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Tortola recommendations?

Headed to Tortola for the second time in as many years. We will have a jeep this time...Sugar Mill was great for us last time as our "nice dinner out" but we are not exactly wealthy and are looking for some good everyday casual spots around the island for lunch and dinner. Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. When are you coming to Tortola? As you may know, many restaurants close up during the summer season. My personal recommendation for a "nice dinner out" is The Dove which is in Road Town. Maybe because I live here I'm not looking for a view but we love the food, atmosphere and the service is amazing for Tortola. I wouldn't say it is any more expensive than Sugar Mill [which is very hit and miss IMHO]but the food is much better. I'd advise making a reservation either the day before or day you want to go since it can get busy any night they are open. They are going to renovate but I believe that will be during August ~ not 100% sure about the date.

    As for other places to go...

    Our favourite lunch spot is Islands at Sugar Mill but they close in early July till season starts again.
    Capriccio's in town is a good spot for fairly dependable Italian and not too expensive.
    If you have the time go to Peter Island for the day on the ferry and have lunch over there...it is worth the money.
    Dockmasters in Village Cay is great for a takeaway sandwich/drink and I believe they also do soup and other snacks.
    The local restaurants around town are great as well...Roti Palace makes pretty amazing rotis and they are on Main Street...Rita's...lots of local fish, goat and whatever.
    For dinner be sure to the The Finish Line in Sea Cows Bay...not fancy by any stretch but good home cooked American/Italian food with friendly service ~ a great deal for your money. The Royal BVI Yacht Club does sushi on Thursday nights...OK sushi but more the atmosphere and you don't need to be a member.

    We tend to avoid all the touristy spots ourselves and we survive.

    That's all I can think of right now but let me know if you have any other questions....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Island Girl

      Thanks so much for your recommendations...unfortunately I had already left before I saw your post, but these will be great recommendations for our next visit. We did ok for ourselves but have only been to a few of these places...we'll just have to go back!

      I am interested in talking to you off-board about living on Tortola, if you are willing to discuss could you send me an e-mail: my chowhound username =at= gmail.com

    2. Islandgirl - I'm going to save your post. We'll be spending a month or so in the BVI this winter, and this is just the kind of information I've been looking for. Now, if you can tell me where to find good produce and decent meat, I'd be thrilled.

      Friends of ours work in the charter industry, based in Tortola. Their favorite "celebration" restaurant is the Dove.

      1 Reply
      1. re: debtslave

        Oh my, you are asking a question that I've been trying to answer since we moved down here. We do survive and adapt but there is no way it will compare to the produce/meat you are used to getting if you live somewhere with decent, varied and multi-cultural food suppliers.

        There are a number of grocery stores [Riteway, One-Mart and Bobby's] here and I usually end up going to all three since each one seems to have its plus points. There is no such thing as fresh chicken and most meat is shipped in from the US. Almost all store produce/dairy is brought in via ships so it never arrives in peak condition. Prices are high and always check produce before buying and look for expiry dates on everything else. I'm not saying it is impossible but I'm just trying to say don't have high expectations. You are coming at a great time because they are catering to the charter boat industry and most things are in stock.

        One store I love is SupaValue which caters more to restaurants but you can go in and buy anything they sell...the problem is most of it is behind the counter so just go and talk to them. Whenever you walk in anywhere greet the person first and they will be so helpful...just a local thing.

        We also try as much as possible to buy locally produced food. Mangos fresh off a tree are amazing. Some farmers sell to the big grocery stores and others have stands on the side of the road. We go to BVI Fisheries which is government run...lots of local fish but you can also get salmon or tuna. They sell the exact same thing in Riteway for a lot more money. There is also local meat: beef, chicken, pork, and goat but we have never tried it ourselves...our friends say it is fine and you can buy it at all the grocery stores.

        There are a number of gourmet food stores here but I have to admit I find them incredibly over-priced and usually the stuff has been sitting on the shelf well past its expiry date. If I'm in search of something I will go looking but not places I normally go to.

        Tortola is beautiful and I'm sure you will be fine with the food. I hope that helps but if you have any other questions just let me know.

      2. Is Fort Burt still there? We used to love the go up there (we would bareboat from the Moorings) and have their huge daqs - food was good too!

        1. palms delight in carrot bay is a great spot, famous for their ginger chicken.
          i also usually have to hit more than one of the grocery stores if i need something specific, since it is always hit or miss if they will have it (even if they did a week before). life in the islands- they will have a crate of tomatoes in the back, they just don't feel like unpacking them.

          also always like jolly roger- love their roti salad, and good for a burger when you feel like one.

