Some of the best restaurants and food in the USVI. On St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix sit steps away from the water. That means it’s easy to sample USVI cuisine, including local seafood, before, during, or after a crewed yacht charter vacation. Like each island boasting its flavor and nickname, each has culinary hot spots packed with everything from white tablecloths to wonderfully laidback restaurants. Here’s a sampling of where to go and what to order.
Dine-worthy Charlotte Amalie restaurants include Blue 11 at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande St Thomas. Order the 7-, 9-, or 11-course tasting menu. Chef David Benjamin combines his intimate knowledge of Caribbean ingredients gained while growing up in Dominica with a lifetime love of fine dining dating back to his first St. Thomas restaurant job at age 16.
The result is a bite-by-bite menu of mouth-watering selections that build into a memorable meal. One of these is Local Tuna Tartare, topped with habanero-cucumber puree and a plantain chip. Order a la carte at Benjamin’s Indigo 4, also on the Yacht Haven Grande property. Signature is the chef’s way with the catch of the day.
Across the harbor, steps from the Frenchtown Marina docks or a short dinghy ride from Crown Bay Marina is Oceana. Chef Patricia LaCorte, a 30-plus-year-veteran of St. Thomas’ culinary scene, serves up fan favorites in an elegant open-air dining room that overlooks the cut between St. Thomas and Hassle Island. Order Bouillabaisse, LaCorte’s celebrated mix of garlic prawns, octopus, mussels, calamari, and freshly caught fish in a tomato-saffron broth.
On The Charlotte-Amalie Waterfront is the Petite Pump Room. Located on the second floor of the Blyden Marine Terminal, where ferries connect the USVI and BVI, this half-century, second-generation, family-run restaurant offers an authentic taste of the Virgin Islands. Conch in Butter Sauce. Fried Fish in Creole Sauce. A green soupy stew called Kallaloo. Stewed Oxtails. Bullfoot Soup. Saltfish in an Onion Butter Sauce. These are a few of the daily lunch specials.
Red Hook St. Thomas restaurants that are ‘must-taste’ include 3 Palms at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina. The second-floor eatery offers a bird’s eye view of the yachts, pre-dinner craft cocktails, and fish so fresh you may see a fisherman bringing it down the dock to the restaurant’s chef.
Across the street, XO Bistro is a find tucked unassumingly on the first floor of the Red Hook Plaza. Pan Seared Scallops, Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast, and Lamb Chops are staples that nightly draw locals and visitors alike.
Many of the best restaurants in St. John are in Cruz Bay. Try La Tapa. Located beachfront in Wharfside Village, owner/chef Alex Ewald was named one of the Best Chef’s in America, and you can taste it. Her Mediterranean-inspired menu changes daily, with core ingredients such as St. John-grown organic greens, fresh-caught mahi-mahi and tuna, and island-grown fruits like pineapple. Ewald roasts and tops with a Thai-flavored sorbet for dessert.
One block behind is the Lime Inn, a second-generation family-owned eatery known for its 4- or 6-course tasting menu. Choices include Caribbean Lobster Risotto, Whole Seared Red Snapper, and Rum-Flavored Baby Back Ribs. Two blocks away and across from the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor’s Center, Carlos, and Maria DiBlasi’s Morgan’s Mango reflect the Caribbean with Coconut Shrimp St. Lucia, Pickapeppa Rib-Eye, and Ginger & Sugarcane Rubbed Pork Tenderloin.
An outstanding one of the Best Restaurants and Food in the USVI.
Stop in Coral Bay en route to or from the BVI. Skinny Legs is an island institution that has fed famous cruisers like newscaster Walter Cronkite and politician Ted Kennedy, who once sailed these waters. Burgers are the best. Salads come with Josephine’s Organic Greens, grown at the farm one mile away.
Several of the best restaurants in St. Croix are in Christiansted and Frederiksted. On the Christiansted Boardwalk, Rum Runners serves pub fare like burgers, fish tacos, and shrimp-and-chips. Brew STX, also on the boardwalk, is a microbrewery and restaurant with pints and pitchers of draft beer, buffalo eggrolls, jerk quesadillas, and steak of the day.
Worth walking four blocks into town, Savant’s Tom Miller showcases regular deliveries from local farmers and fishermen on the daily chalkboard-written dinner menu. Cassava-crusted fish of the day is a sure bet. US President Biden and his family dined here in 2022.
In Frederiksted, grab one of the moorings in the bay and head to The Fred. The restaurant at this small beachfront resort serves a hearty weekend brunch. There’s everything from lox, steak and eggs, and chicken and waffles to a Crucian eye-opener with saltfish, chop-chop green veggies, boiled egg, and a johnny cake.
Dinner reservations are a must during the winter (December to April), especially for the Best Restaurants and food in the USVI at high-end restaurants. Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere. Island casual is the dress code for dining ashore. Keep beachwear on the beach.