Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and not all about white-sand beaches, although you can enjoy those paradises. Tortola is a treasure of gastronomic delights waiting to be explored. Whether you find yourself on Frenchman’s Cay or in Road Town, dine on fresh Caribbean lobster and seared pork belly at one of these top restaurants across the island.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI), nay the West Indies in general, reflect the fusion of African and European heritage in their cuisine. Dishes combine fresh local seafood with spices and tropical fruits, alongside more innovative creations. On Tortola, your most difficult choice will be whether you want to dine by the Caribbean Sea, on the mountainside or beneath the forest canopy. Spoil yourself, and try them all.
Brandywine Estate Restaurant, for easy access by yacht
Take a deep breath, and let those shoulders drop. A visit to the Brandywine is all about relaxation. This intimate fine-dining spot has plenty of cozy nooks to settle down in, overlooking the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Enjoy the sea breeze in the shady garden as you tuck into French and Mediterranean cuisine, made with seasonal ingredients. Our recommended picks are the tuna tartare and grilled kingfish. Sailors will appreciate the dedicated mooring buoys in the channel.
D’Coalpot BVI Restaurant Bar & Grill, for simple seafood dishes
Carrot Bay feels miles away from the crowded tourist hotspots, with just a handful of brightly colored houses at the bottom of a steep forest-covered slope. D’Coalpot – painted in a cheerful orange and bright turquoise – is hard to miss. Situated right on the water, its open deck is a great spot to catch the sunset. The food? It’s unpretentious and packed with flavor – tuck into fresh local lobster, barbecue ribs and shrimp roti.
Red Rock Restaurant & Bar, for waterfront locale
There’s no better people-watching spot than Red Rock: watch the boats bobbing in the marina as the yachting crowd makes its way to shore. If you’re a sailor yourself, then there’s perhaps no more convenient spot to stop for a bite. Red Rock is a family affair, run by three generations of the Penn family. They serve up international dishes with a Caribbean flavor, using primarily local produce. Don’t miss the lobster spring rolls.
The Sugar Mill, for fine dining
Housed within the 400-year-old walls of a former rum distillery, the distinctive stone interiors of the Sugar Mill offer glimpses of the sea beyond. It’s an easy option for those staying at the Sugar Mill Hotel, but non-guests are more than welcome, too. Take a pew on the candlelit terrace and order from the hearty menu, which includes pork belly, conch fritters and beef stroganoff. Come hungry.
Bananakeet Cafe, for sundowners
Perched above Carrot Bay, Bananakeet is a popular spot for sundowners, with the pool on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. Catch happy hour for sunset drinks offers. It’s not quite as upscale as the Sugar Mill down the road, but, food-wise, it is excellent. We recommend the sesame-seared tuna or the jerk pork loin, paired with banana chutney. Reservations are essential.
Omar’s Cafe, for homely food
If you spot the rainbow-colored beach umbrellas at Soper’s Hole Marina, then you know you’re in the right place. Omar’s is the kind of morning spot you’ll come to more than once on vacation. Dig into pancakes with home-made blueberry sauce, and wash it all down with some of the best coffee in the BVI. Come back the next day for local flavors such as salted cod with johnnycakes, spinach and cooked green banana. It’s open from early morning to mid-afternoon, and there are no reservations – it’s first come, first served. Be warned: its well-known reputation for home-cooked food means it can get busy.
For somewhere to stay in the British Virgin Islands, check out our pick of the best hotels for every traveler.
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