HOME > Chowhound > Latin America & Caribbean >


BVI's on a boat

We will be in the BVI's first week of March on a catamaran. any recommendations for first night dinner on Tortola. The Marina is in West End or West Road....cant remember which. And any other rec's for food shopping and dining?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not sure if there is a supermkt in the West End but you'll definately find them in Roadtown. Best place for local food IMO is C & S in Roadtown. Have fun.

    2 Replies
    1. re: shaebones

      Road Town! That is where we will be! So C and S is the market there then? What about a good rec for first night dinner and/or drinks??

      1. re: MellieMac

        No. C & S is the restaurant to go to. There's a supermarket in town. Just ask around.

    2. We've visited the BVI's several times over the years and have found the site below to have been very useful. Hope you enjoy the islands.

      go to: http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forum...

      2 Replies
      1. re: cavandre

        Great info! Because I have so many more questions that arent foor related! Counting down the days!

        1. re: MellieMac

          Make sure to get to Foxy's on Jost van Dyke during your sail.

      2. My husband and I stayed in Tortola several years ago and upon our host's recommendation we tried a place in Road Town called the Roti Palace.

        It was by far the most delicious and original local food we had while we were there.
        We both had lobster roti's.
        The place is run essentially by a local lady and you sit in a small room and watch her make them in the kitchen which is part of the dining room, you feel as if you're eating at someone's grandmother's!

        1. The Jolly Roger is wonderful and fun-right on the water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rosieg

            Are they still doing the Friday night bar-b-q?

          2. The Sugar Mill Hotel has a restaurant owned and operated by Jinx & Jeff Morgan; long time food writers, contributing editors and columnists of Bon Appetit magazine. I've stopped in there for a quick tour and drink. Very small, intimate resort. There's a menu and info on their website. It may be too far for you to travel at night from the marina. Some of those roads are windy and twisty.

            1. I literally just returned from this exact trip. We flew to Tortola and rented a 47' Cat from the Moorings. We were 5 nights on the water and decided to eat out 3 of the 5 (along w/3 or 4 lunches). We brought a lot of our own provisions (and I will say we threw A LOT of it away at the end of the trip) and I would highly suggest doing the same, just don't bring too much. We brought sealed steaks and rack of lamb and it worked out really well. About the only thing you "need" to buy on the islands are produce and dairy (excluding butter which u can bring w/you as long as it is FROZEN, like the meats). If you are renting from the Moorings I would call down there and ask for Roberto to sort of guide you through your shopping experience and needs. There is no fee but obviously tipping is what makes people tick. He was great. A lot of people go to Riteway (which is fairly close to the Moorings) but we found One Mart better. And as a matter of fact they pay for your cab fare (Riteway does not).

              We sailed the 1st day over to Virgin Gorda and spent the 1st night in a marina, which I have to say was a brilliant idea. It gave you the opportunity to ease into sleeping on the water. That night we went to Little Dix for dinner @ the Sugar Mill. It was delicious. To start I had the lobster bisque. If there is a dish that defines me as a cook it is my lobster bisque. I love making it and I love eating it. This lobster bisque...I am horrified to admit was better than mine. It was so good that when everybody had dessert, I ordered another bowl of it for my dessert. Yes I am a freak, but it was THAT good. I am NOT a fan of the warm water spiny lobster. I am a New Englander and think the cold water Maine/Nova lobsters are superior. HOWEVER...when in Rome do as the Romans. I had the Lobster here...so good. There is such a difference between fresh warm water lobster and that crap we get frozen in the stores up where I live nowhere near resembles the quality lobster you get straight out of the sea. Sweet, tender and full of flavor. Of the 6 at the table 4 had the lobster and 2 had the grouper. Nothing wrong with the grouper at all (although 1 of them had to be sent back...wrong preparation.) and it was quite delicious. And if it had not been for the quality of the lobster I would rave about it too. All in all a delicious meal (albeit expensive but well worth it. With drinks tip and all I think dinner was $200 per couple. We did have 4 bottle of wine and various cocktails.).

              The following night was dinner on the boat.

