First Bites

SLS Baha Mar in the Bahamas Offers Three Miami Dining Experiences

The SLS Baha Mar offers scenic vistas.
The SLS Baha Mar offers scenic vistas. Photo by Laine Doss

Less than an hour's flight from the Magic City, the SLS Baha Mar is a playground in the Bahamas that merges the colorful vibe of island life with some Miami-style dining experiences.

The 299-room hotel is part of the large Baha Mar resort complex, which contains the SLS and Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. A Rosewood hotel is set to open soon. All three properties are connected by a sweeping casino and an arcade of high-end shops, galleries, and restaurants. Though the sprawling resorts here might resemble South Beach's in many regards, Nassau is far more laid-back. A stay at the pool is less afternoon rave and more a place to enjoy a book and a frozé.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Photo by Laine Doss
Along with typical hotel eateries such as Starbucks and a dumpling shop, the SLS offers a trio of some of Miami's best restaurant — each already part of the SBE hotel stable. Michael Schwartz's Fi'lia, along with South Beach hot spots Katsuya and Cleo, have made the 180-mile trek to Nassau's famed Cable Beach area.

This is not Schwartz's first foray into a tropical setting outside of Miami. For half a decade, the James Beard Award-winning chef owned an outpost of his Michael's Genuine Food & Drink at Grand Cayman's Camana Bay, where the restaurant offered locally sourced items such as lionfish.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Photo by Laine Doss
At Fi'lia in the Bahamas, expect a menu similar to the one in Brickell. Caesar salad, wood-fired pizzas, and cacio e pepe are all available. What is different is that Schwartz'a Bahamian outpost offers a large outdoor seating area that overlooks a stunning vista of blue-green water and palm trees.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Photo by Laine Doss
Order Katsuya's ceviche, served in a coconut ($25) and topped with ponzu citrus foam. Its refreshing and bright flavors are wonderful after a day spent at the pool or snorkeling in Nassau's crystal-blue waters. Surprisingly, the restaurant had a lack of locally caught seafood.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Photo by Laine Doss
At Cleo, dine family-style on kebabs, flaming saganaki, and meatball shakshouka, topped with a soft egg, tomato, squash, and piquillo peppers ($28).
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Photo by Laine Doss
Though the SLS offers a slate of fine restaurants with Miami ties, don't forget to visit the conch shack, located poolside. Find the Bahamas' most treasured dish: conch salad, prepared to order. Conch, pulled fresh from the water, is chopped, tenderized with salt and citrus, and mixed with fresh onions, peppers, and tomatoes. It's simple, cool, and flavorful. Add a dose of house-made hot sauce and pair with Bahama's most popular beer, Kalik, for the full island experience.

SLS Baha Mar. 1 Baha Mar Blvd., Nassau, Bahamas; 866-225-4561; slshotels.com/bahamar.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss