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Small Islands, Big Boats: 13 Wine Restaurants in Paradise

Wish away the winter blues with these sunny dining destinations
Photo by: Anantara Kihavah Villas
Escape to a food and wine oasis at Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky in the Maldives.

Posted: November 10, 2016

With winter approaching, we’re already dreaming of our next getaway to warmer weather, and no vacation is complete without great food and wine. Here are 13 top-notch wine restaurants on islands and cruise ships around the world to spark your wanderlust, with flourishes including a historic 225,900-bottle cellar in the Bahamas, Champagne sabering on the beach in Mauritius and an underwater restaurant in the Maldives.

To check out more great wine dining spots across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,500 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including our 51 recipients in the Caribbean and the 85 Grand Award recipients holding our highest honor.

This is only a partial guide to island restaurant wine lists. Other island destinations with impressive wine lists have appeared in past Restaurant Guides, including Il Gallo d’Oro in Madeira, Nick’s Fishmarket in Maui, La Mer in Honolulu and Mi Casa by José Andrés in Puerto Rico.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Graycliff Restaurant

Graycliff Hotel, West Hill St., Nassau, Bahamas
Telephone (242) 302-9150
Website www.graycliff.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant
Aged treasures abound in the cellar at Graycliff Restaurant.

In the capital city of the Bahamas, you’ll find Graycliff, a historic hotel atop one of the great wine cellars of the world. An elegant oasis in a charming old neighborhood, with a restaurant serving more than 2,730 selections from a 225,900-bottle cellar, Graycliff has held a Grand Award since 1988. Captaining the list, which offers strengths in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, Port and California, is wine director and owner Enrico Garzaroli; bucket-list verticals include Château D’Yquem back to 1875, Pétrus Pomerol Cru Exceptionel back to 1964 and Château Latour Pauillac Premier Grand Cru Classé back to 1908. Chef Elijah Bowe’s Bahamian cuisine is infused with French and Italian influences for a creative twist on traditional dishes.


Archipel Restaurant

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Choisy Road, Poste de Flacq, Mauritius
Telephone (230) 402-36-36
Website www.constancehotels.com/en/hotels-resorts/mauritius/
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Constance Le Prince Maurice
Recharge with a special bottle in Archipel’s stunning dining space.

With its views of the Indian Ocean and white-sand beaches, the town of Poste de Flacque on the island of Mauritius is a stunning setting for a meal at Archipel Restaurant at the Constance Le Prince Maurice hotel. The Best of Award of Excellence–winning list is manned by wine director Jérôme Faure and head sommelier Jérôme Carlier, and features an abundance of choice bottles from France, South Africa and New Zealand. Every day at 6 p.m., tours of the restaurant’s 23,500-bottle cellar are offered (by reservation), followed by a wine tasting. For those celebrating a special occasion with a bottle of bubbly, a special Champagne sabering ceremony is also available at the location of your choosing, be it in your room or on the beach.


Blanchards Restaurant

West End, Meads Bay, Anguilla
Telephone (264) 497-6100
Website www.blanchardsrestaurant.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Owned by husband-and-wife team Bob and Melinda Blanchard on the island of Anguilla, Blanchards Restaurant is a Caribbean wine and dining haven surrounded by tropical gardens. Chef Melinda’s international menu showcases local flavors and ingredients in dishes such as grilled red snapper with fava bean succotash, sesame-crusted mahi mahi with curried rice, and Jamaican jerk chicken with sweet potato mash and grilled cinnamon-rum bananas. The moderately priced, 455-selection wine list, curated by Bob, earned a Best of Award of Excellence in 2016 for its strengths in Burgundy, the Loire and California.


Capriccio Ristorante

Kaya Charles E.B. Hellmund, 5, Kralendijk - Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean
Telephone (599) 717-7230
Website www.capricciobonaire.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday
Best of Award of Excellence

On the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean, you’ll find acclaimed Italian food and wine at Capriccio Ristorante. Owner and wine director Lorella Lucia Scandaletti’s list has been earning Restaurant Awards since 2002; in 2016, it received its first Best of Award of Excellence for its 450 selections, strong in choices from Tuscany and Piedmont. Pair your pick with Andrea Magni’s menu, which features plenty of pizza, pasta, roasted meats and grilled fish.


Fashala

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Villingili Island, Addu City, Maldives
Telephone (960) 689-7888
Website www.shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa
Relax with views of the Indian ocean from your seat at Fashala.

At Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in the Maldives, treat yourself to fresh seafood and fine wine at Best of Award of Excellence winner Fashala. Located at the northern tip of the island, the restaurant boasts spectacular views of the Indian Ocean from its open dining space. Sommelier Winnie Toh’s list offers 400 selections, highlighting picks from Bordeaux, Italy and Australia, while chef Fillippo Abisso’s menu features ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. Vegetarians will also find several options, including eggplant lasagna, wild forest mushroom risotto and minestrone Genovese.


Grand Old House

648 S. Church St., George Town, Cayman Islands
Telephone (345) 949-9333
Website www.grandoldhouse.com
Open Dinner, daily; Lunch, Monday to Friday
Best of Award of Excellence

On the waterfront in George Town on Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean, Grand Old House has been earning Restaurant Awards since 1990. Snag a seat on the veranda and enjoy panoramic seaside views alongside chef Thurshara Siriwardana’s menu of pastas, seafood and hearty meat dishes. Today, wine director Luciano De Riso’s wine list is known for its strength in California, Burgundy and Italy. Of the 715 selections offered, over 50 large-format bottles are available, including an imperial of Masi Costasera Amarone 2007.


Kai Manje

Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, Anse La Raye, Saint Lucia
Telephone (758) 456-8101
Website www.tikaye.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Ti Kaye Resort & Spa
Gaze out on Saint Lucia’s Anse Cochon cove during your meal at Kai Manje.