              Next night we sailed up to Anegada. Wow. What a WONDERFUL island. Although not really a culinary wonderland it is by no means a wasteland either. Spent the day @ Loblolly Bay snorkeling and had lunch right there on the beach. I have no idea the name of the place but it is literally the only place. Painkillers were DELICIOUS. Food was above average. The conch chowder was very different and had a slightly sweet after taste to it. The conch was as tender as I have ever had. Was good. My wife's conch fritters were very good. One in the group had the lobster and it was again, excellent. They are taken from the lobster trap right off the beach. We made our way back late in the afternoon and after about 100 cocktails on the boat we head into the Anegada Reef Hotel for dinner. My vote for the weak link. Even though the lobster were as fresh as any place (we saw them being cut in half and grilled) they were just not as good as any other place. They had a mushy consistency which would lead me to believe they were over cooked. Not memorable.

              The next morning we head to Jost Van Dyke while stopping @ Pusser's Marina Cay Hotel and Restaurant. We were dropping off one of our guests at the air port so we decided to have lunch there. We shared a plate of nachos for the table (and yes, more painkillers...GOD those things are good!!!) I had a very good Jerk Chicken wrap and there were some quesadillas w/ a jerk chicken that were decent. Another person had a fish and chips that IMHO were too doughy and the fish old tasting, almost freezer burnt. Not horrible but certainly nothing to write home about. That night we went to Foxy's. Was excited being a Giant fan that I would be able to see the game...assumed looking at the web site that they had a TV....WRONG! That is another story and I will not bore you. Foxy's was a good place to hang and have decent food. Nothing great and most of us stuck with the "order lobster" theme. And to be quite honest, was 2nd best to Little Dix and at about 3/4's the price. My only complaint was that some of the lobster was cooked a little to close to the coals and therefore stuck to the shells. But the flavor was great. Some of the appetizers we had were good too. We had the grilled shrimp and pineapple. Very plain but very good. Other dishes that night were unmemorable completely forgot what they were to tell you the truth but again, nothing was bad just that nothing was memorable.

              The next morning we went to White Bat and will have to say this place is a slice of heaven. WOW is a beautiful place. We moored right off the beach and swam into the Soggy Dollar Bar, home of the original Painkiller. And yes they were good. Probably the best painkillers of the trip. Not only that when we had lunch, our meal was outstanding. Well, maybe the painkillers made me a little prejudice but everybody seemed to enjoy their meals. Good cheeseburgers (not great but for some reason, like the Jimmy Buffet song...Cheeseburgers in Paradise!!!) but the star of lunch was the Fish and Chips. I am sure they were frozen but for some reason, they were the absolute best I have ever had. My wife who doesn't drink anywhere near as much as I even agreed with me. The reason I know they were frozen is because it was Cod and you can pretty much assume that the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke isn't getting deliveries of fresh cod 3 times a week. But don't let that stop you from ordering. Man they were delicious! Perfectly fried, very lightly salted and the fish was perfect.

              That for the most part was the last of our dining out. I am jaded forever because of this trip and I wish I could be you and head there again in March. Have a great time and drink a painkiller or 100 for me please?!?!?

              12 Replies
              1. re: LVI

                Just returned from a similar trip last week! Heavenly - high winds and high swells for a few days so made for some amazing sailing!

                If your marina is out of the West End, then it is likely Soper's Hole. There is the Jolly Roger Inn, which is said to be good. http://www.jollyrogerbvi.com/
                There is also a Pusser's Landing, sister to Pusser's in Road Town Check each of them on http://www.pussers.com/outposts.

                If my memory serves me correct (not sure though, as I'm sure I killed a few brain cells!) a cab into Road Town was $14 per person from Long Bay Beach Resort where we stayed a few days before sailing - not far from Soper's - likely about the same for Soper's Hole. In Road Town, there are a number of decent restaurants. We didn't partake much, though - just hung out as Pusser's when meeting our shipmates off the ferry from St. Thomas and when seeing them off again!

