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Delicious havens where you can dig your toes into the sand while you dine.
Yacht or not, here are more delicious havens where you can dig your toes into the sand while you dine.
You won’t find many locals at this dinner-only spot; it boasts no activities besides world-class sunset watching, and it’s a 30-minute cab ride from the nearest resort. And yet the Flying Fishbone is always packed. The reasons are twofold: The seafood—heaping platters of calamari, sea bass, and curry-spiced shrimp—is landed by the fishermen next door, literally, and six tables are set into the water, allowing guests to dine with warm water lapping at their ankles (297-584-2506; entrées, $24–$60).
A deeply glamorous vibe—and clientele—deftly mask the fact that this St. James spot was once a garage. Now a four-room inn and beachside restaurant, it has crisp blue awnings, white tablecloths, and a slick crowd of Europeans. In a destination known for inspiring indolent days, the Lone Star actually motivates people to plan in advance: Tickets to its New Year’s Eve After-Party (with a band and DJ) go on sale in September (246-419-0599; entrées, $18–$45).
Known for piping out a constant stream of reggae and calypso, this quintessentially low-key beach shack in St. Peter is one of the island’s busiest lunch spots. It’s near the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.–designed golf course, a trampoline worth commandeering on Mullins Beach, banana boat rentals on the bay, plus rock climbing and turtle tours. While the crowd doesn’t descend just for the flying fish sandwich, it is a draw, as is the Cajun-spiced mahimahi at dinner (reserve one of 50 spots), and the rum punch: It’s three parts strong (rum), two parts weak (water), and one part sour (lime juice)—per local proportional wisdom (246-422-2044; entrées, $25–$62).
Uncle Roddy’s Beach Bar & Grill, Barbuda
Clear days at Uncle Roddy’s yield views of Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis. Over a feast of grilled local lobster, you’ll watch these islands fade into a tie-dyed sunset, and you won’t be distracted by the whir of a generator, since the four-year-old spot is completely solar-powered. It’s open during daylight hours, but dinner requires reservations. Incidentally, the eponymous Roddy bartended at the famed ’90s-glam, Caribbean-based K Club resort: “I used to look after Princess Diana,” he says. If his cocktails were good enough for her, you can be sure that the Barbuda Smash—rum, Cointreau, pineapple juice, lime, and bitters—is good enough for you (268-785-3268; entrées, $11–$28).
This Trelawny thatched beach shack is way more low-key than what you’ll find in Montego Bay or Negril. In fact, it reads so charmingly authentic that it’s become a favorite backdrop for fashion photo shoots. Jerk beef—marinated for a week—is served alongside local vegetables. Recently, a cruise ship terminal in nearby Falmouth began disgorging guests, but you can still enjoy relatively serene walks along a two-mile stretch of beach that’s great for bird-watching. And there are nighttime cruises in a nearby bioluminescent bay (876-843-3625; entrées, $5–$20).
For more than 40 years, Foxy Callwood and his wife, Tessa, have been throwing the Caribbean’s most rollicking party at this “mother bar of Jost Van Dyke.” The duo work hard to stoke the party fires: guitarists at lunch and happy hour, live bands three nights a week, and beach barbecues on Friday and Saturday nights that are a siren song to anyone in the BVIs with a yacht, dinghy, or catamaran. The menu revolves around the catch of the day—often landed by the staff and then grilled—and selections from the bar’s own microbrewery. Despite its reputation for rowdiness, Foxy’s is kid-friendly: There’s snorkeling, swimming, sailing, and soon a scale model sloop for teaching kids how to sail. “We had a giant trampoline out back,” says Tessa, “but the drunks kept falling off” (284-495-9258; entrées, $22–$35).
In the 1700s, a Spanish galleon crew buried 55 chests of silver here (it’s rumored that some still lingers). A century later, the island inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. People are still coming, but these days it’s for the Bushwacker (a sort of chocolate milkshake laced with liquor). Occupying a stretch of shoreline on an uninhabited 610-acre private island, Pirates Bight ferries in guests from 100-plus sailboats moored offshore (yachties radio in on Channel 16 for a table)—and then serenades them with live bands on Friday and Sunday. For extra credit, take the trail out back up Spyglass Hill for a breathtaking view of the sweep of the British Virgin Islands (284-442-2048; entrées, $20–$35).
Anchored 200 feet offshore (accessible via dinghy or your own flailing arms), the Willy-T is tailormade for storybook pirates and wenches. It’s an anything-goes sort of bar with multiple decks for eating and drinking, and on any given day, a pod of leatherback turtles might drift by or a naked crew member from a passing sloop rappel aboard. Order standard Caribbean fare (conch fritters, chicken roti) to soak up the standard Caribbean drinks—rum punches, Painkillers, local beers (284-496-8603; entrées, $9–$24).
