Cafés, Takeout, and Snacks
The Paraquet Restaurant (68 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/236-9742, 8 a.m.–midnight daily) is more public forum than restaurant, a welcome roadside drop-in for taxi drivers, police patrols on coffee breaks, flip-flopped beachgoers, senior citizens, and families with children. The Portuguese-owned eatery has been around for as long as most locals can remember. Today, it keeps on serving favorites like the delectably crusted fish cake on a bun ($6.30) (fish cakes can also be purchased by the half-dozen), hearty soups ($5.95), breakfast specials ($10.95), wraps, toasted subs, and hot and cold sandwiches ($4–14), wraps, meatloaf, fish and chicken dinners ($15), cakes, pies, and thick milkshakes ($4–6). Special holiday menus are popular during the Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving seasons. The Paraquet’s bakery offerings are also worth sampling: banana bread, gingerbread, rolls, and hot-cross buns (at Easter) are stacked daily on shelves near the entrance. Bermudians also bulk-order their Christmas cassava pies and Easter fish cakes (arguably the best on the island) from here. Opt for a stool at the foyer bars to get the full experience: Cabbies and other regulars hold debates on the political issues of the day here most afternoons.
Pastries, sandwiches, coffee, ice cream, and cold drinks are sold at the Double Fantasy Café & Gift Shop inside the Botanical Gardens visitors center (183 South Rd., 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), a renovated space that provides a welcome air-conditioned respite for park visitors in the summer. Sit down at teak tables and chairs, or take your snack with you as you stroll around the gardens. The center is near the park’s Berry Hill Road entrance and has ample parking right outside.
The Pink Café (King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, 7 Point Finger Rd., ground floor, tel. 441/239-2057, 9 a.m.–3:45 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Sat., closed public holidays) is partly run by the facility’s ubiquitous “Pink Ladies” and teenage “Candy Stripers”—volunteers from the charitable Women’s Hospital Auxiliary, who, identifiable in their hallmark rosy uniforms, work in virtually every department of the hospital aiding nurses with patient care. Their much-loved little coffee shop, which shifted locations after many decades and underwent renovations in 1998, serves up local favorites like fish cakes, black-eyed pea soup, gingerbread, and chicken pies to a constant crowd of medical staff, hospital visitors, and drop-in passersby. Hot lunch specials range from $8.50 to $12.
The hospital’s cafeteria (first floor, tel. 441/236-2345, breakfast 7:30–9:30 a.m., lunch noon–2 p.m., dinner 5:30–7:30 p.m.) is also open to the public and offers a truly local experience, complete with loads of well-priced comfort food (burgers, chicken legs, macaroni ’n’ cheese).
Like its after-hours Hamilton counterpart of the same name, The Ice Queen (Rural Hill Plaza, South Rd., tel. 441/236-3136, 10 a.m.–5 a.m. daily) sees lines out the door for its takeout cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, chicken, and fries when Hamilton bars close on Friday and Saturday evenings. Lunch brings a calmer clientele—construction workers, school kids, and seniors in search of a delicious fish (fresh Bermuda wahoo) sandwich. Prices are reasonable and the offerings hearty.
Blue Point (Mandarin Oriental Elbow Beach Hotel main lobby, 60 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/236-3535, lunch noon–4 p.m., bar 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) serves salads, seafood, gourmet pizzas, burgers, spa cuisine, and other casual fare at the hotel poolside during the summer season.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition