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-Independent Restaurant Reviews

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Shoestring Barbados Restaurant Reviews


Nico’s Champagne Wine Bar Restaurant

Nico’s in St. James has a casual yet elegant atmosphere where one can choose to have a drink after work in the air conditioned bar or have dinner in their open air dining room. Seating is covered by a roof and the view is of a garden/lawn and a few fountains which adds a nice background sound. I had the Caesar salad as a starter and Debbie tried the vegetable samosas which were crispy and flaky with a slightly spicy dipping sauce. The main courses were rack of lamb with mash and vegetables and garlic butter shrimp with rice and a side salad. The shrimp still had the shell on them but it was quite easy to peel and had the right amount of butter and garlic seasoning, very good. The side salad consisted of “weeds” with a few slices of cucumber and a slice of tomato, not too impressive. Unfortunately, the rack of lamb was exceptionally bland and was served with an even less inspiring gravy, but to its credit, it was very tender. We looked at the dessert menu and while it was extensive (including cheesecake, pecan pie, and chocolate decadent desserts), we were too full to try anything. Service was excellent but we were the only ones in the restaurant so we’re biased on that account. Parking was a tight fit, don’t bring your Suburban! Total came to BDS$144 (including service and VAT) with no wine and no desserts.

Written by Debbie Inami

The Tides

If you want to celebrate a special occasion, The Tides is a perfect place for it! We arrived around 6:45 (opens at 6:30) and were the only ones there, so we got a table right by the ocean. The brochure says reservations required, so even if you go early, try to call in and place your name on the list. By 8:00, the dining room was almost completely filled. The décor is marvelously understated; there is fauna all around and the restaurant is built around large trees by the water. The restaurant has done a magnificent job incorporating its natural surroundings into the dining area. And on each wooden table is a fresh flower. The Tides is low on the water, unlike the other West Coast cliff restaurants, so you really get a good view of the ocean and the fish.

Each menu was tied to a wooden board which gave it flair and originality. The selections were varied; both Debbie and I had trouble narrowing down our choice. We started with the shrimp and salmon appetizer that was in between two won tons ($28). Both the salmon and the shrimp were excellent quality, but for the price, there could have been more substance to the dish. For the main course, Debbie had the roasted duck ($60) and I had the pork tenderloin ($55). Again, both dishes were excellent; the pork and duck were very tender and rich in flavor. I had a glass of Shiraz Cabernet ($10) with dinner and Debbie had a much desired strawberry daiquiri ($8.50). The dessert menu was long and included just about every type of dessert you would desire. I decided on the “Tidation” ($18), which was a flourless chocolate cake surrounded by an almond white sauce. For chocolate lovers, this is the dessert for you! It was the richest dessert I have had one the island so far. Debbie ordered the lemon tart ($18) which had a delicate tangy flavor with a lovely texture and a melt in your mouth crust. We can both say that it was the best lemon dessert we have ever had. The dessert was the best part of the whole meal.
Each dish was beautifully prepared and service couldn’t be any better! Each time we finished a course a waiter was there to clear the table or refill our glasses. It was also relatively cool due to several fans blowing and the ocean breeze, making it a very comfortable setting. The Tides is one of the best restaurants we’ve been to and we’ll certainly return again! E; $$$

Written by Andrew Parker – using own rating system.

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Bajan Blue at Sandy Lane

As a preface to this restaurant review, a comment on the restaurant's surroundings is in order. If you haven't been to Sandy Lane yet, go tonight! Since its re-opening in March, it is a sight to see. It is by far the nicest property on the island and rivals any five star resort in the world for its elegance, beauty, and world class service. Even the bathrooms are impressive - something we never thought would make a review! If you get the chance, ask the front desk for a tour of a room, which is as amazing as the food you'll eat.

