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The Bermudian

BOLERO BRASSERIE

The who (bartenders and butchers), the what (hamburgers and sandwiches) and the where (happy hour and live music) of Bermuda’s best dining and entertainment hot spots.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: BOLERO BRASSERIE

Since its opening in April 2007, Bolero Brasserie has become a favourite of Bermudians and visitors in search of delicious food and a friendly bistro atmosphere. Head chef and owner Johnny Roberts envisioned his restaurant full of warmth and charm, serving the best French cuisine with a Bermudian twist. His vision has been fully realized, with Bolero earning five Best of Bermuda awards to date, including best new restaurant, waiter, attentive staff and this year’s best in fine dining and the coveted Award of Excellence. Bolero’s success is an indication of the hold it has on foodies islandwide, and you can’t go wrong by heading to Bolero for just about any occasion. It is fully deserving of its achievement.

BARGAIN BREAKFAST

The morning can be a punchy mistress, hurling body shots and uppercuts on your mad dash to punch in before eight-thirty. Fight back with a breakfast worthy of a champion at L’Oriental Express (Ground Floor, Maxwell Roberts Building, 1 Church St., Hamilton, 295-8299).

CUP OF JAVA

All together now, to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’”: Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam/And admit that, with coffee, you don’t drink your own/And accept that your latte is lacking in foam/If a penny to you’s not worth saving/Then you better run now, you won’t be alone...Rock Island Coffee (48 Front Street, Hamilton, 296-5241) is… amazing.

FRESH BREADS & PASTRIES

There is a very precise technique used for examining the quality of fresh bread and pastries—crispness of the crust, weight, quality of the crumb and, of course, taste and smell, but that kind of stuff is better left to the yeasty nerds at Dangelini’s (8 Front St., Hamilton, 295-5272).

PLACE FOR A POWER LUNCH

Bermudians particularly love to lunch when there’s a client to land or a contract to sign. While Port O’ Call (87 Front St., Hamilton, 295-5373) is by no means a stuffy joint, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a loosened tie or unbuttoned collar. They mean business, which is why they’re doing it at Port O’ Call.

FAVOURITE PUB

Bermudians love to lunch. One hour, two hours, three hours, happy hour—before you know it you’re rollicking down Front Street defying the sleep you desperately need and tap-dancing your way to sunrise. Which is why dedicated lunchers go to Flanagan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (Emporium Building, 69 Front St., Hamilton, 295-8299). Do not enter if you plan on getting back to work any time soon.

GREAT SANDWICH

If you’re brave enough to venture into Hickory Stick (Clarendon Building, 2 Church St., Hamilton, 292-1781) during the lunchtime rush, you’re well aware of the chaos that occurs within the four walls of the best sandwich shop in town. The madness is characterized by shouts coming from the experienced women behind the counter. You must listen carefully to determine if they’re asking you or the 20 or so hungry others if you want mayo. So what’s the point of all the insanity? It’s simple, really—if you want the best of the best, you must fight to get it.

LUNCH TRUCK

For a roach coach to win a Best of Bermuda, there really can’t be any roaches, but where’s the fun in that? At Keith’s Kitchen (48 Woodlands Rd., BAA Field, Hamilton, 295-1310), the fun resides in the knowledge that you’ll get a finger-lickin’ burger, Steak-Um or whatever your arteries desire for the change in your pocket (and without those crunchy roach wings).

TAKEOUT DELI

Those who are perpetually on the run are well aware that Lemon Tree (7 Queen St., Hamilton, 292-0235) is the most trusted spot for delicious sandwiches on the go. Just because you’re too busy to sit down for lunch doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the most scrumptious wrap, salad, pie or sandwich and wolf it down in a nano second.

DINER

Speciality Inn’s (4 South Shore Rd., Smith’s, 236-3133) specialty, it seems, is winning a Best of Bermuda award almost every year. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this plucky diner always has a spot in our magazine and a place in our hearts.

SUSHI

There are two kinds of sushi eaters: those who are cautious and wary with delicate stomachs and those who are adventurous, daring and willing to try anything you put in front of them. At Pearl (87 Front St., Hamilton, 295-9343) it doesn’t matter which category you fall into, your personal tastes and preferences will be accommodated, leaving you feeling like you have your own private sushi chef.

PIZZA

Gloriously crisp, handmade, and it won’t cost you your week’s wages—the pizza at Jasmine Lounge at Fairmont Southampton (101 South Shore Rd., Southampton, 238-8000) is, bar none, the best in Bermuda right now. Winner last year of the Best Hotel Restaurant award, Jasmine Lounge is extending its fame to the rest of the island with their now award-winning pizza.

