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Nevis dining review

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Not a whole of info on Nevis lately, so I thought I'd do a short info dump on a recent trip.

It was a pretty typical slate of island restaurants: some local "snackettes" that have flexible hours, an above-average group of laid back beach bars and a few upscale restaurants. Overall, I was disappointed that local joints with local fare weren't more prevalent or user friendly. They were almost always closed the week we were there, and once the sun goes down, good luck finding a place. Sounds nitpicky, but small dark signs set back from streets without street lights can get pretty irritating.

Probably the biggest draw of the island (for visitors and cruisers, and locals at least while we were there, around Easter) is Pinney's Beach, a couple miles north of Charlestown. It's a long beach, but all the bars are in one spot, a short walk down the beach from the Four Seasons. Plenty of parking, which is sort of "stop your car wherever" random.

All four bars (Sunshine's, Lime, Chevy's and Double Deuce) are roughly equal, all solid beach fare.

Sunshine's gets the most press. Its rum punch is known as the Killer Bee. It's pretty good. The food wasn't special, a decent lobster salad, average conch fritters, burgers and the like. Lunches are a better value than dinner, but dinner entrees like grilled shrimp were still tasty.

A lunch at Chevy's had a few local specials. The mutton curry was good. In fact any curry on the island is probably a good bet.

Lime had a very good fish taco (both the grilled and fried versions) which was more like a burrito. Also a good house-made habanero sauce. Their rum punch is the Green Flash (supposedly the oh-so-brief instand when the sun sets, there's a green flash). In fact, Pinney's Beach is a great sunset spot.

The Double Deuce (images of Patrick Swayze in Road House) was also solid food, nothing special. Though they did have a few nice details, like fresh nutmeg on their rum punch and fresh cut fries. (Chips, it's owned by a couple Brits.)

One other beach bar of note is on the northwest corner of the island at Oualie Beach Hotel. Drinks are a bit more expensive, but if you buy from the bar they don't appear to complain if you also use their beach chairs and umbrellas/trees, which is nice as Pinney's is pretty much barren of cover. Their rum punch is also pretty tasty. A vegetable roti and fish tacos were passable for lunch. The dinner atmosphere drove us away after one drink: terrible menu and a depressing group of older Brits. But for daytime, I think the best beach option.

Things might be different in high season (again, we were there close to Easter, which is a hopping holiday), but don't wait too late to eat. One night, nothing on the island was open at 8:45 p.m. aside from the Four Seasons dining room. Nothing special there, as you would expect, aside from a coconut souflee that was delicious. Four Seasons is typically overpriced, but also easy if you're not comfortable with the beach or local scenes.

A few takeout options if you're feeling lazy. Youngs Chinese was pretty awful. Indian Summer was actually quite passable Indian food, aside from a tough naan, and a welcome break when you just want to eat at home.

There are a few other local joints north of Charlestown, a drive through whose name I forget (and which isn't really a drive through, make sure you park first!) and Mansa's, a small store that also does some food. Several places do Friday barbecues (we weren't there over a Friday).

Cooking gourmet meals at home if you're in a villa won't be the highlight of your trip; the grocery stores are definitely subpar. Rum is certainly cheap, though. And Carib is always a delicious beer.

Service is average. I didn't see much of the so-called "Nevis Nice," more like bored and not really interested in being there, but pleasant enough folks. And if it's slow, most of the cooks get high, which makes them much more friendly.

Overall, even quieter and fewer choices than St. John in the USVI, which I would consider pretty similar overall, but still decent. The bars on Pinney's Beach are a great way to relax. Bring bug spray, especially at night, and use it liberally.

 
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