I didn’t think it could get any more beautiful than the piercing azure water and soft white sand of Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos.
But Coco Bistro, you might say, was a game changer. Its romantic setting beneath a canopy of palm trees gave gorgeous Grace Bay Beach a serious run for its money in the ambiance department.
Dine Beneath the Palms
Coco Bistro is just a five-minute drive inland from the bustling resort-laden Grace Bay strip—a $10 or so cab ride.
Set on a plot of land that used to be a plant nursery and has since turned into the largest palm grove on the island, Coco Bistro features al fresco dining in a courtyard dotted with tall palm trees.
There’s no denying the romantic feel of Coco Bistro. While I dined there one evening, the dark sky looked like pure velvet amongst the bright green palm branches, while delicate lighting from lamps scattered about and strategically placed candles cast a soft glow.
Coco Bistro’s Menu
Such a lovely setting immediately set high expectations for the food. Happily, Coco Bistro didn’t disappoint my palate.
Executive chef Stuart Gray (a Canuck, no less) has built a menu that showcases the best of Turks and Caicos—super fresh seafood and fish—with creative and inspired interpretations.
My ahi tuna sashimi appetizer was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I couldn’t resist sampling more conch, so I ordered the conch ravioli as my main. Combined with grilled sweet peppers, pecan basil pesto, artichoke hearts and a white wine cream sauce, then topped with fresh shaved parmesan, the plentiful ravioli were stuffed to perfection with tasty, fresh conch meat. Yum!
Carnivores can rejoice, too. Coco Bistro also offers an impressive selection of meat dishes, including rack of lamb, steak and chicken.
The Final Say
I had never dined in a setting like Coco Bistro’s, and save for another trip to Turks and Caicos in my future, I wonder if I ever will again.
The food, to be sure, isn’t cheap—but few restaurants are in Grace Bay Beach. To me, paying a bit more for such fresh fare in such a beautiful, romantic courtyard is worth it.
Coco Bistro is open for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations are highly recommended.
All photos by Tropical Imaging Ltd.
Conch in Turks and Caicos
It doesn't take long to figure out conch's significance in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. The native sea snail—think a slightly tougher version of squid—is on just about every restaurant's menu in some way, shape or form.
Three days into my five-day stay in Turks and Caicos, I had already sampled conch (pronounced "conk") a handful of ways. But I wanted more.
Caicos Conch Farm
Before you even set foot on the tropical island of Providenciales—or any island in the Caribbean, really—there's one thing you absolutely need to know.
Conch, the sea snail that's found on local menus everywhere, is pronounced "konk," not "konch."
Fight the urge to pronounce that "ch" sound. It's a newbie mistake, and you're a far more seasoned traveller than that.
But quirky pronunciation is just one tiny aspect of this species. To delve deeper into the world of conch, head straight to the Caicos Conch Farm.
Turks and Caicos Chef Insider: Wolfgang von Wieser
In 2011, chef Wolfgang von Wieser left the non-stop scramble of Las Vegas for the slower pace of Turks and Caicos. Here, he shares how he's bringing contemporary German cuisine to Grace Bay Club on the island of Provindenciales. Plus, three of his favourite restaurants on the island.