HAMBURGER

In case you were misinformed, Judy Garland was in fact singing of Dorothy’s (3 Chancery Ln., Hamilton, 292-4130) when she wondered where that rainbow led—such is the bewildering charm of these beautiful, beefy burgers. “Somewhere over the rainbow, there’s Dorothy’s kitchen” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

RESTAURANT FOR CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY

For most people, planning a birthday celebration can be a stressful situation. Figuring out where to go and who to invite is hard enough without the added stress of turning another year older. The best place to blow out your candles is Mad Hatters (22 Richmond Rd., Pembroke, 297-6231). Their friendly atmosphere, great food and hilarious hats will keep your friends and family having fun and keep your mind focused on aging maturely whilst wearing a Spartan helmet.

FINE DINING

Bolero Brasserie (9 Front St., Hamilton, 292-4507) is a restaurant that was once somewhat of a secret. After winning their fourth Best of Bermuda award this year, the secret is long gone. With a menu as extensive as it should be, Bolero is a unique Bermuda dining experience that offers a come-one, come-all atmosphere; it’s always on the short list for a fancy dinner.

AMBIANCE

Victorian charm meets modern fine dining. Whether you’re a high-profile celebrity or just pretending to be one, you get the feeling that you’re somewhere exclusive when dining at Ascot’s (24 Rosemont Ave., Pembroke, 295-9644), which is hard when your neighbour is sitting at the table next to you.

PLACE FOR AN AL FRESCO MEAL

The name says it all. Sea Breeze (Elbow Beach Hotel, Sea Terrace, Paget, 232-3999) offers a hearty menu and the cool, salty caress of summer breezes blown off the ocean. Take up a couch or a table and let the stress of the day blow off your shoulders as you look out over Elbow Beach and the wide expanse of Atlantic Ocean. It will take your breath away.

KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

Whether you’re with the overgrown man-child that is your husband or your little rug rats, La Trattoria Restaurant and Pizzeria (22 Washington Ln., Hamilton, 295-1871) is a place for both kids and kids at heart. A perennial winner of the category, nobody can seat a table of 15 kids quite like the Trat.

PLACE FOR A PRIVATE PARTY

Privacy is a rare commodity in Bermuda, especially when many of the eateries on the island are designed for seeing and being seen. For special moments when seclusion is mandatory, Bistro J (Chancery Lane, Hamilton, 296-8546) is the best in the business. They not only provide you with the intimate setting you’re looking for, but they also present you with delicious fresh seafood, homemade pasta and an extensive wine list that’ll keep you coming back for more.

SUNDAY BRUNCH

Each Sunday, Bermudians rise early and prepare for brunching battle. They slick back their hair, carefully dress for combat and grab their ammunition (in this case, their wallets) and head out into the morning sunshine. One place that takes brunch as seriously as its soldiers is The Reefs (56 South Shore Rd., Southampton, 238-0222), which is why they’ve won the battle for best brunch numerous times throughout the years, making it a favourite in this category.

ROMANTIC RESTAURANT

Overlooking Elbow Beach, Lido (Elbow Beach Hotel, Sea Terrace, Paget, 236-9884) provides a view and atmosphere that is unmatched. Of course, all that gets even better when shared with a significant other over a bottle of wine.

OUT-OF-TOWN EATERY

It’s not often that West-Enders make missions east, but they will do it for the fare at Rustico’s (8 North Shore Rd., Flatt’s, 295-5212) and its old-Bermuda charm. It boasts an incredible menu along with fresh daily specials, and it enjoys a dedicated clientele who know the mission to get there is worth the reward.

FRESH LOCAL FISH

By offering perfectly cut tuna steaks, salmon fillets and just about everything else you can haul out of the sea, Miles Market (96 Pitt’s Bay Rd., Pembroke, 295-1234) this year takes the hotly contested prize of Bermuda’s best fresh-fish purveyor. The prize usually goes to the dedicated fishermen who sell fish by roadside, but Miles can’t be beaten for quality and selection.

HOTEL RESTAURANT

Usually the restaurants serving cutting-edge creations get all the buzz. However, one restaurant, steeped in tradition, will never be matched. The Waterlot Inn (101 South Shore Rd., Southampton, 238-8000) has been serving Bermuda for 340 years, and they, as well as their loyal customers, are well aware that when you’ve lasted that long, whatever you’re doing is working. When it comes to the best steak in Bermuda and a cosy, historic atmosphere, The Waterlot Inn is simply perfection.

ETHNIC CUISINE

The past few years have been fat ones for the once-little House of India (57 North St., Hamilton, 205-6450) and its dedicated customers. They’ve upped the ante with an expanded dining room; just don’t let your gut do the same.

LOCAL FRUITS AND VEG

From a simple farmstand across from Whale Bay Road to his brand new Wadson’s Home Farm Market (Luke’s Pond Rd., Southampton, 238-1862), the “green giant” farmer Tom Wadson has been growing and giving us the best local produce for years now.

