Though the island of Antigua does see a spike in the number of dining establishments operating during its annual yachting season (November to April) it does not mean there is a drought the rest of the year. After all, beachfront living is part of the island’s culture and that means you will always want to explore the beachside shacks in addition to the high-end spots at the premier hotels and resorts.
With that in mind, let’s consider some of the top places to dine while visiting the island. With its relatively smaller size (around 14 miles long and 11 miles wide) it is not difficult to travel to a farther end of the island to savor specialties or enjoy the more scenic spots.
Generally, the restaurants will be in English Harbour in the south, Jolly Harbour to the west, and St. John’s in the north. A few worthy sites are in the east too, but this is also a spot that is wildly scenic and less developed. Interestingly enough, one of the most highly rated of all of the island’s restaurants is found in this more remote area of the island.
Harmony Hall is an Italian and Mediterranean restaurant that sits on a Brown’s Bay hill overlooking gorgeous Nonsuch Bay. It rests shoulder to shoulder with one of the few restored windmills on the island and it offers an exquisite location for a ridiculously scenic and romantic meal. Terrace dining is even an option and they have an art gallery to stroll before or after your meal.
Catherine’s Café Plage
Among the other recommended spots is one of the few that is favored by locals and travelers alike. It is Catherine’s Café Plage, located at one end of Pigeon Point Beach. A bit fancier than many expect for its local beach locale, it offers a gorgeous garden of native neem trees and features French and Caribbean fusion cuisine. Some of the house specialties include their tartiflette, snapper in paper and their sumptuous lobster cakes.
Le Bistro tends to top all gourmets’ lists as it is one of the most elegant spots on the island. Tucked inside a villa, and offering verandah dining, it focuses mostly on French cuisine, but infuses it with Caribbean touches and ingredients. Their specialty is the smoked marlin carpaccio but they are also said to make an unforgettable bouillabaisse using only local fish. This is in Hodges Bay in the St. John’s area.
Another St. John’s area hit is Hemingway’s Caribbean. This café is tucked in the bottom floor of a small house, and offers verandah dining and street-side café tables. Blending Caribbean favorites with European influences, they offer unforgettable dishes like their chicken in a cinnamon and vanilla sauce or their fricassee of salt fish done in the Antiguan manner.
Apart from Catherine’s, another of the top English Harbour restaurants is Trappas and it is a friendly and fun spot that is painted in a blaze of tropical hues and offering an ever-changing menu based on the freshest ingredients available. They are known for their smoked salmon pizzetta and unique Thai fishballs. Cloggy’s is nearby and is a pub popular with the yachting crowd but also famous for its excellent fish specials.
There are literally dozens of excellent spots in all of the major areas, and some in the more remote locales. Whether you are staying in a villa with a local chef preparing meals, a resort with a fabulous restaurant or anywhere else, it is important to be sure and get out to try some of the best dining spots on this beautiful, accessible and unique island.