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Seafood Dining in Paradise: The Exumas’ Top Restaurants

With over 365 sun-drenched islands, the Exumas is a premier Caribbean escape known for extraordinarily fresh seafood. This article profiles the top restaurants across the islands to experience the best cuisine.
Bahamas Food Culture

With over 365 sun-drenched islands and cays making up the Exumas, this Bahamian district is renowned as an ocean lover’s paradise. From secluded beaches with twinkling turquoise waters to breezy coastal trails ideal for a moped joyride, it’s easy to see why the Exumas has become a premier Caribbean escape.

Yet amidst the unforgettable scenery and array of aquatic adventures lies one of the Exumas’ very best assets – extraordinarily fresh, local seafood. Owing to the cluster of islands’ proximity to famously fertile fishing grounds, Exumas cuisine spotlights succulent Bahamian seafood often caught just miles away. From snappers and groupers sizzling on the grill to spiny lobster masterfully prepared as surf n’ turf, the seafood dishes available at restaurants throughout the Exumas deliver some of the most memorable and mouth watering meals around.

In this travel blog post, we unveil the Exumas’ top seafood restaurants that visitors absolutely must experience on their trip. Ranging from laidback beachfront eateries dishing out local specialties to fine dining venues with flawless waterfront ambiance, we cover where to find the best seafood cuisine the Exumas has to offer. Whether planning a romantic escape, family vacation, fishing expedition or foodie-focused foray, indulging in these restaurants’ ocean-to-table Exuman fare is an essential component to understanding what makes these sublime islands such a singular destination.

Table of Contents

Best Overall Seafood Restaurants

The top 3 overall best seafood restaurants in the Exumas:

1. Tropic of Cancer Beach Bar and Grill (Staniel Cay)

This laidback, beachfront eatery located on idyllic Staniel Cay is a must for visitors hoping to experience quintessential Exumas island dining. Specializing in ultra-fresh seafood caught daily right off Staniel Cay, Tropic of Cancer Beach Bar and Grill serves up local favorites like cracked conch, shrimp kebabs and snapper fillets. 

Diners rave about the jerk shrimp cooked in a fiery Jamaican-style marinade. With its palm-thatched roof, sandy floors and unbeatable oceanfront setting, Tropic of Cancer offers delicious seafood dishes paired with stunning Exumas views.

Signature Dish: Jerk Shrimp – Succulent shrimp marinated in spicy Jamaican jerk seasoning and grilled, served with coconut rice. The perfect blend of sweet and heat.Stand Out For: Ultra-fresh shrimp caught daily right off their beach, flavorful and fiery jerk marinade cooked to perfection.

Tropic of Cancer Beach Bar and Grill (Staniel Cay)

Savor Staniel Cay’s famously fresh seafood at this laidback beachfront eatery. Try the jerk shrimp cooked to perfection in a fiery Jamaican-style marinade.”

2. The Beach House Restaurant (Great Exuma)

For fine dining with panoramic ocean views, The Beach House on Great Exuma takes seafood to sophisticated new heights. Local snapper and grouper arrive daily from Exuman fishermen, perfectly prepared in entrées like snapper creole and whole fried grouper. 

The Sunday afternoon lobster boils are a can’t-miss feast. With its refined yet relaxed ambiance set in a restored 19th century home right on the Tropic of Cancer Beach, The Beach House is the ultimate special night out.

Signature Dish: Whole Fried Snapper – Snapper filleted tableside and fried crisp, topped with a citrus sauce. Elegant presentation and flavor.

Stand Out For: Only using snapper delivered each morning from a local fisherman they have worked with for over 15 years.

3. Chat 'N' Chill (Stocking Island)

Just a short boat ride from Georgetown Harbor, this Stocking Island institution prides itself on serving up the freshest seafood around. The conch fritters, cracked conch and coconut shrimp are all standouts, as is the grilled lobster when in season. 

Visitors love the laid-back, beachy vibes with bright picnic tables sunk in the sand and steelpan music drifting through the air. Located right on the beach, Chat ‘N’ Chill also features volleyball, cornhole games and snorkel/kayak rentals for fun after feasting.

Signature Dish: Coconut Shrimp – Large shrimp dipped in coconut batter then fried, served with mango habanero dipping sauce. Decadently crispy and tropical.

Stand Out For: Using handpicked coconuts local to Stocking Island to create their signature batter.

