Visiting the Bahamas soon? To be officially initiated, you’ll have to indulge in the quintessential Bahamian delicacy, the sexy Conch. The Queen Conch, pronounced “Conk” (not “Conch”) is a large clam-like creature that is native to the Atlantic Ocean (from Brazil all the way north to the Bermudas). Though the Conch is becoming commercially extinct in this region, there is still a large population located in the Bahamian Archapelago. Conch is a common seafood served at many restaurants and small stands throughout the Caribbean (though The Bahamas are technically not considered a ‘Caribbean country‘). I’ve enjoyed it in my travels throughout Belize and Honduras though I’ve enjoyed it most in the Bahamas thus far. So where does one find the best conch salad in Nassau? Look no further than McKenzie’s Fresh Conch on the Marina Village at Atlantis (in Paradise Island).
Conch has been indigenous to the Bahamas and surrounding region since its first inhabitants, the Lucayan Indians. The Queen Conch shell has also been traditionally used for musical horns, various tools, ceremonial objects and for beautiful decorations. Besides it’s delicious subtle crunch (similar to Squid but less fishy), Conch provides a high source of protein. It has also been known to be an aphrodisiac, but that you’ll have to report back if it’s true!
Best Conch Salad in Nassau
Conch is served in many ways in Bahamian households. It can be cooked as Conch Chowder, in tomato stews, as Conch Fritters (battered and deep fried with dough), mixed with rice or as my favorite: the Conch Salad. This would be the same as what Central & South Americans call Ceviche. My friend had visited Nassau the week before me and highly recommended McKenzie’s Fresh Conch & Daiquiri Shack.
While I did not spend a lot of time in Nassau, I can’t speak for the dozens of other restaurants and small road-side huts that also serve the locally famous Conch Salad. And when and if I do, I will certainly add it to the list. But with the limited time I had in Nassau, I returned to McKenzie’s 2 days in a row. The Marina Village at Atlantis is an expensive, commercialized establishment which frankly is not my scene at all. McKenzie’s, though, is an unassuming walk-up shack located towards the end of the Marina (when you’re coming from the Atlantis main Hotel/Casino) on the left side. Just passed the public bathroom and Straw store.
Fresh Conch is Delivered Daily!
The Conch is delivered daily from under the local bridge where it’s kept and fished in the ocean near by. McKenzies serves 2 main options: Conch Salads and Daiquiris (and various beers + alcoholic beverages).
Two options are available for the Conch Salad: the Traditional and Tropical. The only difference is that the Tropical adds on fruits such as Mangos and Pineapples on top of the Traditional Conch Salad for $2 more. The Conch Salad is made right in front of you. Watching the preparation of it is a treat in itself. As my mouth watered, every chop of the conch and mix of the vegetables added to my hunger and lust.
How to Prepare a Delicious Conch Salad
Meet Kenneth! A friendly Bahamian who has been working at McKenzies for 2 years now.
He has been preparing Conch since he was a small child for his father.
To prepare the Conch Salad, chop the conch into small bite size pieces.
Add the chopped tomatoes, white onions, green peppers.
If you want it spicy, he minces these local orange pepper called “Goat Peppers”.
Sprinkle some salt, freshly squeezed orange and lime juice.
How to Get to the Best Conch Salad in Nassau
McKenzie’s Fresh Conch is located in the shopping area of the Atlantis Marina Village in Paradise Island in Nassau, The Bahamas. You can reach there via 10 minute taxi from Downtown Nassau over the short bridge. Or by boat to the Marina.
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday-Sunday 11am-9pm
Bahama Conch Salad Recipe:
- Whole Conch (around 8 oz), chopped up in bite size pieces
- Chopped Tomatoes, Onions, Green Peppers
- Sprinkle of Salt (and Pepper to Taste)
- Squeeze of Orange & Lime Juice
- For a Spicier Kick: Add minced Goat Peppers (a Bahamian local orange pepper that looks just like Habanero)