Enjoy ‘island time’ at casual seaside eatery

 

Looking for a casual culinary escape? Go east to Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar and Grill. 

This pleasant little eatery at Compass Point Dive Resort in the sleepy district of East End serves up stunning seaside views along with the food. 

Eagle Ray’s caters to dive guests, but it’s also a great weekend retreat where residents can chill out and spend some time on what locals in the district call the “island side” of Cayman – where the pace slows down and stress takes a holiday. 

Indeed, it has the feel of being on vacation, with the atmosphere reminiscent of the tranquility and charm of unspoiled Little Cayman – laid back, welcoming and away from it all. Plus, the leisurely drive to East End on a lazy Sunday afternoon is part of the fun.  

Compass Point Dive Resort, home to Ocean Frontiers, is peaceful and secluded, with the open-air pub and grill perched upstairs overlooking the sea. The patio features bright yellow picnic tables with umbrellas for shade, as well as a few tables and seats at the bar. A thatched roof adds to the island atmosphere.  

The eatery is adorned with a variety of eagle rays – its namesake comes from the dozens of spotted eagle rays that reside in the shallow water of the lagoon in front the resort. 

I ordered the lionfish tacos and my companion opted for the chicken curry served with coconut basmati rice, mango chutney and crisp pappadoms. Both were appetizing and nicely presented, with the delicious curry sauce full of rich, buttery flavor.  

The lionfish was nice and light, wrapped in soft flour tacos with crisp cabbage and lettuce and topped with a savory tartar and sweet chili sauce. Lionfish can be caught and consumed in good conscience as it is an invasive species that threatens the island’s reefs and marine life. Ocean Frontiers organizes regular culling dives, the results of which now end up on the table. 

For dessert: cheesecake drizzled in chocolate sauce and rum cake served with raspberry and mango coulis, both topped with vanilla ice cream. The mango coulis was a standout – bursting with flavor. 

Attentive, welcoming service by our server Rahul Pereira enhanced the experience and even the head chef – who prepares the fare in an outdoor kitchen – took time to say hello.  

Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant has a varied menu that includes burgers, soups, sandwiches, pastas, slow-cooked ribs and fresh-catch specials. Island favorites include conch fritters, ceviche and jerk chicken. Among the seafood entrees are coconut shrimp and pepper-crusted yellowfin tuna. 

It has a daily blackboard menu as well, including pasta, panini and pizza specials.  

Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar and Grill opened in July, a venture by Chef Ron Hargrave of nearby Tukka and Compass Point’s Steve Broadbelt.  

Casual and inviting, this seaside grill is a welcome addition to the dining destinations in the “far side” of Cayman. 

Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar and Grill 

Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday-Sunday 

During low season the restaurant closes between 2 and 5 p.m. 

Tel: 640-8888 

Eagle Ray staff

From left, Widi Nugroho, Rahul Pereira and head chef Alies Sugiarto. PHOTO: RICK MEWBURN
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