Unique Bermuda Food & Drinks You Must Try
Bermuda is known to the world for its amazingly pink sandy beaches, turquoise waters of the Atlantic, sunny warm weather, pastel houses and of course warm and friendly people. But unlike the Caribbean islands, Bermuda has not developed a range of cuisine that could be considered uniquely distinctive of its own and without an influence. Although Bermuda is not known particularly as a culinary destination, there are several innovative and delectable food and drinks in Bermuda that won't appear on your menu at home. The sections below will take you through the best food and drinks of Bermuda.
If you are a foodie and like to explore the local food and beverages of Bermuda during your visit to the island, a smart idea would be to take a food tour through a renowned operator... this will give you a great opportunity to sample several different island dishes and cocktails as you learn about them from an experienced tour guide.
A Short Video on Bermuda's Food and Drinks
Bermuda Codfish Breakfast
If you are staying in a hotel, you may get a chance to eat a full Bermuda Codfish Breakfast. This once used to be the typical way to start a day for an islander. But for many, it's now a Sunday treat. The meal is a nutritionally balanced plate of boiled and salted codfish with tomato and onion sauce, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled egg, and a banana on the side. Often avocado slices are also added.
Bermuda Codfish Breakfast
Several Restaurants in Bermuda serve great Sunday Codfish Breakfast. Some of the popular ones includes Paraquet
- a family run restaurant located in Paget, Bouchee
in Hamilton City, Anchor Restaurant
at Royal Naval Dockyard in Sandys, Speciality Inn
at Collector's Hill in Smith's Parish etc. For an upscale experience with great ocean view, visit the restaurant 'Windows on the Sound' at Fairmont Southampton
- they serve lavish and hearty codfish breakfast on Sundays.
Bermuda Codfish Cakes
Another variant of codfish preparation is the codfish cakes which too are taken during breakfast or simply as snack. Salted and boiled codfish and potatoes are used along with ingredients like peas, rice, thyme, onion and crispy bacon which are all mashed together, then the mash is formed into round flat patties by hand and then pan fried in oil or butter until it's golden.
Most Bermudians make it at home and several restaurants and eateries serving Bermudian cuisine offer codfish cakes. Two of the most authentic ones are Art Mels
Bermuda Rum Cake
If you relish a little rum flavor in a cake, then Bermuda Rum Cake is a fabulous thing to try! I have tried several different flavors, which are all very nice, but my favorite remains the traditional one with vanilla and lemon. An English Breakfast accompanied with a slice of rum cake is would be ideal.
Bermuda Rum Cake
Source: Horton's Bermuda
A great place to sample (free) or purchase rum cakes is the Bermuda Rum Cake Company. The cakes are baked in something called 'The Cakery'. This is actually a micro bakery custom-designed for the Rum Cakes. The rum cakes are made exclusively with Gosling's Black Seal rum and they are light, buttery and moist at the center. The flavors include Traditional Black Rum, Rum and Ginger, Rum Swizzle, Banana Rum, Coffee, Coconut Rum Chocolate Rum etc. The cake is duty free. The bakery is open daily 9am to 5pm. 1 Maritime Lane, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys. Phone: 441/234-4216
Bermuda Fish Chowder
Bermuda fish chowder is a highly spiced, thick broth served with a dash of sherry pepper sauce and black rum. Other than the main ingredient which is ground fish head, ingredients such as diced fresh fish, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and herbs are also added.
Bermuda fish chowder
Photo: kansasphoto, flickr
Where do you find the best fish chowder in Bermuda? Well almost every Bermudian family and restaurant in the island has their own recipe, but it is believed that the best ones are prepared using ground heads of rockfish, Outerbridge's Sherry Pepper and Gosling's Black Seal Rum. But Rockfish is not always easy to get, so it is often substituted with snappers or wahoo.
Some of the popular restaurants serving fish chowder includes Barracuda Bar and Grill
and Hog Penny
located at Hamilton City (both use shellfish stock as the base for the soup and complements it with fresh rolls and a great hummus), Lobster Pot
also at Hamilton City, Wahoo's Bistro
at St. George etc.
There is a unique variation of fish chowder which the star chef Marcus Samuelsson has innovated and it is available in his restaurant Marcus
located within the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club... and that dish is known as Bermuda Fish Chowder Bites
These Fish Chowder Bites are golden deep fried croquettes made by grounding and blending snapper, scallops, Portuguese chorizo, sherry pepper and other ingredients. And the fritters are served with a rum-spiked aioli to make a unique flavor for the island.
