Good Eats in the British Virgin Islands
The cuisine of the British Virgin Islands is like many Caribbean islands in that it's an amalgam of various cultures and pallets. The mix includes Spanish, East Indian, African, French, Dutch and English influences to name just a few. Add into the pot abundant seafood and local produce and you have an incredible fusion of tastes and cooking techniques from which to choose. Lucky travelers will find the dining choices in the British Virgin Islands rival any popular destination. For information on specific BVI restaurants and listings of restaurants by island or by cuisine, check out b-v-i.com or bvitourism.com.
- Roti - This sandwich-like wrapped meal is filled with meat and spiced with curry and other condiments in a tortilla -like flatbread.
- Salt Fish - Salting of meats and seafood was a popular way for preserving foods prior to refrigeration and salt-cured fish is still on many BVI menus. Generally mackerel or cod, salt fish might be considered an acquired taste!
- Callaloo Soup - originally a West-Indian soup that is popular all over the Caribbean, made with lots of greens, and may include okra, chilies, dasheen, eggplant, onions, potatoes and mostly ham and lobster and crab. Other meats or seafood are often added. Everything is chopped and sautéed, then simmered.
- "Doved" pork - An island specialty served at Netty's Diner. Basically, it's pork that's browned first and then cooked and served with a special sauce.
- Conch chowder - Basically a local take on clam chowder, conch chowder is made with the meat of the locally-caught conch. The meat is tenderized first and then sliced and added to the chowder.
Favorite BVI liquid refreshments:
This is an island specialty that's tweaked a little at each establishment.
The traditional Caribbean rum punch has:
1 sour ounce of lime juice
2 sweet teaspoons of honey
3 strong ounces of dark rum
4 weak ounces of crushed ice
The Painkiller (a famous BVI drink) is a frozen concoction made from dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and 1 part sweetened cream of coconut. Put freshly ground nutmeg on top.
Places to "Eat Local"
Local food is widely found throughout the islands. The cuisine is a fusion of many influences and many dishes include West Indian ingredients and cooking styles. A variety of cultures are blended into each "local" beach bar and resort menu.
Main Street/Road Town
- Virgin Queen Considered by many as having the best local food with a large carry out business, the Virgin Queen has five daily specials, including spare ribs, stewed mutton, "doved" pork, salt fish, Shepard's pie, and stewed, fried and cooked chicken in gravy.
- Midtown RestaurantA great place for local food, including "souse" pig feet stew, sandwiches, fish soup, burgers, Johnny cake, boiled fish, conch fritters, salt fish, coconut ice cream, oxtail and items cooked to order. Try the pea soup (beans with pigtail).
Cane Garden Bay
(Reportedly the location that inspired Jimmy Buffet's song, "Cheeseburger in Paradise".)
- Netty's DinerThe specialty here is doved pork, which is browned first and cooked in a sauce. Bread, cakes and tarts are made fresh every morning (and to order if desired). Dinner dishes include stewed lobster and sauteed conch in butter sauce.
- Da Wedding
Don't miss the "fish fry" on Wednesday evenings, which includes live entertainment and chicken, ribs and mutton as well as conch soup and "goat water," a curried stew.
Other Popular Eateries:
Tortola Sugar Mill
Fat Hog Bob's
Crab Hole at "The Valley"
The Twin House at the Top of Gun Creek
For more detailed information about where and what to eat in the British Virgin Islands, check out Frommer's dining guide.