Top 5 Dining Picks in Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is famous for its beautiful turquoise water, blue skies and white, sandy beaches. In the sports world it is famous for amazing wall-diving and a paradise for snorkel fans, but under returning guests and connoisseurs the island is also known for its fabulous dining. With the Atlantic Ocean surrounding this small island of Provo that only measures 38 square miles it is the perfect place for the freshest seafood and exotic fruits. Here are the top 5 picks for dining in Turks and Caicos restaurants:

1. Da Conch Shack

This open-air beachfront restaurant might not be the fanciest place in Turks and Caicos, but it has such a great reputation that it has made it into the book " 1,000 places to see before you die". As the name already tells "Da Conch Shack" specializes in Conch, which is a large sea snail found in the waters around Provo. Conch tastes similar to Calamari and comes in different forms. The menu offers all sorts Conch variations like Conch salad, Conch Creole or Conch Coconut Stew. The best sellers are the crispy Conch Fritters...delicious! The prices are very reasonable and the menu offers great alternatives like house-made Jerk Chicken or fresh Lobster for guests that aren't into conch. Every Thursday guests can experience Caribbean live music. This is the perfect place to come for Lunch or a casual dinner. It is family friendly and flip-flops are more than welcome.

2. Tiki Hut

Located in Turtle Cove Marina the "Tiki Hut" is a veteran under the restaurants in Turks and Caicos. For years this casual restaurant has been a favorite spot for families and locals. The food is simple and good. Caribbean specialties like Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Black Angus Beef can be found on the menu. The food presentation is beautiful and Chef Derrick will let the taste buds dance under the exotic Caribbean spices and flavors. This restaurant is great for lunch, dinner or just a refreshing cocktail on a hot sunny day.

3. Mango Reef

This popular beachfront restaurant, which is located at the Alexandra Resort, is a favorite place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Large Sails and colorful umbrellas give shade from the sun and the ocean breeze brings a refreshing feeling. The menu offers something for everyone and is packed with fresh seafood. Lobster can be ordered in various forms and the house-made lobster ravioli with garlic, onions, mushrooms and spinach, topped with a parmegiano-truffle oil sauce is a locals favourite.

4. Coco Bistro

The culinary team of the Coco Bistro loves to call their restaurant a "food lover's fantasy". Nestled amidst the largest palm grove on Provo it offers fresh, local gourmet cuisine. The staff has always a big smile for their guests and is very knowledgeable. The space between the tables allows lots of privacy and an undisturbed dining experience. The chef and owner is originally from Canada and has been the executive chef at Anacaona (see next pick) before he focused all his culinary passion on Coco Bistro. His menu offers award winning dishes like the "Caicos Lobster Bisque flambéed with cognac and topped with a lightly spiced cream" or "Pan seared fresh salmon with smashed buttered red skin potatoes, crisp shallots, sautéed spinach and a lemon and caper beurre noisette with tomato confit". This restaurant is one of the best in the entire Caribbean and reservations are highly recommended.

5. Anacaona

Anacaona is an adult-only gourmet restaurant at the beautiful Grace Bay Club. Imagine a beautiful beachfront restaurant, an expansive circular open-air palapas, topped with conical thatched palm roofs covering the tastefully set tables. White table clothes, polished silver cutlery, candle light and the sound of the ocean guarantee the most romantic setting on Grace Bay Beach. This restaurant serves fine Euro-Caribbean Cuisine and is only open daily for dinner. Aside from the regular menu that offers starters like "Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with seared diver scallops, banana bread french toast and mango vanilla chutney" or "Crab, chorizo and corn risotto with truffle oil and corn foam" and main courses like "Pan seared wild Branzino filet with crab, grape mash, asparagus, tomato beurre blanc and macademia nuts", it also offers a "Low Calorie/Vegetarian" menu to choose from. Anacaona is the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner, special occasion like a birthday or anniversary or just a special treat for your taste buds. After dinner enjoy a cocktail, glass of champagne or cognac at the longest infinity bar of the Caribbean.

People come for the sand, sun and surf, but it's often the Turks and Caicos restaurants that offer the most pleasant surprises. With so many options from high end to beach shack, dining in Turks and Caicos is a culinary adventure in and of itself.