We love Anguilla, and search out "foodie" adventures in all our travels. Before we get too busy, here's what we have experienced thus far (Veya, etc. to be posted later):
Blanchard's - Eh. The fish was overcooked, the service was not noteworthy (save the female bartender - she knew her rum and offered a fair aperitif and a kind smile)... but it's a nice location/room. We will not return.
Jacala - We will return. Jacques has a passion for his food and recognizes the importance of service. Beautiful space and we appreciate that it was not overcrowded. The bread was great (warm, fresh)... The steak tartare was good, ingredients impressive, but the beef was too "coarsely chopped." They explain the texture of the beef on the menu. There is a fine balance between the appropriate not over-mashed meat and the meat that finds that delicate ability to dissolve on the tongue; this didn't find the balance. The risotto was delicious - the elusive, appropriate texture of arborio rice was realized. We had a snapper special - pan fried, dijon cream sauce with capers and frizzled veggies. This was excellent and a paean to French sauces. By dessert we were too full.
Straw Hat - We had no desire to go but saw a grilled lobster on the menu and Veya (which also had grilled lobster on the menu) was booked for later in the week. SO GLAD we went. Started with a bottle of Laurent Perrier and transitioned to a bottle of Conundrum. This says a lot for the typical island wine list. The appetizers were only ok. Island salad with gorgonzola and salad with goat cheese in phyllo. We would only return to have our main course - Island spiny lobster. It was juicy, sweet and one of the best lobsters we've ever had. Frankly, we liked it better than the typical Maine lobster. Service was good and though not formal, every effort was made to be top notch.
Dolce Vita - We will return, over and over. We went because we had been to the former related restaurant (Luna Rosa). The former mgr., Albi (?), opened this gem. Not pretty, not a special space (though oceanfront), but some of the best gnocchi and the best lasagna we have had. We also ate the Branzino which was excellent and surprisingly well-filleted by the waitress. My grandmother is Northern Italian and I never thought I would like any lasagna better than hers. I refuse to admit anything for the record ;-) We rarely like to eat Italian while out of NY because a) I'm Italian; b) we eat Italian often; c) Italian on an island usually isn't great. Everyone was really nice, too ;-)
Picante - We're not huge Mexican fans but we like it. We had a delicious meal here and we will return. It is "light" - not over-cheesed, over-sauced, over-spiced. The burrito reminded me of one of the superior burittos I have had (in the Mission Dist., San Fran.) I also had a special (Asian pulled pork quesadilla) - it was so good I ate half and I never do that. They have something here, so don't worry about the touristy recs. It's worth going.
More to follow.
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