What's new in St Thomas?
We're heading back to St. Thomas after a few years and are hopeful that there has been a pick-up in the restaurant options. Are there any new spots that are worth trying? Have any spots improved markedly or gone downhill?
We are just back from 10 days at the Marriott (both villas and hotel) and were very pleased with the food.
The highlight of the trip was Havana Blue -- perfectly prepared fresh seafood, excellent sauces and sides, great wine, great service -- all for just under $100/person. It's certainly not an every night place for us, but a memorable meal for all.
We also had good meals in Frenchtown -- Hook, Line and Sinker (fresh fish - we also stopped for lunch there on the way to the airport), Pie Whole (good pizza and the homemade pasta looked great as they went by - and a huge selection of beers, mostly Belgian), and the Twisted Cork, formerly Craig and Sally's. This is a nice place with a slight French inclination, mostly non-seafood - and with very well prepared food, locally sourced where possible. