Food and drink in the Turks and Caicos: 10 ways to enjoy and save money
As locals, we know how to wine and dine in one of the world’s award-winning destinations, without breaking the bank.
In a previous post, we named some of our favorite things to do in the Turks and Caicos and because food and wine play such an important role in travel, we’re following up with an article to help you figure it all out. We know that for some of you (many, in fact) discovering new restaurants, flavors, and textures is a meaningful aspect of vacationing. So without further ado, here are our top 10 tips and places to enjoy food and drink in Providenciales.
1. Grocery stores on Providenciales
You don’t want to spend your vacation grocery shopping, so why not get it out of the way as soon as you can. A great way to save money on your trip is to head to the nearest grocery store with your rental vehicle on arrival. Why do this before even getting that first cocktail? It’s simple, really: things tend to get more expensive as you approach the touristy areas. Think ‘groceries before Grace Bay’ and you’ll save dollars you can spend on tasty cocktails during the week.
Supermarkets in the downtown area close to the airport will let you buy more, for less. For example, Cash and Carry, located by the Leeward highway, is kind of like our island ‘Costco’, while Sunny Food gives you access to good deals on fresh fruits and vegetables. Smart is also a great place where we rarely see tourists.
Graceway Gourmet has prepped meals, easy snacks and great choices for quick trips during the week. Although Graceway Gourmet is reputed for pricier items, it also has the best last-minute deals and the best consistency in its products. Look for the yellow discount tags!
2. Caribbean cuisine: delicious affordable local meals
Among the Turks and Caicos restaurant choices, many are inspired by French, Italian and other International cuisines. Although certainly delicious, it can be hard to figure out what locals actually eat in an area that was very much influenced by many cultures in the past. Doreen, the owner of Caribbean cuisine, has you covered with delicious Caribbean-inspired meals. The small restaurant is so popular, meals are often sold out by 2:00 PM, so it’s important to plan your lunch, and go early. Among the most authentic, affordable Caribbean cuisine experiences on the island, they serve the finest Roti, a warm soft flatbread on which Doreen serves her famous curry! Meat lovers can choose from chicken, beef, or lamb versions, but know that the biggest crowd-pleaser is by far the pumpkin curry!
3. Kin Khao – family-sized Thai take-out at unbeatable prices
With many entrées sold at more than $30 dollars a head, Turks and Caicos restaurants can quickly become expensive. As a family, we understand the need for options and portions that won’t strain your budget. Kin Khao is an easy and affordable takeout alternative that pleases everyone at the table. Open every day from 11 AM to 9 PM, you can call, and order a family-sized meal platter!
For instance, the family-sized chicken pad thai (no. 26) comes in two sizes: one that’s priced at $50 and a larger serving for $100. This is a great deal for families or groups. You won’t see it on the menu, so be sure to ask! In our opinion, it’s great value and taste. Oh, and if you want to eat out, the restaurant is a dimly-lit outdoor venue, located in a modest area by Leeward highway.
4. Happy hour at Pelican bay restaurant: 2×1
There’s a reason it’s called ‘Happy Hour’ and there’s nothing better than sharing a cocktail with someone you love, AND saving a few dollars. Pelican Bay restaurant’s happy hour is among the most coveted on the island. Here, drinks are delicious and original, with specialities like the Basil Smash, a light, refreshing gin-infused drink that never disappoints. Rum lovers on a quest to savor all the varieties of rum punches on the island, will also be well-served. After all, it is 2 for the price of 1.
5. Conch Shack on Wednesday nights: the only local live band
Eating at a restaurant with your feet in the sand might run high in the Turks and Caicos, but if you want a fun, reasonably priced experience, add The Conch shack to your list.
Here, both the drinks and the view please locals and tourists alike. Local DJs enjoy performing after dinner and get everyone up on the dance floor! Families with teenage kids love how lively it gets and if you pop in on a Wednesday night, you’ll see (and hear) the Junkanoo, a traditional music band. Local talent, perfect ocean blues, sunsets, food and drink, all with your favorite people: anything missing from this list? We don’t think so.
