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When it comes to laid-back dining with flair, there is no better Caribbean island than Anguilla for food lovers!
On this still under-the-radar island in the eastern Caribbean, you can enjoy fantastic local flavours, fine dining and traditional Caribbean cuisine without even leaving the beach!
I first visited this small island located near St. Maarten/St. Martin almost 10 years ago to attend the Anguilla LitFest, an annual celebration of writing and literature. Each time I’ve returned, I’ve been amazed at its culinary scene!
From sophisticated, high end restaurants to beach shacks to food trucks, here are some of my favourite places to eat in Anguilla:
1. Straw Hat Restaurant – Sunset Views and More
Open seasonally (November to April) for breakfast to dinner, Straw Hat Restaurant is the quintessential Caribbean outdoor dining experience. One of the best places on Anguilla to enjoy one of the island’s spectacular violet-hued sunsets, the food is equally memorable and earns rave reviews.
While you’ll need a reservation for dinner (6-9 pm) to score a bowl of their dreamy Caribbean bouillabaisse, Straw Hat’s lunch and late afternoon menus feature equally beguiling choices.
Straw Hat serves shrimp, mahi mahi and lobster tacos drizzled with mango crème fraîche, and grilled meats and seafood served with sides of lobster mac and cheese, fragrant coconut rice and more.
Don’t miss an order of the house made fried plantain chips!
2. Play Castaway on Scilly Cay Anguilla
Located next to the island of St. Martin – Ste Maarten, Anguilla is composed of 33 uncrowded beaches and offshore cays. One of the best places to eat on Anguilla happens to be on Scilly Cay off the northeast shore at Island Harbour.
Accessible only by boat, this speck in the sea features calm sapphire waters on one side and determined waves on the other. Founded by the late Eudoxie Wallace its open-air kitchen and bar serves up some of the best grilled lobster you’ll ever find.
The seafood here is so fresh you can see red speckled lobster swimming within tidal pools that serve as natural aquariums keeping them fresh until dinner.
The menu — lobster, crayfish and pasta salad — matches the simplicity of the setting which is basically picnic tables in the sand.
Each platter of seafood comes perfectly spiced and is paired with French bread as warm as the trade winds.
3. Hank’s Carousel at Shoal Bay – Best Breakfast on the Beach
Begin your morning as the locals do and head to Shoal Bay for a breakfast swim. Regularly voted one of the world’s top beaches by beach aficionados (including us!), it’s a fringe of palm trees, cottony sand and blue waters that’s a popular day trip by catamaran from St. Maarten.
One of the big draws of Shoal Bay is the beach. Geologically, Anguilla is comprised of limestone created by the fossil remains of ancient sea animals and coral. So the ocean floor is a marvel of bleached white sand.
Your post-swim destination is Hanks, a humble outdoor eatery overlooking the sea. The sublime view and crispy wedges of potato pancake elevate a simple plate of fried eggs to a memorable event.
If you stay at Shoal Bay Villas, you’re a short beach walk away from Hank’s Restaurant. The beachfront condo apartments come fully equipped with kitchens and are ideal for families and couples. The onsite spa is also excellent.
Hank’s Beach Bar is located on the beach at Shoal Bay (East) off Bay View Road
Check prices and availability at Shoal Bay Villas on Booking.com
4. Tasty’s Anguilla – A Top Spot for Local Food
One of the top spots for local food in Anguilla is Tasty’s on Rte 1 South Hill. Its atmosphere is geared to fuelling its loyal fans who flock here for breakfast, lunch and early dinners so you can expect generous portion sizes and loads of Caribbean flavour.
Tasty’s Owner and Chef Dale Carty is a native native Anguillian and highly acclaimed for his inventive interpretations of Caribbean classics. So you won’t be disappointed with winning dishes such as the omelette bursting with tender local seafood, conch salad, curry goat or coconut lobster stew.
