If you’ve dined at The Point, then you’ll know exactly why this restaurant surpasses every other in Bermuda. Since opening in February 2009 with executive chef Serge Bottelli at the helm, The Point has become known as Bermuda foremost fine-dining restaurant—a status confirmed by its choice as the venue for the state dinner in honour of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their royal visit to the island in November 2009. The Point is truly a realization of restaurant fantasy—a combination of exquisite beauty, the finest food and exceptional wines—a combination fully deserving of the Award of Excellence.
Cup of Java
It’s ten fifteen in the morning, Monday. You need coffee. There are many places you could choose to purchase this crucial beverage—this lifeline to the weary and sluggish—but no matter how you try, none will match the liquid gold that’s served by the baristas at Miles (96 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke, 295-1234). Why waste those glorious 15-or-so minutes you have away from work in the morning drinking anything but the best?
Fresh Breads & Pastries
With a side of coffee, a Dangelini’s (8 Front Street, Hamilton, 295-5272) pastry certainly helps start any morning off well. Located right off the ferry terminal in Hamilton, it’s a regular stop for most business people on their way to work because there just isn’t any better on the island.
There is an extra “i” in Speciality Inn (4 South Shore Road, Smith's, 236-3133) for a reason: breakfast—and the Queen’s English—but mostly breakfast. You see, while most newcomers to the inn know it for excellent pizza, sushi and a myriad of other delicious food, the knowing and clever patron arrives in the morning for breakfast—the inn’s historic and certifiable “speciality.”
On a Friday night the Hog Penny (5 Burnaby Hill, Hamilton, 292-2534) hums with activity, the wails of revellers muffled beneath the face-melting guitar solos from the resident, certifiably rock-and-roll entertainer, Will Black. Not only is it a favourite pub to the thirsty, it’s also a favourite to the hungry. Looking for peace in a pub burger and a pint? It’s The Bermudian’s favourite.
Place for a Power Lunch
A multiwinner in the Best of Bermuda awards, Mad Hatters (22 Richmond Road, Hamilton, 297-6231) has left its mark on Bermudians since it opened at 22 Richmond Road. The airy atmosphere and its out-of-sight location make it a perfect place for the business brass to gather and discuss the now mind-numbing tedium of the Great Recession.
Every year there’s an epic and bloody battle waged on griddles across the island. Yet every year, with unquestionable delivery, a little shop in a little alley in Hamilton arises victorious. Perhaps “battle” isn’t the right word. But if there was ever a war over the island’s best burger, Dorothy’s (3 Chancery Lane, Hamilton, 292-4130) is Alexander the Great compared to every other hamburger maker in Bermuda. There has been none better, and it’s looking like that will stay the same for some time to come.
A great sandwich is a great sandwich. Sure, there’s a never-ending list of what can be put between the bread, but when it comes down to it, all that matters is that it tastes good, and Hickory Stick (Clarendon Building, 2 Church Street, Hamilton, 292-1781) sandwiches taste good. They fill the sandwiches to the brim with all the standards, cut the nonsense and charge you virtually nothing. How can a sandwich be better?
Tell people you’re carbo loading for a marathon or that you’re bulking up to make your pregnant wife feel better about herself—tell them something. Just make sure you have an excuse when digging in to the unfairly delicious and orgastic foodstuffs served up at DeGraffs (North Corner, City Hall Car Park, Pembroke, 799-3904). And no talking with your mouth open—that’s just rude.
Wraps and pies and salads, oh my! By now you’ve already heard about how amazing the food at the Lemon Tree (7 Queen Street, Hamilton, 292-0235) is, and once again they’ve made it onto the Best of Bermuda list. If you haven’t been—go. The line of hungry customers is telling you something.
Swift, efficient and tasty as hell, The Spot (6 Burnaby Street, Hamilton, 292-6293) has been in the diner business for some time now, and they certainly can turn a table. Whether you visit for breakfast or lunch, The Spot is always good for friendly and no-nonsense service with the same delicious food they’ve perfected over their many years in business.
Sushi is the kind of food that, done right, can be amazing. But do it wrong and there can be disastrous consequences. Luckily, Bermuda has intense competition amongst sushi restaurants, and the standard of quality is very high in the upper echelons. This year Yashi (Williams House, 20 Reid Street, Hamilton, 296-6226) has proven to be the best of the best in that higher tier—an accolade not easily achieved.
Though France won the coveted prize for Best Pizza in the World this year, don’t write off the Italians. No, experience says they’re pretty handy with pizza, and Primavera (69 Pitts Bay Road, West, Pembroke, 295-2167) has proven that their Italian pizza is the best in Bermuda.
Though the novelty of crazy hats extends beyond the youthful, they are the ones that truly get a kick out of Mad Hatters (22 Richmond Road, Hamilton, 297-6231). Where else can a birthday boy pretend he is a Spartan over dinner? Where else can a birthday girl pretend she’s Miss Universe while blowing out her birthday candles?
House of India (Park View Plaza, 57 North Street, Hamilton, 295-6450) has been the curry joint on the island for some time now, and there was no time wasted deciding what place offers the best ethnic cuisine on the island. It’s been the same for many years now, and my lord is it good.
The description “fine dining” just doesn’t do The Point (Tucker's Point Club, Tucker's Town, 298-4070) justice. The Point is more than just fine—it’s exquisite, fantastic in every sense of the word. The frescoes that adorn the walls of The Point—depicting historic ports around the world—are the perfect complement to the artistic and painstakingly prepared menu. In 2010, there is no better restaurant on the island of Bermuda... plain and simple.
Tucked away, overlooking the South Shore of Bermuda, Splendido (33 South Road, Paget, 239-7411) reeks of romance and shadowy affairs. Take your wife or girlfriend or even your mistress and you can bet that she’ll only have eyes for you.
The revitalization of Belmont Hills golf course brought with it a serious gem of a restaurant: Blu Bar & Grill (97 Middle Road, Warwick, 292-2323). The editor of this publication first pronounced it bluh, but upon closer inspection, Blu is certainly not bluh. Winning this year for its ambiance, Blu sets a mood few other restaurants rival: an overwhelming tranquillity helped along by a partially frozen Corona and an all-glass façade looking over the golf course and Hamilton Harbour.
Jasmine Lounge (Fairmont Southampton, South Shore Road, Southampton, 238-8000) top tip: If you order a martini, they bring you the entire shaker, which is really two martinis. After that, you can sit back and enjoy the tapas, couches, crackling fire and whatever talent is performing live for the guests.
Renovated and revitalized, The Reefs (56 South Shore Road, Southampton, 238-0222) is better now than it ever was, and so is Sunday brunch. A new kitchen and an even broader selection of food have attracted more and more people who recognize an amazing spread when they see it. The evidence? Just look at the line of parked cars outside The Reefs on a Sunday.
For the record, La Trattoria Restaurant & Pizzaria (22 Washington Lane, Hamilton, 295-1877) is not just for kids. Parents enjoy the vibes there just as much—especially the Roosters. This is because the Trat has maintained its casual vibe, over the years, just as much as it’s kept its accessible Italian fare fresh and delicious. More than kid friendly, La Trattoria is family friendly.
Place for a Private Party
The Wine Dining Room at Ascots (24 Rosemont Avenue, Pembroke, 295-9644) won this award because of its service and seclusion. If you ever want to feel like a VIP in Bermuda, walk into the private room of Ascots with head held high and a haughty gait, knowing you won’t be mingling with the proletariat that evening.
Out-of-Town Eatery (East)
Rustico’s (8 North Shore Road, Flatt's, 295-5212) comes tantalizingly close to representing what is left of old Bermuda. Situated in the small, pseudo town of Flatts, Rustico is a top-tier restaurant made better by its dissociation from the corporate bustle of Hamilton and its superb menu and fresh daily specials.
Out-of-Town Eatery (West)
The Frog & Onion (Royal Naval Dockyard, 234-2900) will always remain a favourite in the hearts of West Enders. Is it the games room, the pub atmosphere or the great pub food? Bermudians never seem to grow tired of the Frog & Onion as it continues its dominance of the West End restaurants.
