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Food & Dining in Trinidad & Tobago


Restaurants in Trinidad & Tobago are largely unpretentious and located in old houses and buildings along the ocean or in tourist areas. Beachwear is never considered appropriate in most restaurants in the Caribbean. Dinner dress generally consists of trousers and a collared or button-down shirt for men, and informal dresses for women. Travellers should be comfortable and casual but neat while enjoying the delicious food of the islands. Travellers who have business in restaurants meetings may want to call ahead to check on dress codes.

Reservations in upscale restaurants, tourist areas, and in Port-of-Spain are always recommended during high season, and in the busy time around Carnival. Although reservations are needed at some restaurants, street vendors and bake stands allow hungry travellers to eat on a whim.

The flavours and restaurants in Trinidad & Tobago represent a number of cultures throughout the world and give travellers an opportunity to relax in peaceful and quiet environments while enjoying the cuisine. Chinese, Indian and Creole cooking is available on both islands. Tobago also offers some notable seafood specialities and all types of fried fish. One of Tobago's speciality is crab and dumpling soup. A unique blend of Caribbean flavours culminates into this most delicious soup.

Places to Dine

Most restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol, which of course includes everything from beer to alcohol with strongest proof around. For the twin isles, dining and drinking is a very important and big part of the social scene. The ritual of drinking is viewed almost as a national pastime of sorts, and people tend to dress for the occasion. The restaurants provide ambience, décor and variety. With locations in the open-air, overlooking the sea or with breathtaking views of golden sunsets, to establishments of fine dining with exquisite interiors that transport you to a different place in time. Most are reasonably priced and within reach of the major hotels. The menus are varied offering everything from local cuisine of roti and curried meat to the international flavours of the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, located just minutes away from downtown Port-of-Spain and opposite the Queen's Park Savannah.

For the adventurous traveller, there is the taste unique to Trinidad & Tobago in the way of Indian, Creole and a special blend of Chinese food. These dishes consist of fresh local ingredients. Creole food is a purely local cuisine influenced by the African flavour. Such dishes on offer are callaloo soup, a pride and joy of Trinidad & Tobago, which consists of dasheen leaves (a local spinach type leafy vegetable), okra, crab, hot pepper and local seasonings. Pelau is another Creole dish, which is primarily a rice dish with peas, cooked meat, coconut and pepper. A restaurants that caters specifically to the Creole menu is the Shirvan Watermill situated in Mt Pleasant in Tobago.

Indian food is a popular cuisine in the twin isles. Its origin comes directly from India via the indentured labourers. The influence this culture has had on our taste buds is evident in the endless roti shops. These feature roti, which is Indian flat bread, served up with accompaniments such as curry meat or vegetables. The local touch consists of curried mango, hot pepper and local fresh seasoning, such as the chadon beni leaf, which gives the food a unique taste, very different to the authentic East Indian curry dishes. Most of the Indian food restaurants tend to be fast food establishments. One that offers authentic Indian food, such as tandoori and briyani, is Apsara, which can be found in a scenic spot facing the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

Chinese food is equally popular with fine dining establishments, stylish restaurants and fast food outlets. The taste is distinctively a local style with a twist of Cantonese or Thai. The actual establishments vary from authentic looking pagodas painted in traditional green and red with gold embellishments to contemporary styles using subtle interior designs. The menus cover everything from seafood to vegetable dishes. Some examples of Chinese restaurants to be found are the Tamnak Thai, located around the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain and Jenny's on the Boulevard, located on Cipriani Boulevard in Newtown, just outside Port-of-Spain. Other restaurants feature Syrian, Italian European, and of course international menus.

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