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Culinary adventures in St. Lucia

carln Feb 9, 2012 11:00 AM

Hey guys,

I am heading to St. Lucia for two weeks at the end of April for my honeymoon and was wondering if there are any cooking classes, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, produce markets, fish markets, etc., that a crazy food lover shouldnt miss. I have read about the various fancy restaurants on the island and will likely visit many of them, but am also looking for places that are off the tourist path and more geared to locals. Any info that you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  1. carln Mar 5, 2012 08:47 AM

    Anyone? Anyone?

    2 Replies
    1. re: carln
      l
      Linda VH Mar 7, 2012 05:47 AM

      Might help if you said where on St. Lucia. It is not an easy island to navigate in many cases. Where will you be?

      1. re: Linda VH
        carln Mar 7, 2012 08:59 AM

        We are hoping to really explore the whole island so suggestions are welcomed for any place on the island. We will be staying just north of Castries but really want to travel around the island and find some places that are off the beaten path.

    2. carln Mar 21, 2012 10:00 AM

      Hey guys, there is less than a month till we head out to St. Lucia, so please let me know if you have any ideas. thanks

      1. f
        foodwhisperer Mar 27, 2012 06:27 AM

        At the Royal by Rex, Chic restaurant has excellent gourmet food. A shor walk from the hotel , is a group of restaurants in Rodney Bay Village, the rib place , that grills outdoors is real good. The seafood restaurant upstairs is casual and real good. The hotel is excellent

        1. carln Apr 9, 2012 11:40 AM

          Are there any local joints that are worth visiting and not necessarily on the tourist path? is there such a thing? Just looking for the best food. Everything else is scondary.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carln
            c
            crowbar Apr 11, 2012 10:35 AM

            I've never really thought of St Lucia as a 'foodie' destination - a lot of people living there struggle to feed themselves and their families - although there's great food to be had. The touristy restaurants in and around Rodney Bay are what they are and a crazy food lover might be disappointed. Of the touristy restaurants, the one I've heard the best reviews about is Rainforest Hideaway in Marigot Bay (you can google it) although I've not been.

            As for the rest, there's a Saturday morning food market in downtown Castries that's a lot of fun - and I think it recently nabbed the number 3 spot in Nat Geo's best markets in the world survey - but get there early as it begins to wind down shortly after noon hour (although remains open until mid-afternoon). At the edge of the market is a strip of vendors selling home-made lunch meals. Food is fantastic, home style, be prepared to get seriously jostled while you're eating.

            There are coconut trucks downtown and at the top of the road from Rodney Bay, vendors selling fresh coconuts to drink and eat. You can also ask them to bottle the water for you to take back to your hotel to mix with rum! Definitely buy samples of whatever fruit you see people selling on the street - it's fresh and in season.

            If you see ladies (and for some reason, it's always ladies) by the side of the street selling little goodies, ask if they have coconut fudge. It's fantastic and home-made. Also, if you see a lady frying something by the side of the street, it's probably floats (sometimes called bakes, but really the same thing), basically fried dough. But it's really good fried dough! Fried in coconut oil and sometimes she might have things to go in it. If she's got one with saltfish, get one. If it's Friday night, she might be selling fried fish. Ask for the price and get some. It's usually great. Chances are she'll only know the Creole name for the fish, not the english name.

            At the supermarket, if you want treats to take home, buy the local coconut oil. It's fragrant and wonderful to cook with. Also get a cocoa stick or ten, which are round tubes of pressed cocoa and used to make cocoa tea. Alcohol-wise, get a bottle of Nutz and Rum, a local creamy rum drink that's great and dead cheap. Or try JavaLatte, similar and very smooth and tasty. I'm not a rum person, but there's an amazing selection in the shop around the corner from the JQ supermarket in Rodney Bay.

            I've never heard of any cooking classes that were available for tourists.

            Hope this helps.

            1. re: crowbar
              carln Apr 11, 2012 02:57 PM

              Crowbar, thanks so much for this information. Its just what i was looking for.

          2. d
            dkeppler Apr 23, 2012 08:00 AM

            Might be too late for you but we stayed at Jade Mountain in Feb and the Indian restaurant down on the beach at Anse Chastenet was quite good. Not local or hole in the wall by any means, pretty pricey, but we thought the food was surprisingly quite good

            1 Reply
            1. re: dkeppler
              w
              Worldwide Diner Apr 27, 2012 07:11 PM

              Salt fish and fried bread is the best food I found on St. Lucia.

            2. j
              jujuthomas May 14, 2012 11:52 AM

              ah, I'm late to the party. I hope you found great things to eat.
              I really love chicken roti, which is a curried chicken wrapped in a flat bread.
              We ate last year in the food court of the Rodney Bay mall - had some terrific stewed goat dish.
              There's a great ice cream shop in Rodney Bay... the name escapes me at the moment - but they have lovely local fruit flavors.

              1. carln May 17, 2012 04:30 PM

                We are back from St. Lucia and I wanted to jump back on here to fill everyone in on the various meals we had.

                Laurel's (On Trouya Road north of Castries). This is a locally owned, small restaurant that serves local foods. We had dinner there one night because it was within walking distance of where we were staying (Windjammer Landing). We ordered Accra (salfish cakes) to start and then I had the pork ribs and my wife had the local fish (mahi mahi that night). The accra was delicious but a little oily and both the ribs and fish were fantastic. Both were served with rice, beans and plantains. This place is a great little, family owned restaurant and really makes you feel as though you are eating in someones house.

                We had several lunches at JJ's which is just outside the market in Castries. You wont see a sign that says JJ's but there is a sign that says "Caribbean Cocktails". They make several dishes every day and we found that a lot of locals would come there to pick up their lunch at lunch time (most tourists would come and have drinks but most of the eaters were locals). We ate there several times and had creole octopus, stewed pork, fried fish and creole shrimp over the various meals. The food here was very good and again felt very local and authentic. The chef (Chef Sweet Juice) was a very friendly man and went out of his way to explain the food and take good care of us. JJ's is well known by the locals for their stuffed crab backs which they do on wednesday nights. Unfortunately on the wednesday night that we went down there, they were closed because JJ's mother had recently passed away and everyone was at the funeral. Chef Juice was incredibly apologetic the next time he saw us because he had told us to come down on wednesday, forgetting that they would be closed. He was so nice and we had such good food there, that we were not upset in the least.

                While on the island, we also made a point to go to the jump up (local street party) in Gros Islet. This was a fun night and one not to be missed. All the locals put bbq's out on the street and grill a variety of foods. There is a dj playing music and its a huge street party. We had some grilled kidneys, grilled lambi (conch) and some fried fish at the jump up and again all the food was very good. At all of the street stalls, no matter what you pick you get rice, beans, salad and ground provisions (some combination of local starches...yams, plantains, dasheen [taro]).

                We went to the Gros Islet jump up the following friday again, but this time we went to a little place that a local friend had suggested. I dont know that i has a name, but starting at about 6pm at the Gros Islet fishery (where all the fishing boats come in with their catch), there is a little place where they grill fresh fish and lambi on the coal. This place was great and was frequented almost exlusively by locals.

                One saturday night we drove to Dennery which is a small fishing village on the east coast of the island and which has its own jump up on saturday nights. The Dennery jump up (or fish fiesta as its sometimes called) is also a fun event with great food. if you are into seafood, this is the place to go. We had stewed octopus, grilled fish roe, grilled fish, lambi, and although I couldnt have them because i was too full, crayfish and sea snails. If you go to the Dennery jump up make sure you arrange for a taxi driver to pick you up at a certain time because it can be challenging to find a cab from there.

                On a recommendation from the resort, we had dinner one night at Spinnakers in Rodney Bay. We honestly found this place to be a tourist trap. The food was not very good and the service was probably the least friendly of any place we ate at on our trip. Its in a beautiful location on the beach but other than that i would stay away from it.

                One day we took a trip to Pigeon Island (not really an island any more because you can drive to it) and had lunch at the only restaurant there called Jambe de Bois. Because it was the only place there, and because pigeon island is a big tourist spot, we expected the food to be average at best, but we were the first ones there that day and they made us some very good fried and grilled fish. Nothing spectacular, but again, good, home cooked-type food.

                Finally, we had heard so much about The Edge in Rodney Bay that we went there for dinner one night (and then went back again another night). This place is said to be the best restaurant on the island and we found the food to be very good. We had local prawns poched in butter with seafood raviolli (one of the best dishes...the one that made us go back), grilled red snapper with anise foam, and kingfish and shrimp wellington. All the food here was very good and for a high end dining experience, i would highly recommend it.

                Im sure we ate at some other places too that i cant think of at the moment but as i remember them i will post again.

                Hope this helps those heading to the island in the future.

                4 Replies
                1. re: carln
                  j
                  jujuthomas May 23, 2012 08:56 AM

                  Carl,
                  Sounds like you had a good time on St. Lucia! We stay at Windjammer also - and have been to Laurel's several times. Lately it seems she's on vacation when we are on the island so we haven't been in a while. Maybe this year. :)
                  We're going to have to look for JJs, it sounds great.
                  you know, we've been going to St Lucia for almost 15 years and have never been to Jump-up anywhere?!?! we keep saying "one of these years"... lol
                  thanks for your review.

                  1. re: jujuthomas
                    carln May 27, 2012 08:46 AM

                    I am sure you have walked by JJ's a million times. Its literally connected to the market in castries. Its right between the market and the Super J grocery store. Chef Juice is an incredibly nice guy ( you will recognize him because he always wears his chefs hat) and he will take very good care of you.

                    1. re: carln
                      j
                      jujuthomas May 27, 2012 01:11 PM

                      We'll be there in September - we walked from the market in to the Super J last year and I remember walking past a place with INCREDIBLE smells coming from it. Bet that was JJs! I can't wait to go "home" again - we will definitely go see Chef Juice. :)

                      1. re: jujuthomas
                        s
                        shesallthat Jun 24, 2012 04:26 PM

                        We stayed in the Rodney Beach area and were surprised to find out how expensive the restaurants were..but once there it made sense because most of the food is imported. We did not like Buzz or Spinakers though people raved about it at Tripadvisor..we did love Big Chef and La Terrassee enough to go back twice. We found it very hard to get a decent breakfast anywhere. The creole bread was the best; did not care for the cocoa tea..I found it too ..grainy..heard abut the labadad sp? cookies but did not try them.

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