From sizzling catch-of-the-day to slow-roasted chicken, the US Virgin Islands has its fair share of excellent food. Book one of these top restaurants, many of which offer Caribbean Sea views, and top off your evening with a rum on the rocks.
The three main islands of this US archipelago have very different vibes. While St Croix is awash with boutique shops, rum joints and great dive spots, St Thomas attracts the cruise ships and St John is far more secluded, dominated by the Virgin Islands National Park. However, you’ll find great food is universal. Whether you’re looking for fine dining with a Caribbean twist or the best pizza outside Italy, try one of these top UVI restaurants.
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If you believe you should be able to see the ocean while munching on seafood, then Hook, Line and Sinker is for you. Yes, you could order the steak, but with the waters of Cay Bay lapping outside the window of this St Thomas institution, you really ought to opt for the fresh catch. Locally owned and community-focused, Hook, Line and Sinker has been serving seafood for more than 30 years. Pick an outside table and order the conch fritters alongside the lobster stuffed with crab and garlic. Pop by on Sundays for brunch.
Open, breezy and charming, Morgan’s Mango is the atmospheric, cottage-style restaurant you probably pictured when setting off for the Virgin Islands. Another local institution, the restaurant opened in 1992 and celebrates the melting pot of cultures that make the islands. Expect a fusion of Caribbean influences in the fish – from Creole and Bahamian to Cuban and Puerto Rican. Try the ginger and sugarcane rub pork tenderloin while you take in the tropical breeze and starry sky.
Good food doesn’t need white linen table cloths and well-dressed waiters. Simple, straightforward, this chicken shack attracts long queues – as well as competitive games of dominoes – under its corrugated tin roof. Cooking starts at 7am each morning, as rows of chickens are roasted for hours over open coals, crisping the skin and sealing in the juices. The standard order is half a seasoned chicken and two Johnnycakes (a cornmeal flatbread). Save room; it’s filling.
The ocean breeze sweeps through this wooden, cottage-style restaurant overlooking the water, carrying chatter and the clinking of glasses over the breaking waves. In short, it’s a special spot. Duggan’s specialises in locally sourced seafood, attracting a few celebrity patrons in its time, including Bill Murray and Ted Kennedy. Though you can’t go wrong with a simple seared catch of the day, it’s really all about the lobster. Start with lobster bisque, before moving on to the Irish whiskey lobster, topped with herbs and cheese, then baked. Lord.
Make the journey up to Paradise Point for sunset. It’s worth it for the view across the yacht-filled bay to the twinkling lights of Frenchtown. Oh, and the steaks. This is fine dining with large sharing steaks cooked to your liking. Choose between dry or wet-aged (said to have a fresh flavour), a range of cuts, and toppings including gorgonzola butter and jalapeño beurre blanc. Then, add a lobster on the side. Go on, you know you want to.
Pizza might not come to mind when visiting the US Virgin Islands, but you’re going to need to trust us on this one. You see, Pizza Pi is no ordinary pizzeria. Described as a Virgin Islands take on a food truck, it’s located on a boat in Christmas Cove, a protected bay only accessible from the water. It can rightly claim to be the most scenic pizzeria in the world – you might even catch sight of turtles and dolphins from the bow. Then there’s the pizza itself. Try the Georgia peach and feta cheese.
Unpretentious and fuss-free, neighbourhood café Polly’s is known for friendly service and a casual menu. Think giant waffles, Caribbean jerk chicken wraps and moreish grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s right on the shorefront of Frederiksted, so check for cruise ships before you go, as it’s likely to be busy. We recommend a lazy breakfast: pecan, blueberry or chocolate chip waffles with all the trimmings, and a pink lemonade. It’s hot out there.
Unpack the travel iron and put on your best – Blue 11 is somewhat fancy. Executive chef David Benjamin serves locally sourced produce in a fine-dining setting. Choose from a seven-, nine-, or 11-course tasting menu, including dishes such as pan-seared scallops with callaloo (a leafy green, seasoned with onion and garlic) and a slice of ripe plantain atop. Get ready to loosen that waistband afterwards.
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