Tortola is not at all large, though it is the largest among the British Virgin Islands. It is noted for its amazingly beautiful and unique beaches, its wonderful scenery and the many outdoor activities it offers. It is also home to some of the very best restaurants throughout the islands, and though these range from down home spots famous for classic Caribbean dishes to five-star establishments – they will each add an unforgettable facet to your holiday here.
Classic Tortola Cooking
Quitos Gazebo – A pastel-painted property overlooking the sands of Cane Garden Bay, it is a famous but low-key spot for catching a sunset or enjoying a live musical performance from the restaurant’s namesake reggae performer. The menu is Caribbean classic and the house specialties include their pulled pork, jerk chicken and mahi mahi sandwiches.
Mrs. Scatiliffe’s – This is the very ultimate in home-style cooking and attentive and personalized services. This is a restaurant housed in the home of island resident, Mrs. Scatliffe. She makes different meals each night and there is no formal menu. This is a remarkable opportunity to savor true, island and West Indian cuisine prepared from ingredients taken only moments earlier from Mrs. Scatliffe’s gardens. Serving only dinner, it is a restaurant that most visitors return to with each visit they pay to the island.
North Shore Shell Museum – Housed in a structure that is literally covered in shells, it serves authentic island fare. Visitors may enjoy island cocktails made with famous Callwood rum. They can then dip into coconut bread, fried breadfruit and spicy fish served with classic sides. The service is always noted for its attentiveness and friendliness and the meals most often ordered include their conch, ribs, beef or chicken cooked in an open flame and covered in the restaurant’s secret sauce.
Roti Palace – West Indian classic cooking includes roti, and this spot is frequently noted as one of the best in the islands. Ideal for lunch, it also makes notable curries but can actually run out of food it is so popular. So, make sure to arrive early and eat heartily.
Brandywine Estate – Sitting above Sir Fancis Drake Channel, this historic restaurant has a garden setting and offers an amazing experience. Their most famous dishes include their moules a la mariniere, their tuna tartar, and their beef carpaccio. They are also noted for their flourless chocolate cake.
Sugar Mills – Located within the old rum house that was part of the original sugar mill estate, it has two dining rooms and features some of the original boiling pots and equipment. This option also offers an impressive wine list and features a chef committed who uses locally grown produce and fresh seafood. Their specialties include conch dishes, a crispy pork belly dish and their famous coconut chicken.
Specialty Tastes of Tortola
In addition to these formal dining establishments, a visit to Tortola has to include their island specialties. For example, visitors should sample the sea grape wine that is unique to Tortola. This is made by harvesting grapes and soaking them in various types of alcohol before actually turning them into wine. The open air market in Road Town is a great place to find the widest range of choices.
You will also want to sample another island specialty known as maubey. This is a non-alcoholic drink made from the bark taken from the maubey tree. The best place to find different styles is in Wickham’s Cay at the store known as Bobby’s Supermarket.
In addition to beverages, you will want to pick up some guava jam made on the island, and some of the best is from the Sunny Caribbee Shop in Road Town. Lastly, while out doing your “must have” ingredients shopping, be sure to swing into the La Baguette Bakery in Road Town to sample their remarkable coconut tarts.