                In Road Town, as LVI said, there is a Rite Aid, but there is also the main Bobby's Market Place (www.bobbysmarketplace.com) - great for provisioning - lots of international brands - free delivery to your boat. You can even go online and download their provisioning suggestions and prices in advance, and then decide what to bring along yourselves. As LVI did, we also brought our own meat - that way we knew what we were getting. However, our shipmates bought all theirs at Bobby's and were really pleasantly surprised by the quality (not sure about the price). We precooked ribs and lamb shanks, freezer packed them, as well as raw steaks and duck breasts. 4 dinners aboard for 8 nights on the boat was just right. We split up and brought things like tea, coffee, condiments, dry breakfast goods, salad dressings, snacks, etc. Then, we bought our produce, dairy, and lots of booze and had it delivered to the boat. Bobby's even delivered 3 of us who had gone shopping at no extra charge. :-) We were just sailing out of Nanny Cay, so it was close.

                As LVI said, don't overprovision. We found some young guys bringing a 55' cat from Rhode Island on their way to Santa Barbara, CA, so we gave them our leftovers - they were pretty appreciative. Follow them at MysticSail.com - they were planning to hang out in the BVI's for a couple months so you might run into them. Their Catamaran, Natural Mystic, has narrower than usual hulls and they have a red dinghy.

                Know that there will be opportunity to buy more provisions periodically. Nothing in Anegada, but there are stores in Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda; Trellis Bay (near Marina Cay), and I believe also in Jost Van Dyke.

                Every Friday night there is a beach BBQ in Leverick Bay on the northern side of Virgin Gorda. $25, all you can eat, great Margaritas and Cuban cigars. There are also laundry facilities in Leverick Bay. If you go there, be sure to go for a hike up the hill - take your camera - there are beautiful views from above.

                If you are there over a full moon, check out the Full Moon Festival in Trellis Bay on the exact night of the full moon.

                If you haven't already planned, think about going a few days earlier and hanging out in Tortola. Think as well of asking your Charter Co. whether you can do a "sleep aboard" the night before. The cost for us was nominal, and we were able to be on the water before noon the day our charter started.

                If you're sailing yourselves, take notes when they do the briefing!! Lots of good info about the boat but also about the ports you might head into. Most of our nights were on mooring balls, but we were able to get a dock in Leverick Bay (thank goodness - it was REALLY windy!).

                Have a blast! We didn't find that we had any amazing food, other than the lobsters, but it was all really good - enjoyment possibly, as LVI suggested, heightened by all the beer, wine, and rum!


                1. re: Food on the brain

                  THANK YOU LVI and Food on the Brain! You have no idea how useful your info is. We are chartering a 38' lagoon out of BVI Yacht Charters and are doing a sleep aboard the first night. I have made dinner reservations at Brandywine Bay that night which is close by to the marina in Road Town. Appears it has been voted one of the top 10 restaurants in the carribean. I'll report back after the trip! We are going to take some steaks and other meats down with us and are pretty experienced at not going overboard (provisioning wise). We have also been perfecting our painkiller recipe over the past few months and cant wait to compare! We would really like to go to Anegada but I feel like you have to get special permission from the charter comapny or something? Am I making that up? We are spending our last night at Fort Recovery near Soper's Hole so will probably venture there for the evening. I feel like Pusser's is too touristy. Maybe Cane Garden Bay that night instead! 23 days and counting!!!!!

                  1. re: MellieMac

                    Yes you do need special permission. There are countless wrecks off of Anegada. My 2 cents...didn't seem all that hard sailing there. GPS made it simple and my guess is that 99% of all the wrecks around Anegada came before GPS...but what do I know. Hopefully you can make it up there because it really is worth it.

                    Make sure that when you bring the meat is is frozen SOLID otherwise they will not allow into country.

                    Any plans on going to White Bay and the Soggy Dollar? That was my favorite. Great snorkeling and most beautiful beach.

                    1. re: LVI

                      Definitely Soggy Dollar! And Foxy's! I am not sure what our itinerary will be yet and have a feeling once we are on board and see how the wind is blowing things may take a day by day approach. Definitely VG and JVD. I have read Leverick Bay has a good restaurant and that Cooper Island YC is also good. What about Sandy Cay for snorkeling?

                      1. re: MellieMac

                        Sandy Spit? If so, it was probably the coolest experience I had. The Indians off of Norman wasn't bad but the sheer amount of those little silver fish (forgot the name of them) off of Sandy Spit were astonishing!!! Saw several Baracudas and a couple of Sting Rays. The fish LOVE frozen peas. Peas are like heroin for fish. Try bringing some.

