Photo: Admiral's Inn, Nelson's Dockyard
WHERE TO DINE
FROM OUR BRASSERIES TO OUR BEACH BARS...
Antigua's cuisine is a reflection of our twin-island nation. It's creative, colourful and cosmopolitan. You’ll also be spoilt for choice when it comes to making reservations as there are about a 100 restaurants dotted throughout our 108 square miles. So whatever your budget, and whether you’re after fast or fancy food, you’re sure to find something to suit in Antigua & Barbuda...
World dining is truly covered here. You can chow down on everything from Italian ravioli, Spanish gazpacho and French crêpes to Indian rotis Mediterranean tapas and Japanese sushi. You can even enjoy a Middle Eastern falafel before smoking a hookah pipe, and there’s a little joint in town renowned for serving the best pizza in the Caribbean! The rum cocktails, local Wadadli beer, and new and old world wines are sure to enhance every meal.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you picking up a delicious treat on one of our street corners either. Local delicacies include jerk chicken, pepperpot stew and conch fritters, with tamarind balls and Johnny cakes for afters. Fresh fish such as mahi-mahi and red snapper regularly appear on our menus, lobster available all year round except May and June.
OUR FAVOURITE ANTIGUA RESTAURANTS
• LE BISTRO is where Antigua goes to treat itself. It’s been an island institution since 1981, a plantation-style sanctuary tucked away amidst fragrant gardens in Hodges Bay. Chef Patrick has been in charge since 1996, spoiling his patrons with such an extensive and well-received French menu that he only feels the need to change it once a year. Candlelit dinners traditionally end with a glass of limoncello.
• CLOGGY'S has the best location in Falmouth Harbour. It overlooks the AYC Marina, its nautical vibe (think polished woods, brass trimmings and seafaring memorabilia) enhanced by envy-inducing views of the yachts at anchor. The Mediterranean cuisine makes the most of the local seafood, while the lively mood and regular social events are all thanks to the delightful Dutch hosts, Ton and Vanessa.
• CASA ROOTS is where to go in the northwest for a subtle fusion of French and West Indian cuisine. The emphasis here is upon the best ingredients flavoured with carefully-chosen spices. Specialities include fish tacos, mahi mahi baked in banana leaves and creamy chocolate mousses. Sunday lunchtimes are particularly popular, not just because of the creative cocktail menu but also because of the blissful views over Runaway Bay.
• ANA'S ON THE BEACH spills out onto the powdery white sands at Dickenson Bay. A masterful interpretation of Caribbean chic, the vibrant splashes of turquoise and pink are as pleasing to the eye as the eclectic art displays. You can enjoy Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine in the alfresco restaurant, as well as uninterrupted views of the ocean from the tapas bar. Beachfront cabanas are also available.
• SALT PLAGE at the Siboney Beach Club is another must-do eatery on the edge of Dickenson Bay. Show up just as the sun is setting, and there's a good chance your Blue Coconut cocktail will be complemented by vermillion skies. The candlelight will then take over, the romantic vibe enhanced by island-fusion dishes such as Caribbean Curry Shimp and Crab Cakes topped with Pico de Gallo and passionfruit Beurre Blanc. A longtime island favourite.
• LA BRASSERIE can give any brasserie in France a run for its money. Except this version enjoys a prime setting on the Antigua Slipway – just ask and their water taxi will collect you from nearby Nelson’s Dockyard. And it'll be worth the trip as guests are spoilt with soufflés, bisques, steaks and local fish, all prepared with unmistakable French flair. The chef even bakes his own chocolate croissants daily.
• ALI BABA is where Antigua celebrates the flavours of the Middle East. Or more specifically Lebanon. Specialities at this modern, alfresco eatery outside St. John’s include falafel and tabouli, wraps and kebabs, as well as popular dips like hummus and baba ghanoush. Pasta and pizzas are also on the menu if you prefer to go with what you know, hookah pipes on offer if you don’t.
• THE BAY HOUSE offers all-day dining, eclectic menus and one of the best views in Antigua. Located in the Trade Winds Hotel high above Dickenson Bay, you get to order treats like eggs Benedict from the breakfast menu, jerk chicken from the deck menu, coconut shrimp from the tapas menu and Barbuda rock lobster from the dinner menu. Stop by around 5 pm and you get a sunset thrown in too.
• SANDRA'S BEACH SHOP BAR & GRILL is what an Antiguan beach bar is all about. Fun, friendly, laid-back and as close to the beach as it’s possible to get. In this case, the pristine white sands of Jolly Beach. Anything from fried plantains and beef burgers to jerk chicken and lobster lunches are on offer here, the splendid west coast sunsets often enhanced by the live music and Happy Hour specials.
• GARDEN GRILL is a buzzing alfresco eatery frequented by anyone in the know. Secreted away amidst the swaying palms of Dutchman’s Bay, its unpretentious vibe is enhanced by its inventive menus – anything from spicy chicken sandwiches and goat’s cheeseburgers to salmon and sweet potato cakes are on the menu. Also open for dinner on Fridays and Sunday brunch. Handy for the airport, with the beach nearby.
• GATHER STEAKHOUSE is the new sister restaurant to the Garden Grill. Also located on blissful Dutchman's Bay, it's where to come for the finest quality beef and family-style sides in an elegant and inviting 'hacienda-style' ambience. Outdoor seating also available. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm and on Sundays from 4 pm with occasional live entertainment.
• COLIBRI is a much-loved eatery combining the best of the Caribbean with the best of France. Secreted away amidst a palm-dotted garden just outside Nelson's Dockyard, its quaint cottage style suits its historical surroundings perfectly. French and Creole cuisine is on the menu here, the house-made bouillabaisse, gnocchi, steamed lobster tail, and truffle and Parmesan fries just a few of the culinary offerings getting rave reviews.
• PILLARS RESTAURANT is a dalliance with our 18th-century nautical past and an Antiguan must-do. Sprawled out over a waterfront deck at Admiral’s Inn, it’s where you get to dine on tuna tartare, lobster risotto and baby back ribs while listening to soft jazz music and wishing you had a yacht like that big white one bobbing in the water in front of you. All the historical charms of Nelson’s Dockyard are also on the doorstep.
• BOOM RESTAURANT at Gunpowder Suites is where lunch also comes with 'a side' of yachts — not to mention some rather delicious truffle parmesan hand-cut fries. Other specialities at this alfresco eatery include grilled tiger prawns, chicken spring rolls and seared Ahi tuna, the elevated views over Nelson’s Dockyard ensuring most guests tend to linger. Day passes are available if you fancy a dip in the infinity pool.
• SHIRLEY HEIGHTS LOOKOUT RESTAURANT also deserves a mention. Not so much for its simple if wholesome fare, but for its jaw-dropping and eye-popping views over English and Falmouth Harbours. Show up before the sun sets on Thursday and Sunday evenings, and there’s a party thrown in too, the barbecued ribs, chicken and pork enhanced by free-flowing rum punch and the pulsating rhythms of steel and reggae bands.
And if you're looking for somewhere casual to eat in town, consider the Harbour View which serves salads, sandwiches and paninis right on the waterfront at Redcliffe Quay. Although don't be surprised if you're diverted by the sweet smell of freshly-made crepes at Crepe It Antigua on Lower Church Street!
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Pillars Restaurant, English Harbour