Typically, resort food isn’t the highlight of a trip to the tropics, but an increasing number of resorts are upping their game with chef-driven concepts that should be experienced.

Café Martinique at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
Near Nassau, Bahamas

Designed to recreate the look of the iconic namesake Nassau restaurant that appeared in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball, Café Martinique serves food that complements its elegant atmosphere. Headed by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the kitchen serves classic French fare with a focus on local seafood prepared with a Caribbean twist. Specialties include roasted Bahamian lobster tail with oregano and chili and fried plantain.

Hoku’s at The Kahala

The Kahala Hotel & Resort’s signature oceanview restaurant has multi-level seating to give guests at every table an unobstructed view of the beach and the Pacific Ocean as they dine on fusion cuisine that draws on Hawaiian traditions and Asian and European influences. The seafood-heavy brunch is a specialty here, with buffet selections such as miso-glazed butterfish and wok-fried crispy soft shell crab, though it’s worth coming back for dinner to try the signature Hawaiian salt and herb crusted rack of lamb. 

Le Chique at Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Mexico, by Karisma
Riviera Maya, Mexico

One of the best dining experiences on the Mayan Riviera, Le Chique offers a truly whimsical 12-course tasting menu: imagine a corn soufflé dusted with powdered cricket, or plates of foam-filled oysters swimming in a fog of smoke. Chef Jonatán Gómez Luna Torres changes his menu often, but you can always expect works of culinary art. 

The Sugar Mill at Half Moon Resort
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Situated on the site of a historical sugar plantation, this open-air spot excels in modern interpretations of classic Jamaican cuisine, elevating typical Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken and oxtail. The house specialty, Solomon’s Brochette, is a beef, pork, sausage, fish and shrimp skewer flambéed tableside with aged rum. Speaking of rum, the Sugar Mill also specializes in rare vintages, including a 50-year-old Appleton Estate, possibly the oldest rum available for sale in the Caribbean. 

El Tigre Vestido at Finca Rosa Blanca Resort
Costa Rica

This restaurant is located in a boutique resort that doubles as a coffee plantation, and its chef, Ruben Villegas Sanchez, makes the most of the site’s coffee beans, as well as salad greens, figs, peppers and other fresh produce grown in the resort’s garden. Book a seat at the kitchen table for a seven-course chef’s tasting menu, or try the coffee connoisseur’s menu with selections like coffee chermoula-marinated tuna and slow-roasted coffee and molasses pork belly.

Read more: The Best All-Inclusive Resort Cuisine in the Caribbean

2017 Food Guide