Chat 'N' Chill (Stocking Island)

Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island is an absolute must-visit if you find yourself in the Exumas! My wife and I stumbled upon it during a sailing trip and decided to stop in for a bite – and we’re so glad we did.

The moment you step off the ferry you’re greeted with steel pan music and the delicious aroma of fresh seafood on the grill. We settled into a bright picnic table in the sand under some palm trees right on the beach. The laidback, flip flop vibes here are just what you want on a sunny island vacation.

As soon as we saw coconut shrimp on the menu, we knew we had to try it – and man it did not disappoint! Huge plump shrimp encased in the crispiest, most flavorful coconut batter you ever did taste. Dunked in their tangy mango habanero sauce, our taste buds were in heaven.

And you know the seafood is as fresh as can be – the local fishermen drop their daily catch right off at the dock. While enjoying our feast, we could see the staff running back and forth to grab fish that had just been reeled in! You don’t get sea-to-table much quicker than that.

With a big family group at the table next to us, kids playing volleyball on the beach, and the scent of coconut oil and saltwater in the air, Chat ‘N’ Chill just encapsulates that laidback, no worries island vibe.

Chat 'N' Chill

“Experience the essence of the Exumas at this classic island hangout, and indulge in their famous coconut shrimp made with handpicked local coconuts.”

Best for Waterfront Views

Top restaurants with stunning waterfront settings

1. Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille (Augusta Bay, Great Exuma)

Perched right over the sapphire waters of Augusta Bay, this restaurant and bar offers panoramic views of the sea from every table. Visitors rave about the picture-perfect sunset vistas as they indulge in dishes like cracked lobster or coconut curry grouper. 

With palm trees swaying in the breeze and waves lapping below, the Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille creates an unforgettable ambiance. Make a reservation for dinner to experience sensational Exumas seafood against a dreamy sunset backdrop.

2. La Bougainvillea (Georgetown, Great Exuma)

Nestled on the water’s edge at the boutique Cocoplum Beach Resort, La Bougainvillea offers intimate indoor and outdoor waterfront dining. 

Start your evening watching the sunset over Elizabeth Harbour as you sip a rum punch, then continue soaking in the harbor lights with delectable entrées like lobster thermidor or blackened mahi mahi. The live music from local Exuman musicians completes the splendid harbor setting.

3. Santana's Grill Pit (Georgetown, Great Exuma)

For casual beachfront dining and water sports, Santana’s Grill Pit can’t be beat. Located right on Georgetown’s picturesque Elizabeth Harbour, diners take in panoramic views of sailboats and neighboring cays while feasting on classic Bahamian dishes.

Santana's Grill Pit

Dinner spot for romantic trips

If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic sunset dinner spot in the Exumas, I’d absolutely recommend Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille. 

My wife and I went there to celebrate our anniversary last year and it was pure magic. Just imagine gazing into each other’s eyes with a gentle ocean breeze on your face as the sun melts into a paint palette of pinks and oranges over that beautiful bay. And the food! Their cracked lobster melts in your mouth, while the coconut curry grouper will have your tastebuds doing backflips. 

We got there just as the sun was starting its nightly show. We ordered a round of rum punch, toasted to being in paradise together, then let the sound of steel drums and lapping waves set the mood. By the time our food arrived, the sky was ablaze in color. We took turns sneaking bites from each other’s plates and making silly cheers with our glasses. 

As the stars began peeking out, we just let the conversation and laughter flow effortlessly. It was one of those perfect moments where time stands still. Make Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille your spot for luxuriating in Exumas beauty and cuisine with your special someone. Those sunsets are pure romance in the making!

However, Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille isn’t the only romantic waterfront choice in the Exumas. My friends have raved to me about their experiences at La Bougainvillea and Santana’s Grill Pit too.

La Bougainvillea at the Cocoplum Beach Resort in Georgetown came highly recommended by my buddy Chris who recently honeymooned in the Exumas. He said watching the sunset over Elizabeth Harbour while enjoying grilled lobster with his new bride was magnificent. And the live music from local Exuman musicians really completed the splendid harbor setting.

Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille

Make treasured memories over dinner at Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille, where you can indulge in Exumas cuisine while watching the sunset with your sweetheart.”

