Multi-award-winning restaurant The Harbourfront (40 Crow Ln., East Broadway, lunch 11:45 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., dinner 6–10 p.m. daily, happy hour 5–6:30 p.m. daily) got a new lease on life in 2007 when it moved a mile from Front Street to the waterfront at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. With dock access, dockside dining, and water views all the way up the harbor, the restaurant is one of, if not the island’s most patronized. Everyone from Bermuda’s premier to top island athletes to international CEOs dines here.
Stellar service, a state-of-the-art sushi bar, and a menu that caters to a sophisticated clientele make it a standout—it holds a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and Best of Bermuda Awards for best maitre d’, best sushi, best power lunch, and best wine list. Whether you order an oyster tempura appetizer ($19.50), lobster ravioli pasta ($25.75), black codfish entrée ($36), dry-aged striploin steak ($36.95), or a tray of sashimi and temaki, you won’t be disappointed by the food or ambience. The sushi and tempura bar is the island’s best. And Maitre d’ Pierangelo Lanfranchi, a Lake Como native, makes all his customers feel like VIP guests.
Named for bon vivant Harry Cox, the 20th-century patriarch of Bermuda’s veritable Cox family,
Harry’s (The Waterfront, 96 Pitts Bay Road, tel. 441/292-5533, www.harrys.bm, lunch noon–2:30 p.m., dinner 6–10 p.m., tapas at the bar noon–10 p.m., Mon.–Sat.) is a long-awaited gourmand’s heaven. Tucked down at the Cox-owned corporate complex on the harborside, across the lane from that other foodie mecca, Miles Market, Harry’s is an elegantly designed steakhouse boasting a 300-strong wine list, granite and dark wood textures, and a menu with the likes of Japanese Kobe beef carpaccio, artisanal salt, potted-rabbit terrine, and Petrossian caviar.
Grilled meat selections include a 12-ounce filet mignon ($59), aged New York hand-cut striploin ($49), 14-ounce veal rack chop ($55), and roasted chateaubriand for two ($90) brushed with truffle-scented honey and cooked in the restaurant’s 1,200-degree oven. A private dining room can be booked for special group occasions. While the restaurant has earned a definite wow factor for its decor and dishes, its prices have prompted several Hamilton-based international companies to ban employees from using their charge accounts there. Don’t miss the extraordinary urinal in the men’s bathroom—designed like a giant lily.
Harley’s Restaurant at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel (76 Pitts Bay Rd., tel. 441/295-3000, fax 441/295-1914, hamilton [at] fairmont [dot] com, www.fairmont.com/hamilton, noon–10 p.m. daily, entrées start at $23) is famous for its aged-beef prime rib and porterhouse selections, the omelettes to order, and its decadent Sunday brunch. Its menu also offers creative Bermuda fish selections (rockfish glazed with bananas and almonds) and pure comfort food, including one of the best versions of mashed potatoes around (full of onions, squash, and skins). There are also lots of vegetarian options. Harley’s dining room is elegant, but if the weather’s right, choose lunch or dinner on the terrace. Here, next to the endless swimming pool, overlooking the harbor, the food is almost immaterial.
Ascot’s at Royal Palms Hotel (24 Rosemont Ave., tel. 441/295-9644, 441/296-0831 or 441/292-0980, fax 441/292-4986, lunch noon–2:30 p.m., dinner 6:30–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is where Northern Ireland’s Edmund Smith cut his chef’s teeth, before winning international awards with his fresh take on Bermudian cuisine. Smith expanded Ascot’s in a major 2006 facelift that added more space, including a separate “wine room” for special dinner parties. Entrées include dishes such as Cajun-rubbed mahi-mahi ($42), roast tenderloin of pork wrapped with leek and served with a timbale of caramelized apple-walnut and sage ($41), and a grilled eggplant tower ($25.75). Lunch on the veranda of this 19th-century manor house is also an elegant affair, overlooking gardens spilling with bougainvillea, shady poincianas, and citrus.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition