Ladies and gents, brace yourself. Its the moment you’ve been waiting for. Ever since you discovered the Turkey and Cascos Islands as your co-workers call them (“You back… how was Turkey and Cascos”), the question you always wanted to ask but were too afraid for some reason; What to order at Caicos Café, the top restaurant in Providenciales. If you agree, great. If you disagree, even better. You just need a little help that’s all.
Although I live 1300 miles away, and have a serious eating disorder (NYC did this to me), I’ve written about Caicos Café more than any other restaurant in the world (trying to sound dramatic, but really it doesn’t mean anything. I could have said NY but I chose not to). I’ve written stories, reviews, blog posts, mentioned them in every WWH Seven dishes column, and children books (“Goodnight Grouper”). So instead of writing yet another boring blog post about our recent meals there, I decided to write about what dishes you should target on your next visit (which is really the same thing, but sounds much more interesting, doesnt it?).
Resume: somewhere between 15-20 meals. Here are the up to date standings of the most visited restaurants:
1) Pure Thai Cookhouse (NYC) 60-70 meals
2) Chicken Over Rice Guy around the corner (NYC) 50
3) Caicos Café (TCI) 15-20
4) Mom (Brooklyn) 12
We often joke that we could potentially eat every dinner of a week’s long trip at CC, and have a great and different meal every night. One day we may finally do it. And you can bet your sweet tooches that we’ll have some sort of combination of the following
Grilled Calamari Skewer – Starting with the no-brainer. On the menu since pretty much day one, and something we must have on just about every visit. Spiced grilled Calamari on a skewer, sitting on top of cannellini beans, mussels, grilled bread with the most perfectly complimentary light sauce. Great dish
Gnocchi – Another must for us. A dish that saw many iterations, but the result is always the same. Fresh homemade potato Gnocchi, whether with tomato sauce, mushroom sauce, bigger Gnocchi, smaller Gnocchi, doesnt matter. Pillowy, melty goodness without fail each time.
Escargot – Rivals the former Caicos Cafe, and the current Le Bouchon du Village for best on the island
Wahoo Carpaccio – An occasional special, and another absolute must. This is the only way I can truly enjoy this firm dude, and now I have to order more because my entire family is into it. Like eating sea butter
Lobster Fra Diavolo – Possibly the most popular dish during lobster season. Flambeed with Brandy, along with chili, parsley, garlic, light tomato sauce, and most importantly plentiful of tasty, tender, never chewy lobster morsels. Other similar dishes on the island pale in comparison
Orecchiette – A seafood break for the meat lovers. Orecchiette means “small ears”, normally mixed with sausages and Broccoli rabe. Here Chef Max blends in a sweet and spicy sausage ragu with Broccoli and Parmesan cheese. Another menu staple
Pumpkin Ravioli – A new favorite in the Ziggy familia. I normally hesitate ordering it (its pumpkin ravioli!), but one bite is like a shock through the system. Roasted pumpkin, 5 various cheeses, pecans, brown butter, thyme, and more Parma cheese to top it all. More flavorful than all the Tortelli di Zucca we’ve had in Parma.
Baby Back Pork Ribs – This is where that crazy versatility is showing. I imagine a full blown Italian style scheduled transport strike if this is taken out of the menu. Its that popular. Marinaded with Jalapeno, honey, paprika and lime juice, wet rubbed with Bourbon BBQ sauce… Winner
Grilled Local Grouper – Only available as a special, which means you are getting a fresh locally caught grouper. Not Swai, not Tilapia, not Carp! Simply grilled to perfection with vegetables sauteed in lemon-mint extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes, capers, olives & basil salsa, mashed potatoes. Hint: notice the weather is lousy? Guess what, no grouper today, as the weather is lousy for the local fishermen as well. What you’ll get on the other menus is the frozen or [Enter your favorite Vietnamese catfish here]
Anything with Octopus – Pay close attention to the specials here. When he gets those Portuguese Octopuses via Miami, oooooh boy, watch out. Grilled just by itself, or as part of a pasta like Troccoli alla Chitarra utilizing his guitar (Chitarra). So so good
Pear and Mango Tart – Honey, Butter sauce, vanilla ice cream. Sometimes apples, sometimes pear, always delicious.