I've traveled extensively to resorts, hotels, and restaurants across the Caribbean, Latin America, and beyond, but never have I felt more consistently welcome or satisfied than at the Veranda, Grand Cayman.
Of course, I already knew when I planned my trip that Grand Cayman was considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean - its food scene leaves in the dust the reheated buffets and beach shack grab-and-goes of other Caribbean destinations. But even with this understanding, I was wowed by the consistent quality of ingredients and preparation at the Veranda. Steak night - featuring an assortment of meats grilled slowly on spits over the beach - and fish night - at which I had the best swordfish filet of my life - were particular favorites. Not to be matched was dessert - the best I've had in the Caribbean - with intricately assembled flavor and texture patterns that left my table of seasoned foodies truly impressed.
Atmospherically, the restaurant was simple and charming. An apparently recent shabby-chic remodel has made an already attractive beach-side dining space into something altogether more picture-worthy. And though I'd be lying if I said that EVERY seat has a perfect view of the sea, you'd be hard pressed to find a place to miss it.
However, as good as the food and atmosphere were, neither could not match the service at the restaurant. Never in my life have I been treated as well, by people who seemed to genuinely care. I assure you: this is not merely the feigned cheeriness practiced well by some upper crust vacation destinations. No, these people seem to sincerely care for each and every guest on a personal level, making personal connections and putting their hearts into everything they do.
In this vein, I want to thank the following for their particular service:
- Many reviews have already mentioned Michael, and they are right to do so. His incredibly gracious manor and attentiveness to those he serves is matched only by his inside knowledge of the island and the property itself. It is obvious that he believes in himself and what he does, and every experience at the Veranda is better for his being there.
- Mary Ann was incredibly sweet, and connected particularly with our youngest, who she doted upon. We were so grateful for her attention and care, which remained consistent over every dining experience.
- Neil is perhaps the most industrious person I've ever seen in service. He works tirelessly, never forgot a person's name, and was energized to wait on everyone - not just us - from literally the crack of dawn till close. His job cannot be easy, but he deserves applause for fulfilling his role with such graciousness.
All this said, please do not let this review indicate that any other servers were lacking. Although these are the individuals with whom my family most connected, we witness countless times other servers and staff with whom we had not been introduced connect with other guests similarly. One day, I saw an older gentleman embrace in tears a waitress who had apparently connected with him during his stay. Suffice it to say, these people are simply the best of the best, and they make this already-excellent restaurant even better.
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