By Noelle Khalila Nicolls
Updated: January 20, 2017
Richard Ellis / Alamy

It would take a seafood allergy, or some obscure gastronomic taboo, to keep most Bahamians away from the fruits of the sea. Not only are local conch, lobster, crab and fish our most abundant natural food resource In the islands; these prized proteins are also some of the most delicious you’ll find anywhere.

I have personally never been disappointed after eating at any of the seafood restaurants on the list below. Try a meal at one (or more) of them, and the pleasure will be equally yours. Keep an eye out for local specialties on the menus; for example, conch (a staple in the Bahamian diet) who is sometimes minced and packed like a savory, scrumptious little cake. At these top restaurants you can also order fish fillets—grouper, red snapper, mahi mahi—but you can also have it served the local way: whole. I will not tell you to eat the eyes (although Bahamians do), but I will say look for the meat in the cheek bones. 

Xuma’s Restaurant and Bar

I was skeptical about a recommendation that this Great Exuma restaurant's conch fritters were the best. How good could they really be? After all, they are just fried batter balls filled with a Bahamian slug. But oh no, Xuma’s restaurant on Highbourne Cay elevates even the simplest seafood delights to a new level of gastronomic perfection. Do try their ceviche (a mix of mahi mahi, conch and shrimp); as well as the lemon-garlic steamed mussels and anything on the menu with lobster. And for God’s sake, order the conch fritters. 

Green Turtle Club and Marina

Lobster Benedict for breakfast, firecracker shrimp for lunch, stone crab soufflé for dinner...no matter the time of day, seafood is on the menu at Green Turtle Club and Marina on Abaco. This is also a popular fishing hotel, so do bring your catch of the day to the kitchen. The chefs will pan-roast it, rum-and-pepper paint it or yucca-batter and fry it. Whatever you fancy, it will be transformed into mouthwatering goodness. 

Café Martinique

This fine-dining seafood oasis sits inside Paradise Island’s bustling Marina Village. The original restaurant made a cameo appearance in the 1965 James Bond classic, Thunderball. Carrying on the tradition of elegance and sophistication in a new time and space, Café Martinique continues to shine as an iconic seafood lover’s haven. Try ordering the crunchy roasted grouper served with glazed mushrooms, chilies and mint. 

The Blue Lagoon

It is no coincidence that this old-school elegant restaurant, perched on the top floor of the Club Land’or Hotel on Paradise Island, bills itself as The Seafood Restaurant; just about every item on its menu features seafood. Looking for a meal you don’t have access to everyday? Try stone crab claws for an appetizer, followed by a bowl of old-fashioned conch chowder; then a plate of almond-fried shrimp for your main course. 

Poop Deck

I have no idea how an establishment called Poop Deck could become an iconic seafood restaurant, but in Nassau it certainly has. The winning formula seems to combine a casual dining atmosphere, harbor-side balcony perch, and fresh seafood handpicked by customers (and more than 40 years in the business). Poop Deck keeps it simple with a traditional menu (it won’t have you guessing): grouper fillet, cracked conch, surf and turf, and garlic shrimp are some of the best options.