Many of the dishes are served with Johnny Cake, a cornmeal flatbread that’s also a staple on many other Caribbean islands. The name is derived from “journey cake” to reflect its origins as a food carried on long travels.
On Anguilla there are as many variations as there are cooks, but the Johnny Cake at Tasty’s comes deep-fried to a golden brown and a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth interior.
Insider’s Tip: For a fun twist on a classic, head to Leon’s on Meads Bay to try their Johnny Cake Jerk Burger. This grilled patty of jerked beef comes slathered with spicy mayo and is tucked inside a warm Johnny Cake. Time your visit for the weekend for live music/DJs and drink specials.
5. Dune Preserve on Anguilla – Cocktails and Live Music
Nightfall on Anguilla doesn’t mean casinos, neon nightclubs or theatrical liquid nitrogen drinks. Instead, it’s all about sand mashing (beach dancing), live music and relaxed cocktails.
There’s no other spot that epitomizes this laid-back vibe as much as Dune Preserve. Owned by reggae musician Bankie Banx, the bar is a sprawling construction of driftwood, old boats and rope on Rendezvous Bay that feels more wooden raft than building.
Although the bar is known to draw big name musicians and live bands such as John Mayer, the Wailers, Jimmy Buffett and Omari Banks, you might also experience some experimental poetry or theatre.
While there, sip a Duneshine cocktail (the fermented ginger drink that’s a house specialty) while listening to the lapping of the waves and gazing at the flickering lights of the French island of St Martin across the bay. No neon needed.
Insider Tip: For other fun Caribbean beach bars and parties you don’t want to miss, check out our travel guides to the Shirley Heights Sunday Party on Antigua and Full Moon Party in the British Virgin Islands.
6. Hungry’s Food Truck – Anguilla Food to Go and Cheap Eats
Long before the food truck trend hit North America, mobile food vending was popular in Anguilla. It answered the call of locals looking for a quick traditional meal.
Located at The Strip, a special zone for food trucks and outdoor eateries in The Valley, Hungry’s food truck is one of the most famous.
The menu features economical comfort food that hearkens back to the days of Creole home gardens filled with pigeon peas, root vegetables and corn.
Much of the island’s rich West Indian legacy can be seen in goat and chicken dishes, domesticated animals that can survive on Anguilla’s scrubby soil.
Hungry’s is one of the best places to try popular Anguilla traditional food such as bull foot soup, pea soup with pig tail, shrimp Creole and fried fish. Curious about Anguilla’s national dish? It’s pigeon peas and rice and this is the place to try it!
Insider Tip: Tasty’s is one of the most economical places to eat on Anguilla as a bowl of soup cost around $7 USD.
7. Blanchard’s Beach Shack and Blanchard’s Fine Dining
For daytime casual fare, it’s definitely worth stopping at Blanchard’s Beach Shack, located on Meads Bay on the western end of Anguilla. This stretch of pearl white beach is a magnet for celebrities, politicians and business moguls but also happens to be a top destination for food fans.
One of the best restaurants in Anguilla for families with children, Blanchard’s Beach Shack features crave-worthy, toes-in-the-sand casual fare such as fish tacos, hot dogs and seafood. Order at the window for take-out food to enjoy beachfront.
It was founded by Melinda and Bob Blanchard, who wrote about their experience in their best-selling book A Trip to the Beach, an inspiration to anyone who has every dreamed of transforming their life.
For romantic dining, Blanchard’s Restaurant (located next to its beach shack) earns top marks for both its upscale beach house ambiance and memorable cuisine.
It’s famous for creative interpretations of classic Caribbean fare. You can expect seasonally inspired dishes that showcase the best local and imported ingredients.
Menu highlights include sharing plates such as jerk shrimp with sweet-tart cranberry relish or chickpea fritters with hummus and Signature Plates of grilled sweet Anguilla Crayfish.
Insider Tip: There’s free wifi at the beach tables at Blanchard’s Beach Shack.
