Visit the United States Virgin Islands and your foodie experience will be as pleasurable as your playtime.
The tropical archipelago of three main and 50 smaller islands was originally inhabited by Native Americans – Ciboney, Caribs, and Arawaks. Spain, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark once claimed VI and Africans came during the slave trade. In 1917, the U.S. bought the territory and these days the USVI’s historical mix of cultures is everywhere.
It’s the largest of the three main islands and flatter than the rest. So, driving coast to coast (28 miles) is easy and eye-catching. Christiansted, the capital city, anchors the northeast coast. Frederiksted, the quieter city, is on the west coast. On St. Croix, everyone says hello and treats others like family or friends. Wilt Chamberlain and President Joe Biden have homes on St. Croix. You’ll feel welcomed too.
DINNERS IN ST. CROIX
Eating out is a social and culinary event. People meet and greet with hugs as they dine on African diáspora, European, American and Latino influenced cuisine.
Must dine here:
• The Galleon at Tamarind Reef Hotel — Chef Charles Mereday offers an informal atmosphere and seaside location. Eat indoors or outdoors by the yachts. Sip on a Passionfruit Pisco Sour. Start with crabcakes. Main course it with Paella, Mango Mahi Mahi or a 16 ounce ribeye. End the night with key lime pie.
• Too. Chez. – Set in downtown Christiansted. French-inspired American cuisine in open-air courtyard. Casual but tony crowd. Drink a French 75 (Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, prosecco). Begin with Baked Shrimp Scampi. Try the Parmesan Crusted Breast of Chicken entrée. Finish with Cheesecake.
• Taste of St. Croix – Chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and ﬁshermen show off their ware in an outdoor soiree. Feast on Braised Lamb Charlotte and Red-tailed Boa and Stuffed Johnny Cakes. Drink Oatmeal Stout and Veuve Clicquot.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
Brunch and Lunch at:
• La Reine Chicken Shack – The governor, students, truckdrivers … everyone eats at this open-air restaurant. Crucian cuisine. Signature dish is succulent, slowroasted rotisserie chicken. Dig into stewed oxtail, conch in butter sauce and sweet plantains. Drink cold Sorrel Juice with its hint of ginger.
• El Flamboyant – Puerto Rican chef Yvonne Villegas learned to cook from her grandmother and infuses that love in her homestyle Latino dishes. Try the Carne Guisada and Tostones de Pana or Stewed Red Snapper Filets. Goat Roasts on Sundays. Kingshill neighborhood has gorgeous sci-ﬁ-like view of Oil Reﬁnery.
• Caroline’s – Breakfast eatery. In historic King Christian Hotel on Christiansted boardwalk. Bananas Foster, Chicken’n Waffles, Blueberry Pancakes.
• Virgin Islands Food Tours – Stroll on downtown Christiansted’s’ cobblestone streets. Eat local cuisine and meet eatery owners on enlightening, guided tour.
• Polly’s at the Pier – Frederiksted’s top brunch/lunch place. Build your own Burritos. Chocolate Chip Belgian Waffles. Steps away from cruise ship pier.
PLAYING AND SLEEPING
• Mutiny Island Vodka Tour at Sion Farm Distillery – Chef Todd Manley makes vodka from local breadfruit. Sip on his Hibiscus Passion Fruit vodka. Yum.
• Farmer’s Market – Shop dawn to midday at Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex for fresh vegetables, fruits, juices, bread, honey and local liquors.
• Rainbow Beach – Bohemian party beach scene. Popular Rhythms restaurant.
• Sorbetiere Ice Cream Parlor and Creamery – Tamarind and Soursop sorbet. Vanilla Bean and Ginger Thomas Ice Cream. Yummy!
• The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort – Christiansted’s most elegant resort. Three beaches, 18-hole golf course, 8 tennis courts, a spa and seaside suites.
• The Fred – Frederiksted‘s top boutique hotel. Six buildings, Miami style design.
• Sand Castle on the Beach – In Frederiksted. Intimate adults-only, gay-friendly. Suites and villas include kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. Two pools.
• Cottages By the Sea – Family-owned. 27 unique, beachfront cottages with private patios. Full kitchens. Kayaking, bike riding. In Frederiksted. Quiet retreat.
St. Thomas, with its USVI capital city of Charlotte Amalie, has just as many people as St. Croix but is half the size. Hilly terrain – like the Hollywood Hills – and winding roads. A shopping haven, restaurants and constant cruise ship debarkations make this a bustling island. Day and night.
DINNER AND DINING
Must Eat At:
• Indigo 4 – Located in Marina at Yacht Haven. The upscale eatery is the magical creation of Chef Benji. As you dine on Fried Ole Wife Fish & Eggs at Sunday brunch, with folks who’ve come from church, view the boat basin. Delectable dinners include Local Lobster, Tomahawk Steaks and Donut Bread Pudding.
• Sunset Grill at Secret Harbour – Overlooks a private beach. Fine cuisine. Guzzle local Leather Back Beer. Feast on appetizers (Lobster & Shrimp Tostadas), entrees (Miso Chilean Sea Bass) and sweets (mile high Mud Pie).
• Ashley’s Restaurant – Tiny popular restaurant on St. Thomas’ Cyril E. Airport grounds. Ask for the tender flaky and sweet Fried Ole Fish or the Conch.
PLAYING AND SLEEPING
Shop till you drop in Charlotte Amalie, a duty-free port since 1724. Rolexes, designer bags, perfume and electronics. Tour in and around the capital city.
• Magens Bay Beach – Sit in sun, swim in sea and walk around 56-acre park
• Downtown Charlotte Amalie – Fort Christian, 99 Steps, Blackbeard’s Castle…
• The VI Cat – Glide on catamarans to Turtle Cove or take a sunset dinner sail.
• Coki Beach – Swimmable, popular neighborhood beach. DJ music. Meet locals
• Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham – On Water Bay, over hill from Coki Beach. Large rooms, balconies, quality service. Mellow Jimmy Buffet vibe.
• Ritz Carlton St. Thomas – Very lux. View turquoise blue waters of Great Bay.
• Secret Harbour Beach Resort – Plush boutique resort on sequestered cove.