What could be better than a blog post about eating and drinking in the BVI from someone who has spent decades there?
We have some some sweeping statements about the quality of food and some of the really great local bars. BVI restaurant owners, please, don’t take offense. Like the words of the immortal “Margaritaville” song: it’s not all your fault..!!
Local Restaurants in the BVI
The up-side is that I’m a self-confessed foodie and I’ve been a pretty regular visitor to the BVI over the years, since 1973 as a matter of fact, and have returned at least a couple of times a year to either attend the charter shows or to charter a bareboat myself.
Cost & Quality
I really hate sweeping statements but in this case I’ll make one: generally speaking restaurant food in St. Thomas and the BVI is pretty awful and very expensive.
Not to say that there aren’t notable exceptions, but I’m sorry to report that these exceptions can get quite pricey since the better food is probably found at the more expensive resorts like Peter Island, The Bitter End, Scrub Island, Biras Creek and Charlie’s in The Moorings compound, and others.
Having made my sweeping statement I need to qualify it by re-affirming that it’s not the lack of expertise, it’s mainly the lack of fresh ingredients. Everything is imported from the mainland by ship and in containers. Salads tend to be soggy. Non-local fish is mostly frozen. Nothing is grown or raised on the islands themselves.
That’s the sorry result when you find pricing disparities like this: a dozen eggs in the supermarket cost more that a bottle of rum..!!
Bars and TavernsWhen it comes to BARS though and good ones with atmosphere and history, the Islands really come into their own. Local concoctions are amazing: Pain Killers, Bushwhackers, Daiquiris, Margaritas, hey, you name it.
Here are some of my favorite watering holes: Foxy’s (of course), and the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke. Marina Cay, Cooper Island Resort, Willie T’s (not for the faint of heart), Village Cay Marina Bar in Road town, and countless others.
The food quality issue can be mostly overcome by having your meals aboard your fully crewed and provisioned yacht or catamaran. The mostly excellent quality of the chefs on board and their ability to provide pre-planned menus for their guests makes it easier for them to look for the freshest ingredients from the local super-markets. This makes a big difference and so, again, where possible, try to eat on-board it’s better and less expensive.
Bareboaters and “Skipper-only” charterers beware. If your idea is to save money by chartering without a chef and eating ashore to save money, don’t even think about it..!! If you go to the supermarket yourself and provision and do your meal prep yourselves, that’s a money saver – but not by much. Provisions are expensive, and the hassle of doing it yourself usually isn’t worth it.
Bon appetite and check out some of our great guides to sailing the British Virgin Islands.