Cayman…Gluten Free!

Welcome to Part 2 of my Cayman Island trip report…if you read my previous post, you will know that we recently spent a week on Grand Cayman in the Caribbean.  One of the things I wanted to highlight about our trip was the ease with which I was able to eat GLUTEN FREE!!  If you have celiac, or are gluten free for other reasons, you know how difficult it is to find restaurants where you feel safe to eat.  Who wants to go on vacation only to be sick the entire time you are there?  Not me…  One note…Tim and I eat early in the day because we don’t do lunch so we never needed reservations at 5:00 pm on Cayman….ever.  We were able to dine quietly and were already back to our condo to watch the sunset by the time the restaurants were really gearing up for the night.  If you like to dine later, reservations are a definite must everywhere….even off season.

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There are many restaurants on Grand Cayman that are not GF friendly…like the cute little Fish Fry shack above.  Great for photos shoots…not so great to eat.  But, rest assured, I am going to share with you some of the best places to grab gluten free food on the island.  The nice thing about Cayman is that there are so many amazing food choices.  We were lucky to have quite a few favorites from last year so we revisited those while adding a few new sections to our list.

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Let’s start with breakfast.  This year we rented a condo so, while we could have just stayed in and had breakfast every day, there were some mornings where we just needed more sustenance to give us energy for snorkeling and such.  We were fortunate enough to be within a short beach walk to the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.  Here are a few photos of the hotel…so cute!  We were able to watch the turtles in their pond every morning which was nice, but, the main attraction was the restaurant in the lobby!

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Anchor & Den is a super cute, modern restaurant located right inside the front door of the hotel.  The main attraction is the very expansive breakfast buffet for those non GF folks (like my husband).  But as anyone who is serious about eating GF knows, buffets are a definitely no/no.

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Once we were seated I inquired about a GF menu.  The waiter quickly ran off and came back suggesting that I try the GF french toast.  I was skeptical but agreed.    Just in case it was inedible (hey…it’s happened) I also ordered some scrambled eggs and bacon.

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The french toast took a while so, while I was waiting, the waiter brought me some fruit so that I was not just sitting there watching my husband eat, which I thought was very thoughtful.  The french toast was worth the wait…so yummy!  I definitely didn’t need the additional food…it was that good!

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Last year we attempted breakfast at our hotel (horrible…all of their breakfast meat was actually served on a bed of bread), at the Sunshine Grill (so/so) and at a place in Georgetown called Bread & Chocolate (not remarkable).  So, needless to say, I was happy to dine here every morning!  Anchor & Den for the WIN!!

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One day, we decided to take a drive to the East End.  It’s not very touristy out that way…only a few resorts dot that side of the island.  I was hoping to take some less ‘touristy’ photos and I was not disappointed.  Please take a drive to the east end if you visit Grand Cayman.  If, for no other reason, than to dine at Tukka.  Tukka (Australian for Food) is a native fusion restaurant with a full gluten free menu.  Chef Ron owns the place and creates all of the dishes on the menu.  He offers quite a few dishes with an Australian spin like Kangaroo steak.  (I was not brave enough for that)  I loved this sign on the back of the restaurant…

2016 Grand Cayman-185To begin with, we sat on a balcony overlooking the water so the view was killer and we had great breezes.

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The restaurant has some fun decor along with many awards that it has won for it’s cuisine.  The Caymans are known for their wild chickens that run all over the island and Tukka is no different.  While we ate we watched some chickens down on the beach and several of them eventually made it up the stairs to hang out with us on the deck.  Hilarious!

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The funniest things were the flip flop trees.  I’m not sure who comes to a restaurant and leaves without their shoes but apparently it’s a thing.

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At Tukka I started off with a freshly made local lionfish ceviche.  It was amazing!  Apparently the fish had just come off of a boat that morning and you could taste the freshness.  Slightly sweet with a hint of acidity….I really could have licked the bowl clean.   (I was starving and ate most of it before remembering that I needed a photo…oops!)

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While they had a pretty extensive GF menu, I chose to try the shrimp with coconut basmati rice.  Both were delicious!

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Tim is not a very adventurous eater to be sure but he had a wild moment and decided to give the fresh snapper a try.  It came plated with a fresh fruit salsa, shrimp skewers and a risotto that looked quite good.  Tim still says that it was his very favorite meal on the island.  Go figure!

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I highly recommend visiting Tukka if you happen to wander over to the east end.

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I’m sad to report that we had a camera batter charger issue that left me without my camera for several of our meals.  I still wanted to mention some of the great food we had…even if it is sans photos.

