Cafe Matisse is our favourite restaurant, if a little pricy. Perfect for a special meal. A very pleasant Italian restaurant with Matisse prints and impressions in the main dining room and wonderful fresh outdoor dining in the back garden under large white umbrellas. It specializes in homemade pasta, seafood, real Italian pizza and delicious desserts. Typically $80-100 a head.
If this bar/restaurant were smack on a sandy beach it would not be out of place. It is a classic beach bar with a laid back island feel. Prior to the building of the new upscale marina the Green Parrot East (on the Nassau side, there’s another Green Parrot on the Paradise Island side) sat directly on the bay overlooking Atlantis directly in front of you and the cruise ship port and downtown on your left. They had a rickety old dock that used to serve as the landing point for all of the dinghies for the moored boats. The boaters would stop for a quick drink and then move on to Harbour Bay to do their shopping. Mark and I loved that dock and had a habit of carrying our wine out to the edge and dangling our feet into the water to watch the sunset. Alas, progress happens. Not only did the addition of the upscale marina place a promenade and a bunch of boats in front of the view but they also put in a pool where there used to be an inlet and sandy beach where Emily spent hours playing with the children of friends while we chowed down on burgers, quesadillas and classic Bahamian dishes. However, The Green Parrot still has massive appeal and we still love it there - most people probably prefer the new “cleaned up” surroundings.
This is the place to come if you want affordable food and drink not too far from Water’s Edge (the house and the actual edge of the water). The view is still lovely and you get the added bonus of being outside enjoying the Bahamian breezes. The food is classic pub food with a Bahamian twist. I enjoy the Caeser salad with grilled mahi-mahi, Emily loves the wide array of quesadillas, Mark is always game for a nice fat juicy burger (and they have sweet potato fries to die for). Earlier in the evening tends to attract families with a good mix of local and tourist trade, later in the evening it is definitely more of a party place with live music every weekend and a fresh conch salad stand right on the waterfront. Be prepared for island patience around service and remember to breathe and enjoy the view.
Green Parrot owns multiple properties throughout Nassau, the newest being the chain restaurant (with a definite Bahamian twist), Margaritaville over on Paradise Island.
If you want classic colonial Bahamian charm head on over to Luciano's. Luciano's sits directly on the water next to another one of our local favorites, The Green Parrot, but is definitively more upscale - in style and prices.
We have a long history with Luciano’s. When we first moved here it became the “go-to” place for treating guests who were visiting. Emily was always eager to visit for the filet mignon and chocolate volcano. My Dad used to crave the fresh oysters. The seats out on the water are beautiful with a lovely night time view of Atlantis - although don’t choose a table there if the day is too windy as it can get breezy. The tables under the awning are also nice as you can sit outside but be more sheltered. Luciano’s eventually became our Friday night local. Mark and I always sat in the charming bar at one of the high tables. I would have the rack of lamb (delicious) and Mark would have the chopped Roma salad which he always misses when we are gone. The menu is mainly Italian but very diverse so you will be sure to find something for everyone. It is definitely on the pricier side ($48 for a filet mignon, $30 for grouper) but they are reliable in terms of meal quality.
There is a good mix of tourists and locals. It is fine for families with well-behaved children (there isn’t much room to run around or leave the tables). If you are lucky you might even catch a wedding. The service and staff at Luciano’s is always wonderful. Say hello to Roosevelt, the Maitre de and let him know that Mr. Cabrelli sent you.
This harbor front bar/restaurant is very popular with locals and tourists alike. The star attraction is the freshly caught daily catch. As you are seated the hostess will walk you past a bed of ice and show you what is available that day. There is usually a mix of lobster, red snapper and the juicy, meaty hog snapper. You can select your own fish and have it prepared any way you’d like (grilled, fried, blackened) along with a choice of an array of yummy sides. Keep in mind that the fresh catch is priced by the pound and isn’t cheap but usually the fish are big enough to share. Mark and I have often selected a hog snapper that is tough to finish between the two of us. Fish features strongly on the rest of the menu, including conch specials that they are famous for - Mark says that they have the best conch fritters on the island. There are also a few non-fish options. The Poop Deck also has a popular happy hour and the bar area is always cozy and inviting (it kind of feels like being on a boat). They also have a lot of unique cocktails if you are a tropical cocktail fan.
The best seats in the house are the tables directly against the exterior wall overlooking the harbor. Mark and I always head to The Poop Deck and grab one of these tables soon after we arrive in Nassau as it always reminds us of why we love Nassau so much. The view of the Paradise island bridge in the sunset and watching the steady flow of boats in and out of the harbor while the sea breeze cools you is what island life is about. It does get very busy though so it is highly recommended that you may a reservation and request a harbourfront table. If you have a large group request a harbourfront corner - they will push the tables together and everyone gets some kind of view.
I have to admit I haven’t been to all of the sushi restaurants in Nassau - Nobu is a little out of our budget - but I do think Seafront is my favorite. The only bummer here is the lack of an outdoor eating space. After all, if you are in The Bahamas you want to enjoy views and weather. But still, if you have a craving for sushi you will be happy here. Seafront has just introduced a sushi happy hour during the week. The happy hour menu has a robust list of $5 rolls. I struggle to finish 3 of their rolls so a $15 sushi dinner is a real steal.
There are lots of options on the menu for the non-sushi eaters. Mark is also a fan of the udon bowls and people rave about the seafront fried rice. If you have kids with you, they may enjoy the upstairs space because you can sit directly on large cushions on the floor with a low table in your own private booth. Emily used to love this when she was small.
All takeout orders are made fresh so picking up happy hour rolls and heading home to enjoy the Water’s Edge patio is also a good option. Just be prepared to place your order well in advance of your desired eating time. Island sushi takes a while.
This cosy cafe space sits right next to the Green Parrot and is part of the Harbourfront bar/restaurant. It has recently opened and quickly become our “go-to” breakfast place. There aren’t many places where you can enjoy breakfast during the week so we were thrilled to discover that the breakfasts here are really good. The servings are huge and would definitely set you up for the day if you are late getting started. The service is great, the people are lovely and they have super-fast wifi. If you have someone in your party who wants to get away to get a little work done (and we sincerely hope that you don’t!) this would be a great place to come. They also have great coffee, fruit smoothies and lunch specials that look delicious. If you have any plant-based people in your party I have found that there is always something available that looks delicious - chickpea salads and vegan wraps are staples on the menu.
Remember they are only open from 8am - 3pm from Tuesday through Saturday. We know this but have still eagerly arrived on a Monday and been disappointed.