I have been sent to Bermuda to review what are arguably some of the seven best restaurants on the island. Being Irish, the arguing part should be no problem. I am also confident my forty-two-inch waist is not going to have any problems with seven restaurants in seven nights. This is what I do; I eat, I drink, I try to remember what I had to eat before I started drinking and then I write about it. You can trust me, I'm a professional.
Port O Call Restaurant
During my time as a restaurant reviewer, I have seen some tiny portions on a plate meant to be a full dinner. I have to say restaurants like Port O Call do not have this problem. Many fine dining restaurants become so focused on the presentation that they forget the customer might be hungry. Port O Call has managed to grasp both concepts perfectly by offering beautifully presented portions my extra waist size appreciates.
Each plate was delicately presented to the standard I would expect in any elite establishment. The starters were light and flavorful without being overpowering. The daily fish menu is a sign of just how fresh the produce is. My appetizer of seared Georges Bank scallops was nothing short of a triumph. My main course of seared tuna was perfect. If the food in the other restaurants I visit this week comes close to this, I am one lucky Irish man.
Port O Call is crisp and contemporary with many delicate features that give the restaurant a feel of premier quality. You will not be surprised to learn that a table at Port O Call requires a reservation.
I would like to give a word of note to the wine list, this was my first dining experience in Bermuda and the quality of wines on offer was outstanding. I would expect to find restaurants of this quality in major capital cities not on destination islands. I was pleasantly surprised.
I'm Irish, that means I love pubs. I also love fine dining; it is what I get paid to do. But nothing makes me happier than being given a real authentic pub to review.
The Swizzle Inn is named after Bermuda’s famous cocktail and yes they mix a very impressive one at the bar, very impressive. Unfortunately for this restaurant critic, I was hired to write about the food and not the well-stocked bar. Reluctantly, I left the bar and went upstairs to the restaurant. Upstairs the look and feel are the same as the downstairs bar. There is a warm and welcoming atmosphere perfect for the casual but well-crafted menu.
All the pub classics are here and have been given a gastro pub style and elegance. After a few more drinks, I decided on the Slow Braised Beer Ribs with the signature Goslings Black Rum BBQ Sauce. It was the one item on the menu with the most references to alcohol and I was not disappointed. The BBQ sauce was so smooth, you could serve it in a shot glass. The ribs were so tender that you could stare at them and the meat would fall off. This was heart-warming, comforting food served in a warm and cozy atmosphere.
Another night, another pub. That's what I thought when I saw The Waterlot Inn appear on my list. But I was wrong. I was back in the world of fine dining at a waterfront restaurant that oozed style while maintaining a casual feel. The Waterlot Inn is famous for its ambiance and a fine selection of meats.
The menu is based on an excellent and well thought out selection of steaks with a subtle but excellent fish selection. After much consideration, I decided on the rack of lamb, 100% grass fed and from the Opal Valley in Australia. The quality was outstanding and this lamb was cooked to perfection.
The only thing more perfect than the lamb was the restaurant. The outside kitchen is a nice touch and the dining room has a classic feel. Sitting outside, looking at a beautiful sunset, proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the sumptuous food. This is a very special establishment in a special location.
I am starting to fall in love with Bermuda. Everything seems to revolve around my two true loves, eating and drinking. Fine Italian dining is a big part of that. Italy's wine and food is some of the best in the world. Little Venice in Hamilton offers authentic Italian dining that would make any Venice restaurant proud.
The first thing I check in any restaurant is the wine list. To say I was impressed was an understatement. The wine list has been carefully selected to provide the perfect accompaniment for every dish on the menu. The wine list is impressive and extensive, ranging from vintage Italian reds to new world whites that compliment every dish on the menu to perfection.
With such an impressive wine list, it took me some time to get around to the food. Freshly prepared pasta is the signature of Little Venice but the menu goes much further in satisfying my Mediterranean cravings; Slow Braised Veal, Grilled Sea Bass and the dish I selected, Agnello, consisting of Lamb Loin marinated with a 25-year aged Balsamic glaze. Lovers of fine wine and authentic Italian cuisine will not be disappointed. This is Italian dining of the highest quality.
The Lobster Pot & Boat House Inn
The golden rule of travel writing is to eat where the locals eat. The Lobster Pot had been described as a local institution due to the quality of seafood on offer. How could I refuse? From the outside, I have to say, The Lobster Pot is very understated. As soon as you walk through the doors though, you start to see why this place is so popular. I really liked this restaurant. It has a lot of character and one of the finest fish menus I have seen in years.
I really appreciate a menu that has been well crafted with dishes that compliment each other. I decided on a starter of Coconut Shrimp. For my main, I decided to push the boat with The Seafood Lover's Feast, which consists of lobster, mussels, mahi-mahi and shrimp simmered in a saffron sauce. The delicate flavors are beautifully balanced and cooked to perfection.
While ordering more wine from the excellent wine list, I noticed the collection of awards this restaurant has and everything started to make sense. I understood why I could not take my eyes off the menu and already be planning my lunch for the next day. The food here is of the highest standard and it obvious why The Lobster Pot is a favorite with the locals.
With awards stating, "The Best in Bermuda," I had high hopes for Bolero Brasserie. The atmosphere inside is vibrant, the waiting staff is charming and I have to admit, I did get a little caught up in the atmosphere. It is rather infectious.
Obviously, the first thing I did was inspect the wine list. With over 80 wines of a very high standard, I was delighted to find a reserve Rioja. It served as the perfect accompaniment for my starter, Home Cured Salmon with Wasabi Crème Fraiche, apple, red onions and tempura crab.
Bolero Brasserie is possibly the liveliest fine dining restaurant that I have had the pleasure to experience and I was quickly on to my second bottle of red. This accompanied one of the most delightful mains I have had the pleasure of experiencing, Poutine with Foie gras, duck confit, triple cooked chips, cognac ‘gravy' and truffle. Put simply, this was a triumph. Considering the ingredients used, this dish was perfectly balanced and was clearly the product of a highly skilled chef.
After my third bottle of wine and a delicious dessert, I warmly shook hands with the couple at my neighboring table, declared my love to the waitress and walked into the night smiling from ear to ear.
My final night in Bermuda and my final restaurant. With one more Bermudian hangover ahead of me, I entered Portofino. This Italian restaurant has a true Italian family feel with a fine menu offering incredible looking pizzas, pasta and salads. Looking around the restaurant and observing the meals of other diners, I had one small moment when I was tempted by a Capriccioso salad that I spotted at a neighboring table.
As my waiter for the evening approached my table, my penchant for lots of food and wine took over and I ordered a fine Italian red with the Veal Piccata, which was a veal scaloppini dipped in eggs with parmesan cheese. This meal was sautéed to perfection.
Portofino offers classic homestyle Italian cuisine in a setting reminiscent of the traditional family restaurants you'd find in rural Italy. Portofino has a delightful charm and cozy feel that is both charismatic and charming. As this was my final night, I decided to stick around and fully inspect a wine list that did not disappoint.
My time with Bermuda food and wine was nowhere near long enough and there is so much more to try. I shall give my forty-two-inch waist time to recover and return for more. Stay tuned!