Turks and Caicos food plates Popular Turks and Caicos dishes from Mangrove Bay Restaurant.
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Turks & Caicos and Caribbean Cuisine Restaurants On Providenciales

Turks and Caicos conch salad
Conch salad from Simone's Bar and Grill.

As was also the case with most destinations in the Caribbean, our local dishes and flavors have evolved from the necessities and way of life of bygone times.

Local cuisine in the Turks and Caicos has traditionally centered around fish, lobster, and conch caught in the islands, complemented by locally grown and imported grains, cereals, and produce.

As tourism has increased to the islands, local flavors have been overshadowed by international cuisines at many of the restaurants in the main tourism district of Grace Bay, yet it’s still possible to find some of the long-standing and popular Turks and Caicos dishes such as fish with peas n’ rice and fish stews at some of the establishments in the Downtown, Blue Hills and Five Cays settlements.

Seafood

Turks and Caicos style fried snapper dinner
Fried snapper and peas n' rice at Mangrove Bay Restaurant on Providenciales.

As a tropical archipelago nation, seafood of course was and still is the center of many of our authentic dishes.

Fish, including grouper, snapper, jacks, and tunas are some of the top catches, and would be pan-poached, fried, and made into stews.

The giant conch sea snail is another seafood favorite and factors into the country’s best dishes. Conch also had the advantage of being able to be easily preserved by drying in the sun, and consequently was carried in conjunction with cornbread “journey cake” and as provisions on fishing and trade boats.

The spiny lobster was appreciated just as much in the past as it is today. In the past and in northern regions, the red lobsters of the colder Atlantic water were considered to be undesirable seafood, and were thus collected by the poor. In the tropical Atlantic islands, there isn’t evidence of such a preference, perhaps because lobsters offered a welcome change from a fish-centric diet.

Produce and Agriculture

Caribbean fish dinner
Fresh grouper, fried plantains, and coleslaw from Mangrove Bay Restaurant.

Due to the limited fresh water and soil in the Turks and Caicos, it has always been difficult to raise crops here. Several varieties of drought and pest-resistant plants such as types of maize, okra, beans, squash, papaya, and plantains saw greater success and were the favored choices.

Paired with fish or conch, peas and grits was the favored side dish in the past, and was made from locally grown pigeon peas and maize, which was hand ground. As time passed, trade with other countries increased, and imported rice gradually replaced the maize. Today, peas n’ rice is by far the most common complement to local seafood dishes.

Trade between the Turks and Caicos archipelago and the island of Hispaniola has existed since the days of the Taino aborigine peoples, and it’s surprising how similar the dynamics were over several centuries. The people in the islands have changed over time, yet collected sea salt, dried fish and conch would still be exchanged for produce from the greener island of Hispaniola. The Taino’s giant dugout canoes conceded to the Caicos Sloops, yet the same driving force continued.

Much of the country’s produce is now imported from the United States, yet trade with the Dominican Republic and Haiti still occurs, and this is reflected in some local supermarkets where plantains, guava, salt fish, sugar cane, and sugar apples are offered.

Modern Infusions

Jerk chicken dinner at Hole in the Wall Restaurant
Jerk chicken, peas and rice, and slaw from Hole in the Wall Restaurant.

After the collapse of the sea salt industry and sisal plantations, the Turks and Caicos lost much of its national income, and consequently saw significant population migration to neighboring countries such as the Bahamas and Jamaica.

After the advent of the tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos in the 1980s and 1990s, the emigrants from the country began to return, and they brought regional flavors and recipes with them.

Two such examples are fried conch fritters and conch salad, which have a heavy Bahamian influence. On the spicier side, many versions of jerk chicken, fish, and pork dishes were introduced from Jamaica.

As the luxury tourism market has increased in the Turks and Caicos, it has attracted talented chefs from around the world. There’s a tremendous selection of fine dining restaurants to choose from, and many of these establishments offer dishes inspired by our island’s food classics.

Caribbean Cuisine

Many local restaurants in the Turks and Caicos now serve a menu that is more regional, and also incorporate dishes from throughout the Caribbean. Some flavors, such as BBQ, Creole, and Jamaican Jerk or Escovitch are quite popular, and others, such as Dominican and Guyanese Roti are a little less sighted on menus.

Jerk, typically chicken or pork, is one of the most common Caribbean cuisines in the Turks and Caicos. The meat is flavored with a spicy marinade traditionally made from allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, and the resulting dishes range from mildly spicy to quite hot.

Turks and Caicos Restaurants

Froggie's
Found on the far western end of the beachfront settlement of Blue Hills, Froggies is a beachfront restaurant and also offers guided ATV and 4x4 cart tours of the remote western wilds of Providenciales. Excursions to Northwest Point and Malcolm Roads Beach available.
Simone's Bar and Grill
Simone's Bar and Grill is a Turks and Caicos and Caribbean cuisine restaurant located in Turtle Cove in central Providenciales. Enjoy fresh conch, fish, and lobster dishes in a casual and comfortable environment.
Mangrove Bay Restaurant
Mangrove Bay Restaurant is a Turks and Caicos cuisine establishment near Downtown on Providenciales, and specializes in fresh local seafood dishes. Enjoy island favorites such as whole steamed fish, pea n’ rice, BBQ, souse, conch, lobster, and more.
Da Conch Shack
This popular open-air beachfront restaurant specializes in locally harvested conch, seafood, and Caribbean dishes including jerk chicken and ribs. Local bands play every Reggae Wednesday. House-made desserts include Key Lime Pie, Ginger Cheesecake, and Rum Cake. Family and group friendly.

Caribbean Restaurants

Castaways Conch Bar & Island Grill
Castaways is a seafood and Caribbean restaurant and bar, and is located in central Grace Bay. The restaurant features live music several nights per week, and has a unique coconut grove ambiance.
Sail Shades
Sail Shades is a Caribbean restaurant, located at the South Bank Marina in Long Bay, Providenciales. Enjoy classic dishes from the Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Chinson's Grill Shack
Chinson's Grill Shack is a popular restaurant and bakery on Leeward Highway, and serves a menu of Jamaican Jerk, Caribbean BBQ, and Chinese dishes. Fresh bread is available for purchase.
Hole in the Wall Restaurant
Hole in the Wall is a popular Jamaican and Turks and Caicos cuisine restaurant, located in the Downtown region of Providenciales. Enjoy jerk chicken and pork, oxtail, fried fish, and much more.
Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl
Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl is one of the best-known restaurants in the Turks and Caicos. Located on picturesque Five Cays Beach, the restaurant features seafood and conch dishes, a great location, live music, and dining in a coconut grove, on the beach, and in the ocean.
Mr. Grouper's Restaurant
Mr. Grouper's is a seafood and island cuisine restaurant, located on Providenciales in the Bight community, and near Grace Bay. The restaurant serves a wide range of fish, lobster, and conch dishes, as well as sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more.
Crackpot Kitchen
Crackpot Kitchen is a Caribbean and Turks and Caicos cuisine food truck restaurant site, located near Grace Bay on Leeward Highway. Discover a wide menu of locally caught seafood and Caribbean favorites.
Omar’s Beach Hut
Omar’s Beach Hut is a popular beachfront Jamaican and Island Cuisine restaurant, and is located at the turquoise waters of Five Cays Beach. The restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, including fish, conch, and lobster.