You will never go hungry in Trinidad.
If anything, you will have a difficult time deciding what to eat next. Choose from upscale fine dining haunts to intimate family-run establishments where Trini warmth and hospitality will overwhelm you. You can opt for trendy little cafes, which reflect contemporary design, or eateries with questionable exteriors but incredible food. There are also options for visitors who crave something more familiar Trinidad's rich cultural heritage has contributed to our mosaic of culinary styles.
During different phases of its history, the Spanish, French and British occupied Trinidad. These colonisers relied on the island's original inhabitants, the Amerindians, for labour as well as workforces from Africa, India and China. The people of the Middle East and Portugal also came, and in recent times, American society has influenced the island's trends. These regions, with their distinctive cultures and culinary traditions, have all had a hand in creating the delectable mélange that is Trinidad's cuisine.
To learn more about dining in Trinidad visit www.cre-ole.com.
When African slaves came to Trinidad, they brought their robust stews and one-pot comfort foods. Over generations, these have been refined to create signature Trinidad dishes like pelau, macaroni pie and callaloo. Just about any meat or legume can be stewed Trini-style, but the favourites are chicken and red beans.
Rich, hearty and delicious soups are also part of the Creole tradition with island favourites like oxtail soup, beef soup and cowheel soup combining melt-in-your-mouth chunks of meat with
East Indian Food
Curry is a well-loved spice in Trinidad.
As is the case with Creole stews, just about any meat can be curried but the preferences are chicken, goat and duck. Curried duck is part of a larger social experience for Trinis, especially those of East Indian descent. It is key to the popular "river lime," where food is cooked on a riverbank in iron pots over an open flame.
Although south Trinidad is considered the home of East Indian food, there are two hallmarks of this cuisine that can be found anywhere on the island – roti and doubles. Roti (a stovetop roasted flatbread served with curried meat and vegetables such as potato, pumpkin and bodi) is an East Indian staple. There are many Trini varieties such as paratha, dosti, dhalpourie (made with yellow lentils) and aloopourie (made with potato. Doubles is the unofficial national breakfast, with many Trinidadians starting their day with two or three of these palm-size flour and split peas (yellow lentils) patties filled with spicy channa (chickpeas) and topped with different relishes.
Chokas, which are roasted and pounded vegetables, are another well-liked choice for breakfast. The popular chokas of tomato and eggplant are usually eaten with sada roti, similar to naan bread.
Indian delicacies and sweets are also a mainstay. Penal, a town in south Trinidad is famous for its main street lined with huts where vendors sell favourites like aloo pies (fried potato pies), pholourie (fried balls of ground split peas served with chutney), barfi (coconut fudge), goolab jamoom (milk balls in sweet syrup).
Chinese restaurants abound everywhere, from small towns to the capital city. Some busy city streets boast as many as three or four Chinese restaurants. While the style is predominantly Cantonese, local spices and ingredients add a distinctive flavour.
Be sure to try dasheen pork, a Chinese-inspired delicacy that originated in Trinidad. The highly seasoned combination of dasheen (a ground tuber) and pork can be ordered at most Chinese restaurants.
With the increasing global popularity of Caribbean food, one of the exciting movements in local cuisine is the emergence of haute cuisine where traditional, even grassroots, dishes are done gourmet-style. In Trinidad's burgeoning gourmet food industry, you will find casual dining restaurants, steakhouses and some international cuisine.
You will also find a fusion of fine dining restaurants boasting French, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Spanish and Thai food. These are primarily located in Port-of-Spain on Ariapita Avenue or "restaurant strip" as it is commonly known, Woodbrook, St Clair and around the Queen's Park Savannah.
Trinidad's cuisine is an adventure and for the best experience, you may have to take the unbeaten path.
A street vendor will serve some of the most memorable and unique foods you will eat on the island. If you think the vendor looks a little dodgy, you can politely ask for a food handlers badge but if there's a line-up of locals, you've picked the right spot. St James, on the western edge of Port of Spain, is the place for nightlife and street cuisine. In the wee hours of the morning the town is abuzz with vendors selling barbecue and jerk meats, roti, homemade ice cream, Creole corn soup, ital (vegetarian) food, fruit punch (not the hotel variety) and much more.
Around the Queen's Park Savannah, you can treat yourself to coconut water and coconut jelly (scooped from a freshly cut coconut), boiled or roasted corn, Indian delicacies or oysters, served in a glass with a dash of lime and spicy cocktail sauce. Another popular street fare is the snow cone (shaved ice topped with syrup and condensed milk), great for beating the tropical heat.
Trinis love their bellies.
In Trinidad, people say if you want to raise money, hold a barbecue or a curry-que. The point being that if you involve food in the event, you are sure to make money. This fact has led to the growth in the number of food festivals held on the island. Some are done for charitable purposes while others aim to showcase the island's diverse cuisine.
Trinidad's biggest food festival is the annual Taste T&T, which brings together top local restaurants and purveyors of traditional foods for two nights of culinary heaven. Two other popular food festivals include the fundraisers Chefs Royal and Dining with the Saints.
Bake and shark, now synonymous with Maracas Bay, is the flagship of Trinidad's unusual cuisine. Deep-fried pieces of shark are nestled between two slices of fried bake (fried dough) and topped with your choice of condiments and relishes. You can choose from tomatoes, cucumbers, pineapple, ketchup, mustard, tartar sauce, tamarind sauce, garlic sauce, oyster sauce and pepper sauce.
Pepper sauce (hot peppers blended with vinegar and herbs) for most Trinidadians goes with everything! Expect everything you eat on the island to be a little spicy and don't be surprised if pepper sauce is offered with your meal. For the safety of your taste buds, always ask how hot the sauce is, and proceed with caution.
Fruit chows are part of every Trinidadian childhood. They are usually made with seasonal fruit such as mango, plums and pineapple. The half ripe or ripe fruit is cut up and mixed with limejuice, garlic, pepper, cilantro, oil, salt and black pepper. Chow can be used as a relish or dip but mostly it is eaten as a snack on its own.
Souse, is usually made with pig trotters or chicken feet. The meat is boiled and served cold in a salty brine seasoned with lime, cucumber, pepper, and onion slices.
Chip-chip is a tiny shellfish similar in taste to clams. It is usually curried or used in a spicy cocktail.
Conch is a dark, edible marine snail, usually served curried or in souse.
Cascadura or cascadoo, as it is commonly known, is a rare freshwater fish covered with large plates of bony, dark scales. Usually curried, it holds a special place in local folklore. According to legend, once you eat cascadura, you will always return to Trinidad.
Wild meat is highly sought after during hunting season (October 1st to the end of February). Locals stew or curry agouti, iguana, manicou (opossum), lappe, quenk (wild hogs) and tatoo (armadillo).
Restaurants by cuisine
|Adam's||15A Saddle Road, Maraval||US $1.25 to US $6.75||(868) 622-2435
|Joseph's||3A Rookery Nook, Maraval||US $12.50 to US $47.50||(868) 622-5557
|44 Coblentz Avenue, Cascade||US $10 to US $50||(868) 621-0541/4
|Lighthouse Restaurant at Crews Inn
|Pointe Gourde, Chaguaramas Bay||US $5 to US $70||(868) 634-4384 ext 424
|The Paradise Restaurant
|Salybia Nature Resort and Spa, Toco Main Road, Salybia Village, Matura||US $5 to US $40||(868) 668-5959
|Peake Yacht Services, 5 Western Main Road, Chaguaramas||US $2 to US $30||(868) 634-4839
|Woodford Café||62 Tragarete Road, Newtown
Store # 55
Movietowne Boulevard, Invaders Bay
|US $10 to US $35||(868) 622-CAFÉ
|Soong's Great Wall||97 Circular Road, San Fernando||US $6 and up||(868)652-WALL
|Valpark Chinese Restaurant||Valpark Shopping Plaza, Valsayn||US $3 to US $15||(868) 662-4540
|Sunday Kitchen & Shay Shay Tien||77-81 Cipriani Boulevard, Port of Spain||US $2 to US $20||(868) 627-8089
|The Shanghai Experience||Movie Towne Boulevard, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain||US $6.75 to US $57||(868) 624-0227
|The New Rasam||Level 2, Building O-4, City of Grand Bazaar, Valsayn||US $6.25 to US $50||(868) 645-0994|
|Coconut Cove||33-36 Calypso Road, Manzanilla Beach||US $3.25 to US $55||(868) 691-5939/2717
|Muscovado||Millennium Lakes Golf & Country Club, Sunrise Loop Road, Trincity||US $8.25 to US $60||(868) 640-9259/9717
|Ruby Tuesday||Movie Towne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain||US $8.25 to US $35||(868) 624-6566/4755|
|Sails Restaurant & Pub||Power Boats Boatyard, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas||US $2.25 to US $35||(868) 634-1712
|The Flambeau Restaurant||Courtyard by Marriott, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain||US $5.50 to US $50||(868) 627-5555|
|Tony Roma's||51 Cipriani Boulevard, Port of Spain||US $4 to US $35||(868) 627-RIBS (7427)|
|16 Rust Street, St Clair, Port of Spain||US $11 to US $50||(868) 628-1494
|Ristorante Garibaldi||32 Fitt Street, Woodbrook||US $7.25 to US $42||(868) 772-2942
|Hanami Sushi||Shop 7 Movie Towne Boulevard, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain||US $5 to US $75||(868) 623-5370
|Laughing Buddha||86 Frederick Street, Port of Spain||US $4 to US $41.75||(868) 627-0100
|The Lure||2 Stella Maris Drive, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas||US $7.25 to US $70||(868) 634-2783
|Steakhouse & Grill|
|Ground floor, BHP Billiton Building, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain||US $7.25 to US $104.05||(868) 624-6328
|Tapas Restaurant and Bar||40 Gallus Street, Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook||US $7 to US $45||(868) 628-0054
|Tamnak Thai||13 Queen's Park East, Port of Spain||US $9.50 to US $30||(868) 625-0647/9715
|West Indian Creole|
|Chilli Pepper||19 Sackville Street, Port of Spain||US $1 to US $6||(868) 625-8156
|Sweet Lime||19-23 French Street, Ariapita Avenue||US $2 to US $9||
The data contained in this website concerning local restaurants is provided for information purposes only. The Tourism Development Company Limited (TDC) does not however warrant that the said information is accurate or that it will be up to date at all times, you shall therefore rely on the information at your own discretion and risk. The inclusion of a restaurant on the website does not in any way constitute TDC’s endorsement of the said restaurant or such restaurant’s services or websites. TDC shall not be liable in any way for any loss, damage or injury that occurs due to your reliance on the said information.