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Food & Dining in Antigua & Barbuda


Antigua’s gastronomic speciality is lobster, with red snapper and occasionally other fish running a close second when available. Antigua's restaurants are almost a dying breed since the advent of all-inclusives. But several worthwhile hotel dining rooms and nightspots remain, especially in the English Harbour and Dickenson Bay areas. Virtually every chef incorporates local ingredients and elements of West Indian cuisine.

Most menus list prices in both EC and US dollars; if not, ask which currency the menu is using. Always double-check if credit cards are accepted and if service is included. Dinner reservations are needed during high season.

Larger hotels offer a wide selection of imported meats, vegetables, fruits and cheeses. Casual wear is accepted in all bars and restaurants.

Places to Dine

If you're planning a beach day, go to Pigeon Beach in English Harbour. There, you'll have an opportunity to treat yourself to a tropical and casual lunch and drink at Bumpkins, a colourful beachy looking open-air spot.

Depending on your tastes, food types are plentiful, though dishes with Caribbean/West Indian flair are the most common. Fresh seafood, particularly deep-sea fish, can be found on most menus.

You won't have trouble finding a place to dine in downtown St Johns, the island's lively capital. Some are in the historic Redcliffe Quay area, housed in old warehouses that have been restored as shops and restaurants. The brick and stone Redcliffe Tavern, with old water pumping equipment used as décor, offers wonderful continental fare and a great place to hang out and have a drink. Next-door is the Big Banana. They serve pizza and food in the little shopping area where you can dine in or out.

For people watching, you can't beat Hemingway's, a downtown eatery in a wonderful old West Indian building covered with gingerbread. You can sit on the balcony for a drink or meal and watch the world go by. Do try the curry dishes.

There are many restaurants in town to keep a visitor busy for many nights. One of these, called Home, is located in a West Indian house and is popular for its fish, lobster and duck, however, it cab be a bit costly. Harbour Lights, an elegant restaurant on the water, offers special meals for vegetarians and diabetics. Two others in the historic area include the Commissioner Grill, offering West Indian dishes and seafood, and the Archway Café, open for lunch only serving pasta and other casual fare. O'Grady's Pub, a favourite hangout for locals, serves pub grub and green beer in March.

Arguably one of the best restaurants on the island is Julian's, also downtown. This restaurant is elegant with food to match and a good wine list, with many sold by the glass. Dining is available in an outdoor garden or in air-conditioned comfort.

Though most of the island's restaurants are connected with hotels, a few of them are free-standing. Miller's by the Sea is one of them. It's very popular with locals because of its large and affordable West Indian buffet and nightly entertainment. For some genuine West Indian cuisine,this is not to be missed. The Coconut Grove restaurant, on the beach at Dickenson Bay, is outstanding. Y

At Shirley Heights (an 18th century fort not far from Nelson's Dockyard area), there's a pub-style restaurant open daily, and on Sunday and Thursday nights there's a huge barbecue that is attended by literally hundreds of local people, tourists and the yacht-set.

Chez Pascal is one of the French restaurants on the island with an ocean view and live music.

Most hotels have restaurants, but a true stand-out is the Bay House Restaurant at the Tradewinds Hotel in Dickenson Bay. Coco's, also on the west "sunset" coast, has great food and views for diners. For one of the finest wine selections, try Curtain Bluffs, a lovely resort built on a bluff and run by wine connoisseur Howard Hulford. Reservations and jackets are required for dinner in this elegant restaurant.

In English Harbour, there's a good Italian restaurant, Abracadabra, with live music and even livelier food. The Admiral's Inn open-air restaurant serves tantalizing dishes, especially fresh seafood. In the same area is Catherine's Café with plenty of personality, good food and great espresso. More French fare can be found at LeBistro at Hodge's Bay. It is consistently ranked one of the finest restaurants in all of the Caribbean.





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