Christmas Day in The Bahamas is a big deal. Almost all local businesses close their doors entirely (it’s an official Public Holiday), local families host large gatherings throughout the day and, of course, late at night, the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade (colourful street parades of African origins) takes center stage when it kicks off at 11 PM and the city comes alive.
If you’re a visitor planning to be in Nassau this holiday, it’s important that you pre-plan one very critical decision ahead of time: where it is you’ll be dining on December 25th. With most restaurants closed and (oftentimes) reservations required for those that aren’t, identifying a spot for your Christmas day eating fest can be challenging here. But don’t worry- we’ve done the research for you: here are our top picks for Christmas Day feasting!
Dune, One and Only Ocean Club
Credit: The One and Only Ocean Club
The Dune, an island chic restaurant run by the internationally famous restaurateur, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is open on Christmas Day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although catering primarily to guests staying at the ultra exclusive and very sophisticated One and Only Ocean Club, the restaurant is also open to non-resort guests and can’t be topped when it comes to the spectacular views of the crystal clear waters and powdery white sand along Cabbage Beach. You can expect to dine on lavish and incredibly gourmet French-Asian cuisine infused with local herbs and Bahamian influences. You’ll also encounter sweet surprises of gastro brilliance from renowned Executive Pastry Chef Angel Betancourt, a recent participant in a “Top Chefs of The Bahamas Dinner” at The Flying Fish Restaurant in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
- When: All day, December 25th
- Where: Paradise Island Drive, Paradise Island
- Cost: Expensive- $30-$60 per person (2 courses)
- Contact: Visit website or call (242) 363-2501 (Reservations recommended)
The Market Place, Meliá Nassau Beach Resort
If you’re traveling with a large group on Christmas Day, buffet style dining at The Market Place at the newly-opened Meliá Nassau Beach Resort in the Cable Beach area may be just the ticket to satisfying multiple hungry bellies. Known for its international cuisine, show cooking, and outside terrace with views of the hotel gardens, this buffet restaurant boasts a bounty of culinary options within a picturesque island paradise. For their first-ever holiday season, The Market Place is hosting a specialty non-stop Christmas Day Brunch, beginning as early as 6am. A Christmas Dinner will also be served later in the evening.
If casual, buffet-style feasting isn’t to your liking, all other restaurants within the resort, featuring a wide range of international, Italian, and regional specialties, are open on Christmas Day.
- When: 6am-3pm (non-stop brunch), 6pm-10pm (dinner), December 25th
- Where: 4914 West Bay Street, Cable Beach, New Providence
- Cost: $35 (brunch special), $40+ at The Market Place and all other resort restaurants
- Contact: Visit their website or call (242) 327-6000
Blue Lagoon Seafood Restaurant, The Club Land’Or Resort
Located atop Club Land’or Resort on Paradise Island, the menu at Blue Lagoon Seafood Restaurant proudly features Bahamian seafood at its fore and showcases classic French and Bahamian flavours. The special menu for their Annual Christmas Dinner on Thursday, December 25, is available online, and includes perennial favourites like ‘Neptune Shrimp Salad’ as appetizers, specialty entrees such as roasted tomato turkey with walnut stuffing, and coupe noel for dessert. A glass of wine, as well as coffee or tea are also included. To top it off, there will be live entertainment and door prizes on hand!
- When: 6pm, December 25th
- Where: 3rd Floor of Club Land’or Resort, Paradise Beach Drive, Paradise Island
- Cost: $89.00 per person plus gratuity, children under 10 are half price.
- To Book: Reservations are required so confirm online, or call (242) 363-1800, ext. 344
Eat with a Bahamian Family
If you like the idea of warm, home-cooked meals with family and friends- even when you’re away from your own home- then contact the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism about their fantastic People-to-People Experience. With advance notice, they’ll pair you up with a local Bahamian ambassador, and you’ll spend Christmas Day immersed in traditional Bahamian culture while tasting lots and lots of delicious local cuisine. In many Bahamian homes, you’ll wake up to a seafood breakfast of boiled white fish and Johnny Cake steaming in a clear broth of water, salt, lemon, and sliced potatoes. For the day’s eating main event, island specialties include roasted or fried turkey; baked ham topped with pineapple, brown, sugar, and cherries; steamed fish in tomato gravy, baked macaroni and cheese, and Bahamian peas and rice, coleslaw, plantains and potato salad, among other personal family favourites. Such a hearty meal is important in order to provide ample sustenance to participants and attendees of the Boxing Day Junkanoo rush-outs later in the evening.
- Cost: No Charge!
- Contact: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism at (242) 356-0435/6/7 or sign up online.
Honourable Mentions For Feasting Before & After Christmas Day
The following restaurants will be closed on December 25th but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find delicious Holiday fare in the days leading up to and following the Christmas occasion. Our philosophy: why limit the good eatin’ to a single day alone?
- Sapodilla Restaurant: Nassau’s newest fine dining spot set on a beautiful estate off of West Bay Street is open for dinner with their regular menu on Christmas Eve. Sapodilla’ssophisticated island-style continental menu and decor in addition to the restaurant’s keen attention to detail even caught the eye of USAToday Travel, who named the establishment one of the Nassau’s 10Best Restaurants for 2014. Must Try: table-side prepared marinated conch salad and the cherries jubilee made with house-churned ice cream.
- Cafe Matisse: an iconic fine Italian restaurant centrally located in the heart of downtown Nassau (behind Parliament Square) open for lunch on Christmas Eve on Wednesday, December 24, 2014. Must Try: homemade pastas and their chocolate mousse cake.
- Montagu Gardens: offers traditional Bahamian fare amidst the former grounds and home of Sir Stafford Sands, the Bahamas’ first Minister of Tourism. While it is closed on Christmas Day, it reopens a day later on Friday, December 26, 2015 – when the public holiday of Boxing Day is observed, and most other local restaurants are still closed. A good option for local fare if you’re looking to get away from your hotel for a meal. Must Try: fresh catch of the day.
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