HARBOUR ISLAND, Bahamas – If Talitha Getty had taken a wrong turn in Marrakech, she would've landed on Harbour Island. Part funk, part fabulous, and always down-to-earth and welcoming, this special island in the Bahamas has the perfect hi-lo mix for any family vacation.
But I come to visit the nexus of the foodie action: The Landing, a sweet little boutique hotel and restaurant on the bay in Dunmore Town. Every day gets off to the right start, with lemon-ricotta pancakes. Sit by the tiny pool or under the porch to watch passersby heading for the ferries on the dock.
Come evening, you'll want an outdoor table — complete with twinkling lights strung in the trees overhead and soft votive candlelight throughout the fragrant gardens. Bored young kids can get up and explore the terrace without upsetting the formal balance. Show up early for a drink at the cozy bar, and you'll inevitably find a Rolling Stone (Ron Wood is a regular) or India Hicks, the ever-stunning island doyenne/face of Ralph Lauren/part owner of the establishment.
In case I’ve been underselling my love for this place, let me be clear: Dinner at The Landing would be my Death Row Meal.
The contemporary menu places a heavy emphasis on fresh produce and locally caught seafood. Mind you, fresh produce is no small feat around these parts: There are no green markets, no soil for growing, and only tiny markets that take delivery of goods from the mainland every few days. Fancy greens are at a premium, yet The Landing always manages to have the crunchiest haricots verts, the most perfect, peppery arugula salad. The "briland" (that's local speak) staples include grilled grouper fillet with roasted tomatoes, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, and pesto or local lobster with green beans, potatoes, and melted butter.
The Landing is all about superb simplicity, from crisp, white tablecloths and laid-back atmosphere to the slight British vibe. And because the owners are parents, they just get it. That means that your child's simpler (but still stellar) pasta and homemade chocolate gelato will appear in a timely fashion and that you'll be able to enjoy your appetizers (spicy crab capellini with romaine, lime, ginger garlic, and mild jalapeno chili oil; lobster dumplings with sweet chili dipping sauce) at a leisurely pace. I’d finish off my feast with Belgian chocolate pudding — served warm with vanilla bean ice cream — or the signature Afro Head tiramisu, made of Afro Head coffee and Afro Head rum — and call a golf cart to whisk me home. Worst case scenario — or maybe best case? — you can crash upstairs in one of the twelve chic, minimalist guestrooms. It's not like you have anyplace better to go.
Dunmore Town, Harbour Island