Posts Tagged With: Best food in Providenciales

Provo – Food for Thought 2016

Somewhere Fajitas

Somewhere Fish Fajitas

Our latest food adventure on our favorite home away from home.  I didnt take too many pictures, and on some evenings at the regular spots I didnt even take my camera (it felt like its time).  But this was yet another fun trip, with good food for the most part.  To some of the regulars these mentions may become tiresome, but I did have enough new dishes at most that moved me (yes moved)

Sweet T’s – Our new regular first stop driving from the airport.  $6 chicken (12 pieces), $2 fries, $2 drinks, eating the chicken in the car while ducking every time a Grace Bay Rental employee shows up, priceless!

Caicos Cafe – The prerequisite double meal at Caicos Cafe.  A lot of changes on the menu since the last visit not surprisingly (knowing chef “Mad” Max).  Old fave Tagliolini got a tan.  It’s now a sweeter tasting pasta by way of the squid ink.  Grilled Calamari and the Gnocchi are a must get from day one, while the fall off the fork ribs are heading to that direction as well.  On the second visit I “Scarpetta’d” the shi&$t out of the calamari plate with their homemade bread, to the point of an unrecognized spotless clean dish.  Grouper, when on the board, you will not find a better preparation on the island.  Loved the conch and grouper chowder this time.  Goat cheese with butternut salad in a pastry was perhaps the best new app discovery.

Mad Max also does a decent steak.  Peppercorn expectedly not as creamy as Le Bouchon, but more peppery.  Good ol’ Orrechiette (aka Mike Tyson’s fave) has finally been replaced by Pacheri, large rolled tube shape, when unrolled they are like Pappardelle with balls.  But it’s more like a crazy salad than pasta, fully loaded with peppers, sausages, zucchini, a cold small mozzarella ball in the center, and more.  Gorgeous dish.  Had a nice semi dry white from Naples – forgot the name of the grape, not something I heard of before.  That’s one region we haven’t explored yet.  Iced mousse with chocolate and coconut mousse, like the island version of Semifreddo.  The lone miss this time was the grouper ravioli, but I’m not a fan of fish ravioli to begin with

Caravel – This is one of my favorite newish local spots.  We had a nice lunch here two months after they opened, and now back for dinner.  They are no longer open for lunch after they realized they are not on the water!  Very welcoming, and comfortable from the friendly husband, wife, and friends team.  The soups here are very strong, particularly the white chowder.  Good blackened snapper, while jerk pork loin less successful.  But the star here again were those unusual fried fish tacos.  I would love to see more Caribbean specialties on the menu, like goat and oxtail.  Owner cooked at Amanyara, Mr Grouper’s, Fresh Catch and finally now his very own restaurant, but something tells me he has more tricks up his sleeveIMG_8254

Hemingways – We had fish tacos at 4 different places on this trip including the famous Somewhere, and to me the Hemingway’s tacos are still the ones to beat.  Perfectly flaky, nicely seasoned grouper with a nice tang from the mango salsa.  Same goes for the fish & chips, a must for us on every visit.  Hemingway’s was our first meal in TCI 10 years ago, and still going strong.  Hard to beat this setting for lunch

Julien’s Deli – Stop by before the flight (give it some time) got sandwiches and leave it to Julien, your Le Bouchon host, to make your return flight easier.  You will have the best food on the plane

Le Bouchon TunaLe Bouchon – I saw an ad on the bus today for Jimmy Kimmel for Vice President, “A good, solid #2”.  This is essentially Le Bouchon for me, though they can be easily #1 if they feel like it.  This is the only none ‘local’ place on the island where locals and expats outnumber visitors.  Tuna tartar, nothing short of spectacular, as only the French can do.  Escargot, now that the kids are obsessed with escargot (seriously I’m raising freaks) we should start getting two of those.  Lets just say I enjoyed the bread :-(.   The head cheese-like Octopus Carpaccio… angels singing.  Get this.  The now legendary Steak au Poivre is still the steak to beat.  Two perfectly seared scallops on creamy saffron risotto was on point.  A beautifully done yellowfin tuna (left), so light and flavorful (once you add the sauce).  Perhaps the best LB meal to date.