                        We also went to that reef off of the Bitter end. That was great until we ran into a 7 ft Black Tip Reef Shark. HOLY SHI*! Never have I been so scared. I am a certified Scuba diver and I have never been diving w/out a knife. I didn't feel the need to bring snorkeling, but I will never make that mistake again. My advice...buy a good scuba knife. Not that you will be able to slay 7ft sharks but at least you'll have some sence of security. Sharks don't like it when a knife is stuck in their nose...

                        1. re: LVI

                          Frozen peas for sure! I have read about the Indians as well. And sold on Sandy spit. It's looks unbelievable from the cruise guides. We will also have fishing licenses for some catch and release. What about dolphins?

                          1. re: MellieMac

                            Nadda one. Doesn't mean they are not there. My buddy has seen them in the past. Catch and release? Agree w/alot of fish but I will say there are a TON of Yellowtail Snapper that would make a DELICIOUS dinner. They are great eating fish. And around the Indians they are HUGE. Just wait til you are done snorkeling. We saw fish jumping the entire time and I was very sad I did not bring rod! You will have such a GREAT time!

                            On the sail from Anegada to JVD I cannot tell you how many fish we saw. We sailed through school after school of feeding fish. Was awesome. I am sooo excited for you!

                            1. re: LVI

                              I am so excited for me(us) too! Understand the sail from Anegada to JVD is the moooost pleasurable! Wil definitely try fresh line caught fish on the grill! I heard there was a farmers market Sat. mornings in Road Town. Any experience with that? Or great bakeries?

                              1. re: MellieMac

                                No sorry. I would ask someone who works at your charter company. The folks @ the Moorings were really freindly and helpful. I hope you guys get to go to Anegada. It was one of the highlights of the trip. And make sure if you do, to get up to Loblolly and bring your snorkel gear. A full days worth of fun!

                  2. re: Food on the brain

                    I can't find a report on Brandywine Bay. Did you enjoy your meal? I am trying to decide between a $64 cab ride to eat at Sugar Mill or Brandywine, for my 50th birthday. Any insight you have would be appreciated.

                    1. re: tmelian

                      We actually did not end up going for dinner because it was our first night and we all ended up being exhausted. I did hear really good things about it and apparently the view is sensational. Have you checked their website? www.brandywinebay.com

                      1. re: tmelian

                        We ate there several years ago & I think that it is much better than the Sugar Mill. We've travelled to the BVI's several time & have found the website below to be full of mostly reliable & accurate info...


                  3. I was there in November, on a 51ft yacht with 5 gal pals. A fantastic girls trip. We did go to The Bitter End Yacht Club on Josy Van Dyke for "real showers" for a small charge of $3.00 each. Also went to Briars for an elegant dinner. The food was really wonderful $80.00 fixed price. The surroundings unbeatable. A great place for a splurge. You can have the water taxi driver "Red Rat" take you, along with his side kick "Prince" who will serenade you with his guitar! Enjoy, it's one of my top vacations so far......

                    1. Quick update after a fantastic trip! We did go to C and F our first night in Tortola. Best. Ribs. Ever. Funny little local place in a residential neighborhood. Great staff. Delicious shrimp in lime butter sauce. I am going to try and replicate that sauce. It had bay leaf in it which I thought was unusual. Our other outstanding meal, which surprised us, was at Myett's in Cane Garden Bay. Enormous local lobster. Fresh tuna that melted in your mouth. And again, great staff. We loved it even though we didnt love Cane Garden Bay.

                      Sidebar, except for the Fat Witch on Virgin Gorda, we decided that conch fritters and painkillers are really very overrated.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MellieMac

                        Correction. Fat Virgin on Virgin Groda.

                        1. re: MellieMac

                          Blasphemy I say!!! LOL. I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY on the conch fritters. And in general, conch fritters anywhere are generally a disappointment. Few places get them right. BUT, when they do they can be delicious, ie the place at Loblolly Bay on Anegada. As far as the Painkillers are concerned I will respectfully disagree. And I would also imagine that it is a matter taste. I do love them and some places are better than others but in general I loved them.

                          I will have to keep the C and F info filed away. Our group is planning next years trip and we have about a 50/50 split as to if we should do same trip or go to lower Caribbean.

