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BLUE BY ERIC RIPERT
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach
Unsurprisingly, this celebrity chef’s first island outpost is serving up the Caymans’ most prestigious—and probably priciest—food of the moment. Ripert is the chef at Manhattan’s Le Bernardin, where Richard Brower, Blue’s chef de cuisine, was Ripert’s sous chef. The sleek interior is heavy on elegant woods, with plenty of blue. And "blue" also refers to the ocean, of course, which provides the stars of the plate, thanks to the local fishermen who work with Brower. Served in three- and six-course prix fixe menus, the sea-centered fare mixes the Caribbean, Manhattan and several other spots around the world—as in caviar with fried green plantains; sautéed striped bass with callaloo, pumpkin and shrimp-rum butter; or yellowfin tuna in a citrus-soy vinaigrette. There are also vegetarian, pasta and meat choices and an excellent wine list. For an extra touch of romance, dine on the terrace.
Morgan Harbour Road
Morgan’s Harbour, West Bay
With boats bobbing in Morgan’s Harbour just off the wooden deck and chef George Fowler’s elegant Caribbean-Creole fare on the plate, this breezy, funky, colorful restaurant a 15-minute drive north of George Town is popular with locals and visitors alike. Seafood is king, fresh off the boats next door. You can opt for the catch of the day blackened, grilled or sautéed, or go for something fancier, like crispy mango shrimp; Jamaican-style wahoo escoveitch with onion and Scotch-bonnet pepper vinaigrette; or grilled ginger-marinated tuna. It also offers tasty options to vegetarians and meat eaters. The restaurant is warm and cozy at dinner. It’s open for lunch as well but closed Mondays.
Brac Caribbean Beach Village
At this independently operated restaurant shared by two sister resorts (see Sleep) on Cayman Brac’s West End, you’ve got the option of eating poolside on the brick patio next to the covered bar area or in the clean peach-and-white interior with maritime touches—multicolor oars, portholes, model sailing ships. The food is tasty and tends toward the middle of the road: the simply prepared catch of the day; nicely done pastas and ribs; international fare ranging from Southwestern (spice-rubbed chicked on a tortilla with chili and cheese) to Italian (scampi Florentine). The statue of the captain outside looks suspiciously piratical.
West Shore Center
West Bay Road
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
The feathery moniker may be a mite over-the-top, but don’t let that put you off this spot, which has been around since the early ’90s. The tiny West Indies–cottage–style premises, in a little pink strip mall just north of the Marriott (see Sleep), are bright and upbeat, and the fowl is far out—especially if you’re looking to save a few bucks in a local dining panorama that can plunder your pockets as thoroughly as the pirates that once terrorized these isles. The bird in question—herb-marinated and slow-roasted on a big open-hearth wood-burning rotisserie—comes with several sides, including much-raved-about cornbread.