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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

ALMOND TREE
GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS

A very pleasant experience awaits patrons of this good but informal restaurant.

Most guests opt to dine in the garden with a very open air feel.  The Almond Tree offers up creative chicken and other meat dishes along with plenty of fresh seafood right out of the Caribbean including our personal favorite -- conch.

Conch is actually a giant sea snail.  If you want to get technical, what you'll be dining on is the queen conch.  A nice picture of the shell after cleaning is right here.  If you've ever been to Florida or anywhere tropical you'll instantly recognize the shell.   Even though it is a snail, it's nothing and I mean nothing like escargot! 

The meat is extracted by inflicting a small hole at the top of the shell.  That's where the animal adheres to the shell.  Once a knife cuts that portion of the conch, the entire animal can be pulled right out through the opening of the shell.  The conch is cleaned and then the meat is pounded out to tenderize it.  It's then breaded and sautéed in a little butter or deep fried to golden perfection.  It tastes much like a clam only sweeter.  Picky eaters might find it a little tough but it's still great.

Another local favorite item on the menu is turtle steak.  Yup, the endangered sea turtle.  However before you condemn the local islanders for dining on turtle keep in mind that they have a turtle farm on the island which helps to repopulate the species.  Some of the turtles are reserved for their meat while others are released into the wild.  Personally, I always pass on the turtle steak because of the dwindling number of the sea giants, turtle farm or not.

On our most recent visit, I enjoyed the cracked conch, my wife had yellowtail snapper and others in our party chose chicken and steak and there were no complaints.  However meals aren't cheap here.  You'll probably wind up paying around $30 each for dinner and that doesn't include a local Stingray beer, cocktail or bottle of wine.  But it's a very pleasant experience, especially as the sun fades.

They're located on North Church Street near Eastern Avenue.  Every cabbie on the island will know the place.  If you'd like a coveted table outside in the garden, reservations are highly suggested.  Ring 'em up at 345-345-0155.

They have (or had) a web site but at last check it wasn't working.  If you'd like to give it a shot, click here.

OTHER GRAND CAYMAN RESTAURANT REVIEWS:

Cracked Conch
Lobster Pot
Lonestar Bar & Grill