Some of My Favorite St Croix Restaurants
I don’t know about you, but I love open-air restaurants near the ocean. I especially like funky joints with lots of character and tons of energy. Add some great food, a good selection of adult beverages and lots of locals – even better. I’m down in St. Croix, part of the US Virgin Islands, and I can’t believe how many great spots we’ve found that are exactly what I describe above.
I’ve been to a lot of ocean side resorts from the Florida Keys to the Jersey Shore to North Shore of Hawaii to several islands in the Caribbean but I have never seen so many excellent open-air restaurants on or near the beach as we’ve found in St. Croix. What’s even more memorable is they are not serving ordinary beach fare but are surprising us with creative foods using local ingredients.
Eat at Cane Bay
For example, Eat @ Cane Bay on the north shore serves what they call food shots – “no fork, no knife, no hangover! One perfect bite, lots of flavor, not a lot of food.” The night we were there the food shot choices were Mahi ceviche w/ citrus & coconut, duck dumplings w/ Asian sauce, and a crispy mussel w/ red curry coconut sauce. Each one was better than the next and we were sitting under cover but open-aired looking out at the Caribbean. You could hear the surf and smell the salt in the air.
Eat @ Cane Bay is in my top 10 dining experiences of all time. Good food, great service and even better atmosphere. And if you like their dinner, you’re going to love their Sunday Reggae brunch. My daughter said it was the best breakfast ever.
Photo Credit Duggan’s Reef
On Christmas, we dined at Duggan’s Reef on the east end of the island. This place has special memories for my wife Meg and me. We dined here 18 years ago when we first started dating and came down to St Croix to visit her brother who at that time owned a house on the island. Out table was right next to the dock, where years ago the bar had been. Again open-aired with a view of the ocean. The server told us the fish of the day, wahoo, was very fresh and we saw what she meant when one of the cooks came out with the carcass of a fully filleted piece of fish.
My wife and oldest daughter ordered the wahoo and my youngest and I shared a New York Strip Steak with a red wine demi glace sauce. I had been eating a lot of fish up to this point so a steak hit the spot. The girls started with a cup of their popular lobster bisque while Meg and I split a classic Caesar salad. Can’t wait to come back.
Lunch at Rhythms at Rainbow Beach
Just outside Frederiksted on the west side of the island, Rhythms at Rainbow Beach would be the place to come for an adult beverage, dinner and sunset views. It’s another funky looking open-air bar/restaurant (along with dive shop) with tables and a bar under cover and a bunch of tables outside. The walls are lines with license plates from most of the states in the US.
We were horseback riding that afternoon so we went for a quick lunch of burgers, fries and fish tacos. The food was good but the views were outstanding. Rainbow Beach is one of the nicest beaches on the island. There were a lot of local regulars having lunch – a good sign for any restaurant.
Rowdy Joe’s North Shore Eatery
This was one of our favorite restaurants of the trip. In fact we liked it so much we dined there twice, the night we arrived and then again last night. Not on the ocean but close enough to be able to hear the surf and smell the salty air, the first night we outside on a covered deck and last night inside next to the “Wall of Joes”, a collection of photos of famous people named Joe.
This is not a fancy, white tablecloth type of restaurant. In fact, the décor is pretty sparse. Nothing fancy except for the cuisine. Everything we ordered was over the top.
Between the two nights we enjoyed fried edamame in a Sriracha teriyaki sauce & topped with sesame seeds, caprese salad made with a delicious homemade pesto and served with fried green tomatoes, blackened fish tacos with green papaya slaw and habanero mango chutney and Asian BBQ ribs with green papaya coleslaw. My wife and daughter raved about the rice-and-beans side dish, topped with sour cream.
There were also specials like the extremely fresh pan-fried wahoo served over a rice pilaf that may be one of the top 5 fish meals I’ve ever tried. Granted the location and atmosphere have a lot to do with it but it was right up there.
And did I mention they make their own homemade ice cream in flavors like rocky road, key lime pie, pumpkin butterscotch chip? All this from a little shack on the side of the road.
You can get an idea from the photos what kind of places I really enjoy eating at when on an island. Yes, I do enjoy a great meal in a fancy restaurant now and again, but I’ll take simple delicious food in an open-air restaurant any day of the week.
And if you ever get the chance to visit St Croix, I highly recommend you give any or all of these establishments a try. You will be very happy. Speaking of happy