Conch Shack – We forgot how much fun this place can be.  And the food here is good enough to make it a regular again.  Conch rules much of the menu, but make sure to get the jerk wings with the homemade sauce.  The sauce is one of those sauces that make you dip anything and everything in it.  Peas, rice, beans, fingers, car keys, it’s all good.  The blackened fish make-yourself tacos are fine.  Basic conch salad.  And Conch Creole was like the homey tomato based stew your grandma would make if she was into conch (like the coolest grandma ever).  You cant get a better setting, and “welcome to provo” than this

Conch Shack Wings

Vix – New management, new chef, new menu, new mediocrity?  The place and flavors just did not come through for us.  The frozen packaged tasting gnocchi looked better on the menu than on the plate.  The very basic Caesar salad can use some tips from Mark from Lupo nearby.  The spicy Pasta Rusta’s heat was the only thing you taste after a few bites.  Just pure senseless heat.  Lamb Shank was fall off the bone alright but became boring in a hurry.  The snapper, cooked creole style was the saving grace.  One and dont!

Bugaloos – Another regular stop.  Conch salad is noticeably fresher here, though its not so much freshness, but who chops it fresh for each order.  A misunderstanding that we could have corrected but chose not to, left us with a mammoth $85 snapper that we all shared and couldn’t finish.  They got the freshest snappers, and other than the broth a little saltier this time, we enjoyed this again.  Coconut cracked conch is fine, much prefer the raw goodness.  “Service can be slow at time” is becoming the norm, but who cares.IMG_8327

Bella Luna Pizza – Stayed in one night to watch Hockey playoffs (the only thing I like more than food).  Thin, underdone, soggy,  super cheesy, desperate need for seasoning, but other than that, we loved it!

Simone’s – Considering this is the first place I wrote about when we came back, yes we liked this newcomer quite a bit.  It wasnt perfect, but very very promising.

Infiniti Bar – This is becoming a favorite for pre-dinner drinks, and sunset.  The drinks are good, and they give you popcorn!

Somewhere – Infamous fish tacos were much better this time, so I’m finally on board.  But something tells me the best thing on the menu is the the fish fajitas especially when they have fresh snapper.  Our friends ordered it, and it looked and smelled amazing.  Ex-friends I should say, since they didnt offer me any!

Seaside – As long as Francois is at the helm, I’ll continue to come.  But out of my favorites, I have the lowest confidence when recommending Seaside, mainly because it doesnt have much of an atmosphere.  Blackened Mahi was nicely cooked.  Not the biggest mahi fan, but this one worked.  A nice new addition to the menu is the excellent open faced ravioli with bay scallops, conch, shrimp, mahi, some truffle oil and mushrooms.  The elusive “South American” (aka Peruvian) conch salad, still the best conch salad on the island.

Seaside Mahi

 

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Turks and Caicos – Top 7 Small Bites

(As published in the current WhereWhenHow Magazine)

Seven days of culinary bliss. That defines another trip to Providenciales in a nutshell for the Ziggy clan. I can’t think of another Caribbean island where we’ve had it thisgood in such consistent fashion. Recent trips to foodie heavyweights in Europe have produced their share of clunkers. So who knew that an island nation of 33,253 residents, with restaurants mostly geared toward tourists, would produce such culinary delights?

I just love eating in Provo.  In fact I love everything about the island – the beach, the people, even the driving.  According to Mrs Ziggy I turn into someone else, including a complete gentleman while on the island (Although the truth is I keep forgetting the location of the steering wheel on the rental and keep opening the wrong door).  Anyway, with that said, I will share here some of our favorite dishes from our last trip.