BUTCHER

Practicing an ancient trade, the butchers at SuperMart (125 Front St., Hamilton, 292-2064) are experts at keeping up with our modern tastes, making them a prime cut above the rest.

MAITRE D'

There are going to be a lot of frustrated maitre d’s on the island. Manuel Llanes at L’Oriental (32 Bermudiana Rd., Hamilton, 296-4477) has now won the award for the second year running, which is quite the task considering how personally our favourite maitre d’s take losing it. Face it, fellas, you’ve been beaten by the friendliest, most efficient, most tireless maitre d’ on the island. Time to step up your game.

CHEF

Although the food is delicious, the service impeccable and the setting intimate, what really stood out to our judges about Mad Hatters is the head chef and local personality, Ben Jewett (22 Richmond Rd., Pembroke, 297-6231). Yes, his creations are delectable, but his character is one in a million. Interaction between the head chef and his customers is rare in the restaurant business, but when it comes to Ben, it’s a welcome treat. He’ll have you in fits of laughter and make you feel completely at home, even as he lets out an “Oompaah!” from the kitchen!

CREATIVE COCKTAILS

Little umbrellas do not qualify a drink for being a creative cocktail. There must be lemon peels and floating fruit and olives and vermouth mist and just about anything else you can fit in a glass. Sure, the drinks can get bit girly, but you won’t be thinking that after your fourth Singapore sling at Barracuda Grill (5 Burnaby Hill, Hamilton, 292-1609).

BARTENDER

Whether you’re trundling in after a thirsty day on the water or just need a place to have a quiet pint, if you know Sandro Piatta (Fresco’s, 2 Chancery Ln., Hamilton, 295-5058) he will have your drink in front of you before you can sit down.

PLACE TO SHAKE A LEG

If your intentions are innocent and all you want to do is dance, then who are we to say otherwise? Now boasting a bigger dance floor that doesn’t leave you drenched in sweat, the revamped Café Cairo (93 Front St., Hamilton, 295-5155) is more of a swinging hot spot than ever.

CAKE MAKER

For any occasion, big or small, Kayo, the owner of Cake Boutique Celebration (Suite 104, 48 Par-la-Ville Rd., Hamilton, 304-8181) will help your cake fantasy come true. With her extensive knowledge and skills in the kitchen, whatever you have in mind will come out looking and tasting like sheer perfection.

ATTENTIVE STAFF

The trick to having an attentive staff is having a staff that’s not too attentive. They can’t be shoulder surfing over you, waiting to turn the table, but they had better be there when the wine runs out. With eagle eyes, Harry’s (96 Pitt’s Bay Rd., Pembroke, 292-5533) staff strikes this balance perfectly. Just think the words “Oh, waiter!” and one will come running.

WELL-CHOSEN WINE LIST

We all pretend to know a thing or two about choosing a wine, but let’s be honest, most of us don’t—which is dangerous when a poor wine can ruin your dinner or leave you with a hellish hangover. Cut out the mystery by going to Harry’s (96 Pitt’s Bay Rd., Pembroke, 292-5533). They help you wine all night, so you don’t whine all morning.

PLACE TO CATCH A FILM

Speciality Cinema (12 Church St., Hamilton, 22-2135) is a no-contest winner again this year. When it comes to providing the entire movie-going package with an American attention to detail—concessions, comfy seats and great films—Speciality Cinema makes the competition seem, well, Bermudian.

DRAMATIC PRODUCTION

The Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society is no stranger to sellout shows, but the phenomenon that was Fawlty Towers was unlike any other. Even with added shows, it was impossible to supply tickets to everyone that wanted them, and aspiring audience members were advised to push, pull, tug and tear their way to getting tickets. If you weren’t able to see it for yourselves, take it from our judges that this one was a hit!

PLACE TO WATCH TELEVISED SPORTS

Flanagan’s has had a hard time making something out of their expansive back room. Well, they’ve nailed it now, and it is only right that they win this award. Televisions wherever the eye wanders, hot wings, nachos and buckets of Coors Lite, Flanagan’s Outback (Emporium Building, 69 Front St., Hamilton, 295-8299) is the one-stop shop for those that make a day out of watching sports.

HAPPIEST HAPPY HOUR

Friday is the happiest day of the week and in celebration of this momentous occasion, professionals, young people and even the occasional cougar venture down to Harry’s (96 Pitt’s Bay Rd., Pembroke, 292-5533) for a cocktail and a chin wag.

PICK-UP BAR

Let’s cut to the chase: a lot of late-night clubbing is nothing more than a modern mating ground. You’re in denial if you believe otherwise. Completely renovated from head to toe, Café Cairo (93 Front St., Hamilton, 295-5155) may look suave and sophisticated, but it’s still the place to go when all you need is a good…drink.

