According to travel experts, “Antiguans love their food,” and it is likely that “on every road you’ll find a stall selling” everything from peeled sugar can and roasted corn to patties and fritters, and more. You’ll also find fine dining establishments providing the local favorites that include mahi mahi, black pineapples, and the hints of Creole, French, and Italian cooking that have permeated the local cuisines.
If planning a visit or return to Antigua, you want to have some of the best restaurants on your list of must do activities. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you and identified three of the top spots to visit for at least one unforgettable meal before heading home.
There is also the setting to consider when dining in Antigua, and it is impossible not to have your taste buds influenced by the amazing beauty of the area. And, as one expert wrote, “more than one meal you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home.”
The Iconic Location and Fantastic Food of Shirley Heights Lookout
Referred to as both Shirley Heights Lookout and just Shirley Heights, it is part of a restored military lookout and gun battery. It offers up some of the most impressive and stunning views of the island, and allows travelers to take in Falmouth and English Harbours, as well as amazing sunsets. Because of this, the venue is also a wildly popular one for events and functions, and there are multiple buildings where such activities occur.
This restaurant is also a popular spot every Sunday evening where a regular party occurs. This is a time to pay a visit if you are eager to savor the delights of authentic island barbecue against a stunning background, and while enjoying a soundtrack of steel and reggae bands and music. Mingle with locals who have enjoyed this weekly event for more than 30 years running.
Yet, also come here to feast on this restaurant’s menu of Creole fish and lobster salad, signature jerk chicken and award-winning Grilled Antiguan Lobster, as well as signature cocktails and desserts.
Upscale and Waterfront Dining
If you are less likely to enjoy rubbing elbows with a crowd of travelers and locals while jamming to island music, and more likely to enjoy upscale dining at its best, The Cove at Blue Waters Resort and Spa is for you. This is deemed the ultimate in romantic or special dining because of its ocean views and location just above the water. The evening meal is usually a torchlit event, and tables are warm and attractively laid with candles offering a radiant glow.
The menu varies but is a wonderful fusion of French and Caribbean cuisines and ingredients. As an example, one travel expert said their meal included “butternut arancini…[and] a throwback feel…[with] lobster thermidor,” as the main course. The chefs use local fish such as mahi mahi and snapper, and desserts are considered an essential.
A “smart casual,” establishment, it emphasizes multi-course dinners that feature signature appetizers, mains, “Connoisseur’s Choice” items, and over the top desserts. One example is their white chocolate crème brulee served with rosemary sable biscuits.
Freshest Ingredients at Lunch or Dinner
If outdoor dining at a resort restaurant appeals (and it really should when visiting Antigua), then it is Sheer Rocks at Cocobay Resort you should consider. Noted as a restaurant, bar, lounge, and tapas spot, it is also so casual as to feature its own plunge pool and full-sized day beds.
Sitting above the bluff and with westward orientation, it looks out at Fryes Bay and is designed as a series of pavilions with unusual four poster daybeds serving as a backdrop to some of the spaces. It emphasizes a unique food philosophy, too, focusing on local resources and artisan producers, and this is what shapes the site’s menu.
As it claims at its official website, “Everything from the fresh 7-grain bread, to ice creams and sorbets are made in house. An expert wine list, artistic cocktails and charismatic service complete the setting.” So, it may be low-key with its plunge pools and daybeds, but it is very serious about the overall quality of the food and drinks served.
The a la carte menu features innovative starts, mains, soups, pasts, sides and desserts. A few of the more innovative choices include a Wahoo Gravlax, Seared King Scallops and Sticky Pork Belly using pumpkin and ginger puree, glazed red onions and pumpkin seeds, and pineapple tarte tatin with rum and raisin ice cream.
Other recommended locations for travelers to Antigua eager to savor the delicious dishes and ingredients offered would include Miracle’s South Coast Restaurant noted for curry goat and lobster roti, Papa Zouk in St. John’s and offering an amazing array of fish dishes and rum drinks, Cecilia’s High Point Café with its lovely private beach and its delicious eclectic options including potato pancakes and wahoo carpaccio, and Copper and Lumber Store Historic Inn sitting in Nelson’s Dockyard and offering great music and waterfront views alongside a signature rum punch and lobster dishes.
Enjoying the Antiguan Food Culture
Don’t forget to take some time to explore the many stalls and roadside opportunities that present themselves to you when visiting Antigua. As a place with tropical weather, the fresh foods are an option all year long. The chance for snacking on sugar cane or gobbling up some piping hot fritters from a roadside stand will only enhance your experience. Don’t ignore the fine dining, too, since this is emerging as a major part of the island’s charm, but find balance with casual eateries letting you sample the different rum drinks and freshest seafood offerings.
The three stops above (and list of alternatives given) are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t waste any chance to savor a freshly made dish full of Antigua’s signature charm and flavor.