Wining, dining and feeding your crew while on Provo
You know what’s great about a tropical island destination that’s NOT all about all-inclusive resorts? The restaurant choices! On Providenciales, people eat out… alot! Regardless of where you’re staying, you’ll be scoping out the best spots to sip your morning coffee, have a long, leisurely brunch, lunch by the sea and dine in a variety of enchanting Caribbean island settings.
Think this equates to loads of globalized fast food chains? Think again. Food chains are not permitted on the island. Providenciales is filled with privately owned, unique food and beverage venues that will delight even the fussiest of travelers.
In this post, we’d like to fill you in on some of our favorites spots, as well as share lists that were put together by other travelers. One thing’s for sure, you won’t grow hungry on Providenciales!
Tasting Turks: local flavors to add to your bucket list
Wherever you go in the world, the point is to discover. Seeing and tasting new things is part of the travel experience, and Turks is no different. Here are a few lists to help you start planning:
Let’s start with the enticing list of must-eats published by Oyster.com. Among the many savory specialties, they mention ‘fresh grilled lobsters, crunchy battered conch fritters, delicious conch salads, and perfectly smooth strawberry daiquiris…’ Is your mouth watering yet?
With great photos to make you even hungrier, LovinTurksandCaicos published their 14 foodie recommendations for visitors coming to the island.
Matador also put together a list of 7 foods to try while in TCI. We like the fact that they scoured instagram in order to publish some fine photos representing each dish.
So where do WE go?
Our guests usually want first-hand recommendations and we’re happy to oblige. What restaurants do we visit, time and time again? Which places offer consistently good food? What are the best spots? Deals? And where would we send our family and friends? Here’s a short list of spots we like to tell them about:
Mango Reef: We like a restaurant that serves consistently good food. We’ve had many great meals here, the staff is attentive and personable and the portions are generous. It’s a relaxing, family-friendly eatery, with a beautiful marina waterfront setting. Basically, the kind of place, many visit more than once, during their holiday. Menu
The BBQ at Grace Bay Club: Think of an all-you-can-eat buffet, on the beach, in the Caribbean. Tuesday nights are pretty magical at the Grace Bay Club. Always call ahead to reserve, as it can be quite busy. Whether you’re vegetarian, a seafood aficionado or a die-hard BBQ fan, you’ll find your fill and have a fun satisfying meal and evening. Menu
Garam Masala: This Indian restaurant is well decorated, with great service and amazing food. Think soft, homemade naan, with fresh, fragrant food, plus the flexibility to cater to vegan diets. Overall prices for food and drink are reasonable. We especially love the Sabji Jalfrezi (seasonal vegetables cooked in tomatoes, onions and cumin)… Oh! And White Villas’ guests get 10% off. We visit THAT often. Menu
Mr. Groupers! You’ll see this name on pretty much anyone’s list. The main attraction is a fish burger that’s out of this world and, on an island where fish and seafood are everywhere, this is the most affordable restaurant. Located away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Grace Bay Road, Mr. Grouper’s Restaurant serves simple island dishes. Enjoy the super casual vibe, and on some nights, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a delicious meal with live music to boot.
Danny Buoy’s: It’s a sports bar. Nothing fancy, but we’re definite fans of their fish tacos and all-dressed pizzas. They serve mostly pub food and cold beers, but families and groups will enjoy the casual, upbeat atmosphere. Dining is mostly outdoors. There are several TV screens throughout the restaurant and you can stay later at night for karaoke. As with any sports bar, it gets livelier as the night goes on- especially on Thurdays, after the Fish Fry. Menu
CocoVan Airstream Lounge: This is a self-service concept, right beside the well-known and pricey Coco Bistro. You place your order at the Airstream, pay, get a number, return to your table and your food is brought to you. While you wait, you can watch the live action in the ‘kitchen,’ sip a cool beverage and nibble on a basket of Sriracha lime popcorn, it’s outrageously tasty and totally addictive.
Cabana Bar is a beachside bar and grill, so the style is casual and you can eat and drink on the patio, or directly on the beach. Nothing fancy, but the food is surprisingly good. We especially love the Island Bistro salad, but you’re sure to find something yummy on the menu. Views are gorgeous, especially at sunset.
Retreat Kitchen has brought something necessary and new to the island: clean, healthy eats. With lots of vegan options, this restaurant manages to impress even the hardiest of meat lovers. From breakfast smoothie bowls, fresh pressed juices, wholesome muffins and great coffee, this spot is a welcome addition for morning meals. Lunch is especially fabulous, and you can also participate in a yoga class next door at their studio. Menu
What about value?
We’ve stumbled upon a few dishes worth mentioning because they’re good, PLUS they’re a good deal!
- The #14 gyro at Turks Kebab
- The fish burger at Mr. Grouper
- The salad bar at the IGA Gourmet
- The #14 and #26 at Kim Khao – taking about Kim Khao, you can buy delicious local food (conch soup, fried chicken…) in Kim Khao’s parking every Wednesdays.
- Garam Masala and CocoVan are also quite reasonable overall
And what’s our favorite spot for morning coffee?
Lemon2Go Coffee or the IGA Gourmet
Best breakfast in town?