Bermuda Fish Chowder Bites
is another favorite in Bermuda. Other than the mollusks, it contains celery, onion, tomatoes, potato, salt pork, herbs, and sometimes a dash of cream. Lobster Pot
is the place to go for Conch Chowder. Portuguese Red Bean Soup
, a local standby, is sometimes as thick and spicy as Texas chili. It’s certainly a hearty soup, with kidney beans, potato, tomato, onion, garlic, kale, finely chopped celery sticks and chunks of ham and sausage. It was the Azoreans who introduced this to the island in 1800s. Swizzle Inn
in Hamilton Parish is a great place to try out this soup.
Bermuda Fish Sandwiches
This is something which is not only popular among the locals, but the tourists who know and have tried some of the best Bermuda fish sandwiches would also vouch for it. Deep fried fillets of fresh fish along with tarter sauce and lettuce are used to make the sandwich. Snapper is a very frequent choice but, depending on the season, they also use tuna, wahoo or rockfish. The most popular and arguably the tastiest sandwiches would use raisin bread although you get variations like toasted whole-wheat or white bread. You can add on colesaw, grilled onion, tomato slices, cheese, butter or wine sauce.
Bermuda Fish Sandwich
Photo: Art Mel's Spicy Dicy, Bermuda
Any Bermudian would recommend the takeaway eatery Art Mels
located at the outskirts of Hamilton city as the best maker of fish sandwich in the island. The sandwiches are so huge and fat that it's almost impossible to make a full bite on it. However the eatery Rosa's
has also won an island-wide fish sandwich competition in 2015 although they never had that in their menu earlier.
Bermuda Spiny Lobsters
This is undoubtedly one of the most popular seafood in Bermuda. These are smaller than the cold-water or Maine lobsters and do not have the biting claws, but they have harder shell and a longer and meatier tail. The meat is not as tender or sweet as Maine lobsters, nevertheless very tasty, particularly the freshly caught ones.
Barbecued Spiny Lobster Tails
The local lobster season runs from September through March. It is served boiled with melted butter, baked in a cheese sauce, or sautéed in chunks with brandy and covered with a cream sauce. Most seafood restaurants in the island would serve spiny lobsters in season. Some of the most well known ones that serve great spiny lobsters include Lobster Pot
at Hamilton, Blu Bar and Grill
at Warwick Parish and North Rock Brewing Company
at Smiths Parish.
If you like to purchase freshly caught Bermuda Spiny Lobsters, go down to the fishermen's stands at Hamilton Parish near Burchalls Cove (ask for the supermarket Shelly Bay Market Place on north shore road. The spiny lobster stands are located just before that). Note that this is where you can get large spiny lobsters, while smaller ones are mostly supplied to restaurants. Spiny lobsters in Bermuda are priced on size and not on weight.
Mussel Pie (a variation is Curried Mussel Pie) is another traditional and favorite dish of the Bermudians. Ingredients for the filling includes mussel meat boiled in fish stock or water, diced carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, butter, flour, thyme, salt, pepper etc. The cooked filling is prepared into pastries using flour and then pre-heated in an oven and baked and served as small pies... delicious!
Instead of mussels, there are variations with chicken and beef fillings too that are equally tasty. In the curried version of the pie, the filling also includes a vegetable broth, ginger, green peas, chopped celery sticks, curry paste etc and the baked patty is soft inside with a mussel curry. Many love this too.
Curried Mussel Pie
While mussel pies are usually made at homes these days, there are few places that serve excellent mussel pies and curried mussel pies. 'The Pie Factory' located in Hamilton (#6 Parliament Street, Phone: 441-295-6163, open 11am to 7pm) is one of the best in the business when it comes to pies. They often make the Curried Mussel Pie.
Bermuda Shark Hash
Another island specialty is Bermuda Shark Hash. It reaches the table after several transformations, arriving in tiny pieces of shark meat cooked with onions, peppers, parsley, thyme, and mustard greens.
When the eatery 'Dennis's Hideaway' in St. Davids closed down soon after Dennis passed away in 2003, there was a large void in the island serving authentic Bermuda shark hash. However the restaurant Lost in the Triangle
located in Hamilton City offering seafood and traditional Bermudian cuisine fills up that void to a large extent.
Another small eatery Mama Angie's
in St. George which is run by a couple sometimes prepares shark hash as part of day's specials. This eatery is very popular among the locals.
Shark Hash in Day Specials menu
at Mama Angie's
Peas n' Rice
You’re likely to come across a great down-home entry known locally as peas n’ rice
. It's also known as Hoppin' John,
and this hearty and flavorful preparation of rice often comes as an accompaniment to other Bermudian dishes to make a whole meal. Apart from black eyed peas and rice, it contains finely chopped Bermuda onion, bacon or chicken, sliced Portuguese sausage, fresh thyme etc. Those famous Bermuda onions
also feature in many other dishes including onions in cream
and onion pie.
Most restaurants serving Bermudian food would have peas n' rice in their menu. However two places are worth noting... Jamaican Grill
located at Bailey's Bay and Anchor Restaurant
Traditional Afternoon Tea
The traditional afternoon tea has been an integral part of Bermudian lives since the British days. They have latched on to this British tradition ever since and now it is a regular feature in Bermudian lifestyle. It is hard to find a Bermudian who would not crave for afternoon tea between 3pm to 5pm daily.
However the afternoon tea is much more than just fine tea served on a china pot. It usually has elaborate accompaniment of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones and several other savories and sweets. In fact the afternoon tea which is served in several restaurants and hotels in Bermuda can easily substitute for lunch for most... so go empty stomach... there are lot to eat.
Most restaurants give you a choice of tea you want to have... green tea, earl grey, Ooolong, regular black and so on. While some of them offer loose tea (which is more flavorful in my opinion) others use tea bags. In some restaurants, you can also accompany the tea with a glass of champagne.
Conservatory lounge at the hotel Rosewood Bermuda, Crown and Anchor lounge at Hamilton Princes and Beach Club, Jasmine lounge at Fairmont Southampton and Sweet P at St. George are some of the places that have carved out their names for serving great afternoon tea.
Visit Bermuda Afternoon Tea
to know more about the tradition in the island and find out all the best places in Bermuda that serve afternoon tea.
If you instead prefer great coffee made from freshly roasted beans, then there are some nice options as well. Check out Best Coffee Shops in Bermuda
Tucker's Farm Goat Cheese
The small dairy farm having only 12 goats as of 2018 and located at Hungry Bay in Paget parish produces some amazing flavorful fresh cheeses that will linger in your taste buds for a long time. They are prepared using pasteurized milk and come in three varieties... Plain, Marley (using fresh herbs) and Full Hot (mixing hot pepper and Black Seal Rum). They also make delicious ripened cheese.
You can get Tucker's Farm cheese in several grocery stores and supermarkets
in Bermuda including Supermart, Windybank Farm, Tom Wadson’s Farm Market, Lindos Markets, Harrington 100’s, Miles Market etc. Restaurants such as Barracuda Grill in Hamilton, Lido's at Elbow Beach Hotel, Marcus in Hamilton Princess and Beach Club also serve Tucker's Farm goat cheese.
Bailey's Ice Cream
Baileys Ice Cream Parlor is certainly the place to go if you are looking for a the best range of flavors including several unique island flavors. Try out the Rum Raising Ice Cream which uses Gosling's Black Seal Rum as one of its ingredients... it is amazing! Another great island flavor is Dark n' Stormy (named after a popular island cocktail). Some of the other flavors includes Bermuda banana, coconut, white-chocolate cherries and chips.
Bailey's Ice Cream Parlor is located in Hamilton Parish at Bailey's Bay. They are open during the summer from 11am till 8pm. Visit Bailey's Bay Ice Cream
Goslings are operating in the island since 1800s and are the only rum maker in Bermuda. Although they do not have a distillery, the distillate is brought in from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and expertly blended to unique flavors. One of their most famous products is Gosling's Black Seal
rum. Add it to Barritts Ginger Beer and garnish with lemon wedge, and you get the traditional island cocktail Dark 'n' Stormy! The same Gosling's rum is also used in Rum Swizzle which is another popular drink in the island and first innovated by the Swizzle Inn Pub
. Gosling's Black Seal Rum is also an essential ingredient in Bermuda Fish Chowder... arguably the most popular soup in the island.
