A Culinary Tour of Grand Bahama Island

I was invited to do a culinary tour of Grand Bahama Island and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the best of what the island had to offer. I had never been to Grand Bahama so I was also interested in seeing how it measured up to other Bahamian islands I’ve visited like Eleuthera and Harbour Island. I have to say that the island itself is OK as far as Caribbean islands go but the food sure is good!
Gold Rock Beach, tree, beach, Grand Bahama Island
I flew down in horrible weather from New York via Atlanta to Freeport. To be honest, I was just ecstatic to be out of the New York cold for a few days. I stayed at the Pelican Bay Hotel.
Grand Bahama Island, Pelican Bay Hotel, pool
The Pelican Bay Hotel is nice. It’s kind of what you’re looking for in a Bahamian hotel. It’s colorful, the rooms are suites and pretty comfortable. It’s a good mid-range option with a great staff, location and views of the bay.
Grand Bahama Island, Pelican Bay Hotel, view
The Pelican Bay Hotel has some in-house food options like Sabor; which is a cool place to have cocktails on the bay and some appetizers. This is where I met my group. I’d recommend the chicken pad Thai of the apps we tried-yes I wasn’t expecting Thai food in the Bahamas either!
Grand Bahama Island, Pelican Bay Hotel, Sabor
Later, we posted up in Flying Fish Restaurant, one of the top restaurants in the Bahamas, also on the Pelican Bay Hotel property for what would be a memorable 5-hour marathon, 13-course tasting menu event! That’s a mouthful-literally!
Flying Fish Restaurant, Pelican Bay Hotel, Top Chefs of the Bahamas
It was dubbed as the “Top Chefs of the Bahamas” dinner. Flying Fish is owned and run by celebrity chef Tim Tibbitts. Tim is a great guy and he and his lovely wife, Rebecca, organized an event where the other great chefs of the Bahamas came and cooked a few courses each for us. It was pretty awesome and by far the longest dinner of my life!
Flying Fish Restaurant, Pelican Bay Hotel, Top Chefs of the Bahamas, 9 foods
Chefs Simeon Hall, Angel Betancourt and Erika Davies joined Tim and delivered a masterful meal or actually like 13 different meals and wine pairings. It was quite the event and one I will be telling people about for years to come!
Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Day two was pretty busy and while the weather wasn’t great we were able to get out and see some of the island with a self-drive jeep tour from Grand Bahama Island Nature Tours. It was a cool thing but we were short on time so we only had 5 minutes on the nicest beach on the island, Gold Rock Beach. It really was beautiful and very photogenic with the cloud cover.
Cave, Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Across the street in Lucayan National Park, there is also a cave that most tourists visit. It might actually be nice but we timed our visit poorly with the cruise ship busses so it was pretty annoying with the crowds in a small space and all I got was a quick picture before giving up. Then my jeep broke down and I had to hitch a ride back with the others-yes really.
Jeep broken down, Grand Bahama Island
We then headed to the Junkanoo Beach Club on Taino Beach to take a cooking class on making traditional Bahamian dishes. While I hate cooking, this was pretty fun because the chef who taught us, Yolanda, was hilarious and the conch dishes turned out pretty good.
Taino Beach, Junkanoo Beach Club, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
We also then watched a local guy open up a conch shell, clean it and make conch salad. I’m not going to lie, I may never eat conch again after watching that display. It was tough to watch. I’m just not a big fan of watching things get cleaned, killed or knives in general!
Conch getting cleaned, Grand Bahama Island
From the beach club it was over to Memories Grand Bahama for a gorgeous Oceanside lunch with a live saxophone player and excellent food and wine. This hotel used to be the Sheraton and only recently re-opened. It is pretty nice, especially the gorgeous pool and old sugar mill. The rooms are pretty standard but comfortable and reasonably priced. I would stay here for sure.
Memories Grand Bahama, saxophone player, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Then it was over to the Grand Lucayan-another luxury hotel and probably the nicest hotel on the island-at least that I saw. It’s really big and has a bunch of bars and outdoor space. We were supposed to do a bar crawl kind of thing at the hotel but we were all stuffed and exhausted that we called it after two stops and a few more courses of food. It’s a nice place and also a place I would recommend staying on Grand Bahama Island.
Grand Lucayan Hotel, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Then just when you thought we couldn’t eat any more, we went to Flying Fish for another 7 course meal. This was a really fun meal because Tim and Rebecca joined us and were very engaging and certainly entertaining. I loved listening to Tim because he was so passionate about cooking and restaurants and Rebecca’s stories about her time as a prison worker are priceless and hilarious.
Flying Fish, dessert, Grand Bahama Island
We talked about all kinds of food and how he hopes to get Flying Fish on the 50 best restaurants in the world list. The food is excellent and I really hope it does. It would certainly be a first for the Bahamas. The fact they are filming a reality show about Tim and the restaurant will certainly help with visibility. Good things happen to good people so I am sure it will work out!
Flying Fish Restaurant, FLying Fish, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, Tim Tibbitts
We literally sat up drinking and talking until about 2am and finally I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore as the food coma really set in. It was a great time though and I couldn’t recommend a restaurant on Grand Bahama any higher especially if you like bold, creative flavors of seafood and attention to detail.
Volleyball, Grand Lucayan Hotel, Bahamas
My brief yet memorable culinary tour of Grand Bahama Island was just that-brief. Next time, I hope to have more time and get to see the island a bit more without feeling rushed or constantly full. While I wouldn’t say Grand Bahama is among my favorite islands in the Bahamas-it’s still the Bahamas and that’s never a bad thing! Plus, it’s only a 30-minute flight from Fort Lauderdale or Miami so it makes for a nice short trip if you’re down that way. Tell Tim and Rebecca I said hi!
Lee Abbamonte, coconut drinking
Disclaimer: I was hosted for all activities on this trip. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

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  1. That photo with the knife and the conch is awful! I can see why you don’t want to eat it now, LOL

  2. My butt would be killing me after 5 hours! The food looks good though.

  3. Excellent photos, Lee. Some of the best I’ve seen in 100’s of posts you’ve made.

    Yeah, that conch getting taken out of it’s misery doesn’t really get the taste buds flowing. I remember seeing a goat get binged on the head and gutted in Mongolia… sort of brought home the fact meat doesn’t come from the supermarket as they say.

    Good post.

  4. amazing

  5. Love to hear good things being said about Grand Bahama Island! My husband and I will be there for the 9th year in a row in April. We stay at Pelican Bay and it’s become our “home away from home”. Note that my husband goes Bonefishing and I lounge around at PB’s pool, or Taino’s beach. Grand Bahama Island is lovely and quiet, with great restaurants, beaches, shopping and the nicest people!! Time for visitors to find it…and not think the only place to go in the Bahamas is Nassau/Paradise Island!!!
    Next time, make sure you stop in BONES, the bar on the water next to Flying Fish at PB. Meet Greg and Jason–they run H2O Bonefishing guide service out of the hotel–AND Bones bar!
    p.s. Great photos…especially the one of Gold Rocks Beach!!

  6. I lived on Grand Bahama at West End, and my favorite food was conch (salad, fritters, crack conch, etc.. Don’t let one photo convince you that you won’t try it. On my last visit, I drove all the way to West End to get roadside conch salad. It was so delicious and spicy. Conch fritters are my favorite appetizer in the Bahamas.

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