We’d say Shay Café. Great crepes, fruit oatmeal… plus Herb and Andy are great hosts.
Best ice cream in town?
The Patty Place, with their home-made Jamaican ice cream, is really hard to beat. We love the run and raisin, the pistachio and the mango flavors. Take the kiddie size, big enough and super cheap. Turkberry also offers delicious frozen yogurt.
A great outside patio with a nice view for a long lunch?
Hemingway’s and Somewhere Café are pretty cool places with stunning views of Grace Bay at lunch time.
How about an event?
There’s a fish fry on Thursday nights at Bight Park. Set up just off the water at Bight Children’s Park, this event is a great way to meet fellow tourists, listen to a revolving selection of live local music, and sample favorites from a large selection of Provo restaurants. Note that you’ll eat in styrofoam boxes and there are not enough tables and chairs for everyone. Make sure you come early to find a parking spot and bring cash as there are no ATMs on-site and credit card machines are nonexistent. You’ll be able to shop as well later, as several stands are setup to promote local products.
What if you’re vegan or vegetarian?
Retreat Kitchen is THE vegan hotspot on the island. The IGA Gourmet makes healthy smoothies and juices for only $6 – about half price, compared to other places on island. Caicos Catering—we’ll tell you more about them below in this post—also has vegetarian and vegan menus.
Here are other resources to help plan your dining.
LovinTurksandCaicos has rounded up a few other lists we find interesting. Click here to check them out.
Tripadvisor travellers are always happy to lend a hand an review local businesses. Check out what’s hot, what’s not and what fits your travel eating style and budget.
Eating with Ziggy’s tagline is funny, but true. ‘Eating well, spelling poorly’. He nonetheless offers insightful information regarding our island’s eateries.
Want a quick explanation of some of the local dishes. Come right this way.
Stocking up & eating in
Before we even talk about food, here’s something you need to know: alcohol sales are prohibited on Sundays, except in bars and restaurants. Any other day of the week, you can purchase what you like in grocery stores. And where do you buy beer? Supermarkets have a large selection but the best price on the island is the local Turk’s Head by the case (amber, lager or IPA) bought at its source at the Turk’s Head Brewery ($36 per case of 24… not so bad!). Our favorite is the amber, without a doubt.
Aside from the comfort of White Villas and convenience it provides, staying in, eating at home or even packing a lunch, can normally save you a few bucks. Providenciales has great supermarkets and everything you could want or need while on the island. More expensive than home? Well, yes. But not because restaurants or markets think they have you cornered. It’s simply because we’re on an island. And things are imported in relatively small quantities, plus heavily taxed.
A lot of the food is imported from Florida which means brands are often American. The luxury travel market has also influenced product lines and you can now find speciality products such as organic, gluten-free and international items.
The biggest grocery store if the Graceway IGA on Leeward Highway. Along with Graceway Gourmet – which is the closest to White Villas, they tend to offer the best selections of fresh produce, specialty foods and meats. Both of these venues serve prepared food that can be purchased as take-out, taken home or, enjoyed onsite at the outdoor dining patio offered by IGA Gourmet. The selection of wine and alcohol is very good. If you want a wider selection, you’d head to The Wine Cellar.
Catering, home delivery and take-out
Caicos Catering does a great job and our guests had only good things to say about what they offer. Services range from hiring a private chef for your villa vacation to booking a dinner here and there. Chefs Melissa Hartling and Doug Camozzi have been catering weddings, events and private affairs on Turks and Caicos for over 35 years, and know how to put together amazing culinary experiences, using the freshest ingredients. And by the way, vegans will be well served here. Just let them know! You can hire a chef for your entire stay or, shop online and have everything delivered to you in a thermal box, including dinnerware, then set-up, so all you have to do is pull up a chair. Once you’re done, no cleaning up. You simply call them and they’ll pick up the box, and dirty dishes!
Because property rentals are so popular on the island, take-out service and delivery are offered by many restaurants. You can take your favorites home easily, or rest poolside while it’s delivered straight to your door.
All-inclusive for a day
Adults can purchase a ClubMed Pass and spend either the day or evening at the resort. With an $80 USD day pass, you can enjoy free drinks, a lunch buffet and light fare all day at Sharkies. You can also participate in beach activities such as snorkeling (there’s a morning boat excursion), sailing, SUP and kayaking. By the way, they have a great new pool. Evening passes are also $80 USD (remember all passes are adults-only). You arrive at 6pm, dine at a European-inspired dinner buffet, have an open bar, see a show and perhaps stick around for some late night dancing.
So what happens after dinner?
Provo isn’t a city that never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a night out or even a fun fiesta during the day. Island life is typically laid back and festive and we’re no exception. Whatsmore, parties tend to be intergenerational and everyone can join in. Options range from live music during dinner, karaoke, Caribbean-style jams and live DJs. On Providenciales you can find someone playing steel drums, jazz and even the occasional rock and pop group. If you’re lucky, you might come across some traditional island Rake n’ Scrape. Bottom line, there’s lots to enjoy. It’s always best to check one or two weeks prior to arrival and confirm events but we’ll provide last minute information, once you’ve arrived and kicked off your shoes.
As you can see, you won’t grow hungry on Provo 🙂
Simon, Pina and Max.