Best Local Cuisine Experiences

For visitors wanting a more hands-on culinary experience with Exumas seafood, several restaurants offer cooking classes and demonstrations that teach how to prepare Bahamian specialties.

The Fish Fry at Georgetown is an ideal spot to learn traditional Exuman seafood dishes. Daily cooking demos are hosted under the thatched hut palapas, where chefs share preparation techniques for conch salad, fried snapper, and coconut curry lobster. Guests can even try their hand at tenderizing conch to create authentic cracked conch.

During cooking demos at the Fish Fry in Georgetown, visitors can learn skills like:

  • Tenderizing fresh-caught conch by pounding it to make tasty cracked conch
  • Breadcrumb coating and deep frying snapper to achieve the perfect crispy fish fry
  • Combining coconut milk, tomatoes and spices for rich coconut curry lobster

At Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island, visitors can book a cookout excursion that starts with a boat ride to a private island to handpick fresh conch and coconut. Back at Chat ‘N’ Chill, participants learn how to prepare conch fritters and the restaurant’s famous coconut shrimp, then dine on the creations.

At Chat ‘N’ Chill’s cookout excursion, participants get to:

  • Boat to a private island and handpick live conch from the seafloor, learning how to humanely extract the meat
  • Grate and measure fresh coconut for making the batter for coconut shrimp
  • Mix flour, egg, and seasonings to bread and fry conch for delicious fritters

The Beach House Restaurant hosts weekly Bahamian family-style dinner experiences that include a cooking lesson from the Exuman chef. Visitors learn to prepare local goodies like Johnny cake bread and guava duff while immersed in The Beach House’s picturesque cottage ambiance.

The Beach House cooking class teaches:

  • Kneading dough to form traditional Johnny cake flatbread
  • Pitting and mashing fresh guava to make sweet duff dessert
  • Combining native spices like allspice and ginger for uniquely Bahamian flavors

I believe that hands-on cooking experiences enhance your appreciation for the native seafood and visitors leave with new cooking skills.

My hands-on cooking excursion

The Fish Fry at Georgetown

My wife and I signed up for their cookout tour where we got to boat out to a little deserted island and go conch collecting. I’ll admit, wading into the shallows and pulling those slimy suckers off the seabed was an experience! But our guide showed us how to humanely extract the meat to get it ready for cooking.

Back at the restaurant, we brought our fresh caught conch into the kitchen. The talented chef walked us through breading and frying up a batch of conch fritters, and let me tell you, that first bite still warm from the fryer was sheer heaven. The chef even shared his secret recipe so I could impress friends back home.

Then came the fun part – making their legendary coconut shrimp. After grating fresh coconut, I helped the chef whip up the coconut batter from scratch. Dunking the shrimp in and frying them crisp was super satisfying. The final dish we created during that hands-on class ended up being the same amazing coconut shrimp we ordered later when we returned for dinner!

I got to experience that famous Chat ‘N’ Chill cuisine twice in one day – once I cooked it myself!

Where the food ingredients are sourced

Several top restaurants in the Exumas pride themselves on sourcing seafood sustainably from local fishermen, supporting the local economy and environment.

By purchasing seafood directly from local Exuman fishermen, these restaurants help bolster the island economy and provide a stable income for family-run fishing operations. The fishermen rely on and look forward to the business from these restaurants’ standing orders.

Only catching what is in season and sustaining healthy levels prevents overfishing of vulnerable species like conch and grouper. The restaurants communicate expected demand to ensure fishermen harvest and deliver an appropriate quantity.

The exclusive partnerships promote responsible seafood practices between chefs and fishermen. Stocks are closely monitored and rules on size limits and breeding seasons are respected.

The restaurants also create incentives for protecting the pristine Exumas marine habitat. By valuing sustainable catch, they encourage stewardship of the island’s aquatic resources.

As a Tourist, I enjoyed my mouth-watering meals knowing they are supporting the preservation of the island’s aquatic bounty.

Exumas Seafoods

“Savor Exumas seafood knowing it comes directly from local fishermen, supporting sustainable practices and the islands’ economy.”

Best Value Restaurants

Visitors longing for mouthwatering Exumas seafood don’t need to break the bank at the following wallet-friendly eateries.

The Fish Fry shacks at Georgetown serve up picnic-style local delicacies perfect for travelers on a budget. Fill up on fried snapper, conch fritters, and pigeon peas and rice for under $15 a plate.