6. Tiki bars for drinks ON the water
The Turks and Caicos Islands now have 2 Tiki Bars, where you can enjoy a few drinks and some music, right on the water. At only 400 meters from Long Bay Beach, it’s fun to rent a jetski (right on the beach) to reach Captain Oak’s floating Tiki bar. Surrounded by shallow water, especially during low tide, the area is surrounded by buoys, so the experience is safe and worry-free. Make good use of your rental by checking out the shipwreck, also located in front of Long Bay beach, before hitting the tiki bar!
Option number #2 is Noah’s Ark, located in the Little Water Cay Area by Iguana Island. This tiki bar includes a dance floor in the middle of the bright blue sea. Reach this spot by chartering a boat, or hop on the boat shuttle that leaves Blue Haven marina every so often. We highly recommend going on a weekday, because weekends are packed. Locals enjoy this adult-friendly spot as much as visitors do. On Sundays, the combination of residents and travelers makes it busy, yet always fun.
7. The Giro pita at Turk Kebab
Turk’s Kebab is a crowd favorite that offers succulent Turkish flavors. Once a go-to lunch spot, favored for its affordable prices and overall quality food,a recent makeover and new bar now makes it a great option for lovely dinners between families and friends. Located in Grace Bay, it is easy to access and surrounded by the new local market and other small restaurants, such as the Pork Shack (great burgers). In short, if you want good food at a good price, head here and try the Giro pita. We personally love it!
8. Buy local alcohol and plan for Sunday!
Alcohol isn’t cheap here, at least not the imported kind. The good news is you can indulge in local beers and spirits. Turks and Caicos beverage company offers a great variety of local beers and spirits that can be bought at their location for decent prices: think $40 for a 24-pack. The ‘’Down-Da Road’’ IPA is certainly our personal favorite. To compare, a caisse of Corona will cost close to $70 at the supermarket!
Osprey drinks are reminiscent of a Smirnoff, but we dare say ‘better’, and the velvety Caicos Cream, a local Irish cream, delights many and makes a great gift!
‘Our Caicos Cream is a hand-crafted blend of golden-aged whiskey, fresh cream, and a hint of organic cacao, creating a rich, indulgent beverage.’
– TCI Beverage Company
Lastly, if you enjoy Sunday dinner with a glass of wine, plan in advance. For religious reasons, the Turks and Caicos Islands ban alcohol sales on Sundays. If you land on a Sunday, consider heading to a restaurant, bar, or bringing a little something from home or the duty free airport shop.
9. Bay bistro for food with a view
Bay Bistro offers delicious food with an incredible view! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, the restaurant offers brunch for $18 per person. This includes your choice of a Bloody Mary, a Bloody Caesar, mimosa, coffee, tea, or orange juice, and then breakfast options from a few delicious dishes. But what’s best is the view!
And if a romantic dinner for two is more your style, for an extra $75, you can book a table right on the beach, and enjoy one of the most stunning romantic dinner venues ever! In our opinion, Bay Bistro offers the best Grouper dish on the island. Check out the Bay Bistro website to book online: https://baybistrorestaurant.com
10. Make Omar’s beach hut your last stop
This is the last tip, because it is the best way to end your trip. Stop at Omar’s Beach Hut for lunch before your flight and soak up the last bit of sunshine and sea, before heading back home.
Combine a colorful, tasty conch salad with postcard views that make for beautiful photos.
Ask for what Simon from White Villas always takes, they’ll probably know what to serve you: delicious fish tacos with a local IPA beer !
The kids will have fun playing in the sand one last time (maybe pack a change of clothes) and you can listen to live music, and maybe even chat with owner Omar, a friendly, welcoming host who loves to meet travelers. And if the view doesn’t convince you to plan your return trip, we don’t know what will.
Even if you are not a big planner, during the high season and especially during peak hours (from 6 to 8:30), it’s highly recommended to book restaurants in advance. High-end restaurants are often fully booked months in advance, especially during peak times like Christmas and spring break.
Simon, Pina and Max
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