40 Restaurants In Best Fish Sandwich Contest

August 4, 2015

[Updated with video] The local culinary community is coming together in order to help the public determine the island’s best fish sandwich in a competition launched by the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] that will see 40 restaurants take part.

The competition will see each eatery serve its very best fish sandwiches as the public takes the time to sample the variety until August 14, with the ability to cast their vote at the BTA’s partner website BermudaFoodie.com or by calling 525-FISH.

The eateries that receive the most votes from the public will advance to a second round, where a panel of judges will make the final decision on the winner of the title of Bermuda’s Best Fish Sandwich.

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Pat Phillip-Fairn, BTA Chief Product and Experiences Development Officer, said, “When the travel consumer speaks, we listen with both ears. It’s the hallmark of what we do at the BTA.

“Often we hear travellers say they want to eat where locals eat… they want to order what locals get. Our attentive listening to this simple mantra is the origin of the Best Bermuda Fish Sandwich Competition, which starts today [Aug 4] and ends August 14th.”

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“We’re asking everyone in our community to tell us who has the best Bermuda-made fish sandwich. Over the next two weeks, the local culinary community will serve their most imaginative, their absolute tastiest fish sandwiches to win the endorsement of local diners. Every Bermuda resident is qualified to participate in this search.

“We encourage the public to sample as many fish sandwiches as they can – don’t only stop in to your favourite spot, but also consider trying someplace new.”

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“A Bermuda traveller cares about a rich, authentic travel experience, and relies heavily on the advice of the people who live the Bermudian culture every day. This is especially true of our food culture.

“So once Bermuda has decided who makes the best fish sandwiches, we will pass that information onto visitors through our marketing. And based on this competition model – open, transparent and inclusive – travellers will have confidence they’re getting a truly credible recommendation, not something commercially manufactured.

“This is just one aspect of a wider culinary tourism strategy designed to promote Bermuda’s food and food culture to visitors who are hungry to experience it while they’re here.”

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“Forty local restaurants and takeout counters have reached out to us to say they want to be part of the competition – from Mama Angie’s and Grannies Kitchen to Cambridge Beaches and Fairmont Southampton. This is a fantastic response! We’re very pleased that this diverse group will receive added exposure via this contest.

“It’s more than Restaurant Weeks earlier this year and as far as we can tell, it’s the most restaurants to participate in any tourism industry promotion.

“The reason is simple: these promotions are designed to stimulate economic activity and improve the bottom lines of the participating restaurants. And as you know, improving economic activity in the tourism industry is a chief objective of the BTA.”

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“Eateries with the highest volume of endorsements from locals will advance to a second round where a panel of judges will crown Bermuda’s Best Fish Sandwich. Judges will be asked to base their decisions on the following equally-weighted criteria: taste, presentation, value and local flair.

“Allow me a further word about local flair. If Restaurant Weeks 2015 taught us anything, it’s that having Bermuda-inspired cuisine on local menus is a winner from a business perspective. That simple addition to Restaurant Weeks brought out amazing creativity from local chefs and undeniably improved the bottom lines of local restaurants – anywhere from 20% to 90% in revenue increases according to the restaurants we polled.”

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“So to inspire that creativity and hopefully repeat that level of success we are challenging chefs to think through Bermuda-inspiration for their fish. Whatever they choose to do, they should know local flair will be one-quarter of the final judging process.

“There may be others worthy of a vote in this competition. So even if you have a fish sandwich over the next two weeks from some place not on this list – it’s perfectly fine to vote for them too. There are no restrictions on which establishments can be considered and there’s no instructions for voters on what criteria to weigh.”

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“It’s all up to you. After you’ve done your sampling, please vote online via our partner website BermudaFoodie.com or by calling us and telling us your vote over the phone on 525.FISH. It’s also a good idea to tell the world about your experience on social media using #BDAFISH, and we welcome digital engagement from the local community as well – let’s hear what you think.

“The search for Bermuda’s best fish sandwich is now underway.”

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Chris Garland, Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Division Chairman, said, “On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce restaurant division we would like to congratulate the Tourism Authority on the launch of this new and creative competition to find Bermuda’s Best Fish Sandwich. As I understand it, it was a local restaurateur who planted this idea as a seed and I think everyone is pleased to see the way the BTA has made it blossom.

“Forty participating restaurants is an indication of the widespread confidence restaurateurs are placing in the BTA. Especially in the cases of those restaurants which are deliberately adding fish sandwiches to their menus so that they don’t miss out on the excitement of this promotion.

“Fellow business owners get involved in programmes like this only if they believe there is a chance to grow their operation with new customers and greater brand awareness and I imagine that is how restaurateurs will determine whether or not Bermuda’s Best Fish Sandwich competition is a success.”

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“This year the BTA has certainly shown an ability to stimulate spending in local restaurants. During Restaurants Weeks, for example, every participating restaurant I checked with, including my own, saw revenue increases as a result of being a part of that promotion.

“We hope for similar results this time around as we pull out all the stops to impress our loyal clientele of local diners.”

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“I’m sure everyone has noticed that among the 40 establishments, the list is very diverse. Although we don’t represent all of these local restaurants and take out counters at the Restaurant Division, we are very encouraged to see such wide participation from across the island.

“It sends a signal that we have a vibrant culinary sector in Bermuda and food culture is a very important part of who we are as Bermudians.”

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“Now each of us in the restaurant community must use social and traditional media to get the word out to customers about what we’re offering over the next two weeks that makes us better than the rest.

“Don’t miss this great opportunity to win new customers. To all the competitors I say good luck; may the best fish sandwich win.”

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Comments (64)

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  1. hmmm says:

    No Art Mel’s? This must be an America’s cup style event where all those place battle for the chance to face the champ.

    • frank says:

      the bta need to worry about getting visitors here and stop the bs

      • RBYC member says:

        This is funny we are paying Bermuda Tourism Authority $$$$$$$ to bring more tourist to Bermuda and since they ran out of ideas they create a fish tasting contest. LOLOLOL only in the Bermuda Triangle.

        • Serious Though says:

          need more tourist on the island not fish sandwich, rum swizzle competitions

        • RU Kidding says:

          Couldn’t Agree More

      • Serious Though says:

        Never seen a commercial on Jamaica marketing Jerk Chicken

        • Really? says:

          Maybe because they have casinos and all inclusive (amazing) resorts such as Sandals???

    • Serious Though says:

      A. Mel is the best , this the competition for the other great sandwich for tourists marketing purpose cannot replace the original . Keep your head up ..A. Mel your are still the best..

      • justin says:

        Art Mels isn’t even close to Docksiders when it comes to the best fish sandwich, straight up.

        • Brian says:

          Guess you can’t go up St Monicas with a statement so ridiculous. Dockies fish sandwiches aren’t that good, not bad but not as good.

        • Go Bermuda-Go says:

          Some one should slap you, bie. talking bloody foolishness

    • This has got to be the most outrageous gimmick to downplay the decline of tourist numbers.
      $23 million going up in smoke.

  2. chief says:

    i havent read the whole article but is it 2 categories? one for local fish and one for foreign fish?? an please tell me what is up with Art Mels??

  3. smh says:

    Local fish Only?

  4. Neutral says:

    Ummm… Where is “Art Mels”? You can’t be serious.

  5. Jurist says:

    We pay all these BTA employees to organize this? How about getting some air passengers coming to BDA?

  6. cow polly says:

    Still no Woodys or Art Mel’s……

  7. Useless says:

    wheres Art mels? Or would that be unfair?

    • Serious Though says:

      A.Mel is the best .. No competition required

  8. Terry says:

    Media.
    Fish sandwich is fish between bread or a left over roll from last week.

    Then again who would understand.

    Happy snapper.

  9. imported fisher says:

    To be honest I hope the taste good cuze they do not look appetizing AT ALL.

  10. Unbelievable says:

    I”m a supporter of the BTA but I actually don’t think this is good use of the BTA’s time.

  11. Navin Johnson says:

    Art Mel’s is número uno……

  12. NO MORE WAR says:

    Seriously if I see a fish sandwich on a bun I can’t take it serious. There’s no way I would buy a fish sandwich on a bun. Is the place down there by the old clay house inn taking part in this competition? To me Art mels and that place are the best. Well woodys as well.

    • Bermudian says:

      You talking about Seaside Grill. Yea they are in the competition too..

      • NO MORE WAR says:

        Yes that’s it. They make well fish sandwiches

    • Really? says:

      Love Specialty’s fried mahi mahi on a home made roll!!!!

  13. Rick Olson says:

    If you want the title step into the ring ………. And serve local fish !

    • navin johnson says:

      when you are the king you do not need to step into the ring against inferior opposition…..I could care less about local fish and would rather have it prepared by local people……the fish do not need jobs the people do …..no what I mean….and when no local fish are available what do you serve?

  14. Jolly Rancher says:

    Sea Sideee!! <3_<3

  15. Hurricane says:

    Too much effort going into finding the best fish sandwich. I’ve been in the travel industry for many years and from experience, majority of our visitors aren’t looking for a good sandwich.

  16. New Fish Sandwich King says:

    No offense to Art Mel’s but they are far from the best. They are never open, their customer service is subpar at best and they don’t use local fish. Places like Mama Angies, Woody’s, even Devil’s Isle make some great sandwiches……So time to crown a well deserve place with this title!

  17. Time to Crown a New King says:

    No offense to Art Mel’s but they are far from the best. They are never open, their customer service is subpar at best and they don’t use local fish. Places like Mama Angies, Woody’s, even Devil’s Isle make some great sandwiches……So time to crown a well deserve place with this title!

  18. Serious Though says:

    BTA, seriously get to work on serious tourist stuff, no rum swizzle , fish sandwich, stuff but serious Bermuda Marketing ideas.
    I have never seen a commercial on Jamaica marketing Jerk Chicken.

    CEO is getting paid $$$$$ to approve this stuff.. And the bonus too..

    • justin says:

      True, but I’ve had jerk chicken when I was in Jamaica and would have appreciated a guide on where to get the best jerk chicken .

  19. Yummm says:

    Good luck Seaside Grill. I love your fish :)

  20. tobp says:

    The purpose of the BTA is to stimulate the tourist industry and economy. This includes generating money in the economy. The establishments get free advertising and this and restaurants week puts monet into the economy and help Bermuda. No matter what. Majority of our tourist at this point in time are cruise ship passengers who for out for the day and go back to the hotel for food. Remember we not only want tourist to the island but we want the ones that come here to spend money. One of the biggest issues with cruise passengers is that they don’t spend money on food and our restaurants have been suffering. Our people have been suffering. So IMHO I throughly feel this is a great stimulus for the island.

    And everyone complaining if you don’t have anything positive to say or any ideas keep your mouth shut.

    Also how many time do we say that is a good idea someone comes up with but no one backs them. A bermudian came up with idea and is given backing to make it a huge success. To the point it can be an annual event.

    People grow up. Please.

    • JAWS says:

      “A bermudian came up with idea”

      It’s not about who came up with the idea dumb a$$. It’s about wasting tax payer money which the OBA has stated many times we are short. A fish tasting competition is not going to bring in more fish from the USA, Canada and UK. We need more tourists. I doubt any visitor will purchase a $600 plane ticket and pay $400 a night a hotel for a $15 sandwich.

    • know dat says:

      I woukd say that its an ok idea.

      not great but ok, could have been worse.

  21. No Art Mels? says:

    Well since Art Mel’s is not there….secon. best is woodys or Tribe Road. Everyone else. You all pretty muchh suck.

  22. Smokey says:

    Art Mel’s is pure batter, don’t enjoy it all!

  23. Art Mel's Sandwich Lover says:

    I can’t understand the reason for the contest. Marcus Samuelson renowned chef describes Art Mel’s fish sandwich as “Perfection”. MangoDiablo.com, a food critic website describes the sandwich as “the best fish sandwich” on earth. BTA decides to have a fish sandwich contest.
    Why?
    Have they had a Rum Swizzle contest. Swizzle Inn claims to be have the best Swizzle.
    Have they had a fish chowder contest. Everybody claims that.
    Neither of the above have received such international accolades.
    Again BTA , WHY WHY WHY?

  24. this is a joke says:

    Are we really holding this competition? WE ALREADY KNOW WHO HAS THE BEST FISH SANDWICH… ART MELS!

  25. Bermygirl says:

    Any calorie counts on these sandwiches? Not too long ago we saw the overweight/obesity statistics above 75%. A local fish sandwich competition will not help these stats. Anyone making a non-fried, healthier fish sandwich?

