So you’ve booked your BVI holiday and you have a precious couple of weeks exploring the islands, but where should you be eating? There are hundreds of great restaurants in the Territory but I’ve handpicked you some of the best.
Below is my definitive BVI restaurant guide for help on which venues you should be eating at (and on which days…)
For A Group – CocoMaya, Virgin Gorda (+1 284 495 6344) ($$$)
A stunning beachfront location with delicious tapas-style sharing plates and an inventive cocktail menu makes for the perfect setting for dinner with friends. Enjoy a taste of everything! Get there for in time for sunset by the fire pit and make sure you have a turn on the swings.
Eat: the duck soft shell tacos, the beef short ribs and the dulce de leche cheesecake
Drink: elderflower and jalapeño margaritas
For Brunch – The Tamarind Club, Tortola (+1 284 495 2477) ($$)
Family-friendly restaurant serving hearty Southern breakfast favourites with pint-sized mimosas, live music and a pool with a swim-up bar. Pretty much the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Bonus: it’s dog friendly, bring your own or pet someone else’s.
Eat: the shrimp and grits or one of their many variations on an eggs benny.
Drink: grande mimosas
For Dinner with the one you love – Brandywine Estate Restaurant, Tortola (+1 284 495 2301) ($$$)
Start with cocktails on the terrace and enjoy views of neighboring islands across the channel as the sun sets – move into the restaurant to enjoy superb French cuisine on crisp white linens by candlelight with friendly service and finish your evening with coffees and digestifs in the garden, a game of pétanque and (hopefully) a kiss.
Eat: the oysters, the duck starter three ways and the classic steak frites
Photo credit: E. Linsley
For A Sunday Funday – Saba Rock, North Sound (+1 284 495 9966) ($$)
Enjoy the 7-minute boat ride from Gun Creek over to Saba Rock Resort (ferries run at 45 minutes past the hour) and enjoy a laid-back lunch with gorgeous views of the North Sound and all the kite-boarders zipping across. Stay to watch the tarpon feeding at happy hour and make sure to check out the gift shop before you leave.
Eat: the lobster and cheese panini
Drink: the Rock Saba Mule in their signature engraved copper mug
For a Special Occasion – The Treehouse, Virgin Gorda (+1 284 495 5482) ($$$$)
For a semi-private dining experience (up in the trees) with a unique ambiance head straight to the Treehouse on Virgin Gorda. With pretty views over the twinkling lights in Spanish town marina and beyond, the little wooden treehouse with its charming vaulted ceiling and intimate feel seats only 24 diners and serves exceptional Italian food.
Eat: seared scallop starter and the stuffed veal chop
Drink: espresso martinis
For Lunch with a View – Hogs Heaven, Virgin Gorda (+1 284 547 5964) ($$)
Perched in the hills overlooking the North Sound, Hogs Heaven enjoys some of the most spectacular views of Leverick Bay, Necker, Moskito, Prickly Pear and Eustatia – and on clear days you can see all the way to Anegada. Super breezy (and often quite chilly) HH makes for the most picturesque lunch spot. Known for their ribs with a (phenomenal) sticky BBQ, ginger glaze – enjoy them with creamy coleslaw and fried plantain.
Eat: the ribs
Drink: the frozen rum smoothies
For Authentic Caribbean Food – D’Coal Pot, Tortola (+1 284 495 4998) ($$)
Head out West along the coast road to find D’Coal Pot (next to Sebastian’s). With a quiet courtyard and casual feel, D’Coal Pot serves up the best authentic West Indian fare.
Eat: the shrimp roti or the jerk steak
Drink: rum punch
For the Best Pizza – The Watering Hole, Tortola (on Friday nights) (+1 284 346 5950) ($$)
Paper thin and perfectly crispy bases topped with wonderfully creative combinations (if you’re looking for a ham and pineapple pizza you’re sh*t out of luck, heathen!)* are turned out quickly for the hungry happy hour masses on a Friday evening at the Watering Hole. Right in the middle of town and walking distance from everyone’s offices this place can get hot and heaving but is totally worth it! Get there around 5pm in order to grab a seat.
