First it should be understood that unlike some Caribbean islands, Anguilla has done an excellent job in controlling its development and tourism industry, as a result of its focus on the high end nothing there is low priced. A quick look at the hotel rates will confirm this. As such, the local restaurants know their market and priced themselves accordingly. Lunch is a less expensive affair than dinner, but only when dining at Johnno’s or Uncle Ernie’s and while lunch at Scilly Cay (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday only) is expensive, it’s worth it.
Most visitors to Anguilla want to take in the local color and sample the local restaurants and while the Malliouhana Restaurant is top notched, hardly worth going every night. Blanchard’s is overpriced and not worth the trip. Same with Zurra as Anguilla is not Miami. Koal Keel, George’s (former head chef at Koal Keel), Hibernia and Mango’s are all top notch and worth the trip.
Thanks for your recommendations everyone! It was a great trip.
E's Oven - very well-priced, nice atmosphere, delicious chicken and fish - I agree that this is a definite must-do.
Gwen's - great laid-back atmosphere right on the water, generous portions, really good ribs with amazing BBQ sauce (go early before they run out), great cole slaw and curry pasta salad
Veya: beautiful island atmosphere with outside plumeria trees, warm service, great skirt steak lettuce wraps and crayfish with ginger vanilla sauce
Ken's BBQ - Fri and Sat in the Valley, outdoor grill - amazingly cheap and delicious chicken and ribs - I think it was $7USD - better than Carl's BBQ under the Tamarind Tree (nearby) or B&D's - yes we did a rib run day :)
Johnnos - great atmosphere and punch
Le Bon Pain - the patisserie in the East End - go early or she'll run out of pain au chocolat or the chocolate/pecan chocolate twists. Also has large baguette sandwiches big enough for 2.
Also went to:
Mangoes - beautiful sunset atmosphere, service was a bit brisk here however. the lobster cake wasn't very good, but the sesame snapper was delicious.
Smokey's - beautiful atmosphere on Cove Bay, but I didn't think the food was anything special and with small portions at higher prices than Gwen's.
Hungry's van - always open late at nite - good seafood quesadilla and conch soup
Zara's - the singing chef was very funny to listen to - but not much atmosphere and not as good as E's Oven. the calamari was delicious but was not impressed by the pumpkin soup or tamarind fish wrapped in a banana leaf.
Koko's - Anguillan lobster is definitely not as good as Maine lobster! ribs were OK but not as good as Gwen's. we came in the late afternoon tho. nice view of Island Harbour and Scilly Cay.
So overall I would rank the BBQ as Ken's for #1, then Gwen's, B&D, Carl's, Koko's, and Smokey's. Smitty's is closed for construction (but he is still running his gas station!).
A lot of places didn't have crayfish so I'm glad we went to Veya!
Next time, I will definitely hit up Hibernia and Koal Keel.
I should have written this a year ago when I got back from Anguilla, but I dug up my notes so for anyone else who might be going...
Gwen's Reggae Bar for a very relaxed, toes in the sand, lunch. The BBQ'd ribs were delicious and the Carib super cold. Plus this is one of the nicest beaches on the island.
Our first dinner was at, Barrel Stay in Sandy Ground. We just wandered in off the beach where we had gone to watch the sunset. The lovely hostess, and owner, Jill Sheppard, showed us to the perfect table on the porch close to the ocean. Watched the boats while sipping cocktails. The food at Barrel Stay was local with a French influence. All very well executed by Chef Graham Belcher.
Second night Koal Keel. Expensive but worth it. Food is local with Indian influences. My mouth still waters when I think of the Lobster pekora I had for an appetizer. Make sure to get a private tour of the wine cellar.
Straw Hat was a nice location and fun atmosphere but mediocre food.
E's Oven was the best value on the island. An unassuming place, but the food is amazing! Spiny lobster spring rolls with orange chili sauce and the curried Anguillian goat were real treats.
I noticed nobody has mentioned Gorgeous Scilly Cay, and I know it get mixed reviews, but it 's a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and our lunch was very good.
YES to Pumphouse and to Elvis's.
One final thought, if you are staying near Island Harbour you must go to the patisserie there in the morning for warm croissants and pain au chocolat. They are the best I've had since France.
OK I have done my research and am ready to go - any feedback? I'm more interested in the cheap(er) eats - with emphasis on bbq and seafood.
Carls under the Tamarind Tree
bars: Elvis, Ripples, Johnnos, Pumphouse, Rafe's
Gwen's - we went Sunday mid day for the BBQ but it was too early for music. Great fish sandwich, Ting and super wind..
Smokys - great Sat. spot for music and Roti..I love ROTI..beautiful setting..very casual and fun
Hungry's van - super says many..cheap cheap
E's Oven - my FAV...wonderful...best rum punch I had grouper before I realized it was a no no eco wise.try the seafood pasta.
Lucy's - it was closed when we were there but I spoke to her..GO FOR SURE
B&D- next to Lucy's rave reviews..
Splurge: Veya or Barrel Stay or Koal Keel
ELVIS'S is MY FAV..please tell him Ann from Bonaire misses him...Pumphouse for rum punch and nachos, Johnnos Sunday 2 ish..then 4 ish head to Dune Preserve for lobster and Ting and music..
May I come..
Where to begin...dining here is TOPS
E's Oven and DO NOT forget to order one of their rum punches
Dune Preserve for grilled lobster on Sunday afternoon and music...order a Ting too..
Pumphouse for Nachos and Rum Punch
Elvis's AFTER for Rum Punch and music
Other places that get mixed reviews are Straw Hat and Blanchards
The dining options are staggering...
Some local places are Tasty's (I didn't love it) and Smokey's (go for lunch Sat. and hear music and order Roti), B and D BBQ (near Mali), Lucy's too
thank you for all of your wonderful recomendations
We did Banky Banx for lunch, absolutely incredible views delicious food, very attentive service, make sure you say hello to the resident kitty Louise. We definitely would like to make an effort to attend a Moon Splash in the future. Banky was there and very pleasant.
We loved Olivers, the grilled crawfish was absolutely incredible, unlike anything we get here in New York. Then had an after dinner drink with Oliver and Frankie Rogers the keyboard player in the downstairs bar.
another lunch was at Trattoria Tramonto and while very good, the portions seemed small and was my least favorite culinary wise on our trip. The views and beach were however my favorite!
Last night we had dinner at Veya. Another wonderful experience, my Duck Sheppard's pie and house smoked mahi app was innovative and delicious. Michelle was incredibly attentive and knowledgeable.
After dinner we went to the Pumphouse for reggae, punch and dancing. Tons of fun, however the NY Giants had the same idea and it was probably the most hectic place on the island.
while all the food we had was fabulous I definitely noticed that dinner is an all night affair, no one is interested in turning tables and you have to be patient while waiting for your food. Being from Manhattan that is a big change and even while on vacation it took a bit of getting use to, we made sure we ordered apps and tried to take in the whole atmosphere. This was our first trip to Anguilla however we were visiting my parents who were staying there for the month and have been going for many years now. We can not wait to visit again.