We tried quite a few restaurants at the hotel. There are indoor restaurants, many of which require reservations and appropriate dress. And there are outdoor restaurants, which serve guests poolside or seaside.
And there are food trucks that are seasonal and lined up along the beach.
Since there are three hotel properties, you can eat at any of the restaurants in any of the hotels. We tried several of them. Here’s a sense of what’s available.
We didn’t understand the name of 3 Tides to begin with. What are the three tides exactly? We did a little research and found there are three types of tides.
- diurnal: one high and low tide each day
- semi-diurnal: two high and low tides each day
- mixed: two high and low tides each day of different heights
I never asked the staff about the name, but another reason might be it’s on the lobby level which is the third floor. From there, you descend two levels to the ground floor. There is both inside dining and outside dining. We recommend the outside dining, since you get a chance to see the nightly water show.
From the third floor, there is a spiral staircase, reminiscent of a Nautilus shell, that takes you down two levels to the main floor where all the action is. There is a show kitchen in the middle, and all the food preparation is right in front of you.
For outside dining bring mosquito repellent. The hotel does a very good job trying to keep the little pests under control, but at night they’re still around. From outside you can see the light show. Time your visit so you are seated before the top of the hour.
Seafood choices are well prepared. I asked our server, Nate, what he recommended. He suggested the grouper was excellent and very tender and not “fish tasting” at all. It was like lobster without the chewiness. Madeline had fish and chips. She liked the fish but thought the chips were unevenly cooked, with some too chewy.
Service was inconsistent. We’re not certain what happened, but it took more than an hour to be served. We talked to the management, who made amends. We talked with Adam and Justin at the Grand Club, and they sorted out everything. We don’t like to complain about good food, so we’ll probably go back. In the meantime, there were other restaurants to explore.
Fi’lia at Baha Mar
Fi’lia at Baha Mar is better known by its chef, Michael Schwartz. It’s Italian cooking, with wood-fired oven pizzas, freshly-tossed Caesar salads, and classic pastas. Michael Schwartz is a James Beard Award-winning chef and perhaps better known for his cooking in Miami. Although the restaurant is within the Baha Mar complex, it’s not a Hyatt restaurant.
Fi’lia impressed us. To begin, we shared a terrific Tableside Caesar. Our server gave us freshly baked bread with artisan olive oil and cheese while we waited for our main courses. I enjoyed Rigatoni Bolognese; it was great. Madeline had a freshly prepared pizza. We left stuffed. We met plenty of diners, since it was an intimate setting and we were on a two-top next to several others. We conversed freely, and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. We paired our meal with a very nice bottle of wine. Our server was excellent, as was our Tableside Caesar server, Elvis.
Shuang Ba is a Chinese-styled restaurant within the Baha Mar complex and the styling and décor make you feel like you’ve traveled to Beijing to eat. We initially thought it was much larger. We approached from the front and were shown to our table. We checked it out before and thought there was more seating adjacent. But it was another bar nearby and not related to Shuang Ba. Get a reservation through the concierge or OpenTable to guarantee a spot.
We liked the well done interior décor of the restaurant. You can tell they paid attention to detail to construct a Beijing-style restaurant. It’s quite beautiful and a refuge from the casino a short distance away.
We weren’t happy Shuang Ba charged for water. We’d already been to a few restaurants, and nobody else was charging for tap water. Even Fi’lia offered water at no charge. It seemed pretentious to us, since the food is already expensive. There is no reason to gouge a customer for table water.
We will say Shuang Ba’s food was excellent. The spring roll appetizers were very good. Madeline had sweet and sour chicken that was excellent.
I ordered the sizzling Szechuan food with beef tenderloin and wasn’t exactly sure what I’d get. It turned out it was a Szechuan hot pot meal; more like a soup than anything else. The flavors were complex, and you could dial the spice up or down.
The cooks were excellent, and we complimented them on the complexity of flavors in our meals. We complemented our meal with vegetable fried rice, which was also quite delicious. Shuang Ba is an expensive meal. Plan on at least $100 for a meal for two. But this is not your usual take-out Chinese food. You can even have Peking duck prepared tableside. We had it done in Beijing a few years ago, but that’s another story for another day.
