As melting pots go, you can't get much better blended than Trinidad and Tobago, where the Indian, Chinese, African and British origins of the population created a native cuisine that was fusion before fusion was cool. It's in that spirit that Port of Spain's best restaurant, Battimamzelle ("dragonfly" in the local dialect), serves up seasonal menus that blend Trini traditions with haute Continental. Recent offerings include griddle-seared red snapper with a mille-feuille of fire-roasted vegetables, chickpea roti and masoor dhal, and chargrilled pork tenderloin with potato-chorizo hash browns garnished with pumpkin pico de gallo and Madeira wine-onion sauce.
With large oil and natural-gas reserves and an economy growing by more than 10% a year, T&T has been in a position unique in the Caribbean to practically shun tourism. Battimamzelle thus caters to wealthy locals, with prices expensive for Trinidad ($22 to $35 for mains), and a smart setting in the well-appointed Coblentz Inn a few blocks north of the centrally located Queen's Park savannah. The service is impeccably formal but warm: the restaurant graciously accepted our last-minute request for a 10:30 p.m. weeknight seating. So while the street fare you can get just over the mountain at the candy-colored huts on Maracas Bay beach will serve you nicely during the day, a pampered evening meal at Battimamzelle offers a vacation from your vacation. Just don't forget to make a reservation. www.coblentzinn.com; tel: (1-868) 621 0591