8. Jacala Restaurant – French Caribbean Fusion Cuisine
Owned by Jacques Borderon and Alain Laurent, who first worked together at Malliouhana, the menu is French-inspired and barefoot chic. While reservations are needed for evening dining, a pretty table just steps from the sand is easily had at lunchtime.
One of the top starters is a refreshing chilled cucumber soup with spicy tomato sorbet accompanied by bread that tastes as though it comes straight from a Parisian boulangerie.
Also a popular choice for romantic dining, Jacala has a well-deserved reputation for upscale cuisine. It’s definitely one of the top restaurants in Anguilla to add to your list so reserve well in advance.
Located on the beach road parallel to Mead’s Bay. Call 264-498-5888.
9. CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
This iconic property with a breezy location on Rendezvous Bay has much to enjoy from a culinary perspective.
Be sure to try the weekly Endless Lobster BBQ Buffet for fresh lobster, Johnny Cakes, grilled red snapper and other Anguilla food specialties.
Another appealing feature is that thanks to the expertise of manager Dr. Howard M Resh, the onsite greenhouse produces a bounty of fresh vegetables including vine-ripened tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and herbs grown in hydroponic nutrient cultures.
While most Caribbean islands import their produce which results in poor quality for perishable ingredients, hydroponic crops are harvested year-round.
Insider Tip: Room service is an ideal to begin the day at CuisinArt. There’s nothing quite like an al fresco breakfast overlooking the Caribbean Sea!
10. SALT at the Four Seasons Anguilla
The Four Seasons Hotel and Resort Anguilla is one of those places you never want to leave. Set on a headland flanked by Meads Bay and Barnes Bay, the contemporary architecture evokes a feeling of being surrounded by sea and sky.
The decor by Kelly Wearstler, the celebrated American designer to stars such as Gwen Stefani and Cameron Diaz, is both earthy and glamourous. If you don’t overnight, soak up the privileged ambiance by dining at SALT, the Four Season’s signature restaurant.
The breezy ocean views are complemented by a menu that’s both fresh and creative. There’s a wealth of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants on Anguilla for a romantic or celebratory dinner.
Other Top Restaurants on Anguilla and Travel Tips
The above are just the beginning to a culinary vacation on Anguilla. Other top places to eat include:
- the beach restaurant on Sandy Island features a more extensive menu than other offshore cays. Be sure to order a rum punch!
- Da Vida Anguilla for outdoor dining and cocktails. They even offer a shuttle service to your hotel/villa.
- For fine dining, try Cap Juluca on Maundays Bay.
- If you’re craving Italian food, Dolce Vita is your best choice.
Official Anguilla Tourist Board: Call 800-553-4939 or visit www.ivisitanguilla.com
Calypso Charters: The fastest and most convenient ferry/airport shuttle between St. Maarten and Anguilla www.calypsochartersaxa.com
Weather: If you’re headed to an offshore cay for lunch, call the restaurant first. If it’s windy, the boats might not be available so you have a back-up lunch plan in place.
Tipping in Anguilla: Bills often automatically include a gratuity of 15% so check before calculating a tip.
Las EsQuinas: A luxurious B & B at Little Harbour
Is Anguilla Expensive to Visit?
While Anguilla can be very expensive to visit, there are budget-friendly options. If you opt for a hotel with a kitchenette, you can enjoy breakfasts and some meals at home. Lunches are often less expensive than dinners. Food trucks are a great option for cheap eats.
What Do They Eat in Anguilla?
When it comes to traditional food on Anguilla, you’ll see grilled jerk-style meats and fish, pigeon peas and rice, provisions (tubular root vegetables) callaloo soup and other savoury foods also popular on Grenada and many other Caribbean islands.
Anguilla also happens to be a top choice for a girlfriends getaway in the Caribbean. Check out why in our post on Great Girlfriend Getaways in the Caribbean
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
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