Place for an Al Fresco Meal
Mickey’s at Elbow Beach. Dining on the beach is a luxury for most, but for Bermudians it’s nothing but a perk that comes with good weather. Which means that there had better be some good food, and Mickey’s (Elbow Beach Hotel, Sea Terrace, 60 South Shore Road, Paget, 236-9107) doesn’t disappoint.
Lisa Swan at Yum Yums (yumyums.com, 238-8534) is the newest heir to the hotly competitive throne of Bermuda’s Best Cake Maker. With mind-blowing designs seemingly straight from the Food Network’s cake show Ace of Cakes, Lisa Swan goes above and beyond all the rest with her delicious sculptures for any occasion.
Fresh Local Fish
The summer months in Bermuda bring many things to the island, but for the mariner it brings a bounty of fish. This year, the best boat to reel in the day’s catch belongs to the Barnes family and Shakedown Charters (shakedowncharters.com, 297-3635). Wahoo steaks, sushi-fresh tuna, whatever you want, the Barnes family has probably caught it that day.
Local Fruits & Vegetables
One of the few food carts that stays open all day, J&J Produce in Devonshire displays the best locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables the island has to offer at affordable prices and at a time all of us can visit: all day.
What does it take to be the best butcher? John Nicol at Miles (96 Pitts Bay Road,Pembroke, 295-1234) is known for being the friendliest and for slicing up the best fish fillets and premium meats on the island.
The best maitre d’ should instantly make you feel at home in a restaurant—a friendly face to associate with the excellent service you received the last time you visited, hopefully. Manuel Llanes, at L’Oriental (32 Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, 296-4477) is that friendly face. Manuel strikes a perfect balance between efficiency and friendliness, operating the front of the restaurant with well-practiced eas eafter 15 years of unwavering dedication.
The executive chef at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess (76 Pitt's Bay Road, Pembroke, 295-3000), Thomas Frost spends his time in the kitchen overseeing the daily food operations and doing what he loves most: mixing ingredients, creating new dishes and combining new textures, flavours and colours—skills nobody else in Bermuda seemed able to match this year.
Johnny “Bravo” Martin has been behind the bars on Front Street for quite some time and has been a favourite of patrons all the while. Down to earth and downright happy, the Port O Call (87 Front Street, Hamilton, 295-5373) bartender Johnny Bravo is not only an excellent drink maker, but he’s also an excellent father to his new twins, Savanna and Bryson, and an even better husband to his beautiful wife, Jenna. Congratulations, Johnny Bravo.
For 18 years Giovanni Guglielmucci has waited the tables of Portofino (20 Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, 292-2375). Not only is he loved by the staff at one of Bermuda’s staple restaurants, he is loved by every customer he has waited on in those 18 years. With a restaurant like this, a long-standing household name, Giovanni has become the face of Portofino and, this year, the face of excellence among Bermuda’s finest waiters.
Great menu, great atmosphere courtesy of the fantastic paintings, tables not too close together and an eager-to-please wait staff make Bolero (95 Front Street, Hamilton, 292-4507) a favourite of Bermudians. There is seriously no better service on the island, and that is saying a lot.
The creative cocktails concocted by the bar staff at Rumbar (Latin, 29 Victoria Street, Hamilton, 296-5050) may be a bit pricey, but, my lord, are they delicious. The large selection of fruity and tangy drinks may be a bit overwhelming, but each order is made with meticulous attention to detail. There are simply none better.
Well-chosen Wine List
For most of us, choosing a wine is highly dependent on a cool-sounding name or the cob-webbed memory of a somewhat tasty wine you had last week. Which is why Harry’s (96 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke, 292-5533) is the place to go. Have a word with the waiter beforehand, confess you know nothing about wine and let him pick just one gem out of their endless supply of vigorous vino.
