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.


Anonymous said...

Suzanne's Secret Garden at Jasiah"s Bay Plantation Tortola, BVI
Tucked away in an Island Paridise is a Secret Garden as enchanted as any found in any story book where Suzann Allen works her Magic to create a dinning experence that is unique and beautiful. Every plate is crafted that day that night for you alone fresh natural ingrediance grown and picked daily make this very special culinary delight. Her deserts are devine and made on the spot just for you don't ask me what the Banana supprise has in it just know it is heavenly and if you pass by the bar you may just incounter an ounce of Banana Rum that could be a suprise in itself. That was the first time the Cheff huged me and gave me a kiss just for being there. The secret Garden Tortola BVI

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, you'll find that most of the ex pat community's opinion is different regarding Le Cabernon, hence why it's usually busy with locals. One of the waitresses is very hard of hearing but gives no indication of it (admittedly not ideal!), something many people often mistake for her being a bit"off"... plus the French wouldn't be the French if they weren't a little arrogant. It's key to it having genuine french charm.