Eating, drinking and shopping are three of my favourite past times and the first two are ones that I can indulge to my heart’s content in Bermuda. I cannot enthuse more about the standard and number of restaurants to choose from which seems completely disproportionate to the size of the island and the population. After living in London for eleven years, I thought that the choice of restaurants would be one of the things I would miss most, now it seems inconceivable that this might have proven to be the case. In fact I always felt spoilt for choice.
The capital of Bermuda is Hamilton and here you will find many international style of cuisine, for example; Italian, French, Thai, Japanese, Mexican and Middle Eastern as well as more eclectic style. I have found the standard of food to be high in most restaurants I visited.
There are also several pubs / bars serving food which I have also found to be excellent quality. The first pub we ever visited was the Pickled Onion on Front Street and this remains a firm favourite. You do not get many cheap meals in Bermuda and to provide a very crude guideline to prices we generally pay about $10 -$15 for a starter and about $20 - $30 for a main course depending on the particular establishment. Wine is readily available from all regions and I believe slightly cheaper than in the UK, you should have no trouble whatsoever finding a very nice bottle in a restaurant for about $30 although of course you can pay more if you wish.
Outside Hamilton a lot of the restaurants are found in the large hotels and it is normal in Bermuda to go to a hotel restaurant, something I would not often do in the UK, unless possibly I am a guest at the hotel. Several of the hotel restaurants will have dining rooms either overlooking or even on the beach, for example Lidos at the Elbow Beach resort and Aqua at the Ariel Sands Hotel. These two have particularly stunning settings but there are others.
Many of the guidebooks talk about how expensive dining can be in Bermuda, but most tourists to Bermuda are from the US, where the cost of living is lower and the guidebooks seem to be geared towards them. Whilst I find many aspects of life in Bermuda expensive, I generally found the cost of eating and drinking out not that much different to the UK.
My other favourite activity, shopping, is not one that I could really enjoy regularly without a couple of hours on a plane first. But it should be noted that was my opinion as somebody living there, as a visitor it is easy to spend a day browsing Hamilton’s shops, possibly more. At the Docklands, on the far west of the island, there is another shipping complex mainly geared towards tourists, I bought home some lovely Bermudan pottery and crockery here before I left for good. There are pleasingly few of what I call tourist tat shops, a larger number of quality gift shops, several jewellers and a few designer clothes shops. Whilst you may find some extremely beautiful mementos of your trip to take home, you are highly unlikely to find any bargains.
To conclude on shipping and dining out, if you are looking to holiday on a shoestring then Bermuda is probably not a destination that you ought to consider. Hotels do not come cheaply, you won’t be able to pick up any bargains in the shops and you will also need to have comfortable funds for your food and day to day incidentals.