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Small Islands, Big Boats: 15 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

Updated: Jan. 4, 2018

With winter in full swing, we’re dreaming of our next getaway to warmer weather, and no vacation is complete without great food and wine. Here are 15 top-notch wine restaurants on islands and cruise ships around the world to spark your wanderlust, with flourishes including a historic 250,000-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 64 recipients in the Caribbean and the 87 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 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 3,000 selections from a 250,000-bottle cellar, Graycliff has held a Grand Award since 1988. Captaining the list, which offers strengths in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, California, Port, Spain and the Rhône, is wine director and general manager Enrico Garzaroli. Bucket-list verticals include Château d’Yquem back to 1875, Pétrus back to 1964 and Château Latour 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 South Africa, Burgundy, the Rhône and New Zealand. Every day at 6 p.m., tours of the restaurant’s 18,000-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.


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 Piedmont and Tuscany. 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.


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. Take 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, Bordeaux and Tuscany. Of the 640 selections offered, more than 50 large-format bottles are available, including a 5-liter bottle of Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera 2011.


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 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, 505-selection wine list, which offers strong choices of bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy, California and Italy.


La Mer

Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Rd., Honolulu, Hawaii
Telephone (808) 923-2311
Website www.halekulani.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

La Mer embodies the tranquil, tropical feel of Hawaii with local cuisine and stunning ocean views. For $205, enjoy chef Alexander Trancher’s prix fixe menu of seven courses inspired by the flavors of southern France. A wine pairing is available for $95, and a premium wine pairing is available for $175, or guests can choose their own wine from the 830-selection, Best of Award of Excellence–winning list. Sommelier Sean Isono manages the program, which has strengths in California, Burgundy and Bordeaux.


Noe

Four Seasons Resort O'ahu at Ko Olina, 92-1001 Olani St., Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Telephone (808) 679-0079
Website www.fourseasons.com/oahu/dining/restaurants/
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Courtesy of Noe
Noe's private dining room is a great venue for special occasions.

At Noe (pronounced “no-ay”), most tables are outdoors, so guests can savor wines from a Best of Award of Excellence–winning list surrounded by the natural beauty of Hawaii. The 455 selections, overseen by director of restaurants and bars Yiannis Kokolakis, span the globe but excel in California, France and Italy. Kokolakis describes chef Ryo Takatsuka’s cuisine as “Capri meets O’ahu.” The menu includes Italian-inspired Hawaiian dishes like prosciutto with papaya and ahi tuna with tomato and caper oil.


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 1,300 selections, offers bottles from around the world, with a focus on those from Italy, Bordeaux and California.


Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky

Anantara Kihavah Villas, Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Baa Atoll, 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 Ahmed Raoof and offers 470 selections with strengths in Champagne, Bordeaux and Italy.


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 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, overseen by beverage operations manager Cristian Pirvutoiu and wine and beverage consultant Andrea Ziff, offers more than 300 selections. All the lists 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 hold an Award of Excellence. Wine director Shawn LaRue’s 215-selection list offers plenty of choices in the way of California and France, while chef Lauren Callighen’s menu blends Caribbean and European flavors, with dishes like sea bass soup and grilled lobster. 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.


The Terrace Restaurant

Cruz Bay, Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Telephone (340) 779-8550
Website www.theterracestjohn.com
Open Dinner, 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 and sautéed mahi mahi are just a few of the plates you’ll find on chef, owner and wine director Erica Miner’s menu. The moderately priced, Award of Excellence–winning wine list features 145 selections, including plenty of California Cabernet and Chardonnay, with several choices by the glass.


Oceania Cruises

Multiple routes, headquartered at 7665 Corporate Center Drive, Miami, Fla.
Telephone (855) 623-2642
Website www.oceaniacruises.com/ships/riviera
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Oceania Cruises’ Polo Grill holds an Award of Excellence on its Riviera ship. The menu has classic American steak-house cuisine, complete with dry-aged steaks and Caesar salads made tableside. Wine director Loredana Florea manages the 120-selection list including 30 wines by the glass. Program strengths include France, Italy and California, and all available bottles have received a score of 85 points or above from Wine Spectator.


Carnival Cruise Line

Multiple routes, headquartered at 3655 N.W. 87th Ave., Miami, Fla.
Telephone (800) 327-9501
Website www.carnival.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Carnival Cruise Lines takes serious steak-house dining out to sea with Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. The restaurant offers Award of Excellence–winning lists on three of its ships: Carnival Vista, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Breeze. Vice president of beverage operations Eddie Allen oversees the programs, which have more than 100 selections with particularly strong bottlings from California. Chef Sanjay Dhall’s menu features staples including shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque and a variety of steaks and chops with classic sauces and sides.

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