I don’t normally use this blog to do reviews, but I’ve had the idea for this in my head for a little while and it’s always good to change things up a bit. It could be the first of many reviews, or I may never do one again. Let’s see how it turns out before I start looking into a career change as a restaurant critic!
So, the best steakhouse in Grand Cayman. There aren’t many steak restaurants on the island, but the main three meaty pillars here are the Copper Falls Steakhouse; Yara Global Steakhouse at Margaritaville Resort; and Seven restaurant at the Ritz Carlton hotel. All are situated along the Seven Mile Beach strip, and certainly all of them have very different atmospheres.
Copper Falls Steakhouse
This was the first steakhouse I visited on the island, and from setting foot through the doors I felt relaxed. It’s also my boss’s favourite restaurant in Cayman! There are no airs or graces at this place; the atmosphere is homey with soft, romantic lighting. There are even waterfalls on the wall made from copper – hence the name of the restaurant. It reminds me more of a cross between a cosy Italian Trattoria and a Canadian lodge than a steakhouse, but don’t let that fool you. This place is serious about steaks.
I like the way the menu works here compared to other places, as all steaks/entrees include a cocktail, glass of wine or beer, a carb-based side (chips, mashed potatoes, rice or pasta) and a vegetable-based side (mostly just different combinations of steamed vegetables – my usual preference is for squeaky beans!) as well as a sauce for the steak. The other steakhouses lose VFM points here as they charge seperately for the sides and sauces. You also get a complimentary nice big basket of fresh, homemade white bread and butter. Simple but classic. The steaks and entrees are not exactly cheap – for example the cheapest steak on the menu is a top sirloin at $30, with a rib eye costing $46 and a fillet mignon a cool $53. However the inclusion of the sides, sauces and a drink make this expense a lot more palatable.
The service at Copper Falls is pretty good too. Nothing to write home about but the waiters check back to your table regularly, top up your water when necessary and have some top recommendations about the menu, which they will offer up when asked. You never feel rushed but you’re also not kept sitting around for too long either.
Now for the food itself! I’m a big fan of a rare steak. Ask any of my friends or family who’ve frequented a steak restaurant with me – my preference is that a good vet should be able to bring it back to life. Walk the cow past a radiator, hit it on the head then put it on my plate and I’ll be happy. So it’s probably of no surprise that my steak of choice at Copper Falls is the fillet mignon (although their rib eye is pretty good too). I can scarcely remember a time when I’ve had a steak that I could cut with a butter knife. It was the most tender piece of meat I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring, and cooked (barely) to perfection. The sides are pretty standard; tasty but nothing particularly special. This is fine because you aren’t paying any extra for them and they do allow the steaks to really sing, but they do leave a slight feeling of disappointment in the mouth once the meal is done.
Value for Money – 9/10
Food Quality – 7/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Yara Global Steakhouse
I visited Yara last year when it first opened whilst on a staycation at Margaritaville resort. Yara means “the Place” in the native Taino language of the Caribbean. The decor is very trendy and modern with a slight “under the sea” asthetic with a variety of driftwood, glass baubles in different shades of blue and modern art inspired by coral adorning every surface. The restaurant is a lot larger than it appears from the outside with a variety of different types of sitting areas, from stools at the raw-bar (serving raw food not drinks) to large booths and regular round tables for two or four.
The place does seem a little out of place to me; very trendy and modern compared to the “shabby-beach-chic” theme showcased in the Margaritaville resort where it resides – but perhaps the owners at Yara are trying to cater for a young, hip crowd. The resident DJ and lounge atmosphere would certainly atest to this.
The main menu, too, isn’t crazily beyond the limits of a younger crowd financially. You can get any of the non-steak entrées for under $30, and the steaks range from $28 for a 10oz sirloin to $55 for a 22oz ribeye. Sadly unlike Copper Falls, the sides are not included with the mains and this is where the price can start to add up. The prices range between $4 and $9 for the sides and the portion of each is enough for just one person, so no sharesies. The sauces are not included either and will set you back a further $4. These prices are all in CI, but on the menu the prices seem even higher as they are printed in US. This is an annoying niggle for me: why print US prices when we live in the Cayman Islands?! It also means you have to convert your individual item prices back to CI if you are splitting the bill with friends. A small complaint but nevertheless, I hate doing maths when I’m out to dinner.
With regard to the service, I was disappointed at how long it was before our food arrived, although our waitress was very polite and courteous and kept us updated as to when the food would be delivered to our table. The drinks service was also very slow; my dining partner and I went through a whole large glass of water (drinking slowly) before our cocktails arrived, and it wasn’t even a busy night.
