The 10 Best Places to Eat and Drink in Antigua
Antigua's West Indie food scene is heavily influenced by Creole cuisine and other Caribbean islands. Here are some the best local joints and high-end resorts to sample local specialties.
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Photo By: Cecilia’s High Point Café
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The upscale Cove at Blue Waters Resort and Spa marks all the checkboxes for romantic, special-occasion dinners: cliffside, oceanfront views — ideal for watching the sunset and listening to crashing waves; a torchlit entrance and candlelit tables; and quality French-Caribbean cuisine. Appetizers might include butternut arancini, a lobster cocktail or goat cheese tart. Entrees have a throwback feel, as recent offerings listed beef stroganoff, lobster thermidor and duck à l’Orange. Local fish, from mahi mahi to snapper, are also options. Finally, cap off a memorable night of romance with a hot chocolate fondant and salted caramel ice cream.
Miracle’s South Coast Restaurant
A local favorite in the Jolly Harbour area, the small Miracle’s South Coast Restaurant is known for its curry goat, lobster roti, jerk chicken and coconut shrimp. But seafood is a must, whether lobster, wahoo or mahi mahi, as it’s served fresh from the fishing boats. Even better, you can choose how it’s prepared, whether grilled, jerked, curried or barbecued.
Tucked away on a side street in the capital of St. John’s, locals flock to this ramshackle seafood joint for good reason. Out front, a large sign reads “Fish ‘n’ Rum,” followed by, “Great fish, largest collection of rums and zouk music.” It’s not just an effective marketing tact, but actually three worthy draws. Bouillabaisse soup is a favorite, but leave room for the whole red snapper or Carnival platter, a plate loaded with half a lobster, mussels and calamari. Obviously you have to wash it all down with rum, as Papa Zouk’s collection encompasses about 250 bottles.
Cecilia’s High Point Café
You can’t beat Cecilia’s High Point Café, named after its Swedish-born owner, for a solid lunch or dinner near the airport. Its waterfront views and tasty, eclectic dishes make it a local favorite, so it may not be the best option if you have a flight to catch. But if you’re not in a rush, take the time to peruse the day’s specials on a board, which could be everything from homemade gravlax and potato pancakes to wahoo carpaccio. Either way, the emphasis is on local ingredients and happy customers. Did we mention the private beach for pre- or post-meal drinks?
Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn
The popular Seafood Fridays, or fish fry, is a tented buffet that’s been an ongoing tradition for the past seven years at the Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn in Nelson’s Dockyard. It attracts both locals and tourists from around the island who come for the outdoor dinner while enjoying marina views, live music and affordable prices. Luckily Inn guests don’t have far to go after managing their fill of lobster, seafood pasta and strong rum punch.
Shirley Heights Lookout
Like the Copper and Lumber Store, Shirley Heights Lookout (both a popular lookout point and restaurant), hosts a hopping party every Sunday — in this case barbecue instead on seafood. It also attracts locals and visitors, except this tradition has continued for more than 30 years. The shindig kicks off around 4 p.m. with steel drum band music, and gets more crowded as the night progresses. In between dancing with abandon, refuel with freshly grilled jerk chicken and rum punch.
Hemingway’s Caribbean Restaurant & Café
Thanks to an Antiguan chef, Hemingway’s Caribbean Restaurant & Café is a good bet in St. John’s for casual Creole and Caribbean dishes. Look for Antiguan fricassee of saltfish, commonly called bulljoy; local lobster flambéed with Cavalier rum; curry shrimp and okra gumbo; and roasted jerk pork tenderloin with a pineapple relish. Save room for Antigua bread pudding, where the Cavalier rum makes another appearance in the sauce. Take your time eating and drinking, as the historic building’s terrace doubles as the perfect spot for people watching. Speaking of drinking, Hemingway’s also claims to possess the island’s largest rum collection — compare to Papa Zouk and decide for yourself.
The high-end Sheer Rocks at Cocobay Resort is one of those resort restaurants that attract diners from across Antigua, who come for the locally sourced, Mediterranean-influenced dishes. The restaurant prides itself on only serving fish that’s been line caught; similarly, hand divers responsibly catch lobsters. Sheer Rocks also makes its own bread and desserts (including ice cream). Come for lunch, where you have the chance to nibble eclectic tapas (Antiguan goat curry, Scotch eggs, Cajun potato skins, truffle mac and cheese) while reclining on four-poster day beds and zoning out to relaxing beats. Evenings bring out the restaurant’s romantic side and cool ocean breezes, and for dinner you can’t go wrong with local-leaning dishes, whether clam vermicelli or sake-marinated wahoo. And Antiguan black pineapple, a local specialty, is a must for dessert. Make reservations.
Trappas Bar and Restaurant
This ramshackle blue cottage in English Harbour might appear unassuming, but crowds (locals, tourists, the yacht scene) descend upon Trappas for fresh seafood, a buzzy atmosphere and affordable prices. Check the blackboard for the current menu, which might offer hits such as fish balls, breaded calamari, tuna sashimi and West Indian curry.
Don’t be fooled by Catherine’s Café’s casual vibe and beachfront locale on Pigeon Beach. This French bistro, a beloved lunch spot and sister restaurant to Sheer Rocks, serves up fine dining (with the prices to match). Come for the likes of lobster risotto, tuna tartare, French onion soup and an extensive cocktail menu. Afterward, digest your meal while lounging on one of Catherine’s daybeds