Boasting epic sea views from each of its 300 outdoor seats and plenty of indoor air conditioned seating, the 23-year-old fine dining establishment has weathered hurricanes and changing times, only to bounce back strongly because of its winning formula of giving customers what they want and better yet, what they never even realised they wanted.
“Part of our success is having the total package,” says Restaurant Manager Reno Mancini.
“We offer international style cuisine with Caribbean flair, taking full advantage of the fresh catch of the day from our local fishermen, as well as providing a singular seaside dining experience and outdoor events which complement the ultimate culinary experience for tourists and locals alike.”
Added to all that, the Wharf also caters in-house and at other locations for weddings, conferences and smaller gatherings.
Opened by its owner Clemens Guettler in 1988, the Wharf Restaurant and Bar enjoys commanding views of Seven Mile Beach’s crystalline waters and its fair share of Kodak moment sunsets.
“People come from all over the world to experience that Caribbean feeling in Cayman… not only the beach and waters but the ambience of the Island. If they want to stay indoors they can stay at home,” says Reno.
Part of the establishment’s impeccable reputation and unerring selection of culinary and entertainment offerings come from having an owner who has 38 years of local knowledge as of what tourists and locals expect of a top-flight Caribbean restaurant.
Giving patrons what they want has meant maintaining the quality of cuisine and service while occasionally bringing in new elements.
Bring back the good times
The Wharf capitalises on its tropical, outdoorsy location by bringing patrons entertainment under the stars with monthly dance events. Resident DJ Ben Maxwell spins the decks and takes requests at the hugely popular Disco Fever – all 70s dance party – and Ultimate 80s nights – all the 80s all the time- on the last and second Fridays of the month, respectively. The venue also hosts free salsa lessons on Tuesdays and employs a harpist to serenade guests nightly.
“We like to offer free events,” says Reno.
“People keep coming here and feel comfortable enjoying the ambience and overall vibe, so we know we must be getting it right,” he adds.
Having eaten like royalty and danced the night away under the stars patrons tempted to take a piece of the Wharf back home with them can do so thanks to the brightly stocked Wharf retail shop, which sells plenty of island souvenirs and Wharf merchandising from 6pm to 10pm.
Cocktail hour is also an event at the Wharf’s Port of Call bar with nightly tarpon feeding at 9pm and an extensive children’s menu. One of the highlights of dinner at the Wharf is to see the huge fish dining off kitchen scraps and turning the aquamarine waters white with frenzied feeding.
The family-oriented restaurant, offering patrons a casual chic ambience in which to relax and enjoy their meals is well-known for its extensive wine list.
Boasting Cayman’s only below ground cellar showcasing 420 wines, the restaurant has earned Wine Spectator awards, and caters for everyone from the serious wine connoisseur to those who want wine by the glass. The restaurant’s wine sommelier, Stefan, is happy to guide guests wanting the perfect vintage and label to complement their meal.
“If you get quality staff that all restaurants need to be successful they share the same goals as the owner and manager and that’s to take care of guests by providing excellent food backed by excellent service,” says Reno. “Once the personal touch is taken care of then everything else fits into place.”
For reservations, call the Wharf Restaurant at 949-2231. The restaurant’s $35 set menu selection runs through to the end of this month.
The Wharf is rolling out a Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, 11 October, 6pm to 1am. The event, a first for the establishment, will comprise a three-course themed with the traditional Canadian Thanksgiving fare of Caesar Salad, or pumpkin soup, turkey or a fish special with pumpkin pie for $35 plus 15 per cent gratuities. Diners will also be able to slack their thirst with a selection of Canadian beers like Molsen, Labatt and some Canadian ryes. To add to the overall atmosphere, a DJ will play a selection of Canadian music.
Dust off your lederhosen and your dirndls because, for the Wharf’s fourth annual Oktober Fest on Friday, 15. The popular mainstay in the local fall calendar, offers attendees a tried-and-tested mix of mouth-watering foods such as schnitzel, roasted meats, bratwurst with heaps of potato salad and sauerkraut as accompaniments and Wursteiner on draft. The cheery sounds of oompah music will also add to the authenticity of this celebrated evening of food, music and song.
And for those who love dancing to the retro sounds of the 70s and 80s, groove the night away courtesy of VIBE 98.9 and Spin at both the Ultimate 80s party on Friday, 8 October and a Halloween-themed Disco Fever on Friday, 29 October. And this month’s Disco Fever revellers are encouraged to dress up in ghoulish garb for a chance to win great prizes. WH