We ordered steaks, as is expected at a steakhouse! I actually broke my regular rule of ordering a fillet or rib-eye and plummed for the cheaper option – the sirloin served rare. I also ordered roasted brussel sprouts, honey glazed carrots and the “steak-cut” fries, and some peppercorn sauce for the steak. It has to be said, I was really not fussed at all about my steak. It was overcooked and quite tough and fatty. Part of this may be the fact it was a cheaper cut, but in my book it doesn’t matter the variety of steak – it should be cooked well regardless. However on a positive note, the side dishes at Yara were some of the best I have ever had in my life. Our server even remarked that sometimes she would order just some of the sides to take home at the end of a shift. The sprouts were so flavourful with a lemon and bacon dressing. The honey-glazed carrots were sweet and delicious, like eating candy. And the chips (fries) were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the outside and salted just the right amount to be perfectly flavourful without being too pungent. If I went again I’d be sorely tempted to save my money on the steak and just order lots of side dishes.
Yara Global Steakhouse:
Value for Money – 7/10
Food Quality – 6/10
Service – 5/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Seven at the Ritz Carlton
Seven at the Ritz is regarded by many in Grand Cayman as the pinnacle of classy dining on Seven Mile Beach. I’ve been here before for brunch and breakfast, but never for an evening meal until a week ago. I had high hopes, as one always should for the Ritz, which strives to deliver luxury and opulence to all its guests and diners. The atmosphere of Seven is chilled out and classic without being too lavish or exclusive or, on the opposite end of the scale, too trendy or modern. The dining area is large and split over several different sections which means the tables aren’t too close together. There are floor to ceiling windows which offer a stunning view of the terrace, the pool and – in the distance – the ocean. We opted for an inside table next to the window rather than dining alfresco (which is an option) to avoid the evening mozzies.
As one might expect at the Ritz, the prices were at the higher end of the scale – the cheapest steak being an 8oz skirt steak at $35 going all the way up to a 22oz porterhouse at an eyewatering $80. A choice of sauce is included with the steak but, as with Yara, the sides will set you back extra. However at the Ritz the side dishes are served “family style” so you can comfortably order 2 or 3 to share between 2 people and there will be plenty for both of you. I opted for the $50 14oz rib eye and split the sides with my dining partner – we decided on sautéed broccoli and truffle mac & cheese which set us back $10 each. While we were waiting we received complimentary fresh bread – an unusual apricot and herb tear-and-share loaf with softened butter. It was delicious and very more-ish!
The Ritz-Carlton hotels are renowned for their excellent service, however on this occasion I’m sad to say I was a little disappointed with the lack of attention we received during our meal. I understand that the Ritz emphasise a relaxed and unhurried dining experience, but a lot of the time it seemed that our waitress had forgotten about us. We waited 20 minutes for our food order to be taken after our drinks arrived, and then again afterwards waiting to see the dessert menu and waiting to ask for the bill….and then waiting again for the card machine to be brought over. Unhurried is one thing but in a quiet restaurant mid-week with the reputation of the Ritz, I expected more.
When the food arrived, we were both starving so eagerly tucked in. I’m happy to say the food was worth the wait. My rib eye was beautifully cooked and so tender it barely required the steak knife I was using. Juicy and full of flavour, I barely even needed the peppercorn sauce it came with. The sauce was delicious too, smooth and silky with just the right amount of spice from the peppercorns. As with Yara, the sides were a special event of their own. The sautéed broccoli was al-dente with just the right amount of salt, but the real show-stopper was the truffle mac and cheese. I’m not normally a big fan of the stuff but this was incredible – rich, soft and creamy with a subtle kick from the truffle oil. I could have ordered a bowl by itself. I can’t normally finish a 14oz steak with sides but I couldn’t stop myself; it was all just too delicious to leave a single bite.
Seven at the Ritz Carlton:
Value for Money – 8/10
Food Quality – 10/10
Service – 4/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
So overall for me Seven at the Ritz and Copper Falls are tied for first place, with Yara trailing in behind. Seven was an amazing gastro-experience only let down by the service whilst Copper Falls, with their welcoming and homey atmosphere could pull ahead easily by making their side dishes more exciting. Yara still needed some work in my book, but this is based on a visit from a year ago. I would be willing to try them again to see if the service has improved and if the steak was less of a disappointment.
This is all relative though, and to be honest if you want a good steak dinner on the island you can’t really go far wrong with any of these options. I would probably plum for Copper Falls as my first choice, as you really can’t beat that value for money combined with the cosy atmosphere.
I’d love to know the thoughts of my readers. Do you agree with my rankings? Or is there somewhere on island that does an even better steak? Let me know in the comments!