So you’ve booked your BVI holiday and you have a precious couple of weeks exploring the islands, but where should you be eating? The gastronomic scene has changed quite a bit post-Irma with many of our favourite restaurants sadly closing (at least temporarily) but, worry not, I’ve got you covered!
Below is my BVI restaurant guide, showcasing the BVIs finest dining establishments and offering my tips on which venues you should be eating at (and for which occasion…)
Please don’t be disheartened if one of your favourites is currently closed – most are working hard to get back on their feet, as soon as possible!
For Dinner with the one you love – Brandywine Estate Restaurant, Tortola (+1 284 495 2301) ($$$)
Brandywine Estate’s new and improved location opens beginning of December 2018. They have kept the original footprint and style of the restaurant but the terrace area now has a sweeping wooden roof. Their renovations post-Irma are seriously impressive! Die-hard Brandywine fans will love what they have done with the place!
Start with cocktails on the terrace and enjoy views of neighboring islands across the channel as the sun sets – move into the restaurant to enjoy superb French cuisine on crisp white linens by candlelight with friendly service and finish your evening with coffees and digestifs in the garden, a game of pétanque and (hopefully) a kiss. Read more.
Eat: the oysters, the duck starter three ways and the classic steak frites
Now also introducing ‘THE ROOFTOP BY BRANDYWINE’ (opened May 2018) a gorgeous rooftop sister-location (the clue was in the name) right in the middle of Road Town. A happening lunch spot and the ideal place for a happy hour drink and snack. Serving tasty tapas dishes alongside many of their old favourites. With the exception of a brief closure until August 14th, Rooftop by Brandywine will be open for the summer – open Tuesday through Saturday.
Eat: all the small plates (the tempura shrimp and the moules gratinée are my personal favourites)
Drink: Rosé by the bottle
For Sunday Brunch – Tramonti at the Sugar Mill Hotel, Tortola – (+1 284 495 4355) ($$)
Overlooking Apple Bay as you head out West you’ll find Tramonti, the beach side restaurant at the Sugar Mill Hotel, and that is where you need to be going for Sunday brunch. A varied brunch menu in a beautiful ocean-front location is a real treat for a Sunday afternoon. Featuring items that you won’t find anywhere else in the BVI (his lordship’s kipper and the kedgeree are prime examples) we wiled away several hours watching the pelicans fish while enjoying delicious food and a few mimosas and mary’s. (I’m keen to get back and try their dinner menu too). Read More.
Eat: the pancho villa (avocado toast with poached eggs and bacon)
Photos by The Barefoot Angel
For Authentic Caribbean Food – D’Coal Pot, Tortola (+1 284 495 4998) ($$)
Head out West along the coast road to Carrot Bay to find D’Coal Pot. A large restaurant pressed right up against the sea with a casual feel. D’Coal Pot serves up the best authentic West Indian fare and offers good value for money.
Eat: their famous ginger wine chicken, the shrimp roti or the steak
Drink: rum punch
For the Best Pizza – The Watering Hole, Tortola (on Friday nights) (+1 284 346 5950) ($$)
Paper thin and perfectly crispy bases topped with wonderfully creative combinations (if you’re looking for a ham and pineapple pizza you’re sh*t out of luck, heathen!)* are turned out quickly for the hungry happy hour masses on a Friday evening at the Watering Hole. Right in the middle of town and walking distance from everyone’s offices this place can get hot and heaving but is totally worth it! Get there around 5pm in order to grab a seat.
Eat: the Piggly Wiggly
Drink: whatever you want – it’s Friday night!
For a Completely Unique Evening – The North Shore Shell Museum, Tortola (+1 284 495 4714) ($$)
Find the North Shore Shell Museum tucked away in Carrot Bay, but ensure you call ahead and make a reservation (or else you might well find them closed.) Go upstairs and check out the shells and then go down to enjoy your dinner complete with live fungi music – pick your instrument (I like to play the washboard bass or the TV, myself) and immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind Caribbean experience, ideal for the more adventurous traveler.
Eat: whatever they’re serving that night, menu changes daily
Drink: soursop daiquiris
Photo by The Barefoot Angel
For Friday Night in Town – Cabernet, Tortola (+1 284 494 8660) ($$$)
Almost directly across from the ferry dock and smack-bang in the middle of town is Cabernet. Popular for lunch, happy hour and in the evenings Cabernet has you covered. They have a beer garden vibe with picnic tables and palm trees outside and casual table service inside. Much of the food is grilled outside on their big oil drum BBQs so expect to start feeling hungry as soon as they start cooking.
