The Locals’ Guide to Seafood in the Andamans

Written By Manveenaa Bhasker on January 18, 2022 Travel TipsFood RecommendationsLocal Experiences

Travel TipsFood RecommendationsLocal Experiences

The Locals’ Guide to Seafood in the Andamans

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Here’s the thing: we’re wedged right in between a large expanse of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. So, if there’s one thing that we’re never going to run out of, it’s fish. And when we say “there’s plenty of fish in the sea”, we mean it quite literally. It’s fish, it’s fresh and that’s how we like it. 

This blog’s a bit of a special one. We’ve consulted with some of the most enthusiastic seafood-lovers on these sunny islands to be able to bring to you the best of seafood on the Andamans. We’ve also reached out to frequent visitors to the islands, honorary locals in other words, who’ve sampled a fair number of seafood dishes. They’ve tried it all, so we can present to you, with confidence, the absolute must-haves. 

Seafood in the Andamans

We’ve broken it down for you on an island-to-island basis. So, here is the fare from across Port Blair, Havelock and Neil! 

Port Blair Seafood Restaurants

Amaya, Seashells

If the killer sea-view and the roof-top ambience aren’t enough, their seafood will have you floored. Their staff are super-friendly and are happy to guide you through their menu, helping you with recommendations, if you’re feeling stuck. Amaya features a bar and serves only appetisers, so if you’re looking for an all-out meal, you’ll have to head to their restaurant downstairs after a few drinks. 

Must -haves:

Karan, a dive instructor at Chidiya Tapu, swears by Amaya’s Crab Cake starters. He says that its amazingly smooth texture and the tangy dip that comes along with it have been stuck in his brain ever since he first tried it. And now, it’s stuck in ours! 

Bhasker, renowned in his social circle for being a seafood enthusiast, says that the Prawns in Lemon-garlic sauce is a refreshing appetizer, owing to its lemon-y tanginess. 

Insider tip: He says they’re particularly amazing when the prawns are medium-sized and fresh. 

 

Ruchi, TSG Emerald View

An oldie but a goldie, this one’s been around a long time and somewhat consistently managed to dole out good food over the years. It’s frequented by plenty of locals and has managed to keep itself relevant. It’s an indoor restaurant with warmly-lit, pleasant interiors. 

Must -haves:

Versha, who’s travelled to the islands multiple times, recommends the Thread Fish, which is surprisingly not on the main menu. What you’ll find is a flat noodle-like pastry wrapped around succulent fish (which gives it the name, we suppose) and deep-fried to a crisp brown, served with a side of sweet-chilli sauce. 

Tandoori Tiger Prawns is another crowd favourite and we can attest to this one. Amreen, a popular lifestyle influencer on Instagram, says it’s her favourite seafood dish in Port Blair. Larger-than-life prawns marinated in a semi-spicy masala before being cooked to perfection in a traditional tandoor. It’s served with a side of grated salad and mint chutney. 

 

New Lighthouse Restaurant

Didn’t think seafood could be done on a budget? This restaurant will have you thinking again. A stand-alone eatery attached to the Marina Park, it’s a great place to grab dinner after your evening ocean-side walk or run.

Insider tip:  Request a table on the top floor, it just makes for a better experience!

Must -haves:

Lighthouse gives you the option to pick your “catch of the day” from a glass display. So, anything from the display should surely be fresh.

 

Restaurant at Wild Grass Resort, Chidiya Tapu

It’s a little bit off the beaten track, but hey, we’ll travel wherever for good food. We highly recommend going during the day to be able to enjoy the serenity of the thick jungles surrounding the resort, they even have a water-lily pond! 

Must -haves:

BBQ prawns may not be the first thing you think of when you’re thinking of a barbeque but it’s a staple as far as BBQs in the Andamans go and nobody does it better than Wild Grass. A small catch here is that you’ll have to book it in advance and we’d recommend this only for groups of 6 or more, because it may not be viable, otherwise. It’s an incredibly private and beautifully dim-lit space for an intimate party with your closest buds or for a fun night with the fam. 

An owner’s review by Aman:
Being an angler myself, no one knows the true flavour of fresh seafood better than me. On our fishing trips, all you need to add to the fish is lemon, salt and it culminates into this explosion of flavour, you can almost taste the sea. That is why, my recommendation for a great seafood restaurant would be Wild Grass, not just because of how we cook our meals but also because of how we celebrate our ingredients and how fresh our seafood always is. You can choose from a plethora of items, but if I were to recommend a dish, it would be our cook Vijay’s signature Ranchi style fish curry (ask him to make it home-style). It is a seafood dish that is fresh, rustic, inspired by local flavours, but most of all, it feels like a celebration on your tongue.

Best Seafood in Havelock Island

Full Moon Café, near Dive India 

Sometimes, people write reviews like “here, take my job”. 

Here’s one for Full Moon Café by Sarah Abidi, who’s a patissier trained with the Oberoi Hotels:
If you were to ask anyone going into Havelock where they “want to absolutely eat”, they would say Full Moon Cafe, because of how popular and well-marketed it is, especially with the tourists but as an islander, you’re almost always sceptical because we’ve been reared on seafood: from sukka macchi to nappi to chips made of maya macchi, we have an eclectic taste bud; so when I visited Full Moon Cafe for the first time, a couple of years ago, I went with a poker face, what I found was a quaint cafe by the beach serving good ingredients and delectable food; a perfect amalgamation of ambiance and cuisine, giving a well-rounded experience to its guests. The staff was polite, and made decent recommendations. I don’t like my seafood clouded with multiple ingredients, so I opted for the grilled fish and the warm prawn salad, both of which were quite good. Also, bonus points to them for having a book corner!

 

The Swimming Elephant at Barefoot Resort, near Radhanagar Beach

Barefoot is one of the oldest resorts on Havelock Island, so it can be assumed they know a thing or two about local Seafood. Swimming Elephant (named in memory of Rajan, the swimming elephant, which was partly why Barefoot got its cult status) is a quaint, cosy restaurant with floor seating. Their casual-in-a-good-way staff always go out of their way to keep you comfortable. So, all-in-all it’s a 10/10 experience.

Insider tip: If you’re with a partner, we recommend a full-blown romantic candle-lit dinner, served close to the beach, with the soothing sound of lapping waves, a bottle of wine (optional, of course) and whatnot. This is one of the better experiences to be had on Havelock Island. 

Must -haves:

Dakshin, a young and upcoming local hotelier, was kind enough to give us a play-by-play of the Seafood platter. He says it’s a perfect meal for two and has a variety of 2-3 different fish depending on what’s fresh for the day; some large-sized and medium-sized shrimp; and some calamari. It’s served with a side of herbed rice and butter-tossed veggies (Yumm). He says he’d go there again the first chance he gets. Enough said, we think. 

 

Anju Coco, Near beach number 3 

During tourist season, you can step into Anju Coco any day of the week and you’ll find it full, and for good reason. You can pick anything off their extensive seafood menu and be sure that it’ll turn out to be delicious. The nicest thing about this place, however, will have to be the owner, who always checks in on each guest himself and is always available to ensure you’re having yourself a roaring time. That type-a hospitality beats everything. 

Must -haves:

Medium-sized Prawns in your choice of sauce (we went with Chilli-garlic) with a side of Naan or Rice and a choice of fries or wedges. You’ll get about 6-8 pieces of juicy prawns. It’s supposed to be a meal for one, but it’s pretty large and very reasonably priced considering that. 

Artur, a newbie local to the islands, says that although the restaurant didn’t make much of an impression at first sight, with a basic, shack-like infrastructure, the Grilled Fish with fries was well worth the money he spent there. He feels like the chefs know exactly how to cook the fish, keeping the flavour intact without diluting it with an excessive use of spices, just how he likes it. 

Insider tip: All of their seafood menu goes really well with their lemon & mint crush (lemonana), which is epic, to say the least.

 

Fat Martin Café, next to Wild Orchid 

Attached to the Andaman Bubbles Dive Shop and located right off the main road, Fat Martin is where you’ll find hungry divers ramming satiating meals post-dive. 

Must -haves:

Butter-Garlic Lobster comes recommended by Amreen who says the Café has a typical island vibe which makes for a cool visit and makes it stand-out from the rest. 

 

Red Snapper, Wild Orchid Resort 

Dim-lit, soothing wooden interiors and Red Snapper is a vibe of its own. 

Must -haves:

The seafood pasta and whole grilled fish are Ibrahim’s jam, who loves the eco-friendly, forest-like ambience. 

 

Charcoal, Symphony Palms Beach Resort 

No list is complete without the mention of the Symphony Group of Hotels. 

Must -haves:

Dilpreet, dentist by day & model by night, loves their Tawa Grilled Fish which she says is one of their signature dishes. The spice level is mild and the texture perfect, so if you’re a fish lover, this one won’t disappoint!

 

Squid Restaurant, Havelock Bazaar 

This little restaurant is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle that is the Havelock Bazaar. It’s a simple, shack-like dhaba serving honest-to-god food. 

Must -haves:

Ibrahim, a local businessman, vouches for their Squid Fry and Fish Thaali. He says it’s the perfect accompaniment to an island afternoon spent experiencing the local Island culture and people-watching. 

Neil Island Seafood Guide

Bohemian Grove 

This place is all about little boho elements. It’s got floor seating with bohemian art featured across the cafe and all of their furniture is made from scrap wood. The cafe’s run alongside the Reefers dive shop by a bunch of 3 close friends: Richie, Nithin and Ajay.

Must -haves:

The butter-garlic prawns and grilled lobster are the go-to dishes if you plan on visiting!

 

Blue Sea Restaurant 

Run by a couple of locals from Neil Island, Blue Sea doesn’t have a fixed menu to speak of because they work with what’s freshly sourced. Ooh la la. 

Must -haves:

Richie, a cafe owner himself, recommends their Seafood grills and says they do lobster, fish, prawn and squid, all of it delectable.

 

Local Food Stalls at Lakshmanpur Beach 

Not a restaurant! But Lakshmanpur Beach, you guys, is a divine sunset beach that attracts tonnes of cuddly couples in the evening. Because sunsets, of course. You get a free candle-light set-up (whaaaaat?), a free sunset and some scrumptious local seafood (costs a bit of money, this one) served by the local shops lining the beach. Sounds like an evening well-spent!

Must -haves:

Ibrahim says the fish BBQ was top-notch and it’s accompanied by the perfect view of the beach. 

 

That Neil Place, TSG Aura

That Neil Place is the perfect stop-over for a desi Seafood meal after an afternoon or evening spent at the isolated Sitapur Beach.  

Must -haves:

Here’s Sudarshan’s unfiltered review of Daab Chingri:
My favourite seafood dish is the Daab Chingri, I first had it in the Andamans at TSG Aura on Neil Island. 

It’s a traditional Bengali dish which is prepared by cooking prawns along with tender coconut flesh. At first it seemed like a very unlikely combination but that changed the moment I tasted it. I’ve been a fan ever since and have made it a point to have it at least once on my subsequent visits to the island. 

What made the meal better was the restaurant itself, which is located right off the beach which marks the end of the island. I liked the fact that It was open-air, which made me feel at one with the surroundings. It’s definitely high up on the list of places I’d like to visit once we overcome the pandemic.

 

Fat Martin Café, Emerald Gecko

And here’s another Fattie of a Martin. Can’t possibly leave this off the list. It’s located off the Sitapur Beach and is on the main road, making it very hard to miss. 

Must -haves:

We love, love, love their seafood pizza. It’s this mix of squid, prawns and fish sitting on top of a slightly-tangy sauce and the thinnest, crunchiest crust. Just irresistible stuff! 

And we bid adieu

If you think we’ve left out a dish in a restaurant worth mentioning, write to us and we’ll be delighted to look into it. Always up for a Seafood meal, we are. And with that, dearest people, we come to the end of this yummilicious blog. We hope this blog helps you pick the best restaurants for a delicious Seafood-packed meal on your holiday to the Andamans. 

Author
Manveenaa Bhasker

Hi there! I’m a local from the Andamans; born, bred and raised, like they say. I’ve been happily travelling around here for the last 29 years of my life and have been to off-beat locations like Little Andaman, Long Island, Rutland, Barren Island and Ross & Smith. It may seem like a small place, but I feel like I still have so much to see! I’ve also been ridiculously in love with reading and writing for as long as I can remember. Put two and two together and it gives you this blog post.

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