Monday, March 31, 2008

Restaurant Guide (updated 29/4/08)

With three (four by the time I last updated this post!) months on island and the last month eating out almost twice a day I think I am rather qualified to provide you with a rough guide to eating out in the BVI, should you be making your way here to sample it yourself… doubt I have left one or two out from this run but will endeavour to update it once I remember them!

The restaurants are marked for their "Would I Go Again?" value…i.e. their WIGA Value =


Dove (NEW ENTRY) - My favourite drinks/chill out after work drinks place in Road Town which is also a restaurant (actually two as they also have a recently opened tapas/sushi place as well). First time I go there for dinner. Glad this was the case, although the service and locale are superb I found the food expensive and pretentious (and not much either). WIGA Value = Not really, much better value for money elsewhere.

Tradewinds (Peter Island Resort) (NEW ENTRY) - Nice location, albeit expensive, at Peter Island Resort which means you need to get the ferry to get across and back from Road Town (check with them at what time the ferry runs). Our ferry was late leaving as we had to wait for guests to arrive from the airport then when we got to the restaurant it took them an hour before we could be seated. Food is very Noveau Cuisine (i.e. small portions in big plates) but did manage to fill me up and was excellent quality. Service was OK once we had a chat with our waitress. WIGA Value = Yes, especially if someone else is picking up the bill :)

Grove Restaurant (NEW ENTRY) - Local restaurant tucked away in the middle of Road Town. Great selection of local dishes with home made Maubi (drink made from tree bark and other similar ingredients). WIGA Value = Oh YES.

Ample Hamper (NEW ENTRY) - More of a Deli counter than a restaurant to be found inside a provisioning store in Village Cay Marina. Provides a decent if not basic selection of freshly made baguettes. Very filling and reasonably priced. WIGA Value = Yes

Eclipse (NEW ENTRY) - Tucked away behind a car park in the East End this quaint little restaurant manages to put up some nice food (albeit with a very limited menu). It overlooks a not very busy marina. WIGA Value = Yes

C&F - If you can find it it is a great place for a grill/fry up meal. Combo dishes with either ribs or chicken are recommended although their lobster looks good. Conch is also very good here. Plastic tablecloths are always a turn off for me as is the distinct lack of flooring of any description and the makeshift shack look of the place. Don’t forget to visit their souvenir/merchandise store at the back.. Yes, I am serious, they have one. WIGA Value = YES, the equivalent of the curry house, good after a few drinks

Le Cabanon - Pretentious French place that is no more than a shack on the Road Town main road. Claims to be French restaurant and probably the attitude of the waitresses (arrogant) is the only thing French about this place. Expensive for dinner and nothing remarkable. WIGA Value = Only if someone else pays.

15 Abbott Lane - The crowning glory of Tortola's restaurants. Superb service, great menu which is changed frequently, really fresh and really nicely done food (although last time I sent my tuna back as it was refrigerator cold). If you book early you can get a table by the balcony with a nice view over Road Town. Best thing is probably the lounge bar area outside the restaurant for sipping on cocktails. Expensive for Tortola standards but worth it. Probably one of the best dinning experiences on and off the island to date. WIGA Value = OH YES, but only if I can take my girlfriend back - it is a romantic place.

Marina Cay - Another Pussers owned establishment offering much of the same food wise. However what distinguishes this one is [a] you get a boat to get to it, [b] the location when you are there is superb. Love the lighting on the trees. WIGA Value = YES if I am showing visitors Tortola, NO if by myself.

Village Cay - Another Marina-side restaurant with uninspiring choice of food. Burgers, ribs, chicken… same oh, same oh. Tend to wait long for food to arrive and even longer for the bill. WIGA Value = YES as it is convenient in the centre of town and not expensive.

Deli France - My addiction for lunch (closed in the evenings). A great deli with good selection of made to order sandwiches, salads and now galettes. Get hand made chocolates and decent coffee as well. Stock up on hams, cured meats and cheeses. WIGA Value = I practically live there at lunch time :)

Dockmasters - If you need a sandwich and don’t want the Deli France option…. Phone up to place your order and risk the traffic to get to Village Cay Marina. Varied selection of sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices, be prepared to wait to pay. WIGA Value = YES when Deli France is not an option

Last Resort - Another restaurant that has hit on the concept of a boat pick-up. This one you actually call to be picked up by the barman. Located on a small island the restaurant serves an interesting menu to a high standard. On some nights the chef comes out to sing, on others some other kitchen staff does the same. WIGA Value = Yes, good fun but pricey.

Pursers - Soper's Hole - Menu that caters for an American yacht scene. WIGA Value = Only if I am around the area.

Gram's Place - My local take out/restaurant. Local food at international prices but worth it. Order from the whiteboard and sit at the bar watching Judge Judy on TV, listen to comments from other patrons. You need to put up with a rather dodgy bar next to it which on Saturday nights looks like a local pick-up joint/brothel. I tend to go week-nights :) WIGA Value = Of course, where else would I get home cooking!

Capriccio's - Italian restaurant/cafeteria. Great Pizza's and pasta. No frills and gets very busy on Friday nights. WIGA Value = Go there after drinks at the Dove.

Fat Hog Bob's - Here is where you come if you are really hungry. Ribs and Lobster as the must haves and if you fancy 48ounce steak… yes 48 ounces! Good location straight over the water. WIGA Value = YES

Sugar Mill - Old sugar mill converted into a hotel and restaurant. The restaurant is in one of the original buildings. Superb food and service. WIGA Value = Great place to go out with friends/other couple.

Secret Garden - Tucked away in another old plantation house. The manageress comes and reads you out the entire menu in painful detail… why not let you read it is beyond me. By the time she has got to the end of the menu, you have forgotten what the first item was about and you have gone through your rum punch and decide to order something stronger, you need it. Food is actually great and reasonable. WIGA Value = YES but also a place to go with other people/couple.

Genaker - Nanny Cay - "Best Roti on the island, man!" is what Devon the waiter will tell you. And he is right. I have lunch here after my dives. If you don’t fancy the Roti, try the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, yummy. WIGA Value = Yes please.

Peg Legs - Another Pussers restaurant (?) but service here is crap and the food non-distinct. WIGA Value = NO

Quito's - Tourist trap food with mediocre live music. Does not live up to the hype unless you come from some backwater town in the mid-west US and this is your idea of a Caribbean restaurant. WIGA Value = NO

Banana Keet - Try their Sunday brunch menu, complete with Pimms! Eggs Benedict are to die for, superb views especially at sunset. WIGA Value = YES most definitely!

Mariner Inn - Catering for the charter yacht scene at the Moorings Marina it is a nice restaurant and offers reasonable value for money food. I love their tuna salad. WIGA Value = YES when I need a change of scene from the Deli France.

Mrs Scatliffe's - Please go before she closes shop. Lovely lady who is getting on in life but I am full of admiration for her and for keeping the business going despite the set backs. WIGA Value = Once in a life-time experience.

Virgin Gorda
Giorgio's Table - Best dinning experience in the BVI! Great location - bit hard to find tough - superb service with genuinely friendly staff and the food is to die for. WIGA Value = If only I could be based in Virgin Gorda I would make this my home!

Chez Bamboo - Central location in Spanish Town. Food and service was good and menu choice was interesting but predictable. WIGA Value = YES

Little Dix Resort - Pricey but very classy resort. I went for brunch on Easter Sunday and the selection on the buffet was out of this world. A must do even if you are not staying in the resort. Call and book your table as everyone else is also doing the same thing. WIGA Value = YES (if my credit card can take the hit)

The Restaurant at Leverick Bay - If you happen to be in the North Sound of VG, then this is almost a must (there being few other choices in this part of town). Food was good but service not very good… champagne served in Martini glasses, orders not accurate, not too bothered about customers… i.e. welcome to the BVI! WIGA Value = Only if it was pouring with rain and I was staying at the resort i.e. that's how I went there in the first place!

Peter Island
Beach Bar & Grill - You don’t get much choice here. It is either this place on the beach or the even more expensive restaurant further up. Food was good tough. WIGA Value = If I make it back to Peter Island, which I don’t think I will.

Jost Van Dyke
Foxy's Taboo - Well if you have taken a boat to get to the bubbly pool then why not. Not expensive but not value for money, if you know what I mean. WIGA Value = Not really

Soggy Dollar - Great place for people watching… especially good fun to watch the Americans after a few PainKillers! WIGA Value = Yeah, bring it on baby!