Eat: the Piggly Wiggly
Drink: whatever you want – it’s Friday night!
For a Breakfast Buffet – Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound (+1 284 494 2746) ($$$)
As an occasional treat I’ve been known to visit the Sunday buffet at the Clubhouse Restaurant at BEYC. Catch the boat from Gun Creek (boats leave at half past the hour) and spend a couple of hours feasting on their bountiful brunch buffet with a range of options, from salads, cheese and cold cuts, through the breakfast favourites and finishing with a selection of desserts, all for $45 including mimosas.
Eat: all of it…
Drink: bottomless mimosas
For Food You’ll Want to Take Pictures Of – Scaramouche, Tortola (+1 284 495 3443) ($$$)
Located all the way West in Soper’s Hole, Scaramouche is run by a husband and wife team making beautiful Italian food and tasty cocktails. Not only is service impeccable with thoughtful touches (an amuse bouche and a palate cleanser are complimentary with a 3-course meal) but the food is some of the best in the BVI and exquisitely plated.
Eat: the ceviche and the rare Faroe salmon
Drink: the caffe gourmet – served as a dessert this coffee topped with whipped cream is accompanied by home made chocolates and biscotti
For a Completely Unique Evening – The North Shore Shell Museum, Tortola (+1 284 495 4714) ($$)
Find the North Shore Shell Museum tucked away in Carrot Bay, but ensure you call ahead and make a reservation (or else they won’t be open.) Go upstairs and check out the shells and then go down to enjoy your dinner complete with live fungi music – pick your instrument (I like to play the washboard bass or the TV, myself) and immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind Caribbean experience, ideal for the more adventurous traveler.
Eat: whatever they’re serving that night, menu changes daily
Drink: soursop daiquiris
For lunch on Jost – One Love, Jost van Dyke ($$)
When you first arrive on the pristine shores of White Bay it is very tempting to head straight to Soggy Dollar (indeed you should for your first Painkiller) and camp out there for the afternoon. But, when lunch time comes and you find yourself getting peckish, I urge you to wander away from the crowds and down the beach to One Love. For the freshest seafood (and when you go out back and see the catch you’ll know what I mean), the best value lobster** and rum drinks as strong as you can handle (they’ll sometimes let you pour it yourself) One Love is hard to beat. The eclectic decor and live music is a bonus.
Eat: the shrimp or lobster** quesadilla
Drink: all of the rum
For Dinner with a Show – The Island Last Resort, Beef Island (+1 284 394 0100) ($$$)
Just off of Trellis Bay sits Bellamy Cay and the Island Last Resort. Dinghy over from your boat (or call theirs from the dock and they’ll come to collect you) and get ready for great food with quite the unusual show. Go on Wednesday evenings for ‘Wild Wednesday’ with Al and Troy, expect audience participation (and tequila shots), fire dancers, hermit crab racing, bonfires, great cocktails and good food.
Eat: the curry, coconut mussels
Drink: a mojito (and a tequila shot after you join Al on stage)
For Friday Night in Town – Cabernet, Tortola (+1 284 494 8660) ($$$)
Almost directly across from the ferry dock and smack-bang in the middle of town is Cabernet. Popular for lunch, happy hour and in the evenings Cabernet has you covered. They have a beer garden vibe with picnic tables and palm trees outside and casual table service inside. Much of the food is grilled outside on their big oil drum BBQs so expect to start feeling hungry as soon as they start cooking.
Eat: the escargot and the croque madame
Drink: the huge selection of IPAs
While I appreciate that most people don’t plan entire trips around their restaurant reservations in quite the same way that I do – hopefully my tips still prove helpful.
Whew, that was a long post! Any that you feel I’ve overlooked?
* I have really strong opinions about pineapple on pizza which I refuse to apologise for…
**fresh lobster available in season.
All images sourced from their respective restaurants unless otherwise specified.