On Anguilla, restaurants are everywhere — but you need to know where to look for the hidden gems that cook up authentic Caribbean cuisine.
Most people are surprised to hear that Anguilla — the tiny island with 33 beaches and 6 traffic lights — is a foodie paradise with about 70 different restaurants.
Seafood is big in this British overseas territory, and wherever you go, you'll taste some of the freshest daily catches of your life. You can play it safe and opt for lobster, but you might want to live a little and try conch and salt cod in your culinary travels as well. And because your mom always told you to eat your vegetables, if you see callaloo on a menu, get your daily dose of dark leafy greens, which are often tossed with coconut milk, Caribbean lobster, crab, or chile peppers!
From haute cuisine to beachside cafes, pack an extra pair of loose linen pants…you know, just in case.
Step away from the ruby red grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, and put down the bagel slathered in rich cream cheese and lox — you're having fish for breakfast.
We call it salt cod in the States, but in Anguilla restaurants, you'll probably see it listed as saltfish or salted fish on the menu. Salt cod is a basic staple in Anguillan cuisine, and it's often found in various soups, stews, and casseroles. If you want a truly authentic experience, though, you have to try it for breakfast at one of these restaurants.
Run by Dale Carty, an Anguilla native who studied under Master Chefs Jo and Michel Rostang, Tasty's never fails to live up to its name. This Anguilla restaurant has a gourmet approach to local cuisine, and Dale will usually pop out of the kitchen for a moment to say hello and check that you're happy with your meal. They're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but for breakfast, try the house special: salted fish, Johnny cakes, plantains, and boiled eggs.
The entire vibe of CuisinArt Resort & Spa is inspired by the Mediterranean — whitewashed villas and pops of bright blue — so it's no surprise that one of their world-class onsite restaurants bears the name Café Mediterraneo. CuisinArt has a state-of-the-art hydroponic farm that produces the freshest veggies, herbs, and edible flowers on Anguilla. So plan on sharing a couple dishes after a round of golf — at least one that uses the amazing freshly grown produce, and of course, the Island Style Breakfast that includes stewed salt fish and Johnny cakes.
Not to be confused with the famous Ricky Ricardo tune, callaloo is a spinach-like plant that is widely used in Caribbean cooking (it may still make you want to sing, though). You'll find it among various sautéed vegetables, but the best way to try callaloo is in a soup. Callaloo is the MVP of any concoction it finds its way into, but you'll still be dreaming about how well it combines with coconut milk long after you leave this enchanting island.
Ferry Boat Inn and Restaurant
The Ferry Boat Inn has been a fixture on the island for over 30 years and as soon as you take a seat at their beachfront Anguilla restaurant, you'll understand why. Locals and visitors alike tend to buzz about two main things: Wing Night on Wednesdays and Marjorie's callaloo soup (you may even meet Marjorie and her husband Christian while you're there). The callaloo soup at the Ferry Boat is a heavenly combination of Trinidad's riverside dasheen and ochra, cooked in coconut milk.
Koal Keel's building is one of the oldest on the island — a perfectly restored plantation house from 1780. Now it's an open-air, candlelit, and dare we say: uber-romantic, establishment for a memorable evening out. The callaloo soup at Koal Keel is so mouth-watering that it even made it's way into the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. The book recommends the callaloo soup made with chard, coconut milk, and crab and that recommendation could not be more spot-on.
Don't forget to try conch when you visit an Anguilla restaurant. Conch is a common name for certain large marine snails and you'll find the mild, sweet meat in countless dishes like chowders, salads, sandwiches, and even as fritters. These Anguilla restaurants are known for doing conch dishes right.
Owned and operated by executive chef Vernon Hughes, E's Oven is a tribute to his late mother who used to bake in a traditional stone oven right where the restaurant's bar sits today. You can't miss the bright yellow and red building sitting on the main road, and you won't want to leave once Vernon cooks a feast for you. His Creole Conch dish (served with rice and vegetables) is served in a dish that seems impossible to get to the bottom of and the conch is the most tender on the island.
The New York Times called Veya among the island's most eminent dining experiences and they were definitely on to something. They're known for having a creative menu, and a tree-house style vibe with an upscale twist. The husband and wife team of Carrie Bogar and Jerry Bogar (she cooks; he runs the show) keep the menu interesting which means you'll find conch with a little added pizzazz. Go for the carpaccio of conch, Asian cucumber chayote slaw, Indonesian rice salad and chili aioli. You may also want to share a platter of conch fritters with lime chili aioli to whet your palate.
After visiting the finest Anguilla restaurants over the course of your vacation, ask your WIMCO Villa Rental Specialist to plan a memorable final evening on island. Bring the salt cod, callaloo, and conch to your villa's private terrace. Dine poolside in your villa rental while one of Anguilla's most talented chefs whips up a meal you'll brag to your friends about for years to come.
Get away from it all. Anguilla is the perfect place to become immersed in an island's varied charms on a private, personal, and relaxing scale. Let us take you there. Learn more about our Anguilla villas now.
Leave a comment: Among the many Anguilla restaurants, which one has the most authentic Caribbean cuisine you've tried?