A solid meal can turn uneven in a hurry without the support of a solid starter to set the tone.  So without further ado here are the nominees for best supporting cast (I’m talking about small dishes.  Play with me here as I’m recovering from the latest Oscar fever)…

Conch Kebabs at Garam Masala.  Imagine the Falafel and the Shish Kebab having a baby girl named Apple (a Hollywood Bollywood baby).  The result is a spicy, juicy palate pleaser that opens your senses for things to come.  I love Indian food and I can tell you that this is not your ordinary Indian.  Part owner Vinni has a passion for his native cuisine and it shows.

Strong contender:  Chicken Tikka “Pizza” (on naan bread)

Garam Masala - Conch kebabsLobster Salad at Las Brisas –  Lobster, tortilla, Chalk Sound, gazebo, light breeze, stronger breeze, napkins flying, oh no quick, close the shutters before the kids get a cold – Ingredients you wont find anywhere else, not even in Basque Country.  The folks at Las Brisas (which means breezes) have been dishing out great tapas and lobster salads  for years.  They partially cook the lobster and let the lime acid do the rest.  A semi-ceviche if you will.  But you need to get there during  lobster season, otherwise, well.. enjoy chicken season.

Strong contender:  Chickpeas and Chorizo

Las Brisas - Lobster SaladGrilled Calamari at Caicos Café – Did you ever take a bulldog for a walk to his favorite spot in the park, and experience its huge anticipation as it strains on the leash to get there?  That is sort of like when I’m being taken to Caicos Café.  And in recent years in Caicos Café, the marvelous grilled Calamari is usually the first thing to arrive at our table. The squid itself has great texture, not too chewy as some can get.  Add fresh mussels, savory Cannellini beans and finger licking, more bread please sauce and you got yourself one heck of a dish.  I  like to order grilled calamari everywhere we go and the result is very often a case of severe daydreaming.

Strong contender: Gnocchi with Mushroom sauce

Caicos Cafe - Grilled CalamariFish Tacos at Hemingway’s – A staple on every trip to Provo for us, especially for Mrs Ziggy (Hi, Mrs Ziggy, look at me I have my own column.  See, I told you all that time spent on Trip Advisor will lead to something).  While in other popular establishments on other islands you need a fishing license to fish the grouper out of the tacos, in Hemingway’s the fish is the main event.  A hint of sour cream and sweet Mango chutney provide a glorious compliment and lets you temporary forget any preferences for the spicier stuff.

Strong Contender: Conch Fritters

Hemingway's - Fish TacosCoffee Rubbed Tuna at Bay Bistro – Who knew coffee and tuna can play so nicely together.  Well, the same person that figured out the pecan, conch and orange Ménage à trois among other great combinations in the classics filled Bay Bistro menu, that’s who. Island riots and airport shutting firefighter strikes normally erupt after Bay Bistro removes items from the menu.  Long live the Coffee Rubbed Tuna!

Strong Contender: Conch Wontons

Bay Bistro - Coffee Rubbed TunaEscargot at Le Bouchon.  When in Provo do what the French do, and eat what the French eat like the succulent Escargot at Le Bouchon.  It’s a fairly simple dish that so many can’t get quite right.  At a recent popular Brooklyn joint I was presented with an Escargot dish that was pretty to look at but with zero substance, like Paris Hilton.  However at Le Bouchon what you get is the perfect balance of garlic, butter and herbs.  And once you are done with those babies you can shift that ‘I want more’ desire to the sauce and the terrific bread.

Strong Contenders:  Mussels

Le Bouchon - EscargotScallops at Beach House – Perfectly seared scallops with cauliflower espuma and white truffle vinaigrette.  The espuma is a foam-like runny “I cant believe its not mashed potato puree”, and you really get the wonderful truffle essence here.  Big flavours in this one.  Note that spelling flavour with a U, the British way, normally alludes to bigger tastes than the less sophisticated American plain Flavor.

Strong Contender:  Strozzapreti (Another Note, I havent actually tried those particular Priest Stranglers (“Strozzapreti”) but strictly judging in this case by the facial expressions of a trusted foodie that did.  Unless it was just gas)Beach House - Scallops

So there you have it.  7 memorable small bites from our last trip.  Enjoy your trip and stay hungry my friends

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