AMY3236One of my favorite restaurants on the island from our first trip was Agua.  Agua is located right on Seven Mile Beach, very close to our condo. (the above photo is theirs…not mine) Last year I had their ceviche and had craved it ever since so it was my first stop.  They have a dedicated GF menu that is fantastic.  I had the Thai ceviche made with the local fresh catch followed by the grilled lobster & shrimp over mashed potatoes.  It was just as amazing as I remembered it.  My husband didn’t care for this place as much given that they didn’t have his standard menu items (spaghetti & meatballs or steak) but he did find the Estrana (an Argentinean style marinaded skirt steak) which he seemed to enjoy.  Highly recommend Agua!

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Another new favorite from this year is the Lobster Pot.  On the outskirts of Georgetown, you have to climb some stairs to get to this cute little spot overlooking the docks.  Seafood is my favorite so I was very excited to dine here for sure.

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Any restaurant that brings me GF bread before a meal wins in my book!  It was nice to have something to munch on while my husband was eating his bread for a change.  The bread was lightly toasted and had some seeds in it.  Very tasty.

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The biggest draw to this restaurant was the Lobster Poutine.  I was so excited to try this.  You must understand, it is rare to find a restaurant where I can safely eat french fries.  Usually they are fried in oil that also fries up gluten so they are off limits to me but Lobster Pot had them right on their GF menu.  Poutine is a Canadian food traditionally made with french fries, cheese curds and a brown gravy.  This poutine was different only in that it also had fresh chunks of lobster. My mouth is literally watering thinking about this meal.  It was amazing…and it was only the appetizer!

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Since we were at the Lobster Pot and seafood is my favorite, I had to try to ‘The Pot’.  Lobster tail, king crab and garlic shrimp.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this entire meal.

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My husband chose the surf & turf which also looked good…not as good as mine of course.

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We ate as the sun set over the docks and it was such an enjoyable evening and meal.  Highly recommend!!

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And, in the interest of fairness, I let my husband talk me into visiting a place that he enjoyed last year Copper Falls Steakhouse on Seven Mile Beach.

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Just picture any good steakhouse in the states and you can imagine this place.  I have to say that I enjoyed my meal there last year a bit more than this year but they do have a large gluten free menu so that was nice.

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 This year I had the standard ribeye with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.  As I mentioned…it was good, not great.  But you have to keep the hubby happy!

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Camana Bay is an upscale and relatively new area on Grand Cayman full of wonderful restaurants, upscale shopping and a Regal movie theater.  We love walking around there as it is quite pretty at night, right there on the water.  It has a couple of water features where the kids play and they light up nicely at night as well.

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There is a lot of nightlife in Camana Bay.  I think I would love to have one of the cool condos that are above all of the stores and restaurants throughout the area.

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This year we stopped at a new place called Brooklyns.  I heard that they had GF pizza, pasta and more.  It was a super cute place…(below is their photo…not mine)

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I had the oven roasted chicken with asparagus and mushroom marsala sauce and mushroom truffle risotto.  I thought it was safer than wondering if they cooked the pizza separately and it was.  Very tasty and relatively inexpensive.

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And, while I totally forgot to get a photo of my food…I did get this cute photo of my husband with the artwork that I liked.  So there is that.

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And last…but certainly not least…I finally got to try the local favorite Chicken Chicken.  I kept meaning to go there last year and we never did so I was determined this time.  Located right across the street from our condo, I was excited to head over one night when we were starving.  I had heard that most of their food was gluten free and the girl behind the counter seemed very knowledgable about each dish…telling me exactly what they used to cook each one.

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While these are not my photos (I told you I was starving)…this is pretty much what I had to eat that night.  If you imagine a Caribbean version of Boston Market, that’s Chicken Chicken.  The portions were HUGE and the food was pretty yummy.  I got the roasted chicken, rice & beans and the glazed carrots.  Tim got a spicy chicken which he really enjoyed and his came with corn bread (which he did not care for).  Overall it was a safe option that was inexpensive and could have been two meals for us.

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I hope you have enjoyed this super long post about some of the gluten free food options  on Grand Cayman.  I am happy to report that I never got sick (and I am super sensitive), I ate well and was quite pleased with all of the choices.  The only negative is that it is pretty expensive to eat there so be prepared for upscale prices to go along with the upscale food.  For now, I am missing my chair on the beach.

Until next year GC….

XO

12 thoughts on “Cayman…Gluten Free!

  1. Hey – we are headed to the Cayman Islands for the very first time in a week. I have two celiac children, 12 and 14, and I’m very concerned about what I can feed them. Thank you so much for listing the restaurants; that gives me a place to start. However, do you have any knowledge of if they have gluten-free bread there? We are expected to pack and bring our own lunches for the scuba diving trips we are going on and I’m wondering if I need to bring bread with me. Thank you again for all the help!