The Black Seal Rum is very strong... it's 151% proof with 75.5% Alcohol/volume! There are other varieties of Gosling's rum too. You can pick up Gosling's rum from any liquor store in the island, or if you are returning by flight, from the duty free shop at the airport. Check out Bermuda Wine and Liquor
to know about all the special drinks in Bermuda including its own unique blends of rum, cocktails and other spirits, and the best retail stores and pubs to get them.
Island Brewed Beer
Dockyard Brewing Company has been specializing in hand crafted locally brewed fresh beer and producing island flavored ales for a long time. The brewery is located at the premises of Frog and Onion Pub in Royal Naval Dockyard (cruise port). One of the most popular flavors is the Somers Amber Ale. The company also offers guided tour of the brewery which includes explanation of the brewing process, sampling ales and a full meal at the Frog and Onion Pub.
Barritts Ginger Beer
This is a very popular soft drink and available in supermarkets and stores
all across the island. This is a family run business in its 5th generation and operating since 1874. It's a zesty non-alcoholic ginger drink that has been bottled contiguously since its inception. Although the drink is popular by itself, it is well known as the essential component for making the famous island cocktail Dark n' Stormy which is a mix of Barritts Ginger Beer and Gosling's Black seal Rum and served with ice.
Barritts Ginger Beer
Source: Barrits Ginger Beer
The British influence in Bermuda is probably most visible in the desserts served by the restaurants offering Bermudian cuisine. You will find such traditional puddings as Jelly Roll or Sponge Cake drowned in sherry and laden with peaches or strawberries, bananas, chopped nuts, custard, and whipped cream. You will also get the lighter Bermudian Syllabub made with guava jelly, port or sherry, and whipped cream.
Christmas brings out Bermuda’s national dish, Cassava Pie. Cassava (also known as manioc) was imported from the West Indies in the early days of the colony. It is combined with chicken, pork, eggs, and perhaps brandy in a sweetish but meaty layered pie.
Bermuda Honey is unique to the island and very special. The bees in Bermuda have access to a variety of plants, that cannot be found anywhere else. Therefore Bermudian honey has a very different and sought after taste. You can get it in all supermarkets in the island
1) Bermuda Restaurant Weeks
- Many restaurants participate during this period and offer Bermuda inspired food using ingredients that are mostly sourced from the local farmers.
Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Sarah Warner (May 2017)
Do you have any recommendations for Bermudian non-alcoholic drinks. I am looking forward to first cruise to Bermuda early June. Will it be possible to have Lobster even though it is a non "R" month. Look forward to your responses.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) May 2017
Hello, While Bermuda has championed in several alcoholic island drinks, when it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, there is not too many options. Barritts Ginger Beer is a popular soft drink in the island and is a family run business in the island since 1874. If you are a coffee lover, then try out the Devil's Isle Coffee. They use 100% Arabica beans which are dry processed and hand roasted to bring out their own unique blends and flavors. Devil's Isle is located at 19 Burnaby Street, Hamilton. If you like soups, then try out Bermuda Fish Chowder. Fresh Spiny Lobsters are available during September through March when they are caught in Bermuda's ocean. In other seasons you may get frozen ones, but most restaurants won't have them.
William Ernst (September 2016)
Good day, Raj. Gonna be in Bermuda for our 50th next week. I was wondering if you could tell me the locations of the Spiny lobster road side stands, and when they are open. Thanks
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) September 2016
They are in Hamilton Parish near Burchalls Cove and before you reach the supermarket 'Shelly bay Market Place' on North Shore road. Go in the morning.
Jessie Oger (December 2013)
Hi there, I am looking for cooking classes for adults. Do you know if any restaurant, hotel or school offer cooking classes? Many thanks for your help.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) December 2013
Hi, the store International Imports (also known as the The Chef shop) located in Hamilton City offers cooking classes. Top chefs of the island take the classes. So it can be quite pricey. The store itself sells cookware items and often visited by the rich. Contact info: International Imports, 44 Par-La-Ville Road, Hamilton.
Jane Leuchtner (August 2012)
Hello, I bought some Bermuda Onion Marmalade at the Bermuda Shop in the Dockyards Clocktower Mall. Bringing it home they took if from me at the airport. I had put it into my carryon, and they considered it a gel. So sad! But I would like to order some by mail if it is possible.