Eat: the escargot and the croque madame
Drink: the huge selection of IPAs
EDIT: Cabernet suffered damage due to Hurricane Irma and has not yet been rebuilt, although I have spotted works starting… Any update as to when it will re-open will be posted here as soon as I hear more.
For the freshest local ingredients – Lady Sarah’s Farms, Tortola (+1 (284) 541 8011) ($$)
Conveniently located in Road Town at the end of Main Street (the end closest to the hospital) this charming and comfortable little eatery is serving up fantastic lunches with farm fresh ingredients. Salt Island fish cakes share the menu with creamy lobster mac and cheese and the homemade juices and lemonades (served with a stick of sugar-cane) are to-die-for! Menus change daily so there is always something new to try. Leave room for a sweet treat from the bakery or take it to go! Read more.
Eat: the bang bang conch and the lobster mac and cheese
Drink: the watermelon lemonade or the lemongrass and ginger tea
Photo by The Barefoot Angel
For A Group – CocoMaya, Virgin Gorda (+1 284 495 6344) ($$$)
A stunning beachfront location with delicious tapas-style sharing plates and an inventive cocktail menu makes for the perfect setting for dinner with friends. Enjoy a taste of everything! Get there for in time for sunset by the fire pit and make sure you have a turn on the swings.
Eat: the tacos, the fried rice and the dulce de leche cheesecake
Drink: elderflower and jalapeño margaritas
CocoMaya will be open all summer operating on a Tuesday – Sunday schedule.
For A Sunday Funday – Saba Rock, North Sound (+1 284 495 9966) ($$)
Enjoy the 7-minute boat ride from Gun Creek over to Saba Rock Resort (ferries run at 45 minutes past the hour) and enjoy a laid-back lunch with gorgeous views of the North Sound and all the kite-boarders zipping across. Stay to watch the tarpon feeding at happy hour and make sure to check out the gift shop before you leave.
Eat: the lobster and cheese panini
Drink: the Rock Saba Mule in their signature engraved copper mug
EDIT: Unfortunately Saba Rock was damaged during Hurricane Irma and remains closed until further notice – there are rumours of redevelopment and a very tentative whisper of a March 2019 re-opening. I will update you, as and when they get confirmed.
For a Special Day Out – Oil Nut Bay, Virgin Gorda (firstname.lastname@example.org) ($$$)
For a pampered day full of great food, cocktails and lounging by the pool, it doesn’t get much better than time spent at Oil Nut Bay. Email them to organise a reservation and your boat pick-up from Gun Creek before heading over to enjoy their beautiful resort, attentive service and tasty treats. Oil Nut Bay has only recently started accepting reservations for outside guests, so you should make the most of it. It is well worth the trip! Read More.
Eat: The Off the Cliff Burger, the Oil Nut Bay Pizza, or the Lobster Salad (or split them with a friend)
Drink: The Pineapple Pimms Cup (it has pieces of rum soaked pineapple in it that really pack a punch)
Oil Nut Bay re-opened in mid-October following their summer break. From December 2018 their new Marina facilities will be available to outside guests.
Photos by The Barefoot Angel
For Lunch with a View – Hog Heaven, Virgin Gorda (+1 284 547 5964) ($$)
Perched in the hills overlooking the North Sound and reopened in May 2018, Hog Heaven enjoys some of the most spectacular views of Leverick Bay, Necker, Moskito, Prickly Pear and Eustatia – and on clear days you can see all the way to Anegada. Super breezy (and often quite chilly) Hog Heaven makes for the most picturesque lunch spot. Known for their ribs with a (phenomenal) sticky BBQ, ginger glaze – enjoy them with creamy coleslaw and fried plantain.
Eat: the ribs
Drink: the frozen rum smoothies
For a weekend Brunch on Virgin Gorda – Top of the Baths Restaurant, Virgin Gorda (+1 (284) 495 5497) ($$)
For a breakfast, lunch or brunch on the weekend you can usually find me up at Top of the Baths! Friendly service, breakfast favourites and mimosas lure me back time and time again. The views aren’t half bad either. Make sure to bring your swimmers as there’s a little pool to cool off in after your hike through the boulders (you know, to work up your appetite). Oh, and if you miss breakfast (served until 11.00 am) the lunches are also delicious – fresh sushi and salads alongside sandwiches and all the lunch staples.
Eat: the Tunisian eggs or the amaretto French toast (get a side of bacon, you know you want to!)
Drink: mimosas… (it is brunch time, afterall)
Photos by The Barefoot Angel
For a varied menu – Bath and Turtle Restaurant, Virgin Gorda (+1 (284) 495 5239) ($$$)
Only footsteps from the dock in Spanish Town is a leafy courtyard oasis serving up delicious food and luscious libations. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the amalgamation of Bath and Turtle, Chez Bamboo and Rendezvous Bar are now all found behind that bamboo facade, and all the fan favourites are on the menu. Homemade pizzas, fresh sushi, steak, salads and tasty fish dishes can all be found on their varied menu. Rose is ever the attentive host, the service is great and there are nights with live music.
Eat: the Asian light bites and tasty sushi rolls
Drink: Whatever the bartender recommends
For a Breakfast Buffet – Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound (+1 284 494 2746) ($$$)
As an occasional treat I’ve been known to visit the Sunday buffet at the Clubhouse Restaurant at BEYC. Catch the boat from Gun Creek (boats leave at half past the hour) and spend a couple of hours feasting on their bountiful brunch buffet with a range of options, from salads, cheese and cold cuts, through the breakfast favourites and finishing with a selection of desserts, all for $45 including mimosas.
Eat: all of it…
Drink: bottomless mimosas
EDIT: Bitter End Yacht Club suffered catastrophic damage during Hurricane Irma – there is no word yet on when rebuilding might start on the property and it remains closed until further notice. There is speculation as to a March 2019 re-opening of the marina and restaurant areas.
JOST VAN DYKE
For the Best Burger – Corsairs, Jost Van Dyke (+1 284 495 9294) ($$)
Re-opened since the hurricane in May 2018, and looking a little bit different, in their brand new building Corsairs is back! Operating a limited menu but still home to strong drinks and damn good food, be sure to pay them a visit when coming over to Jost Van Dyke. I certainly will be, just as soon as I can! Read More.
Eat: whatever they have made that night (keep your fingers crossed it’s the smoked ribs)
Photo by The Barefoot Angel
For lunch on Jost – One Love, Jost van Dyke ($$)
When you first arrive on the pristine shores of White Bay it is very tempting to head straight to Soggy Dollar (indeed you should for your first Painkiller) and camp out there for the afternoon. But, when lunch time comes and you find yourself getting peckish, I urge you to wander away from the crowds and down the beach to One Love. For the freshest seafood (and when you go out back and see the catch you’ll know what I mean), the best value lobster** and rum drinks as strong as you can handle (they’ll sometimes let you pour it yourself) One Love is hard to beat. The eclectic decor and live music is a bonus.
Top tip: Ask the bartender for a magic trick – the slight of hand is impressive.
Eat: the shrimp or lobster** quesadilla
Drink: all of the rum
For a Meal out on the Water – The Willy-T, Great Harbour Peter Island (+1 284 340 8603) ($$)
Following irreparable damage to their old boat during Hurricane Irma – the Willy-T is finally back! Bigger and better than ever (re-opened June 2nd 2018) and now floating at their new mooring at Peter Island’s Great Harbour. If you’ve ever visited the BVI, or even researched it as a holiday destination, I am sure that the Willy-T needs little to no introduction…
Eat: the catch of the day (the Willy-T gets the freshest fish from the fishermen on their way home, or caught by owner Ewan himself)
Drink: the shotski…
Photo by The Barefoot Angel (This is an extremely old picture on the old Willy-T, but you get the idea…)
For all the Rum… (and some tasty food too) – Cooper Island Beach Club and Cooper Island Rum Bar, Cooper Island (+1 284 345 6725) ($$$)
Calling all sailors… Set in a beautiful eco-resort on Cooper Island you’ll find a rum bar stocking enough different rums to suit all pirate tastes. Choose your libation from a huge menu of rums from around the globe, sit and learn all about them from the experienced and informative bar staff. But it’s not just the rum! Cooper Island Beach Club also makes all its own beer and the restaurant serves up fantastic meals. There is something for everyone. I still need t o try out their dinner menu… Read More.
Eat: the fish and chips
Drink: the rum (obviously…) and the affogato with the salted caramel ice cream (for an extra special experience add a shot of the coffee rum… you’re welcome!)
Cooper Island Beach Club re-opened on October 25th, 2018 following their summer break.
Photos by The Barefoot Angel
There are so many great restaurants in the Territory and I know that you’re going to have a fantastic trip, but these are just a few of my hand-picked favourites.
While I appreciate that most people don’t plan entire trips around their restaurant reservations in quite the same way that I do – hopefully my tips still prove helpful. I will be working hard to keep this post updated, as and when restaurants re-open following the hurricane.
Whew, that was a long post! Any that you feel I’ve overlooked?
* I have really strong opinions about pineapple on pizza which I refuse to apologise for…
**fresh lobster available in season.
All images sourced from their respective restaurants unless otherwise specified.