The Swimming Pig
This restaurant is reminiscent of an English pub. The Swimming Pig offers plenty of tap beers, including local island and more mainstream options. They serve a wide variety of bar food, too. The Swimming Pig’s signature burger was quite good. Madeline had a very nice spinach Caesar salad with steak. She is particular about her Caesar salad and raved about this one. There are plenty of big screens all around, in case you want to watch local sports. We enjoyed the atmosphere and good food.
This is the Mediterranean restaurant on the property. Cleo serves a nice combination of food as tapas or small plate offerings. You’ll find these dishes all over the Mediterranean and recognize many in any Greek restaurant. They also offer foods from the Middle East, Morocco, and other locales.
We first experienced tajines in Casablanca. Tajine is cooking in a clay pot for long periods of time and includes lots of interesting spices. Think of it as a slow cooker that was invented thousands of years before the Crock-Pot. Spiced foods in a Mediterranean context doesn’t mean spicy, or hot. These foods are very flavorful and the combination of spices with meats and vegetables is very tasty.
We weren’t exactly sure what to expect at Cleo. It had a wide variety of foods, and our server said the chef recommended to share plates wherever possible.
We started with a Greek salad, which has no lettuce. Instead it’s tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber and feta. It was delicious and had Bahamian tomatoes, which are reddish purple in color and very tasty. I’d say they’re better than heirloom tomatoes.
We also ordered Spanakopita, which is filo dough wrapped around feta cheese and spinach. There were three smaller bites of this, but it was freshly prepared and much better than the frozen ones at Costco. These were prepared in-house and tasted exceptional.
Then we had the shawarma, which is a little like gyros. We’ve had both while traveling all over the Middle East and Greece. The main difference between shawarma and gyro is the meat. At Cleo it was lamb, but it can be any meat really, and you should ask. Gyros is usually a combination of lamb and beef with spice. Shawarma is marinated all day in seasonings and spices like garlic, turmeric, dried lime, cinnamon and cardamom. This gives it a complex flavor that is both tangy and warm. Cleo added some freshly made yogurt, fresh spices and harissa oil, which added a warm spice to the meat. It was wrapped in freshly made pita bread. This was so good, we ordered it again!
Cleo offered a nice selection of desserts, but we were full after all the plates we shared. We were so impressed with Cleo, we made a reservation to go back two days later.
Blue Note Jazz Bar
This classic jazz bar also serves food. The Blue Note is adjacent to the casino as you approach it from the West Tower of the Grand Hyatt.
The first thing we noticed in the Blue Note is the elevated piano that sits above the main bar. Musical groups rotate playing there. You’ll hear popular tunes and typical jazz stylings. It’s was a nice setting for an after-dinner drink.
The Blue Note offers small-plate menu items, such as Caribbean lobster bruschetta, fresh crab cakes, and many other items to keep you in the spirit.
Of course, it’s a jazz bar, so all the typical drinks are available as are island-inspired cocktails. The bar is open from 4:00 PM until to 3:00 AM. The entertainment starts at 8:00 or 8:30 PM, depending on the night, and lasts until 1:00 AM or later. The entertainers were very good, and we were not disappointed with the music or the food and beverage.
We saw two rotating groups. One was a vocalist and pianist duo. They performed a variety of standards and hits over a four-hour period with breaks. The other was a quartet with a lead singer, piano player/vocalist, a drummer and a saxophone player. These guys were very good, too.
Don’t get the idea you’re going to hear only jazz related music and therefore might not like it. That’s not the case at all. Both groups were extremely talented. There were jazz influences, but you’ll really enjoy the music because the musicians are all very talented.
The duo invited Peaches, who is a bartender supreme on most nights, to sing along on “Proud Mary.” Peaches became part of the singing, now, trio and was happy to part of the festivities.
Wednesdays is Wine Down Night, when a very expensive bottle of wine is close to half off. That’s a nice way to settle in and enjoy an hour or two of great entertainment.
See our other post on The Bahamas: