Hungry Iguana.…Eclectic. The closest thing to a genuine sports bar and nightclub on Little Cayman, the “Iggy” caters to the aquatically minded set with a marine mural, wood-plank floors, mounted trophy sailfish, lots of fishing caps, and yummy fresh seafood. Conch fritters are near definitive, while corn-crusted calamari with Scotch bonnet salsa are mouth- and eye-watering. It’s a great hangout for (relatively) cheap eats; prix-fixe theme nights between CI$18 and CI$40 offer fine value: pizza, fajitas, curry, and more. Drink in the smashing sunset views on the delightful patio overlooking the water, and also drink of the house specialty Iguana Punch (rum, rum, more rum, and coconut rum with orange and pineapple juices). | Average main: $24 | Paradise Villas | Blossom Village, Little Cayman | 345/948–0001 | No dinner Sun.
An estimated 2,000 prehistoric-looking Little Cayman rock iguanas roam the island, by far the largest population in Cayman. Gladys Howard, former chair of the Little Cayman committee of the nonprofit National Trust for the Cayman Islands, took the good fight for the boobies and applied it to the “iggies.” Visitors can feed these large (up to 5 feet), fierce-looking but docile vegetarians by hand at the residential Mahogany Bay neighborhood, where the creatures’ preferred delicacies—fruit trees and flowers from bananas and papayas to hibiscus—flourish. But Gladys and her cohorts hope to purchase more coastal land to serve as a nesting sanctuary. She knows it’s a crucial component of ecotourism and, noting how the same species has all but disappeared on the Brac (while the blue iguana still faces extinction on Grand Cayman), says, “We want to avoid that fate. We must preserve them because so few of that species remain on our planet.”
Pirates Point.…Eclectic. Irrepressible Gladys Howard offers Texas-style and Texas-size hospitality at her ravishing little resort. Guests have first privilege, but the kitchen can usually accommodate an extra couple or two. Advance reservations are both a must and a courtesy on this island, where nearly everything is imported at great cost and effort. The resort gardens provide mangoes, key limes, basil, lemongrass, and other herbs. Gladys wears many hats on island (indeed, at special occasions, she may be wearing a bear mask, bobby cap, or crab pincers). Her lighthearted antics belie the serious food. Gladys trained with Julia Child, James Beard, and Jacques Pépin, and at the legendary Cordon Bleu in Paris; she still supervises everything with an eagle eye. Memorable three-course prix-fixe dinners (wine but not tip included), served on Wedgwood, could feature anything from filet mignon with a Cabernet reduction and garlic-whipped potatoes to ahi tuna pepper steak with saffron beurre blanc, scallion-infused udon noodles, and cucumber-seaweed salad. Wildly popular sushi nights feature ultrafresh fish in eye-catching presentations. It all comes with heaping helpings of bon mots and bonhomie. | Average main: $40 | Pirates Point | Preston Bay, Little Cayman | 345/948–1010 | Reservations essential | Closed Sept.–mid-Oct. No lunch.