Sandy Lane has two main restaurants. Bajan Blue, the subject of this review, and the more formal L'Acajou upstairs. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed with all of its decorations adding to a light and airy feeling. They have done a terrific job keeping this semi-formal restaurant feeling casual and fun. It prominently features an open kitchen, so you can watch the chef prepare the food if you have a table nearby. It is also an open air restaurant which often times makes for a stuffy, warm eating experience on the west coast, but a light breeze and many ceiling fans kept the temperature down. The staff was very friendly and service was excellent throughout the meal

The menu was diverse enough to cover all tastes, but followed the pattern of most nice restaurants on the island, featuring an assortment of fish, pasta, one chicken dish, and a couple of red meat entrees, all with a Mediterranean, Asian, or Caribbean influence. The dessert menu included about 15 homemade ice cream flavors with almost any topping that you would find in an ice cream parlor at home, plus six other desserts. Before ordering, we were served an assortment of five kinds of bread and two appetizers (a marinated mushroom spread and a garlic-tomato spread) to eat with the bread.

We started with the classic Caesar salad, which was topped with wonderful large but light anchovies cured in-house (optional) and a very nice dressing. We also tried the Gazpacho soup which was delicate yet full of flavor. For entrees, we ordered the sautéed jumbo prawns and a pizza. The prawns were recommended by the waitress as her favorite on the menu and it didn't disappoint. In fact, both of us agreed that it was the best jumbo prawn dish we have ever had.. The prawns had an incredible soft texture and were glazed with mild spices and a teriyaki-like sauce. They were served on a bed of real Cantonese fried rice. The pizza was good, but it didn't come close to the prawns. For dessert, we tried a scoop of homemade coffee ice cream, topped with brownies, hazelnuts, and chocolate sauce. Excellent! We also tried an apple crumble dessert that was on the special daily menu but unfortunately, it was very sour and did not have the same amazing flavor as the other food we tried.

In summary, this ranks among the best restaurants of Barbados, but it is not as suited for a special romantic dinner as some of the others, if that's what you're looking for. This is a restaurant that serves great food but it caters to a more casual clientele. You would not be totally out of order arriving in jeans and a collared shirt. However, there is no mistaking that you're paying for the opulence around you. The prices are very high - our dinner as described above (with only one drink) came to about BDS$220.

E; $$$

L’Acajou at Sandy Lane
By Andrew Parker and Debbie Inami

As a preface to this restaurant review, a comment on the restaurant’s surroundings is in order. If you haven’t been to Sandy Lane yet, go tonight! Since its re-opening in March, it is a sight to see. It is by far the nicest property on the island and rivals any five star resort in the world for its elegance, beauty, and world class service. Even the bathrooms are impressive – something we never thought would make a review for! If you get the chance, ask the front desk for a tour of a room, which is as amazing as the food you’ll eat.

Sandy Lane has two main restaurants. L’Acajou, the subject of this review, and the Bajan Blue downstairs. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed with flower arrangements and tables overlooking the ocean. We sat at the bar for a while and snacked on dried bananas. We did not get hot at all during our meal, due to the ocean breeze and good placement of ceiling fans. The staff was very friendly and service was excellent throughout the meal.

The menu offered two set prices: BD$105 (Appetizer and entrée) and BD$130 (Appetizer, entrée, and dessert). It was diverse enough to cover all tastes, but followed the pattern of most nice restaurants on the island, featuring an assortment of fish, pasta, one chicken dish, and a couple of red meat entrees, all with a Mediterranean, Asian, or Caribbean influence. After ordering, we were asked our preference of their bread basket and also received a pre-appetizer compliments of the chef.

Our two starters were a seafood combination appetizer and a barbequed shrimp dish. The seafood combination platter included a crab spring roll, tuna and avocado tartar, shrimp tempura, and smoked salmon. The barbequed Caribbean shrimp included mango salsa and a small salad. Both were very satisfying. Pineapple sorbet was our next course served in what looked like a shot glass on delicate china and a petite spoon. Our main entrées were rack of lamb and salmon. I must say that the cream sauce for the salmon was divine; best salmon I’ve ever had! It was cooked perfectly – a bit crispy on the outside but tender and moist on the inside. It was served over new potatoes accompanying a salad and baked tomatoes. The rack of lamb was excellent quality with a fantastic orange au jus. For dessert we chose to go downstairs to Bajan Blue to experience their delicious homemade ice cream.

In summary, this ranks among the best restaurants of Barbados - perfect for a special occasion. Everything from the service to the décor to the place settings were exquisite. The manager even made his way to our table to make sure everything was in order. He mentioned that they will be closed the month of September due to renovation so I encourage you to check out the changes in October! The only downside is the outrageous price – save this one for special celebrations.

