Restaurants & Bars

Freeport Bahamas report (longish)

martym | Feb 19, 200310:12 AM

Just returned from a few days in Freeport at the Royal Oasis Resort complex. What a disappointing chowtown that is!

Despite asking every local we could find where they like to eat, we were repeatedly steered back to the restaurants catering to all the visitors at the complex. For instance, the much-touted Ruby Swiss was a joke of faux-continental cuisine - with elaborate table-side flambe's, etc. My order of "local" grouper was a tasteless and dry filet that could well have come from the freezer.

Our one outstanding meal was at Billy Joe's shack on the beach at Our Lucaya. (Locals call it Joe Billy's, but whatever...) It's at the far west end of that beach. We were drawn by the open-pit grill and the wheel barrow full of fresh conch shells. We watched in amazement as a young man hammered open the shells and yanked out the hefty meat inside - dumping one after another of the lump of plump matter into a bucket of water. From there he'd pull each one out and skillfully cut of the tough outer membrane, and proceed to slice it, and then pound it thin. After that it got chopped and grilled on the open flame, along with a heap of red and green bell peppers and sweet onions, and served up in a rich buttery lime/pepper sauce. (Ask for a burger roll to sop up the juices.) Served on plastic plates at a picnic table on the sunny breezy beach, life couldn't have been better. (Especially knowing that two feet of fresh snow awaited us back home the next day...)

We did bring a lot of snack food with us - hummus, cream cheese spreads, olives, crackers, nuts, fruit, celery, peanut butter, juice concentrates (to go with the rum we got there) - and a couple of bottles of good wine - so we were able to skip the hotel breakfast buffets and a couple of lunches too and head straight to the beach with a picnic ready to go.

(We also did the braiding straight away to avoid the incessant harangues of the braid ladies on the beach.)

All in all my advice is to lower your expectations and stick to burgers and pizza - what a shame.

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