                          1. re: LVI

                            Funny! We found the painkillers too sweet! And I came up with a concoction on the boat consisting of rum, orange, pineapple, coco lopez and ginger ale with a squeeze of lime! By the pitcher we drank them! We didnt make it to Anegada. Big wind and high swells. Since it was our first time in those waters we thought we best not. Next time!

                      2. Looking at the prices for bareboat charter provisioning, I'm wondering if it would be worth it to bring our own meat, frozen, in a cooler to Tortola? We will be flying directly to Tortola, so I have no doubt that the meat will still be frozen upon going though customs, just wondering if they will let it in?

                        It seems the official statement from BVI customs is that we are not allowed to bring meat, but I have seen several blog posts that seem to suggest bringing a cooler of frozen meat is pretty common.

                        So, has anyone RECENTLY tried to bring meat into BVI? Have they started cracking down this year? Thanks for the advice!


                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Stroonie3

                          You would save some money but miss some wonderful meals. We used to sail the BVI's until we graduated to the Grenadines and the highlight (besides the sailing of course) was the little places for dinner on the beach - White Bay, Foxy's, Norman Island, etc. as well as a Biras experience (dancing under the stars). Sadly, we haven't been sailing in a number of years because of injuries and family stuff. Have a blast - too bad you can't show a green emoticon for jealousy lol!!!

                          1. re: Linda VH

                            Linda, we are starting in Grenada and going north through the Grenadines this coming August - what recs do you have for us!!! We are a boatful of winos and foodies! :-)

                            1. re: Food on the brain

                              There is nothing like bare boating off the islands..provisions are expensive unless you consider a diet of rum and conch..which isn't a bad way to go...craving me some conch fritters!
                              Careful with hurricane season in August..
                              Have a wonderful time!

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                We're expecting provisions to be a bit expensive, but then again, 6 or the 8 of us are from the islands (Bahamas, Barbados) so it will be par for the course! We're looking forward to catching many meals! I do hear that Grenada has somewhat more stable weather than we do up in the Bahamas, so hopefully we will ok with hurricanes early in the season.

                                Anyone have suggestions for provisioning or not to be missed stops in the Grenadines?

                                1. re: Food on the brain

                                  Don't miss Salt Whistle Bay Resort on Mayreau - call in and ask what Ondine is serving and order - also don't miss her muffins in the morning. We always ate breakfast on the boat except there! Spent a very magic night there one year - we had friends with us and we slogged up to get there because it was their anniversary. Should have put in somewhere else going north but.... anyway, we called in as we were rounding into the anchorage - no lights anywhere. Ondine explained that the lights were out but the generator was working. Bring flashlights! We brought the spot flashlights and hunt them in the huts where you eat - resort guests brought mini-boom boxes and we were in business. Everyone danced (didn't when there were lights) and it was a full moon - magic!!!!

                                  1. re: Food on the brain

                                    The Grenadines are, by far, my favorite sailing spot. We started in St. Vincent and headed south so our spots may not coordinate with yours. We loved Mustique! Very sleepy but had a wonderful dinner at Firefly and enjoyed toodling around the island admiring the architecture. There are 2 gourmet markets there with lots of specialty items as well as a fresh fruit and veg stand. You can find locally caught fish by following the fishing boat trail. Bequia also has great provisioning with a big fresh fruit and veg market. We found the sellers aggressive which was off putting. DO NOT MISS the Tobago Cays. Supply up before you go and you can supplement with goods from the boat boys. Look for Walter. He comes around early and is definitely the elder statesman of boat boys. His wife sends him out with fresh baked banana bread and he always has baguettes and ice. If you ask him, he will bring you anything. The guys also come around with their fresh catch which is wonderful. If it's lobster season, dont miss out. They will cook it on the beach for you and bring it to the boat or you can go to the beach and join others. Have a great time!

                                    1. re: Food on the brain

                                      And as a note, try traveltalkonline.com. SVG is under Southern Carribean and you may find some good/interesting information there on all things sailing around the SVG.

                                      1. re: MellieMac

                                        Thanks Mellie & Linda. We are now in the throws of really doing our research. :-) Very much looking forward to the trip, and still open to anyone's ideas! :-) Best place to buy wine???

                            2. Should have added - this is very casual place - no inside seating, etc.