St. Croix

Recognized as one of the Caribbean’s best restaurants, Savant is a chic bistro that delivers exceptional fusion cuisine combining Asian and Caribbean elements. The restaurant is tucked into a turquoise brick building adjacent to historic Fort Christiansvaern and features a dreamy candlelit courtyard. Indoors, Savant creates a romantic ambiance with dim lighting, artsy black-and-white celebrity photos, and cozy booths in a dining room inspired by the building’s Danish architecture. With a farm-to-table menu that changes with the seasons, favorites include the cassava-crusted locally caught fish of the day with coconut rice and the bacon-wrapped pork chop. Reservations are recommended.

Dining under the rose-hued arches of the open-air Terrace Restaurant at the legendary Buccaneer Resort is a St. Croix must-do. Located in a lavish great house that dates back to 1653, the restaurant boasts panoramic views of Christansted Harbor and the sapphire waters of the Caribbean Sea. A recipient of the Wine Spectator Award, the restaurant’s cuisine focuses on classics like lobster piccata with grilled artichokes and sundried tomatoes, and oven-roasted free-range chicken with potato hash. Reservations are required for non-hotel guests.

Surrounded by the lush rainforest and mountain peaks, Rhythms at Rainbow Beach is one of the most popular beach bars in St. Croix, acclaimed for both its stunning scenery and welcoming vibe. Decked out with blue-and-green awnings to match the surrounding sea, the eatery offers a front-row seat to some of the island’s best sunsets. The extensive cocktail menu features signature sips like a frozen passion fruit margarita and the Cruzan Confusion (made with six flavored Cruzan rums and three tropical juices). The casual food includes jerk chicken tacos, fried shrimp, and a grouper sandwich served grilled or blackened.

A beloved local landmark that delivers the best chicken and johnny cakes on the island, La Reine Chicken Shack is as much a hangout as it is an outdoor eatery. On any given day, you’ll spot men playing highly focused games of dominoes, friends meeting up for rum and cokes, and families chowing down on the expertly rotisseried and seasoned chicken. Besides its iconic chicken, La Reine offers daily changing selections like beef steak, barbecue ribs and stew goat, with sides that include baked macaroni and mashed cassava. 

St. THomas

Fringed with greenery and waterfront views, The Easterly in St. Thomas’ bustling Red Hook neighborhood is a sleek restaurant known for its rustic Caribbean seafood dishes. The Easterly’s ocean-to-table cuisine features a diverse selection of small plates and entrees. Signature wood-fired offerings include the day boat catch, whole Caribbean lobster served with garlic-herb butter, and the flank steak with crispy yucca fries. Be sure to try a craft cocktail like the Fire Killer, mixed with a house rum blend, fire-roasted pineapple and coconut. Reservations are recommended.

After enjoying the tropical view of St. Thomas’ American Yacht Harbor, step into the world of Tuscany, the inspiration for Pesce Italian‘s interpretation of the cuisine of the Italian countryside. Amber-colored walls and stained-glass windows with palm tree scenes create a warm atmosphere. House-made pasta like truffle-mushroom pappardelle and fresh seafood such as pan-seared red snapper are menu highlights. Pair your meal with a glass of vino from the extensive wine list at this Wine Spectator Award-winning restaurant. 

A St. Thomas staple for decades, Gladys’ Cafe combines the charm of St. Thomian hospitality with lovingly prepared Caribbean and American dishes. Housed along a scenic alleyway in the charming town of Charlotte Amalie, Gladys’ dining room is accented with stone walls and a gleaming mahogany bar. Open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe serves local delicacies like conch fritters, stewed oxtails and curry chicken. Famous for her homemade hot sauce, Gladys sells bottles (with her picture on the label!) in mango, mustard, tomato, and oil and vinegar flavors. Gladys’ pro tip: if you’re new to her hot sauce, drip don’t pour. You won’t realize how hot it is until you’re a few bites in.

At upscale Blue 11, located in Yacht Haven Grande, aquamarine ceiling tiles, coral-toned seating and colorful paintings depicting island life evoke the spirit of the nearby Caribbean Sea. Chef Benji offers innovative tasting menus of seven, nine or 11 courses created with locally sourced ingredients. His refined take on traditional Caribbean cuisine includes tuna tartare with habañero-cucumber coulis and pepper-rubbed lamb with braised pigeon peas. Choose a glass from the carefully curated wine list or try the Blue 11 margarita, mixed with Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and blue curacao.

St. John

Enjoy tacos from the popular Lime Out floating taco stand in Coral Bay Harbor on land at their new Cruz Bay restaurant, The Lime Inn. Try the the Cowabunga, stuffed with slow-braised short ribs, blackened shrimp and feta cheese. Pop in for happy hour, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m.–5 p.m., for half-price, handcrafted cocktails like the Hunter’s Passion (mango rum, pineapple juice, passion fruit puree, cream of coconut and a sprinkle of nutmeg).

Oceanside dining on St. John’s famous Caneel Bay is what Caribbean dreams are made of. ZoZo’s at Caneel Bay showcases the island’s tropical beauty with an open-air terrace and tables with sweeping views of the water. ZoZo’s sunset dining experience offers a set four-course gourmet meal, with reservations accepted 30 days in advance. Dinner is a leisurely affair, with meals typically lasting 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Regardless of reservation time, the table is yours for the evening. The four-course menu is also offered a la carte at a limited number of tables, with those reservations limited to 2 hours. The menu changes weekly, but popular options include porchetta with hot Italian sausage, and local mahi-mahi with lump crab salad and shellfish crema. Children under age five are not permitted in the restaurant.

A casual spot in the heart of beautiful Cruz Bay, The Longboard exudes a laid-back surfer vibe, with an open-air porch for people watching (locally called limin’), chickens roaming freely between the wooden tables and surfing videos playing behind the bar. The craft cocktail menu offers many creative concoctions mixed with house-made sodas and fresh-squeezed juices. But The Longboard’s frozen Painkiller is world famous, made with dark rum, coconut cream, pineapple, orange and grated nutmeg. The coastal kitchen menu consists of bar snacks, shareable small plates, ceviches and poke bowls. Dishes are enlivened with Caribbean spices, locally caught seafood, and farm-fresh greens and fruits. Favorites include spicy shrimp and avocado tostones, the tuna poke bowl and the daily catch sliders, garnished with grilled pineapple and cilantro-lime tartar.

It’s easy to miss this little green-and-gold shack across from the post office, but follow your nose to the savory smoke and you’ll experience the best barbecue on St. John at Uncle Joe’s BBQ. With ribs that literally fall off the bone and a tangy sauce that’s sold in bottles as a coveted souvenir, Uncle Joe’s is a St. John institution. Lines can be long and the patio fills up fast, so call ahead with your order. The shack serves ribs, chicken and a selection of sides like cole slaw, beans and rice, and corn on the cob. Uncle Joe’s is cash only.

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