WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO EAT CONCH IN TURKS AND CAICOS?
Conch is a specialty in Turks and Caicos and many locals believe that if you haven't tried Conch during your stay you haven't really been to Turks and Caicos. For those who don't know what it is: Conch is a medium sized sea snail living in a beautiful shell that is a popular tourist souvenir. Some Caribbean fishermen still use the shell as a trumpet to signalize that the fish is now available for sale. Conch tastes like a mix of crab and calamari and can be prepared in many different ways. A conch reaches its full size after approximately 4-5 years of growing. Before it's fully grown it is not worth eating. Some of the Conchs can weigh up to 5pounds. Here are my top 4 picks where to explore the fabulous world of Conch on the island:
1. Da Conch Shack
Located in the Blue Hills area, just a short 10min drive from Grace Bay Beach is a place that can't be missed on your Turks-To-See-List. This beachfront restaurant made it on the "1000 places to see before you die" list and might not be the fanciest place to visit, but guarantees great memories, especially if you try their famous rum punch. Jan's "Infamous Rum Punch" (that's what it is called) gets served plastic cups and is the best rum punch on the island. The conch comes fresh from the ocean in front of the restaurant and if you are lucky enough, you might see a local diver walking out of the water with a net full of beautiful shells. The menu offers all kinds of variations and my favorites on the menu are the conch fritters, which I would recommend sharing as an appetizer and the Conch Creole as a main dish. Visit on a Thursday night if you can and experience an evening full of great life music, lots of locals, dancing and the beautiful sunset of Turks and Caicos.
2. Mango Reef
Mango Reef is my favorite place for Conch in its original form - raw in a Conch Salad. Some people get goose bumps when they hear raw Conch, but once they have tried it they love it! This restaurant is located at the Alexandra resort between the exclusive Regent Palms and the lively Beaches resort. It is a popular beachfront restaurant and is a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner. With reasonable prices, live performances in the evenings in peak season and a great menu that goes far beyond Conch salad it attracts tourists as well as locals. Raw Conch tastes delicious and is a much healthier addition to a fresh salad than fried chicken. From all the places in Turks this restaurant deserves first place for its Conch salad. Number two on my list by the way for Conch salad would be Hemingway's at the Sands resort.
3. Caicos Cafe
Ask on your next trip to Turks and Caicos any cab driver what their favorite place for Conch is and I promise 90% of the time you will hear: Caicos Cafe. After hearing about it literally from almost every cab driver I decided to give it a try. It is nestled in a perfect location on Governors Road only steps away from most resorts. The menu offers fabulous seafood dishes and of course Conch. To get a table without a reservation might mean a 20min wait, but it is absolutely worth it. Owner Marco and Chef Massimo are doing a fantastic job in providing their guests with delicious food as well as great service. After this visit I understood also why most locals love this place. After all the years it is already open it still has this special old-world Caribbean charm to it. The Conch fritters are addicting and after a glance on the menu one might be tempted to order more than an appetizer and main course, but be aware that the portions are large.
4. Right Off Your Boat!
To try something a little different, check out Island Vibes and book a private boat charter for a half day. The team at Island Vibes can customize your tour, including snorkelling and diving, a cay tour, or even exploration at Iguana Island! For lunch, as them to prepare fresh conch. Experts like Tino and Jon will prepare you the most fresh, clean and delectable conch for you right on the boat! All you need besides a freshly caught conch is a little onion, tomato and citrus like oranges and lime. Delicious - especially with a nicely chilled Pinot Grigio!
On your next Turks trip don't forget to try this delicious sea animal and get in touch with the local culture and their typical dishes. Ask the locals about Conch and they will tell you the most beautiful stories about the Queen of the sea snails. For more information also about other amazing restaurants please call our Destination Specialists. We are happy to share our knowledge and our insider tips!