Despite having a rather short time on the island of Providenciales, a main tourist destination of Turks & Caicos Islands, I tried to eat at as many different restaurants as possible. I went to one of the island’s nicer restaurants for a lobster dish, and tried a local joint as well. Hopefully my Guide Where to Eat Providenciales will help you find a few spots to explore during your own visit to the islands.
The one thing I’ve learned about the food on TCI is that it is just not consistent. As my sailing group and I exchanged restaurant tips one person’s yum was another person’s yuck. It was amazing how different the experiences were just days apart. I picked all of my restaurant choices based on the dish I wanted to try at eat restaurant and proximity to my AirBNB!
A few items to note are the conch and lobster dishes. Conch (pronounced conk) has become one of the islands most common foods and is served in a variety of ways from raw salads, to fritters, to chowders. You can find conch on almost all menus on the island. The texture can be compared to squid. I tried the local cuisine in the form of fritters and wontons. Local lobster is another item to order if you happen to be on there during lobster season, August 1 to March 31. Like conch, you can get the lobster prepared in a variety of ways. I opted for a rather interesting lobster dish (keep reading to see more!).
Pearl Bar @ Pavillion Somerset Hotel
I spent my first afternoon on the beach browsing guide books, especially fixated on the dining guide. I discovered a hotel near me had a Monday $5 tapas and tacos special and 1/2 price wines & beers. Two shrimp tacos made a perfect dinner for me that evening. If you are in Provo on a Monday, this is definitely the place to be for dinner and drinks. The other tapas included spare ribs, fish & chips, sliders, and a few other items. The bartender notified other people when they ordered something that wasn’t part of the happy hour special (available from 5-7pm), however I was charged full price for both of my drinks, so this courtesy was not extended to me. Be careful and confirm what you ordered falls with in the special pricing if you are on a budget.
Grace’s Cottage, Point Grace Hotel
Located at the beautiful Point Grace you can access this restaurant and all of the others mentioned (except Mr. Grouper) from the beach. I took a sunset stroll to this restaurant and requested a table just after 6pm when the restaurant was due to open. Encountering island time, I had to wait about 15 minutes for them to finally open, but then I was seated outdoors near the live music. I ordered the Lobster Thermidor and a chocolate soufflé. I had a lovely dining experience and excellent service. Unfortunately, my sailing compadres reported having a different experience. It is on the pricier side, but I was eager to try to highly recommended lobster thermidor, which I also discovered in the dining guide. For dinner and dessert, I spent nearly $100 for one person, but there was a palate cleanser! Definitely a fine dining experience. $$$$
Bay Bistro, Sibonne Hotel
This spot was also quite close to where I stayed and right on the beach. My taxi driver highly recommended this restaurant. The prices are reasonable, but the service was unfortunately disappointing every time I visited. The last few times were just for takeout items to bring to the beach. The food I tried here was pretty basic. I tried their award winning conch wontons, and while good the wontons on other menus looked a little more flavorful and enticing. It’s a good stop to grab an ice cream or a bagel, but don’t have high hopes for good service or food despite it coming highly recommended. Breakfast was $5, lunch $15. $$-$$$
My new friends suggested Mr. grouper as a great local joint. They said it was one of their best meals and had a great vibe and truly a place where the locals would eat. In an effort to stray away from my preferred fried food I ordered a grilled grouper sandwich. The fish didn’t seem all the grilled and was left rather plain. I also found the health standards of the restaurant unacceptable. Hopefully they will rectify this situation and it will once again be a great dining option for those seeking quality local food at a reasonable price. A sandwich and fried (of which I ate half) was only $13. $$
Hemingway’s Restaurant, The Sands at Grace Bay
Another beachfront dining option, Hemingways was my choice for lunch one afternoon. I’m not a fan of raw seafood but if you are you can get a conch platter and try it raw, fried, and as a fritter. I opted just for the fritters. The service here was great, the food was tasty, and the presentation was fun. The conch fritters came out in a real conch shell! Of all of the places I ate during my time on Providenciales, this was by far the best overall experience. A small lunch was about $15. $$$
For the Next Time
Mango Reef was discussed and recommended by several people I encountered on the island.
Las Brisas a reasonably priced restaurant located near Chalk Sound. It is not accessible without a car or taxi, so I didn’t make it this trip.
Asu at The Palms had an interesting menu and a nice write up about the chef. It was my second choice for a “splurge” meal given its proximity to my accommodations.
Service Fees & Taxes
At publication there was an 11% tax on all food (except at some local joints on the island). Many restaurant also add a 10% service fee to be divided among the workers. The general consensus was to give an additional 5-10% of the food & drink total as a tip. But keep an eye on your bill to be fully aware of what you’re paying for.
Enjoy exploring the island, eat local, and let me know if you find any amazing spots for my next trip to the island!