Nassau in the Bahamas is often seen in television ads for the large resort Atlantis at Paradise Island. While on a recent trip to Nassau, we visited Atlantis for dinner and found it to be a destination that would appeal to all ages. It contains a large casino, lots of kid-oriented activities and many shops and restaurants.
We walked along the dock on our way to one of the restaurants and were awed by the amazing yachts that were moored there. These were in the category of huge-and-expensive, with people seen dining on their decks, served by staff. I think we were probably as impressed by the extravagance of these yachts as we were by the elegance of the resort itself.
The restaurant we chose was Carmine’s, with Italian family-style cuisine and excellent service. Five of us ordered salad and three entrees and declared all of it delicious. The Caesar salad and the Carmine’s salad were both well-prepared and more than met everyone’s expectations. A 30-ounce Porterhouse steak was cooked to perfection, as was the spaghetti with meatballs (best meatballs ever) and the ravioli. The portions were huge, and we left with enough food for another meal or two. Reservations are a must at Carmine’s, as they probably are at most of the restaurants at Atlantis.
Another large resort is currently being built at Cable Beach in Nassau. Baha Mar is billed as “The New Riviera” and is a $3.5 billion resort containing a casino, an 18-hole, par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, four hotels (including Rosewood and Grand Hyatt) and private residences. It looks like it will be a destination itself, with beautiful Caribbean blue waters spanning the distance between its beach area and private island.
On another day we spent time at the Sandals Royal Bahamian resort. This is an adults-only resort, and a day pass gives access to the pools, beach, restaurants and a private island for the day. This is an older place and is hopefully being updated soon. It was a very pleasant spot for enjoying the sun at the pools and beach, and the day pass included food, drinks and service.
When asking several native Bahamians where we should be sure to eat, all declared that we shouldn’t miss “Fish Fry.” This turned out to be a block of native-style restaurants, and we were advised that Oh Andros was the best. There didn’t seem to be very many people in the area when we arrived for a late lunch, so we felt that we missed the noon crowds – until we opened the door to Oh Andros, that is. The small restaurant was packed, with many Bahamians waiting in line. The wait was worth it, however, and we sampled some reasonably-priced, delicious native food.
From pork chops to shrimp and lobster, the entrees were outstanding. Each dinner came with two sides, and the macaroni and cheese was the best, made in layers and baked more like lasagna. A large serving of seasoned rice with peas (which looked and tasted more like beans than peas) was included on all plates. As we waddled out, we decided that we would have to return soon, which we did two days later.
The other interesting thing to do in Nassau is to go grocery shopping. It certainly makes one appreciate our grocery prices. While the types of foods are not really much different than what you might find in our local grocery stories, the prices are. As an example, a box of dessert cakes was marked $3.99 by the manufacturer, but the grocery store sticker price was $6.99.
Because most products – groceries, necessities, household items, most everything – have to be shipped to the island, the markup makes the cost very high. As a result, the budget for a trip to the Bahamas should be amply padded for the higher costs. It is worth the cost, however, to experience the beauty of the islands, the delicious native foods and the warmth and congeniality of the native Bahamians. As they say, “Hey, Mon!”
Marcy Williams is a NewsOK contributor and a retired public school educator/administrator and Web editor.
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