Just back from a wonderful work/pleasure trip to Anguilla BWI. The island is absolutely stunning for it's perfect beaches (over 30 of 'em!). Perfectly white, soft sand and the bluest water you can imagine.
All this bliss was made all the better by a terrific food scene as well. Naturally the high end resorts have great food, but I was very surprised by the quality of the smaller lesser known places as well...
OLD HOUSE- Set in a tiny Caribbean gingerbread style house along the main road between Sandy Ground and The Valley (which is the name of the only real town). We had really good breakfasts here. Eggs so fresh the yolks were bright orange! They were the only breakfast place we went to who understood that "over easy" means a very soft, runny yolk. I HATE overcooked eggs! Served with homemade bread and muffins. Just plain perfect.
NICO's- In the first "strip mall" coming from the airport on the main drag of The Valley (town). It was a good example of a bad breakfast (make that terrible-- 'nuff said). We did however give them another chance for lunch which was much better. We had a great conch creole style stew and an interesting and delicious "Caribbean Style" hamburger. I say Caribbean Style because the roll was very typical of Caribbean Bread and the meat was filled with spicy bits of pepper and such.
TASTY's- On the main road just above Sandy Ground. A wonderful restaurant. We went there several times. Stand out's include a Coconut Shrimp Salad, Whole Fried Fish, Soursop and Coconut Ice-Creams, a breakfast of Salt Cod--all delicious and very island inspired!
ROY's- On the sand at Crocus Bay. An authentic English pub, complete with bangers and mash. We had fresh grilled local fish and it was fine. Nothing special...It seems to be popular with the Yacht set and local ex-pat Brits. Lively Happy Hour with great sunsets.
RIPPLES- On the back alley near Johnno's on Sandy Ground. It was recommended as a "must" by all the guide books as well as friends. The owner (Jackie) was great fun and a wonderful host. The Bar scene was hip and the music an unusual collection of 70's and 80's pop with a little Eminem thrown in--very fun! But we were disappointed with the food. We had dried out fish and an uninteresting and bland half chicken. We gave them a second chance (cause the bar was such fun) but it still was nothing special. Oh well...
Mango's- On the sand of Barnes Bay. A lovely though pricey lunch with a nice lobster Sandwich and a really excellent cold gazpacho.
Koal Keel- In an amazing century old former estate house in the Historic section of The Valley. we had the multi-course Tasting Menu and it was best described as Nouvelle West-Indian. A beautiful meal that was capped off by a tour of the underground Rum Cellar with a complimentary rum tasting! Oh yeah, and there a sumptuous looking bed set up in the middle of the dining room!
JOHNNO's- Classic Caribbean Beach Bar on the Sand at Sandy Ground. FUN FUN FUN! Sunday afternoon Jazz, Friday night Steel Drum Dance Band. The fish sandwich was excellent, The ribs dried out and served with Heinz Bar-B-Q sauce (yuck!). Still it's a don't miss...just order wisely!
HIBERNIA- On The Cliff above Island Harbour. An eclectic internationally inspired serious foodie restaurant. Small and Pricey but worth it.
BARREL STAY-On The Sand of Road Bay at Sandy Ground. A particularly decadant seafood Bouillabaisse needs to be ordered one day in advance. Really tasty (and expensive)1 The rest of the menu was just so-so. We had a particularly bad pile of fish Aracas (Fritters). They were cold and greasy and spiceless.
ALTAMER- The restaurant for the Cove Castles Resort. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The food was as good as anything I ever had anywhere in the world... The ambiance was romantic...The service perfect... The bill astronomical!
STRAW HAT- Over The water on Forest Bay. Good Seafood in an even better setting. The staff was very helpful when I thought I lost my wallet. Even offering to let me come back later to pay. Fortunately it turned up on the ground near my parked car (oops my bad).
We went to ALOT of beach shacks (Dune Preserve, Elodia's, Le Beach, etc.) for lunch. Most were just fine. Good beer, nice folks, stunning beaches... But one stood out above all the others. It was PALM GROVE on the sand at Junks Hole/Savannah Bay. It is hard to find the place so ask a local. There is a sign for Junks Hole on the road next to a two story white grocery store on the far east side of the island. You have to travel down a long and bumpy road to a weather beaten shack. You are rewarded with a completely desolate, mile long stretch of perfect white sand. There is an extensive menu. Do as the locals do...skip the menu and order ribs with Johnny Cakes. You will not be sorry you made the journey!
Take Me Back to Anguilla!