Visitors will notice the British reverence for dining all over Barbados, where English breakfasts, afternoon teas, and long dinners are standard. A few differences in dining customs may surprise travelers but should ultimately serve to enhance their restaurant experience.
Dining in Barbados has always been a relatively conservative affair, and a general dress code should be adhered to. Shorts are rarely appropriate at respectable sit-down restaurants; bathing suits are never appropriate. Some restaurants will require male guests to wear a jacket and tie for dinner. If you are unsure of the exact requirement, feel free to inquire when making reservations.
Restaurants on the island of Barbados tend to get extremely busy, particularly during the peak winter season. Consequently, vacationers are advised to make reservations well in advance to ensure that tables are available. Booking a table in advance can be made easy by such means as faxing reservations to restaurants before you even leave home. Hotels with concierge on staff should be able to give personalized recommendations and make reservations for their guests, as well.
Fast food is available on the island but with innovative interpretations. The traditional hamburger or pizza may be accompanied by Bajan menu items. Meals at fast food restaurants and street stands cost approximately $5(USD) to $8(USD) per person.
After a long day of swimming and enjoying the Barbados sun, many vacationers opt for a more lively restaurant experience, complete with renowned Bajan hospitality. Dining at a mid-priced restaurant that features both Bajan specialties as well as international cuisine will cost approximately $25(USD) per person. Get to know Barbados' restaurants grouped by cuisine in the following table.
|American||19 Restaurants||Vauxhall, Oistens, Dover, Eden Lodge, Diamond Valley, downtown Bridgetown, the vicinity of Bridgetown, Christ Church Parish, Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown, St. Lawrence Gap|
|Asian||5 Restaurants||Holetown, Holders Hill, Christ Church Parish, Bridgetown, St. Matthias|
|Asian Fusion||2 Restaurants||Holetown, St. Michael Parish|
|Bajan||12 Restaurants||Welches, Dover, downtown Bridgetown, Porters, Christ Church Parish, Gibbons, St. Andrew Parish, Speightstown, St. Lawrence Gap, St. Matthias|
|1 Restaurant||St. Thomas Parish|
|Caribbean||66 Restaurants||Mullins, Vauxhall, Dover, Suriname, St. Michael Parish, Christ Church Parish, St. Joseph Parish, St. Andrew Parish, Bathsheba, downtown Bridgetown, the vicinity of Holetown, Gibbons, St. Matthias, Welches, Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown, St. Lawrence Gap, Diamond Valley, Holders Hill, Porters, Atlantic Shores|
|Chinese||9 Restaurants||Vauxhall, Dover, downtown Bridgetown, St. Philip Parish, Holetown, St. Thomas Parish|
|Creole||3 Restaurants||downtown Bridgetown, Vauxhall, Bridgetown|
|French||4 Restaurants||Speightstown, downtown Bridgetown, the vicinity of Holetown|
|Fusion||4 Restaurants||Holetown, Porters, Welches, Bridgetown|
|Greek||2 Restaurants||Holetown, St. Lawrence Gap|
|Indian||5 Restaurants||Dover, Holetown, Diamond Valley, the vicinity of Holetown, St. Matthias|
|International||84 Restaurants||Mullins, Vauxhall, Dover, St. James Parish, St. Michael Parish, Christ Church Parish, St. Philip Parish, St. George, Oistens, Bathsheba, downtown Bridgetown, the vicinity of Holetown, Maynards, Six Roads, Charnocks, St. Matthias, Keizer Hill, Welches, Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown, St. Lawrence Gap, Diamond Valley, Holders Hill, Eden Lodge, Porters, Harrismith|
|Italian||27 Restaurants||Vauxhall, Wanstead, Eden Lodge, Diamond Valley, Holders Hill, downtown Bridgetown, the vicinity of Holetown, St. James Parish, St. Michael Parish, Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown, St. Lawrence Gap, St. Matthias|
|1 Restaurant||Christ Church Parish|
|Japanese||2 Restaurants||St. Michael Parish, Diamond Valley|
|Mediterranean||11 Restaurants||the vicinity of Holetown, the vicinity of Speightstown, Porters, St. Michael Parish, Christ Church Parish, Bridgetown, Holetown, St. Matthias|
|Mexican||1 Restaurant||St. Lawrence Gap|
|Pan Asian / Pacific Rim||3 Restaurants||Barbados, the vicinity of Holetown, St. Michael Parish|
|1 Restaurant||St. Michael Parish|
|1 Restaurant||St. Lawrence Gap|
|Thai||4 Restaurants||Dover, Speightstown, St. Michael Parish, Diamond Valley|
|Contemporary||5 Restaurants||Holetown, St. Michael Parish, Holders Hill, Harrismith|
|Eclectic||26 Restaurants||Dover, Holders Hill, Eden Lodge, the vicinity of Holetown, St. Michael Parish, Christ Church Parish, Bridgetown, Holetown, St. Lawrence Gap, St. Matthias|
|Vegetarian||5 Restaurants||Speightstown, Oistens, Suriname, the vicinity of Holetown, St. Matthias|
Upscale restaurants that showcase the world-class chefs of Barbados offer traditional gourmet menu items, such as caviar and pâté, as well as exotic local dishes and regional catches. Expect to pay about $60 to $80(USD) per person at a posh restaurant for an evening meal.
Visitors should be aware that it is not uncommon for restaurants in Barbados to withhold the check until it is requested. This is just one way for hospitable servers to ensure that diners feel relaxed and unhurried during their meal. When the bill is presented, however, guests should not be surprised to see the customary 15 percent value added tax, a charge tacked on to the total of all meals prepared on the island. Additionally, some restaurants will assess a 10 percent service charge that functions as gratuity. If this charge has been added, there is no need for further tipping. You may, however, choose to give your server more if you feel you received exceptional care.
Vacationers hoping to catch an early breakfast before they begin their day should note that many restaurants in Barbados don't serve breakfast and the ones that do generally open around 9 a.m. Prior to that time, room service may be an option (depending on the hotel), or vacationers may need to purchase items that can be stored in their hotel rooms to ward off early-morning hunger.
With world-class service and a blend of colonial refinement and island spunk, hungry vacationers will find that the island of Barbados is a great place to enjoy excellent foods in a refreshing atmosphere.
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