When it comes to the Caribbean, gourmet dining is not necessarily at the forefront of the mind. But visitors to Grand Bahama Island are in for a treat dining at Flying Fish, perhaps the island’s best restaurant, adjacent to Pelican Bay Hotel. In November, the restaurant invited several award-winning chefs from across the Caribbean to showcase their talents at a multi-course gala dinner.
What makes the restaurant particularly unique is that all of the staff have been through some level of culinary school, which elevates the overall experience for diners. They’re also all from the Bahamas, which adds local flair to the restaurant while also supporting the local workforce. Culinary students are also included on the staff and given the opportunity to intern at the restaurant to gain experience.
Chef Tim Tibbitts owns the restaurant with his wife, Rebecca, who serves as the expert sommelier. Above, Chef Tibbitts and his wife are wearing the black Flying Fish shirts. Rebecca is the only certified sommelier on the island and the only female sommelier in the Bahamas. She manages the largest restaurant wine list on the island and is constantly adding new labels to the roster. Many diners appreciate that most bottles on the wine list are less than $60.
The special tasting menu was filled with culinary masterpieces featuring signature dishes from all of the visiting chefs (Erica Davis of Graycliff Chocolatier, Angel Betancourt of One & Only Ocean Club and Simeon Hall of Restaurant Management Limited). And what a meal it was:
An amuse-bouche kicked off the whirlwind dinner with a glass of chilled champagne. The restaurant bottles its own spring and sparkling water and uses glass bottles in an effort to reduce waste.
Homemade breads followed, featuring plantain bread and “Monday” bread, a sweet or savory island classic.
The “Morning at the Beach” course featured a variety of seafood paired with seaweed gel and edible sand. The presentation was beautiful and was followed by a warm broth poured over it. All of the restaurant’s seafood is fresh from the market, and nothing is frozen. Chef Tibbitts sources sustainable seafood and farm-raised meats for his menus.
The cured wahoo fish was served with créme fraîche, cucumber and toasted coconut. The pork belly was served with a French-style cassoulet prepared with a Caribbean twist. It included conch sausage, black-eyed peas, and Chef Tibbitts’ signature conch cracker. Everything on the menu is made from scratch.
Can you imagine how long it took to carefully stuff each of these eggshells (Da Egg) with this savory mousse?
To round out the amazing meal, there were numerous dessert courses including a southern banana pudding ice cream with a salted caramel sauce and a pineapple mousse with sea salt streusel.
More on Flying Fish and Pelican Bay Hotel
The restaurant itself looks out toward the bay through large windows and is decorated in warm tones with island-style artwork.
If staying at the Pelican Bay hotel, guests can simply walk from the main building to Flying Fish. Sunday evenings are especially popular when Chef Tibbitts trades his apron for a microphone.
He croons for guests on the patio, and the bar menu includes appetizers and light meals like grilled calamari and a colorful charcuterie board served with house-cured pickles. Tim Tibbitts was named one of the Top 25 Chefs in the Caribbean by Caribbean Journal, and his restaurant has received the prestigious Four Diamond rating from AAA (the first on the island to receive the award).
More photos below: