© John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy
Noelle Khalila Nicolls
Updated January 20, 2017

When I think of romantic restaurants in the Bahamas, the first thought that comes to mind is Café Matisse, a little Italian courtyard bistro in the iconic city of downtown Nassau. When I last visited, I ordered a dessert called tortino al gianduia—a warm chocolate mousse cake drizzled in coffee sauce and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts. The warm gooey decadence of this dessert just tickled my whole body, and inspired me to officially rename it: me-and-my-boo-cuddled-up-in-bed-on-a-rainy-night-at-home-cake.

Random, I know. But I promised myself, the next time I happened to be home on a rainy night with my special companion, I would order my cake from Café Matisse and let the sweet chocolatey-coffee goodness work its magic. There is a moral to this story: It’s that romantic restaurants (at least for me) must have good dessert. So when you’re after a romantic meal in the Bahamas, head to one of the places on my list below, and don’t stop until you devour dessert. I will take the credit for whatever happens next. 

Café Matisse

My favorite romantic restaurant in Nassau changes its menu every three months—far more often than I hope anyone would have to change romantic partners. But the indulgent Italian dishes here (pastas, simply grilled meats and seafood preparations) and excellent accompanying wines always pair well with the intimate atmosphere of the courtyard dining room. 

Palapa Grill

The natural ambiance of this waterfront spot, at Grand Isle Resort in Great Exuma, is both alluring and intimate. The name refers to the dining space: a thatch-roofed dining gazebo. To turn up the romance, however, you can also arrange to dine privately on an overlook terrace that is secluded from the main seating area. Of course dessert is special here; the choices include homemade coconut ice cream and dark-chocolate crème brûlée.

Treasure Sands Beach Club and Restaurant

The crescent-shaped bay at Treasure Cay, which has been rated as one of the top ten beaches of the world, is where the Treasure Sands Beach Club has its roots planted. The restaurant is poolside, beachfront and surrounded by gardens—all at the same time. The gourmet cuisine is Mediterranean-inspired and delicious. A meal here is best capped with a selection from the dessert menu: Try grilled peaches paired with vanilla ice cream and dusted with cinnamon, tiramisu, or a decadent double-fudge soufflé. 

Baccarat

I would be tempted to skip the main meal and order crêpes Suzette—a light dessert where the crepes are stuffed with fresh fruit compote and topped with sweet orange sauce—but I’m sure you’ll use better judgment when you visit. At this French restaurant, located inside the Sandals Royal Bahamian (adults-only) resort in Nassau, French windows look over the softly lit pool, and crystal chandeliers set the tone for white-glove service. 

Tippy’s Bar & Restaurant

What’s more romantic than tipsy dancing to live Bahamian Rake and Scrape music (a genre you’ll have trouble understanding), in front of random people you don’t know with the only person in the world who matters to you? That’s what you’ll find at Tippy’s, an unfancy Eleuthera waterfront restaurant with true island flavor. After feasting on the Bahamian-Italian fusion dishes here, top off your meal with a coconut-chocolate brownie or orange caramel flan. 

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