The food and drink of Barbados

The food and drink of Barbados

by Great British Chefs 12 May 2016

As the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Barbados is the ultimate destination for anyone wanting to taste something truly unique. Read our insider's guide to the best dishes and restaurants on this incredible island.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Of all the Caribbean nations, Barbados takes the top spot in the culinary rankings. From local delicacies to incredible street food stands, the island has a lot to offer. Bajans love to eat, and they take their food traditions very seriously. Whether you’re after a quick bite to enjoy as you make your way down to the beach, want to experience fine dining in a tropical climate or are eager to eat like the locals do, there’s a wealth of options to explore.

The general vibe throughout Barbados is relaxed, casual and – most importantly – full of fun. This makes it the perfect place to taste your way around the island, popping in and out of cafés, snacking on something as you walk the streets of Bridgetown, or spending an evening drinking cocktails as you look out onto the azure ocean while the sun goes down. Read on to discover Barbados' favourite local dishes, along with some of the best restaurants and bars dotted all over the island.

Local dishes

Pudding and souse is what a typical Bajan eats every Saturday and is a must-try for anyone wanting to experience local cuisine. It’s essentially pork pickled in lime juice with cucumber and onion (the ‘souse’) and grated sweet potato stuffed into pig intestines (the ‘pudding’). If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also enjoy it ‘with features’, which comes with the snout and ears of the pig, too. You can also try pickled ‘seacat’ (octopus) – a true delicacy.

Cou cou is a simple combination of okra and cornmeal, which is cooked together until it sets firm. It's the national dish of Barbados when served alongside flying fish that's either steamed or pan-fried, so it's a must-try for any visitor.

Pepperpot is a thick, spicy stew that’s cooked over several days. Usually made with beef, pork and mutton, it’s flavoured with local spices and plenty of Scotch bonnet peppers. It’s usually served with bread and butter, rice or mashed potato. Head to Blakey’s, on the South Coast Boardwalk, for the best on the island.

Fried flying fish
Fried flying fish is a local delicacy found at Bajan buffets all over the island
The beaches of Barbados are lined with shacks selling all sorts of delicious dishes

A Cutter may look like a simple sandwich, but there’s much more to it than first meets the eye. It’s made using Bajan salt bread, a thick bun which, contrary to its name, isn’t salty at all. The most common cutters are filled with cheese, egg, fish or ham, and are always generously dressed with Bajan pepper sauce.

Bajan fish cakes are made with salt fish and local spices, and should always be dipped into Marie Rose sauce (with a little added heat from some Scotch bonnets, of course). They’re very cheap and are perfect for snacking on while you walk through the streets.

Bajan buffets are very traditional and are the best places to visit if you want to taste a lot of different things at once. Make sure you arrive with an open mind (and an empty stomach) so you can try a little bit of everything that’s on offer. Favourites tend to include macaroni pie, rice and peas, sweet potato pie and fried flying fish (along with all the dishes mentioned above).

Barbados is a haven for pastry-lovers, as baked goods can be found on sale still hot from the oven all over the island. Jam Puffs, Coconut bread and currant slices are the most popular, but head to Carter’s Bakery in the heart of the parish of Saint George for the best.

A Cutter may look like a simple sandwich, but there’s much more to it than first meets the eye. It’s made using Bajan salt bread, a thick bun which, contrary to its name, isn’t salty at all.
There's nothing more Bajan than enjoying a few cocktails as you watch the sun set over the Caribbean
Plenty of restaurants have balconies overlooking the coast, providing incredible views alongside fantastic food


While there are plenty of fine dining restaurants in Barbados (take a look at The Cliff, Cin Cin and The Tides if you want a real taste of Bajan luxury), it’s the trendy and casual eateries that really encompass what the island is all about.

Scarlet is easily the trendiest restaurant in Barbados, tucked away in Saint James, minutes from Holetown. Choose from an extensive cocktail list as larger than life pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn adorn the walls. Make sure you try the Basilique cocktail and the honey-glazed salmon skewers.

Fish Pot is a gorgeous little place in the parish of Saint Lucy in the very north of the island. Go here for lunch and enjoy the long, scenic drive up the west coast. The restaurant is perched right on the seaside and boasts breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. The catch of the day is always fabulously fresh and delicious.

Café Luna at Little Arches is a quaint restaurant located in a boutique hotel located just above Miami Beach on the south coast of Barbados, and is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two under the stars. If you are a sushi lover, go on Thursday or Friday evening when the sushi chef is in, but the regular menu is great too.

Located right on the South Coast Boardwalk, Tapas is always buzzing. The menu is perfect for sharing and the wine list is definitely noteworthy, with a good cocktail list to boot. Keep an eye out for the Thai fish cakes and do try the Golden Apple Martini. If you’re a martini lover, Tapas is home to the best dirty martinis in town.

A hip bar and restaurant on the south coast, Mojo is where to go for burgers. The recently revamped kitchen has been all the rage since its launch, and it’s the perfect place to mingle with locals and have a good meal with a few drinks.

Visit Barbados today and discover why this jewel of the Caribbean offers so much more than a typical sunny getaway.

Rediscover Barbados

While on the island for the highly anticipated Food, Wine and Rum Festival, guests can enjoy the island’s new ‘re-DISCOVER’ program inviting connoisseurs to sample the best of Bajan cuisine at famed island eateries with a special three-course tasting menu inclusive of a complimentary bottle of wine per couple.

There are plenty of beachside bars and restaurants selling fresh, tropical dishes that can only be found on Barbados