E; $$$


La Bella Collina

By: Andrew Parker and Debbie Inami

La Bella Collina, an Italian restaurant located at Sugar Hill, served us a delightful lunch on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The beautiful setting overlooked the ocean and a light breeze kept us cool through the entire meal. The property is impressive with a tempting pool right by the restaurant. Since Sugar Hill is a resort community vs. a hotel, the seating area in La Bella Collina is limited so be sure to make a reservation. However, we only saw one other table being used besides ours at lunch.

Up to December 1 a special lunch menu is included giving you the option of a two or three course meal. Two courses is BDS$45, three courses is BDS$60. This comes with a complimentary glass of Italian white wine or Peroni beer. Andrew chose this option and ordered the Caesar salad and pasta with the wine. Debbie chose the chicken sandwich, saving room for dessert. The wine was crisp and dry, perfect accompaniment with the meal. The salad could have been better, so perhaps the soup would have been a wiser choice. The pasta (penne with fresh and dried tomatoes and goat cheese) was wonderful. The sauce was flavorful but light and the pasta was homemade. Debbie’s sandwich was perfect with a thin slice of chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and cucumbers all on a fresh roll. It came with a choice of salad and fries (go with the fries!).

The dessert menu had several choices including tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, and various homemade ice creams, sorbets, and gelato. Andrew chose chocolate chocolate chip ice cream which was served in an old fashion sundae dish. Debbie had the apple strudel with French vanilla ice cream which was okay but did not satisfy. You can find better apple pastry desserts elsewhere. The ice cream was definitely better.

All in all it was a delightful lunch with reasonable prices. We’ll definitely be back!

Oistins Fish Market

Every Friday night, from 7 pm to 5 am in the morning you will adore eating fresh fish, the catch of the day, dolphin, flying fish, king fish, tuna, red snappers, grilled, exquisite food served outside near the shore, you sit on benches...and share the space with other people, locals, tourists, everyone is happy there. Great music and great atmosphere. CHEAP AND SO TASTY The food is just what you want to try when in Barbados Oistins Fish Market Christ Church Barbados

Bon appetit Estelle et Lewis

Tel 435-1234
By: Debbie Inami

Dimitri Vamvakas, known by many of us at the US Embassy, recently opened the first Greek restaurant on Barbados. Opa!, formerly known as Shak Shak, resides on the South Coast in Christ Church. A fresh new look awaited us with a vivid blue and white colored theme. There is a spacious bar area and the dining room’s setting is casual yet elegant with candles on each table. If you get a table on the deck you have a magnificent view of the ocean and the awning overhead keeps you dry in case of sudden rain.

The menu is extensive with many appetizer and main course choices. Appetizers include dips with pita bread, soups, and salads, and the entrée’s offer pizza, pasta, chicken, seafood, pita sandwiches, and other traditional Greek dishes. After viewing the menu (narrowing down our choice was difficult!), Andrew ordered the chicken soup and the fish pita while I chose the chicken souvlaki (marinated chicken kabob served over rice). The pita was served with perfectly seasoned fries which we both very much enjoyed and the chicken souvlaki had a yogurt dip which was divine. Also served with the chicken was freshly cooked vegetables and very tender lemon roasted potatoes. There are four desserts you can try as well: baklava, cheesecake, coconut crème brulee, and turtle cake. Being a huge fan of gooey desserts, I voted for the turtle cake and was not disappointed! This beautifully presented dessert became one of my favorites with the first bite. The chocolate cake oozed with goodness (caramel and pecans included) and had a dab of vanilla ice cream on top. A must have for chocolate lovers!

Service was excellent and we never had to flag down our waiter for more water. Opa! is open for lunch Monday-Friday and every evening for dinner. Reservations are highly recommended as Opa! has been busy ever since opening. We will definitely enjoy Opa! many times more for the rest of our tour here, happily supporting Dimitri and savoring his delicious cuisine.

Hi. Just returned from 10 beautiful days in Barbados. The night before we left (3/16/03) we dined at the exquisite Cliff Restaurant, where I thoroughly enjoyed their chilled celery soup with stilton cheese and apple salad. It was out of this world to say the least and I'm hoping you can get the recipe for me. PLEASE??


Sylvia Morrissey
Email Sylivia


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