Place to Catch a Film
It’s been two years since Bermuda lost a cinematic icon called the Little Theatre. We all miss its quaint, family atmosphere, but let’s be honest—the Little Theatre didn’t have 3D. Or an awesome deli counter. Or ticket kiosks. Or cup holders. Speciality Cinema (12 Church Street, Hamilton, 292-2135) has these, and though it pains some to admit it, it’s pretty nice.
Place to Watch Televised Sports
Finally! A bar in Bermuda dedicated to the armchair athlete. Oh, how long we sports fanatics have waited! Outback (Emporium Building, 69 Front Street Hamilton, 295-8299) has everything you and your friends need for the playoffs, except there’s no guarantee anyone is going to hug you when your team loses.
Best Dramatic Production
Gilbert and Sullivan’s productions never disappoint, and Oliver was no different. Superb acting, singing, directing and music, last year’s show was named Best Dramatic Production because… well… its Gilbert and Sullivan! Another flawlessly executed musical and another notch on their rapidly fattening belt.
Happiest Happy Hour
“Happiest” might be a nice way of describing happy hour at Lemon Tree (7 Queen Street, Hamilton, 292-0235), but we all know what it really means. Getting down to brass tacks, Lemon Tree on a Friday evening is packed full of “happy” drinkers—a cross-section of the Front Street Faithful—and is almost always the first stop on what promises to be a very “happy” Friday night.
Be vigilant, Friday night reveller. Café Cairo (93 Front Street, Hamilton, 295-5155) is usually the last-known place you visited the night before, and the memory is often surrounded by a misty and alcohol-inspired haze. That said, be vigilant, Friday night reveller, because nobody likes hearing that you made out with an 18-year-old marine biology student… especially your girlfriend.
For many moons now, Ronnie Lopes has literally marched to the beat of his own drum. A professional musician since the age of 18, Ronnie has been leading bands in Bermuda for almost as long, so it’s no surprise that this Bermudian legend has been named the best musician in Bermuda this year.
The band called Mohawk Radio (themowhawkradio.com) has rocked Bermuda’s stages countless times in recent years, and with every live performance they grow stronger. Jamie Petty on drums, James Wolfe on keys, Ryan Prevost leading the guitars, Mike Macphee and Jamie Lovell on bass and the ever-sexy Mia Chambray screaming her heart out into the mike—Mohawk Radio has grown from jam band to bona fide rock and rollers with a helluva lot more rocking and rolling left to go.
Place to Hear Live Music
Andrew Holmes and his partners at 441 Productions have perfected the art of bringing legitimate acts to the island without costing the taxpayer over a million dollars. Whether it’s a cover band or a rag-tag group of rockers from across the pond, you’re always guaranteed a good show.
This award is among the more contested—certainly excellent codfish breakfasts are served all over the island—but this year the best comes from the kitchen of Bouchée (Outerbridge Building, 75 Pitt's Bay Road, Pembroke, 295-5759). Perhaps it’s not exactly how your mother made it, but you can be darn sure it’s the closest you’re gonna get.
Another Bermudian specialty, fish chowder is often a dish whose merits are hotly contested: the minute details are dissected to get to the chowder with the right consistency and taste—to choose the one that’s perfect. Well, this year the Black Horse Tavern (St. David’s, 297-1991) served up a perfect fish chowder, and we can guarantee that it’ll be the best you’ve had in a long time.
Art Mell’s Spicy Dicy (9 St. Monica's Road, Pembroke, 295-3965). Need more be said? For the sake of the article, yes. But if you don’t know where to get the best fish sandwich on the island, then you had better start reading the Best of Bermuda issue more often.
The Spotlight Café (28 Serpentine Road, Pembroke, 292-3301), located on Serpentine Road, has been serving the best of Bermudian dishes for many years. Go for the codfish cakes, barbecued chicken or Hoppin’ John, and you’re guaranteed a great meal that drips with Bermudian culture.
Grant Kennedy, managing partner, Bermuda Jam Factory
Adrienne Cotterill, underwriter, XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd.
Robin Spencer-Arscott, deputy chairman, AAA Risk Solutions Ltd.
Sinead Scott, women's wear assistant buyer, TESS Ltd.