Headed to St. Kitts
We'll be staying at the Marriott megaplex and will have a kitchen.
I welcome all thoughts on dining out options and best places to shop for fresh food.
ask the staff where the locals eat..try Pepperpot and fungi, saltfish and ducana, if you can find Roti, enjoy..and lots and lots of Ting mon..the best soda. See if Sprat Net is still open. The word "megaplex" seems out of sync with the culture and climate of St. Kitts. Hope it's a great trip, btw.
Having stayed at the Marriott there at least a half-dozen times (and many other hotels on St. Kitts before then) I can give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. No, it isn't "in sync" with the St. Kitts of old, but the island has been changing a lot in the last 10 years and sadly a lot of the older hotels aren't what they used to be. We used to love the old Frigate Bay Beach Resort, but the rooms have gotten very run down and the only real good thing about it these days is the swim up pool and bartenders. While Rawlins, Ottleys and OTI are lovely places, if you're a beach lover they are very inconvenient to the island's best beaches. I also used to love staying at the Horizons villas but then the management company dissipated, and now it's very bizarre trying to do short-term rentals there...so we stopped trying. With the Marriott you get a lot of the conveniences and services none of the other hotels offer, yet the staff is great and it still ends up having a very Kittitian feel.
To keep it on topic with food: I won't say the restaurants at the Marriott are great, however. The breakfast buffet in Calypso Cafe is expensive but awesome, with local as well as international offerings. I know people who could easily load up on breakfast there and not want to eat again until dinnertime. Bohemia isn't bad for a light snack or sandwich. We never tried the fancy steakhouse or Italian restaurant at the Marriott, however, preferring to eat more local cuisine. But it's actually walkable from there to PJs and a number of other restaurants along the Frigate Bay Altantic strip.
Only ate at Sprat Net once and while I know others swear by it, my stomach was NOT happy the next day and I usually can eat almost anything. Had some questions about how well the fish they served were being kept refrigerated, if at all, before being cooked.
My experience on St Kitts says stay away from the places the cab drivers want to take you to. Generally over priced and targeted to the tourist trade. I think the drivers get paid for each customer they bring. Some decent places in Basse Terre but nothing I would seek out. Only place I would say is a must try is the Golden Lemon. Dining room there is fantastic.
Definitely do an island tour with a taxi driver - they will of course all press you to agree to one right away, but find a driver you like first, who you enjoy talking to and find knowledgeable about island destinations. Sadly my dearest friend who was a taxi driver on St. Kitts passed away 2 years ago or else I'd set you up with him. Many drivers will agree to pick you up at a restaurant at whatever time you like after dropping you off there. Be aware though that planning a dinner at a place like Otley's, Rawlins or Golden Lemon, if based out of the Marriott, can be very expensive as you're looking at paying a driver for a 45-minute to an hour trip there, and then back, and they will usually wait on premises in such cases at it's such a long trip.
And a driver will absolutely wait for you while shopping at IGA. Also if you want to buy soda or beer, get it at the bottling distribution center right in the IGA complex. Get it by the case and it's much cheaper, although you will have to pay a bottle deposit fee. But the facility is also near the airport so you can return your bottles at the end of the trip before catching your flight home.
I've been going to St. Kitts for over 20 years, although it's been a little while since I last visited. Still, things don't change too quickly there. Here are my food tips.
1. Lunch at the Ballahoo in Basseterre. Great place for people watching and the Conch in Garlic Butter is a must as well as the Rum and Banana Sandwich. In the evening I love their Chili Shrimp or Parrot Fish, if still on the menu.
2. Circus Grill on the other side of the Circus in Basseterre can also be very good, especially for lunch. Nice kabobs, pumpkin soup, etc.
3. Brunch at Golden Lemon Inn. Take an island tour on a Sunday with a pit stop here for a lovely, quiet brunch and amazing rum punch. A dear old friend of mine used to call it the Rum Uppercut.
4. Pizza at PJs when you need a break from island food. The "Garbage Pizza" is the best and the goat cheese ravioli are tasty, too.
5. Try the small food shacks all along the beaches on the Southeastern Peninsula. You will get great deals and great island food. If you find a place you like, pay them a little extra money the day before so they can get fresh lobster to grill for you the following day from the fishermen who come through every morning on their boats. My personal favorite is Sunset Beach Bar & Grill on South Friars Bay - I've known Olivia there for years and spent many hours in her mini-kitchen watching her cook and learning how to make Kittian dishes.
6. Friday night BBQ at Frigate Bay Beach Resort. It's buffet style but great if you love good BBQ chicken, ribs and fish. In season they'll have music that night as well.
7. The restaurant at Ocean Terrace Inn. Lovely setting and always good food in my experience. The waitresses there used to scold you if you didn't eat all of your vegetables and johnny cakes!
8. Avoid Fisherman's Warf at all costs. In the 1980s it was THE place for locals and savvy tourists to go. Today it's just a cheesy tourist trap.
9. Sprat Net has many enthusiasts, especially among locals, but I've had bad experiences there.
10. Ting and Vodka. Drink of champions. I can live on that like water when on St. Kitts. Ting and CSR (if they still make it) is only if you're feeling suicidal.
Enjoy your trip. The Marriott is actually a great base to stay on the island and their breakfast buffet is incredible! Personally, we always rent cars at this point on island because it is not hard to drive and gives us the freedom to go to whatever beach or other destination we want, and getting a cab in some remote locations can be difficult. Here's an article I wrote on the subject FYI: http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...