For this post, I had some input from Boat Shoe Boy since my two visits to Anguilla don’t necessarily qualify me to write this post comprehensively (especially considering both visits took place during August when some restaurants are closed). So, for people trekking down to the Caribbean wondering where to go, what to do and what to eat on an island known for its wealth of culinary experiences, here’s a run-down by category from two twenty-somethings who appreciate awesomeness.
When it comes to dining out in Anguilla, there are no shortage of options. From casual lunch options to high-end culinary experiences, you’ll have your pick. Here are a few of our favorites.
Dolce Vita. One of the island’s newer restaurants, Boat Shoe Boy and I visited Dolce Vita during our most recent trip and the experience was fantastic. The service was superb, the food was stellar and I actually thought the pricing was fairly affordable for a restaurant of this caliber in Anguilla. Great for a romantic dinner for two, or a family excursion. Order the calamari appetizer and don’t skip dessert.
Straw Hat. Straw Hat is located on Frangipani property, and thank God for that! It’s a great place for a casual breakfast or lunch, but an equally stellar place for an unrivaled dinner. Every meal I’ve had here has been excellent and I find the service to be some of the best on the island. Boat Shoes loves their curried goat (it’s a Caribbean must-have) and their Ti punch. If you’re going during lunch, you must (I repeat, must) have their tuna banh mi. For me, it is — hands down — the most amazing mid-day option.
Picante. I don’t have any pictures of the food at Picante because I’m too preoccupied with eating it to photograph it once it’s arrived. If you’re looking for something casual and affordable, this is your spot. The portions are huge and the food (Caribbean-infused Mexican) is consistently exceptional. (We’re doing our rehearsal dinner here, if that’s any gauge of how much we like this place). Their chili-queso corn on the cob app (yes, corn) is a must-order and you can’t go wrong with the Picante tacos.
Veya*. No pictures of Veya that I’ve personally taken, because (sadly) I have yet to taste the food here. Boat Shoes has raved about it since I met him, though, and knew it had to be on the list. Veya is a Moroccan-Caribbean fusion that lends itself to some amazing spices and a unique menu. Great for a night out à deux, order the Moroccan-spiced shrimp cigars to start, then give the grilled jerk spiced tuna a whirl!
Honorable Mentions: Oliver’s Seaside Grill, DaVida
Dune Preserve. Bankie Banx’s spot on Rendezvous Bay is quite possibly one of the coolest places you’ll run across. Ever. Uniquely Caribbean, it’s not your standard beach bar. It looks more like every child’s dream tree house than it does a bar. With secret seating tucked behind every corner, you can snag a rum punch and catch a glimpse of St. Martin in the distance. Check out their schedule to catch some live music!
Elvis’ Beach Bar. Located in Sandy Ground, I tend to think that Elvis’ sort of epitomizes the beach bar. Locals and tourists gather together to hang out here, grabbing rum punches and rounds of Mammawanna shots (‘herb’-infused rum) while dancing in the sand to a mix of tunes. Elvis himself will probably be serving up your cocktails so say hello and grab a Mammawanna shot to kick off your adventure. Pace yourself on these guys though — they’re no joke!
The Pumphouse. Located near Elvis’, the Pumphouse has food, drinks and great music throughout the week. During our first Friday in town this year, we caught Omari Banks and Boss in the same night. I haven’t eaten there, but their menu looks pretty awesome for a casual bar food-infused night (think burgers and buffalo wings).
Scilly Cay. I could have easily put Scilly Cay under the restaurants or beach bar headings without any qualms, but to me Scilly Cay is more of an experience. An incredible experience, actually. When you leave Island Harbour and head over by boat, you arrive on a serene little island that you have probably only ever dreamed up in your imagination. Palapas and conch shells line the island, and the food… unreal. The rum punches are infamously strong and their food is amazing (FYI, the portions are huge). Plan on splitting a plate with a partner. Your stomach and pocketbook with thank you later.
Little Bay. My intro to Little Bay was in 2011 when I was coaxed into jumping off of the rock. The rock (in my eyes it’s more of a mountain) is a good three stories high (that’s a total guess, but it seems realistic) and believe me — it seems much less intimidating from the water. Jumping from the rock is a must if you’re feeling adventurous, otherwise bring your snorkeling gear. I opted out of the jump this year and instead went for an underwater swim… gorgeous! Word on the street is that Little Bay is a protected area — you’ll see lots of cool sea life, shells, etc. No seashell hunting or spearfishing around here though!
Anyone have any other spots in Anguilla that are musts? Any restaurants that you’ve tried that we need to put on our to-taste list?
* The starred options have had significant input from my partner in crime.