COOLEST CAFE

It takes a lot for a café to be cool. It takes even more for a café to pretend it’s not cool (which is way cooler than being cool in the first place). Café Ten (10 Dundonald St., Hamilton, 295-0857) does this by striking a perfect balance between the modern interior and crazy-good food and drink options, so you won’t find yourself ordering a super-organic-grande-chai-China-macchiato.

TASTY TAKE-OUT

While it’s been renovated to allow a proper dining experience, House of India (57 North St., Hamilton, 205-6450) is a take-out joint by heart. If you’re hungry, mentioning any one of the items on House of India’s menu is likely to send you into a mania.

MUSICIAN

When Mohawk Radio took their first Best of Bermuda award last year, we mentioned that they had a lot more rocking and rolling to do. And they have. It was a tough call choosing the best musicians in Bermuda, but Mohawk Radio have cut more rugs and knocked off more socks than all the rest.

PLACE TO HEAR LIVE MUSIC

Besides breaking down social barriers, Chewstick (28 Elliott St., Hamilton, 292-2439) presents an opportunity for expression, understanding and love through their ever-growing open-mic nights. Featuring music, storytelling, poetry and even the occasional rant, it has become a place where Bermudians can unite under their love for creative expression.

HOMEGROWN PRODUCT

In this brand-new category, it didn’t take judges long to select Gombey Pepper Jams (535-5267) as the winner. Made by the Bermuda Jam Factory, the delicious flavours are the perfect complement to almost any dish. Have fun glazing, spreading, saucing, dipping, sharing and gifting this summertime with this yummy Bermudian treat.

CODFISH BREAKFAST

Try serving a Bermudian a poorly made codfish breakfast and you’ll be chased out of the kitchen with a frying pan. The remarkable ease with which Boucheé (77 Pitt’s Bay Rd., Hamilton, 295-5759) serves up their codfish breakfast is downright confounding. Winning the category again this year, they have certainly proven their mastery over the finicky dish, no matter how many waiters were clobbered over the head in the process.

FISH CHOWDER

To be completely transparent, we can’t remember anybody else winning this category. Ever. If that admission isn’t enough to get you down to Lobster Pot (6 Bermudiana Rd., Hamilton, 292-6898) to try their fish chowder, you are just downright un-Bermudian.

FISH SANDWICH

It’s the opinion of Bermudians and tourists alike that the best fish sandwiches in the world come from our tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic. So if the best fish sandwiches come from Bermuda and the best fish sandwiches locally are from the same shop that has one this award for what seems like forever, dare we say that the best fish sandwiches in the world come from Art Mells Spicy Dicy (9 St. Monica’s Rd., Pembroke, 295-3965)?

LOCAL FARE

When it comes to traditional local eats, none are more demanding than Bermudians. It’s true, we know our cultural dishes well and can taste even the slightest imperfection. However, with a place like Black Horse Tavern (St. David’s, 292-1991), even the most picky customers will be satisfied.

THE JUDGES

Claire Hattie, founder, Nothing to Do in Bermuda

Gail Foulger, senior associate, KPMG Advisory Ltd

Giselle Baksh, events manager, RenaissanceRe

Stephan Johnstone, creative director, SJDworld

P. Graham Smith, commercial representative, Coldwell Banker Commercial Bermuda Realty

 

 

People's Choice Awards

This year—for the first time ever—The Bermudian magazine opened up the Best of Bermuda Awards to you, the people, in our People’s Choice Awards. We were overwhelmed by the response and thank everyone who participated. Here are the results:

Best Cup of Java: Everyone loves a great cup of coffee, and our voters had strong opinions on their favourites. Rock Island Coffee was the top choice by a wide margin, followed by Miles Market. It is worth mentioning that there were many write-in answers for Java Jive and Juice ’n Beans Café.

Best Hamburger: We’ve had some people ask in the past, Why does Dorothy’s Coffee Shop ALWAYS win for Best Hamburger? Well, we can’t say for sure, but Dorothy continues to reign supreme, taking a landslide win in this category.

Best Sushi: Sushi is another local favourite, and people were divided on their choice of the best. Harbourfront squeaked to the top of the People’s Choice poll, followed closely by Yashi Sushi Bar. Port O’ Call’s new sushi bar, Pearl, also got a lot of love in our write-in responses.

Best Pizza: This was another close race with Rustico just edging out La Trattoria as the People’s Choice, while a fair number of voters also wrote in for Pizza House, Speciality Inn and The Dining Room.

Best Fish Sandwich: We were hardly surprised that Art Mell’s Spicy Dicy took the People’s Choice Award for Best Fish Sandwich, as it’s another perennial winner in the Best of Bermuda Awards. However, Blackhorse Tavern was not far behind. Perhaps they’ll give Art Mell’s a run for their money next year.

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