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  2. Hi Kristen…Congrats on visiting my favorite place on earth!! We just got back from our annual trip there a few weeks ago and I tried a few more restaurants. GC has several really great grocery stores there that carry quite a few gluten free products. I purchase fruit, crackers, cheese and lunchmeat and other goodies. They have a surprisingly good selection of GF products. I don’t think you will have a hard time finding items to take a long on your trip. I don’t eat much GF bread so I can’t say specifically which ones they have but I have never had a hard time finding food there. Since this post the Marriott added GF selections to their menu to make things easier. They are amazing when it comes to making sure I am safe. We also ate at a new place called Casa 43 which is right behind the Copperfalls Steakhouse and across from the grocery story. They had amazing Mexican food with gluten free selections! If you like Mexican I highly recommend them. I had one bad experience there this trip…we tried Cimboco (which says they can be gluten free) and I got sick. If you have a question about a specific restaurant in GC, let me know. I have eating at more than are listed here. Enjoy your trip…..

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  3. Hi, My name is sherri and I have a celiac daughter who is super sensitive. What are some other places that you have eaten around 7 mile beach that you felt were safe? Thank you

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    • Hi Sherri. I am super sensitive as well. There are so many great places to eat on 7 mile. For breakfast we pretty much went to the Marriott every single day. Since our first trip they added GF to their menu which is so nice. They had the best french toast and could make more things GF on request. I never got sick there once. I heard that they had a good GF dinner menu as well but we didn’t go there for dinner. Raggazi’s has pizza which is safe…maybe not the best but probably good in a pinch. They also have pasta and are right there in a strip mall. I love going to the newer mall there as several of the restaurants there were able to feed me safely. I do not recommend Cimbocco….I got sick there this year….first time any of the food there made me sick. If you have questions about specific restaurants you are considering I would be happy to see if I am familiar with any of them. Our new favorite from last year was Casa 43. It’s a little place behind the Copperfalls Steakhouse and has great Mexican food. So yummy!!

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      • Thank you for getting back with me !
        We’re a little afraid of pizza anywhere out . We called the Mexican place next to Copper Falls last year and they said they do have cross-contamination so we did not go.
        I read on your blog that you went to chicken chicken I didn’t know that was safe either .
        We usually hit up our normal restaurants but I was trying to find something new to try .
        Where do you stay when you’re there?
        We have never eaten at the Marriott so that’s good to know

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      • I’m normally afraid of pizza too….LOL…but I have eaten theirs twice and no reaction. I think every restaurant says that to be safe. I asked a lot of questions when we were there and made choices based on their answers. I always make sure they cook mine separately. I have such a severe reaction that I can tell within 20 minutes if there was any gluten in it. So far so good. Chicken Chicken is like the best fast food ever. I’m sure there are opportunities for cross contamination in that place but I have eaten there many times with no problem. The chicken is amazing as is the rice and beans. They are always willing to bring me food from an unopened container if I ask. If you travel around the island, our very favorite restaurant is on the East End called Tukka. The guy was a chef for resorts and then a private chef for a family and now he prepares fresh seafood that he caught that morning. So yummy! We used to stay at the Westin but now we do a private Condo right on the beach. I like having a kitchen to prepare food if I need to and more space for us to spread out. We stay at Cayman Reef.

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  4. I’m Celiac and came across your blog a few weeks ago as I was preparing for our trip to Grand Cayman. I must say that your tips have been very helpful! We just got back home and stayed at the Westin Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach. They were very accommodating of my gluten free needs at all of their dining outlets. We alerted the hotel in advance, and when we arrived on Monday, the Executive Chef came out to greet and speak with me. He flagged my needs in their computer system, so the entire F&B staff knew that my food would need to be handled differently. We also dined at Lobster Pot, Agua, The Wharf and Seven (at the Ritz next door)….all we’re able to take care of me without any issues. I’m officially in love with Grand Cayman and can’t wait to go back next year!

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    • Thank you for your positive feedback. GC is our favorite place and I love sharing it with others. It truly is the only vacation I have ever been on where I felt safe eating pretty much everywhere and never got sick. I’m glad that you enjoyed the Westin…we stopped by to see the renovations when we were there last and it was fabulous! If you find any new spots…be sure to let me know.

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  5. Hi,
    Thank you so much for all your info!
    Any additions for 2018?
    Also, of all of the above, which would be the nicest for a GF birthday dinner?

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    • Sadly we are not going to GC this year! Next year I will have some updates for sure. Personally…I love the Lobster Pot for my birthday dinner but really any of these places are just wonderful and would be great. There are fancier restaurants…like pretty much anything in the Ritz Carlton…but they were outside of my budget so I don’t have personal experience with them. Enjoy…

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      • Thank you for your reply!
        (Ritz C is def not in our budget.)
        I was thinking Lobster Pot, The Wharf, or Cracked Conch?

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