Dining Options on Grand Cayman Island, Part I

by Anne Evans

Dining experiences on Grand Cayman are incredibly diverse from Haute Cuisine to Fast Food Franchise Drive Thru . . . along with a multitude of ethnicities. Have we tried them all? No, please grant my husband and I more time. We’ve only been here 16 months and the first 12 months our “dispensible income” was nil, so our culinary journey has only just begun. The rest of our lives will be spent experiencing culinary adventures on all The Cayman Islands as those opportunities and our lives continue to  evolve.

I’ll cover what you as a visitor or prospective expat can anticipate finding here for dining (as well as what we have and haven’t experienced and why).

Fast Food Restaurants on Grand Cayman

Let’s start at “The Bottom of the Ladder” – where I have no dining experience. Why I haven’t been to a US fast-food franchise restaurant (except to use the restroom in an emergency situation):

  • My husband and I choose to eat what we judge to be healthier food
  • 80% of the roadside litter that I pick up during my nearly daily “Trash Walks” is generated from US fast food franchises (more on this in a future Blog).
  • US fast-food franchises available on Grand Cayman include: Burger King®, Wendy’s®, Subway®, Domino’s Pizza®, Kentucky Fried Chicken®, and Starbucks®.
  • Food purchased from US fast food franchises on Grand Cayman is not inexpensive. For example, at the time of this writing, a Burger King Meal of a Whopper® with lettuce, tomato, a slice of cheese and pickles + medium size fries + a 20 oz soda will cost you KY$13.05 (approx. US$16.32).

There are additional local fast-food options:

  • Burger Shack, Chicken! Chicken! Island Taste, Blue Marlin, Bay Market Café, Al La Kebab, Pico Taqueria, 7 Mile Burger, 7 Mile Greens, Foster’s, Kirk Market, and Hurley’s Take Out. For the most part, these are not franchises.
  • I have no experiences reflecting patronage of any of them – except take out from the 2 major grocery stores (Foster’s and Kirk) that offer an extensive take-out selection of revolving offerings from their Salad Bar, Hot Bar, Deli, Sushi, Pizza, and Burger options.  Relatively speaking they are fairly priced, high quality – and they willingly accept personal reusable containers for personal take out from those conscientious about avoiding single use disposable containers.

Grand Cayman Mid-Range Dining – Such a delightful Mix of Dining Experiences

In my opinion, this is where (our) money is best spent, because this is the level of dining where Grand Cayman truly excels. The quality of the food, the service and the ambiance are exceptional.

Yes, it is expensive to dine out (particularly if you enjoy wine with dinner), however if you think in terms of “value,” rather than “price,” mid-range dining on Grand Cayman is the “hands down winner” over dining in the US.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when dining out:

  • Bills include a gratuity which ranges between 15-20%. That said, most hospitality workers are paid minimum wage, which is an insufficient livelihood. So, it is kind to (at a minimum) round up your bill – particularly as all wait staff we have encountered are attentive, cheerful, and knowledgeable.
  • You will receive a better rate of exchange if you pay in KY$ cash as opposed to paying in US$ cash or by Credit Card.
  • The bill will show the cost in KY$ and US$, however very often the US$ amount is the amount bolded. Thus, one is at risk of significantly overpaying if you hand over the amount shown in US$ in KY$ cash. (Been there; done that. At least it was only for 2 glasses of Rose).
  • Unlike some states in the US (e.g., California), it is not customary to bring your own wine to a restaurant and assume a corkage fee to have it served to you. However, if you purchase a bottle of wine and do not finish it, it is perfectly acceptable to take what remains home with you.

Our Dining Experiences

The vast majority of our dining experiences have been in George Town and West End because of where we live. There are traffic issues if we were to drive to East End, South Sound or Rum Point for dinner. Additionally, we prefer to dine outside so the majority of restaurants we have been to offer outdoor dining.

Price ranges are variable depending on the restaurant, what you select from the menu and whether you drink wine. As a rough guide for what we spend on a meal for the 2 of us, I budget anywhere between KY$40 -$70 for food (US$ 50-$87) and KY$20-30 (US$ 25 – 38) for 2 glasses of wine. The links to the web sites offered below will provide you with better guidance as to what you might spend.

I am not a dining critic, however I can offer an alphabetical list of every restaurant we have dined at thus far on Grand Cayman, provide its web site and add a few comments. One resonating theme is that we have not had one single unpleasant experience.

Beach House at the Westin

The Beach House was where we enjoyed our first Christmas Dinner on Grand Cayman in 2022. It was a grand buffet with endless house wine included. What a marvelous experience! We did not own a car at the time, so we walked to dinner (and I changed into heels from flats as soon as we arrived). I adore Prosecco — the poor man’s sparkling wine on this Island — however controlled my consumption as I knew we would be walking home. We sat at a quiet table outdoors looking toward the Caribbean Sea. Despite it being a buffet, it was a sophisticated and upscale experience. Definitely a re-do for Christmas dinner 2023. Just a note: Christmas Brunch is far more popular and perhaps not as peaceful an experience.


This was our choice for our first Thanksgiving Dinner on Grand Cayman (FYI: American Thanksgiving is not a “Big Deal” in The Cayman Islands; The only place you are going to find a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet is at the major resorts). This restaurant is in the heart of George Town, yet is not a tourist destination as it is inland from the Cruise Ship Port. It offers indoor dining, however we chose to be seated at its outdoor patio adjacent to its herb garden. It was marvelously peaceful. Rick chose a Turkey Roulade with stuffing incorporated (perfect for him because he does not like bone-in meat and far prefers breast meat). Of course, opposites attract — I prefer bone-in, skin on poultry, and I chose a half chicken.

Coconut Grove/Yashinoki at Palm Heights

Coconut Grove is a beachside bar; Yashinoki accompanies the latter’s space and focuses on Japanese dining. Both are outdoor, semi-covered patio or beach areas – with absolutely amazing views of the Caribbean. How does one explain “casual dining among the elite”? Again, I emphasize that even though we are not “big spenders,” we were not penalized with poor service. And to dine here off-season is a dream come true in experiencing serene casual dining.

Health City Hospital East End Cafeteria – Managed by Blue Cilantro

I was told by a friend and neighbor that the Cafeteria at this rather remote Hospital in East End was exceptional – especially for breakfast (both Indian, American, and English fare). I was skeptical. And then I landed there as a patient (with an acute, severe, invasive, antibiotic-resistant ear infection) – for 10 days!  Oh, my goodness, can you believe that I miss their meals? Especially breakfast! Every morning, I woke up to (my selection) of perfectly scrambled eggs and a side of a grilled tomato with black coffee. Lunch and dinner were superb as well. Obviously, I had room service, however Rick and I have since returned. Indoor dining is nothing special; it’s what would be expected in a cafeteria. However, you can take your meal outside to a hospital-associated garden – or as take-away to one of East End’s scenic beaches.

Macabuca Waterfront Tiki Bar at the Cracked Conch

Macabuca is a local’s place located at the northwest end of West Bay — and a truly lucky find by any visitor. (The Cracked Conch is its upscale restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor dining in season). It is next door to a dive & snorkel shop and provides a large outdoor seating area that stretches out into the water. There you can watch the snorkelers and scuba divers . . .  and the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. There is an all-day dining menu with something for everyone (Rick loves their Braised Short Rib Tacos). Dress is “come as you are” – shorts and T shirts – or if you prefer to scale it up and add “bling,” you will fit in as well.


This is a restaurant that is a mix of semi-upscale and casual dining– located at the north tip of West Bay. And Wow! The view of the Caribbean Sea to the north is astounding. Small sporting and fishing boats go back and forth as you dine seaside on Nova’s patio. It’s relatively more expensive than most of the other “mid-range dining” places I mention, however there are bargains. We target Monday Dining when the entire bill (including alcohol) is 20% off. Additionally, every day they offer some value-priced specials always worthy of consideration. I enjoy dressing up a bit for this restaurant. We find it most enjoyable off-season as it is very quiet. It closes from mid-September to mid-October.

Lloyd’s Smokehouse and Grill

Lloyd’s is within walking distance of our home. And when my early morning jogging route takes me to West Bay Road, I can smell their smokers as I run buy. We enjoy it for take-out as it is pretty much a sports bar, and we prefer the quieter dining atmosphere at our home overlooking the canal. Lloyd’s menu offerings, quality, and value pricing are superb. My favorite is their Cobb Salad. Rick’s favorite is Pulled Pork + a side of Lloyd’s BBQ Baked Beans. And we both enjoy sharing a Whole Smoked Chicken – which provides plentiful leftovers.

And that’s just part I of my list . . . here’s part II of our favorite restaurants on Grand Cayman Island.

If ai cannot solve a problem by baking a cookie, I cannot deal with it

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