Last Updated: May 9, 2017
Bermuda Local Food & Beverages
Unlike the Caribbean islands, Bermuda has not developed a range of dishes or preparations that could be considered a distinctive cuisine by itself without an influence. But there are a number of items that you will find in the island that won't appear on your menu at home. Some are of course indigenous to Bermuda.
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 codfish with tomato and onion sauce, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled egg, and a banana on the side. Visit Bermuda Codfish Breakfast
to find out how to make it and the best restaurants in the island where you can get them.
Bermuda Rum Cake
is very special. If you relish a little rum flavor in a cake, this is the one for you to try. I find them just fabulous! I tried several different flavors, which were all very nice, but my favorite remains the traditional one with vanilla & lemon. An English Breakfast with a slice of rum cake is what I love when I am in Bermuda.
Here are the two great producers of Bermuda Rum Cake:
Bermuda Rum Cake Bakery: The cakes are baked in something called The Cakery. This is actually a micro-bakery custom-designed for the Bermuda Rum Cakes. The rum cakes are made exclusively with Gosling's Black Seal rum. Here are the flavors: The Traditional Black Rum, Rum and Ginger, Rum Swizzle, Banana Rum, Coffee, Coconut Rum and rich or dark chocolate rum. The cake is duty free. The bakery is open daily 9a.m. to 5p.m. If ships are in Dockyard, the bakery remains open till 9 p.m. Address & Contacts: 1 Maritime Lane, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys. Phone: 441/234-4216
Horton's Bermuda Black Rum Cake:
The recipes remain secret, locked in the minds of Linda Horton and her bakers. Linda only reveals that the dessert includes more than a generous splash of Black Rum. Address: Horton’s Ltd., P.O Box CR 192, Hamilton Parish. Email: [email protected]
; Phone: 441/293-8805.
Bermuda fish chowder is a highly spiced, thick broth usually served with a dash of sherry pepper sauce and rum. Other than the main ingredient which is ground fish heads, fresh fish, onions, salt pork, tomatoes and herbs are also added.
Bermuda fish chowder
Conch chowder is another Bermuda favorite. Aside from the mollusks, it contains celery, onion, tomatoes, potato, salt pork, herbs, and perhaps a dash of cream.
Portuguese red bean soup, a local standby, sometimes comes as thick and spicy as Texas chili. It’s certainly a hearty soup, with kidney beans, potato, tomato, onion, garlic, kale, and chunks of ham and sausage.
Surrounded by miles of ocean with both deep-sea and shallow waters, Bermuda is a fish lover’s paradise. In many restaurants the catch of the day will be the tastiest and freshest option.
Bermuda Fishcakes & Fish Sandwiches
: In my quest to find the best places serving fish sandwiches and codfish cakes in Bermuda, I ended up eating so much fish that I gave up on it for weeks thereafter. Traditional codfish breakfast and codfish cakes are deeply local to Bermudians, and so are fried fish sandwiches made with raisin breads.
Snapper is a very frequent choice but, depending on the season, you might also find tuna, wahoo, or rockfish. Served with butter or wine sauces, the fillets will always be superb.
A great option in Bermuda is the spiny lobster, similar to cold-water (or Maine) lobster except that it doesn't have biting claws, but harder shell and a longer & meatier tail. The meat is not as tender or sweet as Maine lobster, nevertheless very tasty, particularly the freshly caught ones.
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. Mussel pie is a favorite Bermuda seafood dish - a slightly curried, thick clam stew in a pastry shell.
Most seafood restaurants in the island would serve spiny lobsters in season. If you like to purchase freshly caught ones, 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 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.
Much of the other fish and seafood on the island are delicious but will often be imported: giant shrimps, scallops, Dover sole, and crab, among others.
Another island specialty which might sound barbarous but tastes rich is Bermuda shark. It reaches the table after several transformations, arriving in tiny pieces cooked with onions, peppers, parsley, thyme, and mustard greens.
If you are meat eater, you will find familiar cuts and items like steaks and chops, French-style baby lamb, veal scaloppine, and chicken cacciatore.
