For an island its size, Green Turtle Cay offers a relatively wide range of dining options. They include:
McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery – Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, McIntosh is located on the right as you come down the hill into the settlement. Daily specials are posted outside and a full menu is also available. Denise McIntosh makes some of the best desserts on the cay — our favourites are her key lime pie and guava cheesecake. Friday night at McIntosh is Lobster Fest, with Bahamian lobster cooked more than a dozen different ways.
Two Shortys – On the western end of Crown Street, which runs parallel to the settlement’s south shore, Two Shortys offers great Bahamian takeout food. They also have a few picnic tables if you’d prefer to eat in.
Sundowners Bar & Grill– Further west on Crown Street, Sundowners opens daily at 5pm and serves up a selection of pub-type food, along with the best sunset views in town.
Plymouth Rock – You have to get there early to get a seat in this tiny cafe, but it’s worth it. Breakfast and lunch are served daily except Sunday. Friday and Saturday nights, visitors and locals gather at Plymouth Rock for cocktails and conversation. The restaurant is near the freight dock at the western end of Parliament Street.
Harvey’s Island Grill – Situated on the shore of Settlement Creek, Harvey’s serves lunch and dinner daily. Specials are posted on a board out front, with a surprisingly varied menu also available. Mondays are pizza and wing night and they occasionally offer Italian, steak and rib, and sushi nights. You can dine inside the air-conditioned restaurant or outside on the beach.
Papa Pete’s Bakery & Takeaway – Just a few steps from the main ferry dock in town, Papa Pete’s serves up traditional Bahamian breakfasts, as well as lunch and dinner most days and a variety of fresh-made baked goods.
Violet Smith, daughter of the legendary Miss Emily
Miss Emily’s Restaurant
Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar– Though many Bahamian establishments have attempted to recreate the Goombay Smash cocktail, only its inventor, the late Emily Cooper and her family members know the real recipe. Since Miss Emily’s passing, her daughter, Violet, and granddaughter, Misty, operate her world-famous Blue Bee Bar, serving up authentic Goombay Smashes, along with pizza and other pub-type food. Miss Emily’s is located across from the basketball court in town.
Wrecking Tree – Just a few minutes’ walk east of the town ferry dock, the Wrecking Tree offers Bahamian fare for dining in or takeout. Their screened dining porch offers a terrific view of Settlement Creek.
Pineapples Bar & Grill – One of the best spots from which to watch tropical sunsets, Pineapples offers casual dining beside a saltwater pool. On Friday nights, there’s live music. To get to Pineapples, turn north (left) at the Wrecking Tree and follow the signs.
Just a few minutes north of the settlement is the Lizard Bar and Grill at the Leeward Yacht Club. Perched on a rise overlooking Black Sound, the Lizard is a lovely, breezy spot to enjoy a casual lunch or sunset dinner. There’s a great pool for swimming and lounging, and some evenings, they offer live music.
The Green Turtle Club offers a large, screened dining porch plus a slightly more formal indoor dining room. I’m especially partial to their tuna sashimi appetizer and their black and white tuna entrée. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served seven days a week.
Some restaurants automatically add a 15% gratuity, others don’t. Even within the same restaurant, some servers add the tip while others don’t, so best to make a habit of checking the bill.
As of 2015, restaurant meals in the Bahamas are subject to a 12% Value Added Tax (VAT).
The dress code for most places on the cay is fairly casual, though the Green Turtle Club tends to be slightly more formal. At a minimum, most require shoes and some sort of cover up.
Most restaurants use either rain water or city water. Theoretically, both are safe to drink, though most locals don’t recommend drinking the city water and local wisdom says rain water can cause stomach upset if you’re not used to drinking it. Long story short, best to err on the side of caution and ask for bottled water.
The above descriptions reflect current restaurant operating hours and offerings. These are subject to change, depending on the season.
Recently, I’ve received a number of emails from folks wanting to know more about visiting Green Turtle Cay. This post is the first in a series entitled Green Turtle Cay 101: A Guide to Getting Here, Staying Here and Enjoying all that Green Turtle Cay Has to Offer.
If you visit the Bahamas and don’t get any further than the cities of Nassau or Freeport, you’ve really only scratched the surface. For a truly authentic Bahamian experience, you need to visit one of the country’s out islands, also known as the “Family Islands.”
As you’ve likely surmised, my favourite family island is Green Turtle Cay, because quite simply, it’s the polar opposite of Nassau or Freeport.
There are no duty-free shops or noisy casinos, no high-rise chain hotels or American fast-food joints, no cruise ships or smoke-belching Jitneys, no Bay Street peddlers hawking cheap t-shirts.
Instead, there is peace. There is privacy. There are pristine (and often deserted) beaches, charming locals, bikes and golf carts for transportation and more stars at night than you could ever count. There’s a vigorous domino game in town, rake-and-scrape music at sunset, local kids shooting hoops (you’re welcome to join in), home-baked coconut bread at the local grocery, and conch salad chopped fresh while you watch.