          1. Fort Burt is still there but hardly anyone goes there anymore. They used to be connected to the New England Culinary Institute but no more. The last time we went the food was mediocre at best and the service was not very good.

            There is a new Asian restaurant that has opened in east end [where Harbourview used to be] called Kong Ming Asian Cuisine but they have just opened are going through some growing pains. We went once and the food was OK but pretty expensive for what you were getting. There is also a language barrier with the staff but I'm sure with time it will all be worked out.

            LeCabenon, Roti Palace are great for lunch and we still love The Dove for dinner.

            1. I am thrilled to have discovered this thread as I am going to Tortola for the first time in June for my honeymoon. I have found it hard to find consumer reviews regarding the restaurants there. Does anyone know of any good restaurants near Cane Garden Bay? Thanks in advance for any information.

              1. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and Tortola will be a great spot for your honeymoon. CGB is definitely one of the most touristy areas on Tortola. On days when we have cruise ships in they ferry all the passengers over there to the beach. CGB is picturesque but being a tourist spot all the restaurants are catering to simple and fast food. There are a number of hamburger places along the beach and there isn't anything to really distinguish one from the next. Service is OK but you are paying a lot for a hamburger or other simple fare. Are you renting a car? Driving is definitely a challenge here but start nearby and try going to Carrot Bay and have lunch at Sugar Mill on the beach...or CoCo Plums. From there you can explore the island and try out different places. Have you looked at bviwelcome.com? Their site is fairly up-to-date with restaurant descriptions and contact information.

                I hope that helps a bit with your planning.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Island Girl

                  Thanks Island Girl! I checked out bviwelcome.com but I only found information on three restaurants in Tortola. However, I found bvitourism.com which had a large list of restaurants with descriptions. I was hoping to get 1-3 can't miss restaurants for anywhere on Tortola; someplaces worth planning a trip around, if there are any. The site I found mentions a Wednesday night fish fry att Quito's and a Thursday lobster special at Rhymer's. Any comment on these? I know both places are in Cane Garden Bay. Thanks again.

                  1. re: Blanks

                    No problem....I checked out bviwelcome and it looks like they are changing the format of their website and eventually they will have the entire restaurant guide online. They aren't really reviews down here but more like contact information and sample menu items. Living here we tend to avoid all the touristy spots so I'm a little biased in my opinons of Rhymer's or Quito's. They are both decent places and the food is fine but nothing special. If you have just left home, whether it is a big city or small town and suddenly you are sitting at a table eating dinner while overlooking Cane Garden Bay, feeling warm tropical breezes on your skin, listening to a local band then it is pretty amazing.

                    I still recommend all the places in my first post but if I were to choose my top three they would be:

                    The Dove ~ This restaurant is in town so there is no view but the food and service are very good. Mind you, they are going through some headaches getting a permanent chef in place but even so, it is still one of our favourite restaurants. The menu changes fairly often and there are always vegetarian selections. Paloma and Scott are very accommodating. You do need to reserve a table as it can get busy even in off season.

                    Brandywine ~ Our friends either tend to love or hate this place. The setting is very romantic and usually you sit and have a pre-dinner drink on the terrace overlooking the water. Davide and Cele are both very friendly and the menu is brought out on a board and each item described to you in detail. The menu is Italian with Caribbean touches.

                    Third place is a tough choice but Secret Garden, LeCabanon, Oscar's and The Finish Line are all good place to go for different reasons.

                    I hope that helps and let me know if you have anymore questions.

                    1. re: Island Girl

                      Hey, I am looking at taking a sailing trip out of the Moorings in Tortola for a week and I am in the process of pricing things out. For 6 days they are charging about 2000 for food. So i thought about going down and buying our own food, hoping this will be cheaper. Do you know of any good places to buy groceries down by the moorings?

                      1. re: Cgudmand

                        There's 2 places close by, but I can't remember there names. I know there's a couple of threads on that (plus a whole lot of other useful info) on this website...

                        Make sure you get to Foxy's on Jost van Dyke & we've always had a good time at the Jolly Roger at Tortola's West End. Enjoy your trip!

                2. For very good food and the best sunset view on the island, I suggest Banankeet Cafe. It's on the hill between Apple & Cane Garden Bay.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cavandre

                    What is the name of that Fish & Chips place in Road Town?

                    1. re: Fairfield Foodie

                      Any more up to date recommendations? Tortola is one of the places I'll be stopping by on a cruise just over a month's time.