At Santana’s Grill Pit, guests can feast on conch salad and fresh-caught tacos or sandwiches. Entrées are just $10-15 and come with harbor views.

For a cheap and delicious cracked conch, stop into Eddie’s Edgewater in Ramsey’s. Plates piled high with tender conch cost only $10-12 at this unfussy local favorite.

At Surfer’s Beach Bar and Grill north of George Town, diners dig into ribs, wings, and whole lobster for reasonable prices right on the sand.

From roadside shacks to back-porch bars, visitors can indulge in fresh Exumas flavors without draining their wallets at these casual spots.

Eddie's Edgewater

Insider Tips for Visiting

To ensure the best dining experience at these exceptional Exumas eateries, keep the following insider tips in mind:

  • Reservations are highly recommended at Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille, La Bougainvillea, and The Beach House, especially for weekend and sunset dining. Other spots like Chat ‘N’ Chill and Santana’s Grill Pit accept walk-ins.
  • Dress codes vary. Upscale venues like The Beach House require cocktail attire in the evening while daytime and beach bars are casual. Avoid beach or swim coverups at night.
  • Parking can be tricky on small islands. If possible, have your hotel transport you or use a taxi. Valet parking is offered at some upscale restaurants.
  • Chat ‘N’ Chill, La Bougainvillea, and Santana’s Grill Pit are reachable by boat, with moorings available. Have your vessel name/details ready.
  • Bring cash for nonlocal credit card fees or places that are cash only. Be prepared to pay 9-12% gratuity automatically added to bills.

I definitely learned that reservations are a must at the nicer places. When I decided to treat my wife to that anniversary dinner at Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille, I called ahead a few weeks in advance to book our sunset table. They took my credit card info and everything to hold the spot.

Same when we signed up for the cooking class and dinner combo at Chat ‘N Chill – I reached out prior to our trip to reserve because those excursion spots fill up. They were super accommodating with details on where to meet the boat etc.

Now the more casual restaurants like Santana’s Grill Pit or the Fish Fry shacks we could just walk right up to. But arriving early is still smart to beat the crowds and get the experience you want.

And the concierge at our hotel was awesome – they booked our taxi transportation to and from the nicer dinners so we didn’t have to worry about it. Having that pre-arranged definitely took some stress out of the evenings. So don’t be shy about asking your hotel for help getting reservations sorted out and getting around!

Make your dining experiences seamless by reserving ahead at popular spots, arranging transportation, and leveraging your hotel’s concierge.”

Ideal seasons and transportation for each restaurant

The Exumas enjoy mostly warm weather year-round, but some seasons are better than others for visiting specific spots:

  1. Chat ‘N’ Chill is a classic Exumas beach bar open year-round. The summer months see fewer crowds. Opt for fast ferry transport from Georgetown.
  2. Augusta Bay Bahamian Grille shines in spring when temperatures are ideal for alfresco waterfront dining. Arrive via taxi or rental car.
  3. The Beach House excels in peak season between late fall and early spring. Make use of their private beach shuttle from hotels.
  4. Santana’s Grill Pit gets lively with boaters in winter. Tie up your own boat or take a water taxi from Georgetown.
  5. La Bougainvillea dazzles in the cooler months thanks to Cocoplum Resort’s central location. Enjoy an evening stroll from your guest room.

Timing your visit to enjoy each restaurant during its prime makes for amazing Exumas cuisine against idyllic backdrops


From beachy seafood shacks to upscale waterfront eateries, the Exumas offer an incredible diversity of dining spots to experience the islands’ spectacular fresh seafood. The restaurants profiled in this post allow visitors to taste Exumas cuisine while soaking up the archipelago’s singular natural beauty. From harbourfront tables to toes-in-the-sand meals straight off the boat, foodies will find their paradise.

Of course, the magic extends beyond just the meals. Chatting with talented chefs and local fishermen provides insight into Bahamian food culture and heritage. Partaking in cooking classes yields treasured skills and memories. And observing sustainable fishing practices first-hand spurs an appreciation for protecting these precious marine ecosystems. 

The Exumas deliver a complete package – adventure, culture, and natural wonders – with sensational seafood as the tie that binds it all together. If this look at the islands’ myriad culinary treasures has whet your appetite, it’s time to start planning your own idyllic Exumas getaway. Just don’t forget to bring your taste for island flavors!

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