  26. Rick Olson says:

    It doesn’t really matter who has the best fish sandwich, swizzle , fish chowder or anything else the concept is to PROMOTE BERMUDA and keep people spending island wide in a struggling economy . My two restaurants are competing as it is fun for the kitchen to be more engaged and hopefully will attract new customers in the door that maybe become regulars . I LOVE IT thank you BTA.

  27. Patricia says:

    I’m with you Smokey. Batter, batter and more batter. Ughhhhh

  28. whaaat says:

    WHERE IS SEASIDE GRILL?! THEY ARE THE BEST

  29. Brian says:

    Fact is since the competition was made public no one will ever know the true winner. Most restaurants on the list will adapt their recipe to try and win or spice it up a different way. Only way you would of found a real winner is to have a secret panel go to every place on the island and have a sandwich. So waste of time and money and as you can see everyone has a different opinion and people have different tastes.

  30. Saltlife says:

    One does not have to win this competition to show that they have a great tasting sandwich. Bermudian people huff and puff all the time. Ready to put someone else down and the funny thing is the people talking the most trash cant even produce nothing haha.

  31. Peanuts says:

    I voted SEASIDE GRILL. Keep up the good work guys. Your fish is amazing. I go there once a week. #proudcustomer

  32. Billy Mays says:

    Art Mel’s is so obviously the best fish sandwich, the fact that they’re not listed as competing tells me that the race is for second place.

  33. Please Explain says:

    Can someone from the BTA please explain what the criterion is for restaurants to be included in this competition? When you try to vote there is a list of restaurants to chose from which also has a blank for other below. When you put in the name of your OTHER choice it makes you still choose one of the restaurants on the list when you try to submit your vote.

    I am VERY curious as to why Art Mel’s was excluded from the list given its international acclaim. I will agree that the customer service leaves much to be desired, but I don’t know of any other Fish Sandwich that also has its own homemade bread, A great sandwich also needs to be judged for its bread BTA!!

    • Peanuts says:

      Art mels gets their bread from Zakai bakery on court street.

  34. Thankful says:

    Ok what am I missing! Art Mels using foreign fish and give you no choice of Bermuda fish.

  35. wtf says:

    Art mels wasn’t excluded from the list. Common sense will tell you that they didn’t sign up to enter competition. I guess butch is too advanced to enter a competition and all his followers are angry his shop isnt on here.
    Who cares if they have international acclaim. I bet if that guy samuelson tried other local fish places he would have had good things to say. If artmels is soo great why they didnt win best of bermuda award for fish sandwich 2014????

  36. Hot momma says:

    St. David’s Seafood Restaurant should consider entering next year. The have what is called a FAT BOY FISH SANDWICH and it is truly a “fat boy”. Not only is it big but it is very tasty. Although the cheese, coleslaw and tartar sauce is a plus, this sandwich can be eaten by itself. I will surely be telling them to enter next year. They are located under St. David’s Cricket Club.

  37. Hurricane says:

    BTA, tell me it isn’t so; your not going to repeat this nonsense next year are you?

  38. Art Mel's Sandwich Lover says:

    Mr. Olson your comments prove exactly why the BTA should not be doing the contest if that is their reason for this contest. Their role is to attract tourists to the country and get “Heads in Beds”. The taxpayers’ money does not fund the BTA to help businesses like yours make money. Instead of recognizing that unsolicited comments from recognized food critics and a chef the quality of Marcus Samuelson who is a food judge on a food network TV Show are things that could be used by the BTA, you seem to think their role is to help YOU and your business. They should help YOU attract additional customers. Your reaction is no surprise. I have been to the Beach on several occasions and I have recommended a few of your dishes to many. But considering your thoughts on this matter, I would find it difficult to bring myself to return to your business.

    Again I ask Why BTA Why?

  39. Art Mel's Sandwich Lover says:

    To wtf,

    Don’t be a jealous hater. If the BTA is promoting fish sandwiches than the International acclaim is what should be focused on. Saying that restaurant A, B or C has the best fish sandwich in Bermuda does not bring people to Bermuda. The contest should never have been done by the BTA. If the Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Division had the contest, so be it. Your choice of the name Wtf and the tone of your comments show a lot and suggest your feelings are hurt because the fish sandwich you would promote does meet the cut.

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