course) was just the right size. The combination of sweet ripe plantains, tangy pineapple salsa and creamy avocado had me going back every week.
Another great sized lunch was from Saltwater Grill. For starters we had the calamari and the mushrooms which were roasted to perfection. Our main course of Snapper over rice and charred vegetables was so filling we had to take our dessert to go. It made for a nice treat later that evening.
Restaurant month – best in creativity
If you want a beautiful dish, you cannot go wrong with Aqua Restaurant and Lounge. Their flavour profiles are also dynamite. Agua is one of my favourite fine dining restaurants. And while I loved the menu, I felt I needed to try some new places. However, I rave about this restaurant so much that my friend wanted to experience it and so it made the list!
The food was delicious as always, however the portion sizes had us eating all the bread. I had the local wahoo and the corvina, please add a little more carbs next time Agua 🙂
When I saw the Waterfront Urban Diner‘s menu, I knew I needed at least two visits to try everything. One of the cool things about dining with friends is sharing plates. So, with that, I was able to sample a bit of everything I had my eye on.
Restaurant month – Best in Taste
So Mizu Asian Bistro & Bar makes the best chocolate lava cake on island that I have had. Thanks to my foodie friend Zsu for giving me more reasons to run around the tennis court. I cannot keep a secret, so when I told my dinner date about it she needed very little convincing to try it! The rest of the dinner was quite pleasing, but to be honest I was just there for dessert.
To round out the month, I invited a few more friends for a mini celebration. The Ave Restaurant‘s eclectic menu would surely have something to please everyone. The blazing Saganaki appetizer got few cheers and set the tone for a night filled with laughter in the best company. Our souls were truly nourished. Giada puts together our experience quite nicely in this quote.
Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love. – Giada De Laurentiis
In addition to the great food selection from all the participating restaurants all month long , the month just kept getting better. During the final week of October, Cayman also celebrates Cocktail Week. For food lovers, and drink connoisseurs, this is a little something extra. A bonus week to enjoy more delectable foods with specialty cocktail pairings. In Jamaica we would describe this as ‘brawta’.
Cayman Cocktail Week
Similar to Restaurant month, Cayman Cocktail Week is a fun week of cocktail themed events. There were opportunities to participate every day of the week. In spite of my crazy schedule, I was able to squeeze in a few Happy Hours and the finals of the Speed Rack competition, where all the entrance proceeds were donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Cayman Cocktail week is all about The Cocktails, however, there were a number of cocktail themed dinners to satisfy this foodie. I decided on the Agua Cocktail Dinner with the theme “Art of the Cocktail, Part 2”. It featured a 4 course dinner paired with Modern Art themed cocktails from the World Class portfolio.
The 4 course dinner was paired with Modern Art themed cocktails from their World Class portfolio. The dishes and the décor were inspired by artists Yayoi Kusama, the queen of dots; street artist Banksy; Piet Mondrian, colour blocking; Damien Hirst, shark & dot enthusiast and Jeff Koons for his chrome and balloon sculptures. It made for a colourful, and fun night.
In a word, Superb. That’s how I would describe my Cayman Cocktail Week experience.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And after a month of wining and dining I need to get reacquainted with my kitchen and most importantly start baking Christmas Black Cake for all my lovelies. It was my pleasure to take you on the recap of my gastronomical month. For someone who enjoys traveling for food festivals, I truly felt transported around the world right here in Cayman.