One of the joys of eating in the Caribbean is that great meals can be found everywhere, from luxury hotels to roadside barbecues and brightly painted seaside shacks. The island of Antigua is no exception, and some of the best restaurants on the island can be found at its five-star hotels, such as The Tamarind Tree at Curtain Bluff or the chic Sheer Rocks. Other restaurants on the island, meanwhile, offer everything from a toes-in-the-sand experience to a bit of kitschy fun. Here are our top picks for where to eat in Antigua now.
The Boxer Shack
Located near Curtain Bluff resort, The Boxer Shack offers delicious food as well as stunning ocean views. If you want a hearty meal, head there on a Sunday afternoon for a traditional British roast, such as beef with Yorkshire pudding or pork with apples. If you’re looking for something lighter, try the Creole-style whole snapper with ginger and spring onions. Wrap up your meal with poached pears in a line caramel sauce, or a mango sorbet. The Boxer Shack also has its own moorings in case you’d like to arrive via boat.
Shell’s Double Decker Fish and Chips
You can’t miss this restaurant—just look for the vintage red London Routemaster bus parked on Valley Road in Jolly Harbor, right across from the Sugar Ridge resort. Shell’s Double Decker serves up British-style fish and chips, complete with mushy peas, gherkins, and lashings of vinegar. Diners can sit outside on a handful of picnic tables or grab a seat inside the bus, which has been retrofitted with tables. Yes, it's a little bit kitschy but it’s good fun. Be sure to order Bev’s Rum Punch—it’s deceptively mild. Bev herself is a legend; she’ll even sit at your table and help feed picky children.
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Catherine’s Café Plage
Catherine’s has been a long-time favorite among the “yachtie” set, but recently moved to a new location in Pigeon Point. The new restaurant is steps from the beach and offers French-inspired Caribbean cuisine, such as lobster risotto, fish carpaccio, and snapper ceviche. The décor is beach chic—think wooden tables, ceiling fans and rattan light fixtures.
Located above the Antigua Yacht Club, the new Club Sushi offers views of the mega yachts moored in Falmouth Harbor. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu features an extensive cocktail menu. In addition to all the classics, try the frozen Bellini or the Eastern Smasher, which is a blend of Bombay Sapphire, rosemary, lemon, and bitters. The menu features everything from sushi to sashimi and noodles.
Island Gourmet Boutique
This stylish new store in St. John's showcases artisanal products from Antigua and around the Caribbean. The items make great souvenirs, or take them back to your hotel room to enjoy. Choose from dried Antiguan sea salt, smoked marlin, or lemongrass tea. The Island Gourmet Boutique (Redcliffe Street, St. John's, 268/734-2080) also sells bee pollen, raw organic coconut, bars from the Grenada Chocolate Company, and locally roasted Tailor’s Daughter coffee.
The Beach Bar
How do guests know when its cocktail time at The Beach Bar, the newest restaurant at Jumby Bay? A barman blows on a conch shell. Many of the cocktails feature local ingredients such as Cavalier rum, homemade molasses nectar, mint from the hotel’s gardens, and black Antiguan pineapple. Beach treats include frozen fruit kebabs and ice cream sandwiches.
Christina Valhouli has written about travel, beauty, and lifestyle trends for The New York Times, the New York Post, and Departures.com. Follow her on Twitter.