By Kiana Wilburg
With a number of competitive fast food restaurants popping up on a regular basis, some question whether the days for fine dining in Guyana are numbered. But a visit to just a few of the quality restaurants on any given evening would prove that the aura of fine dining in Guyana will never lose its appeal.
The term ‘Fine Dining’ brings to mind all kinds of images, from crisp white tablecloths to waiters in tuxedos. But in Guyana, fine dining takes on a cultural twist with classy nuances of sometimes western or Asian influences.
Fine dining, just as the name suggests, offers patrons the premium in food, service and atmosphere. It is also the highest priced type of restaurant a Guyanese entrepreneur in this line of business can operate.
Fine dining restaurants in Guyana are also are full service restaurants, with some offering specific dedicated meal courses. The décor of such local restaurants features higher-quality materials, with a calming “atmosphere” desired by the restaurateur.
The staffers are usually highly trained and often wear more formal attire. Unlike what takes place in other parts of the world, Fine dining restaurants in Guyana operate on a relatively smaller scale and generally have a single location.
But each restaurant offers a different style, personality and ambience. Here is a look at some of the fine dining gems in and around Georgetown.
THE GRAND COASTAL HOTEL
The deluxe setting, flawless service, and preponderance of fine cuisine are all distinct features to be noticed when dining at the Grand Coastal Hotel. Located along the lazy stretch of road leading to Le Ressouvenir on the East Coast of Demerara, this location attracts a fashionable crowd. Its great service is evidence of outstanding management behind the wheel of the entity which carries two dining areas.
Patrons can relish their meals in an enclosed air-conditioned dining space, the dress code for which calls for elegantly casual attire. The next option is an outdoor courtyard overlooking the hotel’s inviting pool. Its boosts an accommodation capacity of 60 people in a dining setting, and 100-200 people in a cocktail/event setting. There, all types of clothing are permissible.
But the food at the Grand Coastal Hotel is what impresses the most. Their Chicken breast stuffed with a broccoli and cream cheese filling, topped with a white wine sauce, served with rice pilaf, is surely the new gold standard. It’s well worth its price tag.
Other entrées are equally as memorable. These include the Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo, Fettuccine tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce and topped with succulent Cajun shrimp and onions, served with garlic bread and the Tomato Basil Penne tossed in a rich tomato and basil sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese, and served with garlic bread.
Desserts are also delicious.
THE EL DORADO RESTAURANT AT THE PEGASUS HOTEL
Dining at the El Dorado Restaurant which is housed in the Pegasus Hotel is a soothing experience. With an ambiance that oozes elegance, this exquisite little candlelit spot offers its guests a slice of the European experience.
It features an outstanding Italian menu in an upscale and sophisticated atmosphere. Its executive Chef Paul Hamilton and his team have put together a superb selection of authentic Italian dishes to tempt the most discerning palate.
The quintessential romantic couples can often be found there enjoying a hearty Minestrone Genovese with freshly-made Italian breads, the Ricotta Ravioli Gratin, Fettuccine Carbonara or Aged Angus Rib Eye steak,while finishing off their meal with fine Tiramisu or Amaretto Pear Tart and an Italian Kiss, one of the restaurant’s specialty coffees served with homemade biscotti.
Reservations for a slice of this Italian heaven are always recommended.
THE SILHOUETTE RESTAURANT
A clandestine second-floor location at Lot 3 Sandy Babb Street, Kitty makes the Silhouette Restaurant feel like a true intimate find in a modern setting. The restaurant produces amazing Caribbean and International cuisine, and boasts phenomenal service and impeccable presentation.
Food apart, the focus at the Silhouette will embrace all of the various protocols associated with dining out. Mannerly staff, wonderful treatment of guests, correct table settings, fine wines and a la carte menus will be common features at the Silhouette.
Black, white and red are the chosen colours for the interior. It seats 65 guests simultaneously. The interior seats fifty while the balcony, which overlooks Sandy Babb Street seats fifteen persons. The restaurant is open from 18:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs daily.
While local cuisine will feature prominently on the Silhouette’s menu, the restaurant’s culinary offerings will include an assortment of steaks and seafood. And while the restaurant favours prior reservations, it will accept walk-in customers on the condition that it is not fully booked at the time.
No courtesies are spared when it comes to the Silhouette’s customers. On arrival they take the elevator to the middle floor where they are greeted and escorted to their seats. If customers arrive early they are shown to a waiting area. Alternatively, they may be invited to enjoy the hospitality of Altitude, a bar opened a year ago on the top floor of the building.
AAGMAN INDIAN RESTAURANT
If Aagman Restaurant has a mission, it’s to show that Indian food is just as deserving of linen napkins, sommeliers, and the fine dining experience as any other. Located on Sheriff Street, this eclectic restaurant sticks reasonably close to the classics we recognize such as curries and tandoori meats. One can also be sure to relish their epicurean Mughlai Cuisine from the imperial kitchens if India. It attempts a gentler nudge. The desired effect is a simple one: to have its diners, who may not otherwise give the cuisine a second glance, see what Indian food really tastes like when made with quality ingredients and careful technique.
NEW THRIVING RESTAURANT
New Thriving Restaurant on Main Street has earned its reputation for serving delicious, traditional Asian food without the pomp and ceremony of many of its competitors. Though it is not the most elaborate restaurant in town, style need not replace substance for this fine dining gem. Perhaps its ultra-chic and modern look with its neon bathed glow and immaculately presented dishes will provide you with the perfect backdrop for a memorable and delicious Chinese meal.
In general you can rely on generous portion sizes and a gigantic menu of dishes to choose from. The wonton soup – a thin chicken broth with tender chicken or shrimp and perfectly pan fried dumplings – and sweet and sour chicken makes simply make all those take-out places pale in comparison. The sautéed pork, chicken or beef in black bean sauce and steam vegetables in garlic stand out on the menu, so does the grilled shrimp and many other Chinese specialties. Patrons can enjoy their meal in outdoors with the cool evening breeze, or indoors in their calming and refined dining hall.
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