In vegetarian dishes, there are some Bermuda specialties. You’re likely to encounter a great down-home entry known locally as peas ‘n’ rice. In some Bermuda circles this is called Hop ‘n’ John or Hoppin John, and it’s so good it can be treated as a main dish. Apart from peas and rice, it contains Bermuda onion, bacon or chicken, and a sliced Portuguese sausage. Those famous onions are featured in many dishes, including onions in cream and onion pie.
Less familiar perhaps is the Bermuda pawpaw, known elsewhere as papaya and used on the island in a double capacity as both fruit and vegetable. Baked pawpaw comes out as a creamy, cheesy casserole. Pumpkin, plantain, and christophene (a kind of squash) are also dressed up for dinner.
Locally grown fruits are used in abundance in Bermuda. Fruit salads might contain a selection of strawberries, loquats, jumbo grapefruit, watermelon, and Suriname cherries. Bananas are also a popular choice, fried as fritters or flamed in rum for a great finale to a meal.
However, the British influence is probably most visible in Bermuda in restaurants dessert menu items. 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: 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 earliest days of the colony. Here it is combined with chicken, pork, eggs, and perhaps brandy in a sweetish but meaty layered pie.
Sweet potato pudding - with cinnamon, cloves, and lemon or orange juice - is a favorite for Guy Fawkes Day (5th November).
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. If you are a honey lover, don't miss it.
An old British custom of having tea, sandwiches & cakes in the afternoon has remained an island tradition. Visit Bermuda Afternoon Tea
to know about the best places to go for having afternoon tea in Bermuda.
Being a coffee addict I didn't want to settle with the usual pre-mix liquid coffee from the dispensing machines that you so often get in Bermuda restaurants and coffee shops. I needed coffee made from fresh roasted beans. So I decided to search for the best coffee shops in Bermuda. Check out Best Coffee in Bermuda
to know about my findings.
Places to go for local food
Many restaurants in Bermuda offer Bermudian food hoping that would lure tourists looking for an authentic taste of Bermuda. But most unfortunately aren't great. Here are some great restaurants to try out local food in the island.
Gojo's Cafe ($, St. George at Kings Square) - Great sandwiches and fries.
You will also get inexpensive Bermudian food like jerk chicken, fish chowder, codfish cakes etc prepared and sold out of food trucks, vans, carts and lunch wagons. Check out Bermuda Mobile Food
to know what you get and where.
Grocery, Fresh Farm Produce
There are several great grocery chains in Bermuda spread across different parishes. They offer fresh food and grocery products at very reasonable prices. If you are planning to stock up your fridge in your apartment, they will be the right choice to buy stuffs from. Most of these stores also offer pre-cooked food like roasted meat, chicken, sandwiches, salad etc that can serve as nice lunch or dinner. Check out Bermuda Grocery & Food Stores
If you are staying in an apartment having cooking facilities, and want nothing but fresh organic farm produce for your meals, then check out Wadson's Farm
. This 30 acre farm is located in Southampton parish. It combines animal, poultry and vegetable farming and uses organic agriculture. There is an on-site retail shop, Wadson's Home Farm Market
, that sells all kinds of fresh vegetables, fruits, poultry and meat items.
Island Cocktails & Spirits
If you like rum, a great choice would be a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal rum. Add it to Barritts Ginger Beer and garnish with lemon wedge, and you get the traditional Dark 'n' Stormy cocktail! Bermuda Black Seal Rum is a high proof spirit. As I picked up my first ever bottle, it read 151% proof and 75.5% Alcohol/volume - Phew! You can pick up Gosling's rum from any of the liquor stores, or if you are returning by flight, from the duty free shop at the airport.
Check out Bermuda Wine & Liquor
to know about all the special drinks in Bermuda including its own unique blends of rum, cocktails and other spirits and wine plus the best retail stores and pubs to get them.
1) Bermuda Restaurant Weeks
- Many restaurants participate during this period and offer Bermuda inspired food and using ingredients that are mostly sourced from the local farmers.
Visitors' Reviews & 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 much worth mentioning. 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.