By Noelle Khalila Nicolls
November 04, 2014
National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy

When you eat cheap in The Bahamas, you don’t have to sacrifice quality, even when you opt for fast food—but you might have to step outside of your comfort zone. By that I mean, the official “tourist zone,” which is the coastal strip from Cable Beach to Montagu Beach in Nassau. Needless to say, good cheap food is not always conveniently located within these borders.

Three of the five spots on my list of best budget restaurants will take you just outside the tourist zone. Bamboo Shack on Nassau Street sits at a crossroad of several historic neighborhoods, including the traditional African townships of Bains Town and Delancy Town. Da Glass Kitchen on Hawkins Hill sits next to the family homestead of the Bahamas’ most celebrated Olympic athlete, Tommy A. Robinson, who has a stadium named in his honor. On The Porch, located at the iconic Doongalik Studios on Village Road, is the gateway to the Doongalik art gallery and the Craft Cottage. These spots, and the others on my list, will give you an authentic, as well as affordable, taste of Nassau.

Bamboo Shack

Bamboo Shack is the embodiment of Bahamian fast food. The number one item on the menu: a “snack.” Contrary to the name, there is nothing snack-like about the portion size of this meal of fried protein served with French fries. To eat like a Bahamian, enjoy your conch burger snack, chicken snack or fried grouper finger snack smothered in ketchup and hot sauce. 

Da Glass Kitchen

You will have to wait: That is the first rule of thumb at this takeout spot. Call in to order their wraps, sandwiches, burgers and salads, especially if lunch is what you desire—because this place is popular. The food, though, is well worth it, especially their scrambled tofu and grits, a vegan spin on a traditional Bahamian breakfast of grits and scrambled eggs, with sardines or corn beef. 

The Cricket Club Restaurant & Pub

Although it overlooks the Haynes Oval, the Cricket Club does not discriminate when it comes to sports. Most of the time, the crowds here are tame, but during major televised international sporting events the restaurant transforms into a sailors’ pub. Whether it’s game season or not, the food is always great. The ambiance is a little gritty, but families in search of comfort on a budget love this restaurant. 

On The Porch

Nassau’s most iconic art space, Doongalik Studios, transforms its front porch every Saturday into a farmer’s market, where Seasonal Sunshine Bahamas, a gastronomic catering company serves up vegan and lionfish tacos and more. From other local vendors you can sample Bahamian Bush teas and refreshing sorbets made with seasonal fruits. 

Conchie Joes Food Truck

If the traditional Bahamian food truck is a lunch lady selling home cooked creations from the back trunk of her hatchback or car, Conchie Joes, which sets up shop along Montagu Beach, is the modern iteration of this concept. Signature dishes include a great spiced conch burger patty, as well as beef, lamb or fish burgers layered with fried jalapeños. 

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