For a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic, Bermuda holds its own in the culinary scene with a variety of unique foods heavily influenced by its geographic location and unique blend of cultures.
The island’s mix of West African, Indigenous American, British, and Portuguese roots blend together to create a cuisine utilizing locally sourced ingredients, such as fresh fruits and seafood. With a variety of fresh fish available, seafood does dominate menus, but we include a few alternatives for non-seafood lovers too.
Though we list several places to try local delicacies throughout this post, we saved our favorite restaurant for last. Here you can sample many of the island’s flavors in one sitting.
We are not sponsored by any of the restaurants or food locations mentioned in this guide.
Bermuda’s codfish breakfast consists of boiled salted codfish topped with a tomato and onion sauce. To round off the meal, boiled potatoes, an avocado, a hard-boiled egg, and a banana are on the side.
Depending on the time of year, you may get lucky to get a local Cavendish Banana. These bananas are smaller, but sweeter than the typical bananas found around the world.
Non-Seafood Breakfast in Bermuda
For those who aren’t keen on seafood in the morning, Bermuda has all the typical breakfast foods you’ll find in the US and the UK, pancakes, waffles, English Breakfast, etc. However, the Paraquet does a delicious Portuguese Eggs Benedict which switches out the ham for chouriço (chorizo).
I realize raisin bread isn’t strictly Bermudian; but we use it on everything. Whether it’s your toast for breakfast or the bread for your sandwich, raisin bread is typically the local’s choice. Strange enough, it really works!
Bermudian’s love their fried fish sandwiches, which typically comes on raisin bread with a helping of coleslaw and a dab of hot sauce. The bigger, the better, and everyone’s got their own favorite place to get them. However, there are a few names that always come up in the debate.
- Café Olé at Crystal Caves: Even though this little joint is in the Crystal Caves parking area, you’ll find locals popping in to grab sandwiches to go. We tried both the Wahoo and Bonito versions. Neither had a fishy flavor and both were delicious, but we thought the Wahoo was the best choice. Seating is mostly outdoors and limited, but the location is easy to reach.
- Seaside Grill: This takeaway shop is a local favorite on the north shore. They usually have a variety of local fish to pick from; however, you’ll want your own transportation to get there.
- Art Mel’s: Probably the most beloved take-away place for fish sandwiches. However, we found most locals were hesitant to name this one to visitors. It’s not in the safest area, especially after dark and you’ll need private transportation. Though, none of this stops their loyal fans.
Bermuda Fish Chowder
Bermuda’s National Dish looks a lot like a bowl of tomato soup. What really sets this traditional Bermuda food apart from other fish chowders of the world is the distinctive flavor given by the inclusion of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce.
The Lobster Pot in Hamilton is often touted as Bermuda’s best. Jeremy sure enjoyed his.
Ingrained in Bermuda’s culture, Gosling’s Black Seal and Gold Seal Rum is incorporated into many of the island’s most popular food and drinks.
Beside the fish chowder, rum cakes are a local favorite. The Bermuda Rum Cake Company used to be in Dockyard, but you’ll now find them in Hamilton’s Washington Mall or pick up a cake at a souvenir store.
We also recommend stopping by Bailey’s Bay Ice Cream, near the Crystal Caves, for their Rum and Raisin ice cream, it’s delicious.
Most Bermuda cocktails substitute out other alcohols for the local rum. For example, it’s not unusual to find a “Bloody Gosling” instead of Bloody Mary.
If you want a taste of the island, opt for one of our most popular drinks.
- Dark ‘n Stormy – Goslings and Ginger Beer.
- Rum Swizzle – Gosling’s with orange, pineapple and lemon juices, fruit liqueurs, and falernum. The Swizzle Inn is the best place to find this national drink.
- Black and Coke – Goslings Black Seal and Coke. It’s a local’s go to.
Try the Local Fish
Sitting in the middle of the ocean, fish is of course a Bermudian staple. Though, it’s important to realize not all fish on the menu is local. We found most restaurants have a selection of locally caught and imported fish. For example, it’s possible to find local and imported Wahoo. Just ask and they will tell you which is which.
You’ll find fish cooked many different ways, but try it “Bermudian style,” pan-fried with toasted almonds, grilled banana, and served in a lemon butter sauce.
Typical local fish you’ll find on menus include:
- Rock Fish (Black Grouper): White fish prized for its mild taste.
- Wahoo: As someone who doesn’t like fish, I find this white fish tastes a lot like chicken and quite enjoy it.
- Mahi-Mahi: White fish with a sweet undertone. Even though this fish is known as mild, I typically still find this one a little too fishy for me.
With tons of choices, you won’t have a hard time finding a place with good seafood. Admittedly, we are biased on this recommendation as the owner is family, but Coconut Rock in Hamilton has been around for ages and is known for great seafood. I also love their chicken sandwich, but I digress.
One of the most common side foods in Bermuda is Hoppin’ John. Traditionally, it’s made with Black-eyed peas, rice, Bermuda onions, and bacon.
Bermudians love to claim this as their own, but those of us from the Southern US will know better. Though in the South it’s more of a New Year’s tradition, in Bermuda it’s eaten year-round with everything.
Bermuda Spiny Lobster
If you’re lucky enough to be in Bermuda between September and March, then a food you must try is Spiny Lobster. Unlike Main Lobsters, the Spiny Lobster are warm water creatures without large claws.
Bermudians love them, and most restaurants will serve them in season. We tried ours at the Lobster Pot in Hamilton.
Made with salted codfish, mixed with potato, onion and seasonings formed into a round patty then fried. About every restaurant has fish cakes on their appetizer menu.
Mussel pies used to be a staple across the island, but these days you’ll find them at pie shops, like the Bermuda Pie Company in St. George’s, or Baxter’s Pies in Somerset.
A Little Secret – Treat Yourself to All the Bermuda Foods
We tried mussel pie at the Cambridge Beaches’ Monday Night BBQ. Though this plentiful buffet is no secret to the locals (you will need reservations), it’s not heavily advertised to visitors. A little on the pricey side, but the value is incomparable. With a wide range of high-quality local specialties, and various foods from around the world, it’s ideal for large parties or anyone wanting to sample many types of dishes. The hotel only puts on the buffet in the busier seasons, so call ahead to check and book your reservation.
For more on Bermuda, check out our other posts.