Hungry? Dominican Republic Wins Best Caribbean Destination for Food!

Guadeloupe, Port of Spain, San Juan and Willemstad also winners

USA TODAY 10Best went on a mission to find the most delicious destination in the Caribbean. A panel of Caribbean travel experts nominated their top 20 foodie destinations in the region, and for the past four weeks, readers have been voting daily for their favorites.

  • Martinique

    The marriage of Caribbean and French cuisine births something as beautiful as the hybrid Creole tongue the people of Martinique speak – classic but sparked with tropical color. Fort de France restaurants are fluent in this New World fusion. Seafood and tropical fruits lie at the heart of the genre. Throughout the island, feast on conch, sea urchins, spiny lobster, crayfish, octopus and yellowtail prepared with powers of tantalization. The food generally falls into two categories: haute cuisine française and cuisine créole, but both borrow food ways from the other.
    Photo courtesy of Luc Olivier for the Martinique Tourist Board

  • Nevis

    On the tiny, demure island of Nevis, you will find many of the best restaurants at its famed plantation resorts where the planters once grew sugarcane. They take their cues from traditional island ingredients such as spiny lobster, red snapper, mangoes, pumpkin, tamarind, breadfruit and sour oranges. Rum shops and beach bars around the island serve casual fare also with a local flair. Nevis is one of the Caribbean’s least commercial, progress spoiled islands and in that adheres closely to colonial culinary roots using exceedingly fresh ingredients.
    Photo courtesy of Nevis Tourism Authority

  • St. Maarten

    The Dutch side of the island it shares with France serves a well-rounded sampling of cuisines in its resorts, capital Philipsburg, town of Maho, romantic Great Bay Beach and lively and delicious Simpson Bay nightlife district. You can virtually travel around the world to sample West Indian stews and seafood, Asian-Euro fusion creations, Mexican tacos, Indian curries, American barbecue and burgers, classic French vichyssoise and house-made Italian pasta. Look for tucked away eateries in Philipsburg’s side alleys.
    Photo courtesy of St Maarten Tourist Bureau

  • Anguilla

    Here the motto seems to be “Life is a beach. Then you dine.”  For such a small island, it holds an incredible wealth of fine restaurants both free standing and in its luxury resorts. They typically fuse Caribbean products and dishes with global cuisines such as Asian, Italian and French. In addition to the high end  dining scene , foodies can find restaurants selling local specialties such as goat stew, barbecued pork and conch salad around Anguilla, plus an array of casual, good-eats beach establishments at Sandy Ground.
    Photo courtesy of Anguilla Tourist Board

  • Bridgetown
    Barbados

    For true Bajan (the local’s name for Barbadian) cuisine, hit the Brown Sugar Restaurant buffet in Bridgetown, filled with wonderful specialties such as flying fish, coucou (a polenta like pudding) and fish cakes. Barbados’ culinary scene expands far beyond local cuisine, however, in its resort areas. Around Holetown, for instance, you will find everything from Greek to sushi. For the freshest seafood, visit the town of Oistins in the south, home to a weekly fish fry. To taste local culture with your meal, stop in at one of the island’s 150-plus rum shops.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Willemstad
    Curacao

    Dutch, African, Latin and American food ways collide in this Dutch island near Venezuela. Witness one of its most iconic dishes – keshi yena, a round of Gouda cheese stuffed and baked with a spicy meat filling. Of course, seafood, including conch, figures importantly on the menus of restaurants that populate Curacao’s capital city districts of Punda and Otrabanda. Indonesian cuisine, particularly the rijsttafel (rice table) buffet, delights the senses. You will also find, on this cosmopolitan island, everything from Italian to Thai and Japanese dine-outs.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • San Juan
    Puerto Rico

    Rich in Latino flavor, Puerto Rico blends elements of native Indian, Spanish and African cuisine to stir its melting pot with a style of cooking all its own. Capital San Juan gives it all a cosmopolitan kick with local celebrity chefs, fine resort restaurants and places where home cooking celebrates such signature cocina criolla dishes as roasted pig, tostones, fried yucca, paella, empanadas and bean soup. In its Condado resort district and Old San Juan, foodies rejoice at a full complement of global restaurants.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Port of Spain
    Trinidad & Tobago

    Roti is the most iconic dish of Trinidad, and you will find roti stands and restaurants throughout its capital Port of Spain. Flat bread rolled up with local curried meats, seafood and vegetables and various complements and condiments, it strongly reflects the robust East Indian influence on the island. American influence has also had its effect. The fine eateries along Ariapita Avenue, in fact, feel many international influences while keeping to the island’s West Indian-East Indian roots.
    Photo courtesy of Gary Stevens / Flickr

  • Guadeloupe

    Slightly overshadowed by fellow isle français Martinique, Guadeloupe nonetheless holds its own in the food and drink department.  A blend of refined French culinary skills and the hearty, spicy fare that the West Indies have been evolving since colonial times, Guadeloupe cuisine is at once joyful and satisfying. One signature dish, boudin Creole is a typical French blood sausage spiced Caribbean style. Fish stews and fried seafood make use of the sea’s bounty. You won’t have a problem finding an excellent meal in Guadeloupe, from capital Basse-Terre to small resort towns and seaside.
    Photo courtesy of The Guadeloupe Island Tourist Board

  • Dominican Republic

    With its bounty of seafood, fruits and vegetables, DR, as most call it, shows its hospitality with copious amounts of hearty fare fusing native Indian food ways, Spanish cuisine and African products and methods. In the finer resort restaurants, you will taste a little Italian and other European and Asian influences seeping in, all at flavorful consequence. The Colonial Section of capital city Santo Domingo offers rich variety from food carts to fine restaurants.
    Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

The polls are closed and we have a winner!

The top 10 winners in the category Best Caribbean Destination for Food are:

  1. Dominican Republic
  2. Guadeloupe
  3. Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
  4. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  5. Willemstad, Curacao
  6. Bridgetown, Barbados
  7. Anguilla
  8. St. Maarten
  9. Nevis
  10. Martinique

Other nominees in the category included Bermuda, Grand Case, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Montego Bay, Nassau, Rodney Bay, St. Barth, St. Thomas and Tortola.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Melanie Reffes, Mark Rogers and Chelle Walton (10Best) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of Caribbean travel.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners.

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Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

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Mark Rogers

Chelle Walton

Chelle Walton