With the most expansive list of any Restaurant Award winner in Saint Lucia, Kai Manje at Ti Kaye Resort and Spa is a worthy destination for wine lovers. Located on the cliff side above the island’s picturesque Anse Cochon cove, the dining room abounds with photogenic views overlooking the Caribbean as well as the resort’s turquoise guest pool. Pair chef Denis Jarcot’s Caribbean fusion cuisine with the restaurant’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning, 565-selection wine list, which offers strong choices of bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy and California.


Ragazzi

West Bay Road, Buckingham Square, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Telephone (345) 945-3484
Website www.ragazzi.ky
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Round out your pizza with a selection of antipasto from the menu at Ragazzi.

For Italian comfort food in the Caribbean, consider Ragazzi, a pizzeria located just off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Choosing one pie is a challenge, with more than 30 thin-crust options ranging from classic marinara to a carbonara pie to a Norwegian pizza with smoked salmon, caviar and capers. Wine director and owner Andreas Marcher’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list, clocking in at 1,100 selections, offers bottles from around the world, with a focus on those from Italy and California.


Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky

Anantara Kihavah Villas, Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Maldives
Telephone (960) 660-1020
Website www.anantara.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Anantara Kihavah Villas
Have you ever dined in an underwater restaurant? At Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky, you can.

Best of Award of Excellence winner Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky at the Anantara Kihavah Villas in the Maldives encompasses four dining spaces in one restaurant, each with a different theme and accompanying menu. Sea, located underwater, boasts aquariumlike views of the waters surrounding the restaurant; Fire features a Japanese teppanyaki lounge; Salt takes its name from the Himalayan salt block upon which meat and fish dishes are cooked; and rooftop bar Sky highlights a selection of small plates and cocktails. The cellar, also underwater, is managed by Nilesh Mokshanand Bootun and offers 400 selections with strengths in Champagne, Bordeaux and Italy, earning it a Best of Award of Excellence in 2016.


Celebrity Cruises

Multiple routes; headquartered at 1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, Fla.
Telephone (800) 647-2251
Website www.celebritycruises.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The glass “wine tower” at many Celebrity Cruises restaurants sets the tone for the evening of food and wine ahead.

Where can serious enophiles satisfy their wine craving on vacation? Those who love to sail might consider Celebrity Cruises, with destinations around the world, from Hawaii to the Galapagos to Bermuda and beyond. The cruise line boasts nine current Award of Excellence winners: Cosmopolitan on Celebrity Summit, Grand Cuvée on Celebrity Silhouette, Grand Epernay on Celebrity Solstice, Metropolitan on Celebrity Millennium, Moonlight Sonata on Celebrity Eclipse, Opus on Celebrity Reflection, San Marco on Celebrity Constellation, Silhouette on Celebrity Equinox and Trellis on Celebrity Infinity. Wine lists on such ships can be as full of treasures and discoveries as those at top landlocked restaurants, and sometimes more so. A focal point of several of the ships’ main dining rooms is a two-story glass “wine tower” acting as a centerpiece to the space. Each ship’s list, managed by beverage operations manager Cristian Pirvutoiu, numbers more than 300 selections, and all highlight wines from France and California, including bottles from Pierre Gimonnet, Caymus and Heitz.


Parallel23

The Palms Turks and Caicos, 16 Princess Drive, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
Telephone (649) 946-8666
Website www.thepalmstc.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Christine Morden, Paradise Photography
Snag a spot at Parallel23’s outdoor terrace space for a magical dining experience.

Overlooking Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales, Parallel23 at the Palms Turks and Caicos earned its first Award of Excellence in 2016. Wine director Shawn LaRue’s 160-selection list offers plenty of choices in the way of California and France, while chef Lauren Callighen’s menu blends Caribbean and Asian flavors, with dishes including 21-day-aged steaks, pan-roasted sea bass and coconut-marinated conch ceviche. The restaurant’s spectacular view from its outdoor terrace space is the icing on the cake, and an outdoor, domed dining room is also available for intimate dinners or private parties.


Room With A View Restaurant & Wine Bar

Bluebeards Castle Resort, Bluebeard’s Castle, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Telephone (340) 774-2377
Website www.roomwithaviewvi.com
OpenDinner, Monday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Located on the grounds of the historic Bluebeard’s Castle on the island of Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Room With A View Restaurant and Wine Bar has earned an Award of Excellence every year since 2003. True to the name, the restaurant treats guests to sweeping views of the island’s capital city of Charlotte Amalie and the cruise ship harbor from the dining room. Chef Carmelo Rosas’ international cuisine focuses on seafood, with plates like ahi tuna sashimi, calamari Provençal and crab crêpes, while the 205-selection wine list, led by owner and wine director George Hajimihalis, focuses on bottles from California. After dinner, don’t forget to order the restaurant’s signature flambé: your choice of banana or mango flamed in local rum with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, served over vanilla ice cream.


The Terrace Restaurant

Cruz Bay, Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Telephone (340) 779-8550
Website www.theterracestjohn.com
OpenDinner, Monday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Steve Simonsen Photography
Fresh seafood and shellfish dishes abound on the menu at the Terrace Restaurant.

Looking for a special location for your celebratory dinner? The Terrace Restaurant in the U.S. Virgin Islands has you covered, from the French fine dining experience to the waterfront views. Yellowfin tuna Niçoise, butter-poached Caribbean lobster tail, Camembert beignet and arugula salad, and baked escargots are just a few of the plates you’ll find on chef, owner and wine director Erica Miner’s menu. The moderately priced wine list, which earned its first Award of Excellence in 2015, features 135 selections, including plenty of California Cabernet and Chardonnay, with several choices by the glass.

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