A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

The Loren Hotel

Jaw-dropping pink-sand beaches, delectable cuisine, and rum—what more can you ask for when visiting an island? Although those descriptors are alluring, Bermuda is so much more than that. I’ve always wanted to travel to the quaint island because of its gorgeous beaches, but I had no idea about the rich Black history and culinary scene there.

According to their national website, about 60% of Bermuda’s population can be traced back to the West Indies and West Africa, which currently influences the tasty cuisine, like Bermuda fish chowder (more on that later!). Another assumption from tourists is they assume that Bermuda is part of the Caribbean islands – which is false; Bermuda is actually an island in the North Atlantic, 700 miles north of the Bahamas and the Caribbean, and about 600 miles off the Eastern coast of the United States, and is Britian’s oldest British Overseas Territory. This means that while Bermuda is under British rule to a certain extent, it is also the oldest self-governing overseas territory in the British Commonwealth. Their 1968 constitution provides the island with formal responsibility for internal self-government, while the British Government retains responsibility for external affairs, defense, and security.

I learned these facts during my recent trip to the picturesque island in honor of Restaurant Weeks. Now in its 13th year, Restaurant Weeks celebrates Bermuda’s food, culture, and people. With close to 50 restaurants offering either two-course lunches or three-course dinners, food lovers have an array of Bermuda-inspired menus to explore over the six weeks, including myself! To celebrate the end of another successful Restaurant Weeks, the Bermuda Tourism Authority hosted a specially curated evening with New York City’s first Black Michelin-starred chef, Charlie Mitchell of Clover Hill, and an immersive VIP experience at The Loren at Pink Beach.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

To kick off the evening, we started with a cocktail reception at Marée Bar and then prepared a four-course meal inspired by Bermuda’s unique culture and flavors Chef Charlie. After enjoying culinary delicacies like tuna crudo, confit snapper doused in potato puree, caviar, and a smoked lamb shoulder and warm rum madeleines for dessert, we caught up with Chef Charlie about the evening and how Bermudian culture influenced this menu for the celebration. “Well, this is my first time cooking overseas, so it was essential to use some ingredients that people are used to having here,” he said to ESSENCE.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

He continued, “I mainly work with seafood back in New York. So coming to an island where they were keen on eating snapper and fresh yellowfin tuna was amazing, and it was easy for me to connect to it.” 

Charlie describes Bermuda’s culinary scene as rooted in gratitude. “Everyone here appreciates freshness, given that much of their food and resources are imported elsewhere. It’s nice to be part of the food scene here in Bermuda. As a Black chef, it’s important to me to be connected to Black cultures worldwide,” he stated.

Aside from the delicious evening, we were fortunate enough to participate in in-depth tours around the island. Here is what my experience was like as a first-time visitor to Bermuda.

The Hotel

We had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the stunning Loren Hotel. Known for its iconic Pink Beach, The Loren invites visitors worldwide to experience a seaside getaway where art and luxury meet. Boasting elegant interiors and chic suites, I was surprised by the endless ocean and coastline views, and I immensely enjoyed my time there. Everywhere you turned, there was a view—even a private beach! I also appreciated my freestanding tub. The hotel is simply luxurious.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene
A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene
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The Food

Nestled in the beautiful Flatt’s Village, the bright, airy ambiance of Village Pantry is perfect for both casual brunches and elegant dinners. We enjoyed a sophisticated selection of innovative seafood dishes, generous cuts of grass-fed meats, and a mouth-watering vegan menu, voted Bermuda’s Best 2020 Place for Veggie Lovers. Flatt’s Inlet was settled in 1612 and home to several prominent Bermudian families. Flatts has a long and colorful history, including shipbuilding, commerce, and smuggling. Flatt’s was an important port and a bustling hub of shipbuilding and commerce.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

Lunch at Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio Restaurant

Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio is centrally located in the heart of the historic Town of St. George’s and boasts panoramic harbor views. Executive Chef Alfred takes great pride in preparing Bermudian cuisine and is well known for infusing the best seafood that Bermuda’s waters offer. Wahoo’s is famous for its locally caught fish items such as Wahoo nuggets, Rockfish Picasso, and its award-winning fish chowder. I loved their fish chowder!

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

Dynamic Tours

We did several tours, including one at the historic Gosling rum distillery. As an island that has spent over 400 years as a crossroads for sailors of all stripes – from British admirals to plundering pirates – rum has always been a spirited part of Bermuda’s history. It has been a family business on the island since 1806, and its signature Black Seal blend of rum is a vital ingredient in everything from Bermuda fish chowder to the iconic Dark ‘n Stormy® and Rum Swizzle cocktails.

One of my favorite tours was the “Wild Herbs N Plants” foraging tour with Doreen Williams on the south side of Bermuda. We joined her on a foraging tour of the Bermudian countryside and saw fennel (which helps increase your libido) and asparagus fern, which represents fertility. After the two-hour tour, we tried several dishes made with prickly pear, fennel, and other ingredients found along the way at the cooking demo.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene
Wild Herbs & Plants -Doreen Williams-James Wild Herbs & Plants -Doreen Williams-James

Long Story Short Walking Tour with Guide Kristin White

St. George’s is a town with over 400 years of history that was granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2000. During the history tour, Kristin focused on the stories of people of African descent and their impact on Bermuda. She kept it real and shared her knowledge on Black liberation, which isn’t traditionally found in textbooks.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

Wadson’s Farm

Wadson’s Farm is a balanced, sustainable farm that integrates animals, poultry, and vegetable farming to produce chemical-free crops and healthy soils. The team works on approximately 40 acres with various crops, pastures, and animals. The farm is in production year-round. Since 1976, Wadson’s Fam has been the leader in sustainable, regenerative agriculture—both locally and globally.

A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene
A Newcomer’s Guide To Exploring Bermuda’s Rich Culinary Scene

My first trip to Bermuda didn’t disappoint, and I encourage you to visit soon!

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