By Noelle Khalila Nicolls
December 26, 2014
Dali Modernistic Tapas

The Bahamas have large immigrant communities, which are largely responsible for introducing their ethnic flavors to the foodie offerings of the Bahamas. In the case of Italian food, however, there seems to be a strange disproportionality. We do not have a large Italian community and yet, of all the distinctly non-Bahamian cuisine, Italian seems to be the most well-established in the restaurant circuit. I have no complaint (as my father says, I was an Italian in a former lifetime, given the copious amounts of pizza I consumed as a child), but I do find it strange how much love we have for Italian cuisine: Café Matisse, Luciano's of Port Lucaya, Luciano’s of Chicago, Carmine’s, Capriccio Ristorante, Sapodilla (French and Italian), Milano Bistro, and the fusion champion Tippy’s. None of these made my list of best ethnic restaurants, but only because they deserve their own list. Below, the top (non-Italian) ethnic restaurants in the Bahamas.

Oh Andros

Haitians comprise the largest immigrant population in the Bahamas. In an addition to a rich tradition of struggle against oppression, the Haitian people bring a love of herbs, spice and intense flavor. As masters of cross-Caribbean cultural fusion, Oh Andros is simultaneous a prized place to eat Bahamian and Haitian food. On the Haitian menu, where there is less emphasis on seafood, the African heritage influence is notable.

Athena Café and Bar

Yes, one of the best places to eat in downtown Nassau is a balcony-top Greek restaurant overlooking the chaotic Bay Street. The popularity of this family-owned restaurant is partly unavoidable, considering the Greeks brought Saganaki (fried cheese) and Baklava (honey saturated chopped nuts bundled in heavily filo pastry) to the Bahamas. The food is consistent. The atmosphere is inviting. And as you dine you can watch the ebb and flow of Bahamian culture down below. 

Taj Mahal

I always go to the Taj Mahal hungry because their menu tends to incite a gluttonous food splurge. Soft colored interior lights create a homely atmosphere that quiets the spirit. Unlike most open air restaurants in Downtown Nassau, the Taj Mahal’s wicker curtains have you fully enclosed, creating a sense of remoteness. When you are there, your attention is focused squarely on the saucy and flavorful Indian food. 

Pepper Pot

Tucked away on a back alley just off Bay Street, the main downtown Nassau thoroughfare, this King Street diner uses the king of all Jamaican spices – Scotch Bonnet Pepper – in balanced portions to spice up their traditional menu. The décor is a bit kitschy—island sunset tablecloths and heavy plastic covers but the food more than makes up for it.   

Dali Modernistic Tapas

This is one of the few restaurants where grits, a Bahamian staple, is elevated and served to gourmet perfection. Do not be ashamed to order an extra serving of fried polenta sticks to prolong the cheesy, crunchy goodness. Just save room for the tender cuts of meat that come with the cold and hot tapas. Dine with a friend and order with the intention to mix and match at your personal Spanish buffet. 

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