If you spend a lot of time driving on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh, you may have noticed the bright neon sign for Bahama Breeze. This island themed restaurant has become a staple in this area over the years, but surprisingly I had never been until recently. This week a fellow foodie and I ventured into the bright, music filled restaurant to see what it was all about.
The space is decorated just as you’d expect, with palm trees and bright colors. The atmosphere definitely screams Tropical Island, with live music and open windows. The first thing I noticed was how large the space was. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it from the road, but the restaurant itself is very spacious. It was also fairly crowded for a Thursday night.
We were shown to our seats by the host and quickly dove into the menu. The menu itself is huge, almost too extensive, making it difficult to narrow down what we wanted to eat. We started with Warm Spinach Dip & Chips ($9.79) and Beef Empanadas (8.79). The Spinach Dip was a little bit salty, but still warm and comforting with crispy tortilla chips, and a few plantain chips, as well. The Beef Empanadas were really tasty, with the flavor of curry adding a nice surprise element. We agreed the empanadas were the highlight of our meal.
Next, we moved on to a bowl of the Chicken Tortilla Soup. I had a cold at the time, so the soup was definitely comforting, and I appreciated the fact that it felt full of veggies. We also went for the Coconut Shrimp ($9.99), as it’s a signature item on the menu. The shrimp was served with a citrus-mustard sauce, which added a nice touch. The shrimp themselves were a little dry, but otherwise tasty. The flavor of coconut was definitely present without being overpowering.
Key West Shrimp & Grits ($15.99) and Chipotle Beef Bowl ($10.49) were up next. The Bahama Breeze take on Shrimp & Grits included bacon, mushrooms, green beans, and a lemon butter sauce. As a lover of shrimp and grits, this wasn’t my favorite. It was really salty and I didn’t feel like all of the ingredients really came together well to make a cohesive dish. The Chipotle Beef Bowl was compiled of sautéed beef, corn, black beans, cheese, and chipotle sauce on top of a bed of rice with salsa, sour cream, and avocado. We agreed the sauce tasted more like a barbeque sauce than a chipotle sauce. However, all ingredients in this dish made sense together and went along with the cheerful vibe of the restaurant.
Rum Cake ($6.99) and Warm Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($6.79) served as dessert. I really liked how both desserts were made individually, rather than just a slice out of a larger cake. The Rum Cake was moist and tasty, especially when dipped in the rum and chocolate sauce surrounding it on the plate. The Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake was also very satisfying. The twist of chocolate with pineapple, rather than a typical vanilla cake was interesting, although I prefer traditional Pineapple Upside Down Cake when it comes down to it.
Overall, our meal included some hits and some misses. The Beef Empanadas were definitely a highlight, as well as the Spinach Dip. The bright, fun atmosphere of this restaurant would be an enjoyable place to take the family for a festive night out. While we didn’t get drinks, Rumtoberfest is happening until November 6th that includes new rum cocktails, games, prizes and rum tastings.
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
Melissa Guido is currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves traveling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.