Bohío Bar, Puerto Rico
Named for the huts of the Taino Indians, the Bohío sits between the rooms and the pool at Rincón’sVilla Cofresí hotel. This is convenient for guests who put away a few too many Pirate Specials, a delightfully kitsch homage (they’re served in coconuts) to Roberto Cofresí, the infamous Puerto Rican pirate who is rumored to have hidden treasure in area caves. Pinchos are the big draw on the menu—this Puerto Rican street food standard is essentially a plate of marinated chicken or grilled shrimp on a skewer, and hunks of bread (787-823-2450; entrées, $5–$11).
Calypso Cafe, Puerto Rico
Rincón—and specifically Maria’s Beach, home of this long-tenured spot—is known as the Caribbean Pipeline for its unparalleled waves. In fact, a lunch pit stop might coincide with a surf competition (wintertime swells can reach 25 feet) or breaching humpback whales (from January through March). The fare—from grilled tuna teriyaki to carbloaded rice-and-bean burritos—doesn’t vie for attention with the green flash at sunset, which surfers, locals, and tourists alike huddle at the bar to see—the wait made easier by a medley of dangerous punches and frozen cocktails (787-823-1626; entrées, $9–$16).
La Parrilla, Puerto Rico
From outside, there’s nothing to distinguish this humble cinder block business from its similarly clad neighbors along the beach in the northeast coastal town of Luquillo. But inside, the invariably friendly proprietor, Ricardo Alvaro, delivers some of the island’s most inventive fare. Red snapper is stuffed with seafood paella and then steamed in butter, cilantro, and lime, while pineapple is diced, grilled, and served with shrimp, rice, and a seasoning of curry powder and piña colada mix, an improbable combination that’s sweet, spicy, and salty all at once (787-347-3865; entrées, $8–$50).
Anse la Raye Fish Fry, St. Lucia
Every Friday night in this west coast fishing village, the main drag, Front Street—conveniently adjacent to the water—transforms into a full-on party from 7 to 11 p.m. Hundreds of locals and visitors turn out for seafood and booze, all consumed at makeshift tables along the beach. Look for the vendor nicknamed Cece, a grinning lady who is renowned for her choice pieces of straight-from-the-sea fish, begging to be washed down with swigs of local Piton lager or the award-winning Chairman’s Reserve rum mixed with Coke or coconut water.
By day, it’s a casual Rodney Bay lunch spot; by night, it’s all gussied up for a bustling dinner crowd of visiting yachties and resort guests. They’re primarily there for the creations of St. Lucian chef Magdalene Emmanuel, who, with more than 20 years of kitchen time under her belt, is a master of both Caribbean and Continental cuisine. She distills a seemingly endless array of catch-of-the-day options into three basic treatments: char-grilled with lemon or garlic, pan-fried with ginger butter, or baked in foil with tomato and cheese. Meanwhile, anyone capable of downing three pints of beer (a.k.a. the Yard of Ale) in one chug gets his or her name on the blackboard. House record: 12 seconds (758-452-8491; entrées, $9–$31).
Rhymer’s Beach Bar, Tortola
This flamingo-pink Cane Garden Bay mainstay may be nearly 30 years old, but it’s lost none of its allure: The conch fritters—made with a closely guarded blend of spices—are fabled, as are the shrimp sautéed in a garlic butter sauce. The eponymous rum punch is practically nutritious, since it contains a veritable farmers’ market worth of fresh tropical fruit (284-495-4639; entrées, $17–$50).
Heidi’s Honeymoon Grill, Water Island
Follow the locals—and the day-trippers from St. Thomas—to this golf cart turned lunch truck, which frequents the palm-ringed sandy cove of Honeymoon Beach. Former caterer Heidi Erwig serves casual midday meals (12-ounce cheeseburgers, steak sandwiches, beef tacos) and Saturday dinners where she sets up candelit tables on the beach. If your schedule allows, swing by on a Monday night, when she shows a movie on the beach, with one-dollar popcorn for the kids (340-690-0325; Saturday dinner, $25).
Joe’s Beach Bar, Water Island
While children frolic in the sand at this Honeymoon Beach–located boat trailer turned bar, parents congregate at tables to sip Lime in the Coconut (made with Virgin Islands– produced Cruzan rum, this drink’s name leaves little to the imagination) and wait for the glorious sunset. Sundays, when the bar hosts an informal potluck, are particularly popular: 100 to 150 locals (the island population is 200, which shows how pivotal this joint is) and sailing enthusiasts from around the world bring chicken, burgers, and hot dogs to cook on Joe’s grill. Don’t be alarmed when it goes dark: Local law dictates lights out at 11 p.m.(340-514-6722).
Tags: Anse la Raye Fish Fry, Aruba, Barbados, Barbuda, Bohio Bar, Calypso Cafe, Dining, Drinks, Flying Fishbone, Food, Foxy's, Heidi's Honeymoon Grill, Jamaica, Joe's Beach Bar, Jost Van Dyke, La Parilla, Lone Star, Mullins Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, Norman Island, Pirates Bigh, Places to Visit, Puerto Rico, Restaurants, Rhymer's Beach Bar, Spinnakers Restaurant & Bar, St. Lucia, Time 'N' Place, Tortola, Travel and Tourism, Uncle Roddy's Beach Bar & Grill, Water Island, William Thornton Floating Bar & Restaurant