Big Bamboo - Seems to be the place where you get taken for fresh lobster.. But there are others. Was disappointed not to see my lobster being taken out of the water and being BBQed in front of me so they loose points on that BUT the lobster was to die for. Best Lobster on the island! WIGA Value = YES, If I can afford to get back to Anegada in the first place.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jost Van Dyke

This island never disappoints.  Corsairs, Foxy's, Soggy Dollar... see if you can spot where Gibraltar can be found on this island (check spelling tough)?

White bay, Jost Van Dyke

Another day, another beach!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pet Lizard

At the Easter Parade on Virgin Gorda I spotted this kid who kept a live lizard on the top of his hat as a pet!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Festival

The Easter Festival in Virgin Gorda has a bit of a reputation for fun... fun by BVI standards... anyway on Easter Monday they hold a carnival type parade which was worth the 3 hour delayed start!

The Baths

The must see site in Virgin Gorda is the Baths and Caves.  This is a National Park which consists of a pretty beach with granite boulders which you crawl and walk through to get from one beach to another.
Personally I find Spring Bay Beach just before the baths to be a nicer beach and the Baths tends to be over done with cruise ship passengers all over the beach.  Despite these draw backs the Baths is a nice beach and getting through the caves is a great way to spend 15mins!

Virgin Gorda

Went to what many call the prettiest island of the the BVI, Virgin Gorda (Fat Virgin) for the long weekend.  You catch a ferry from Tortola and 30 minutes later you arrive at Spanish Town.  Not many roads later we made it to Leverick Bay which is where we were staying.  This is a little resort in the North Sound which is where we were based.  Virgin Gorda is a very quiet town and even with the Easter festivities in full swing it was till quiet.  Great way to spend a lazy Easter weekend.

Trellis Bay Full Moon Party

Third full moon in the BVI so this time we went Trellis Bay which is great fun.

Three months gone, three more to go.

It is the half-way point of my secondment to the BVI.  I have reached the point where it is now possible to count down to the 26th June (90 days if you are wondering!)

So what next?  The story so far has been great.  The first month was tough.  The second month was fine and looking forward to the arrival of my partner made the month go by quickly.  Month three has been superb.  With my partner being on the island and me having taken the month off work I have really had the time of my life both enjoying the island to the fullest as well as taking the opportunity to get off-island.  It's been one long holiday (or should I say vacation?).  It has also been a much needed holiday as it has been some time since I had the opportunity to unwind and totally relax and to do all of this in what must be one of the best locations in the world.

Although I have lived here for three months I am still able to discover new things, enjoy new experiences and yet still be able to have a comfortableness (is that a word?) that living in a place provides.  Showing Nadia around the islands helps to bring all those experiences into play and it has been great.

So now I have three months on my own to look forward to.  Although there is nothing to look forward to in that respect as I don’t fancy living a single life again.  I hope that I have got over the crest of being in a new place and that with my daily routine already in place those three months will go by as quickly as March has and in no time it will be time to pack my bags for my return to Gibraltar.  Don’t get me wrong it is not that I am disliking it in the BVI, far from it… but I think that I could be back home in my normal surroundings getting on with my life.  I also feel a bit of a cheat being here.  Yes I am putting in work to earn my keep but I am also enjoying it so much after work that there is a guilty feeling about it.  It is almost like having the fun taken out.

It also helps that I already know a good number of people on the island so there isn't the awkwardness of walking into a bar or restaurant and not knowing anyone.  In fact,, this is a very small island and people know you very quickly.  This weekend, for example we were in Virgin Gorda (this is another out-island of the BVI) which is a quiet island, not too many people.  At a marina at the far end, to which you have to get a ferry to get to if you don’t have a boat, I got called by a friend and his wife who I had met in Tortola.  The last people you expect to come across in such a remote location.  When I got back to the flat this morning I was asked by my landlord if I had a good time dancing at the Easter Parade in Virgin Gorda.. How did he know I was dancing?  He spotted me there!  It is that small a place that everyone really knows you.  There is a local saying which goes "If you take a shit here, everyone smells it!" it IS THAT SMALL, but that is what makes it so easy to fit in.

So I shall soon book to sit for the Advanced Open Water diving course, take the Advanced Sailing Course (yes so that I can skipper a yacht… if you dare), go back to yoga, (try to loose some weight, eating out every night has taken its toll on my waistline), maybe even try surfing, and make the best of my three months left in the BVI so keep reading the blog to find out how I get on.


Friday, March 21, 2008


An unusual event on Good Friday, to see people being baptised in the Ocean.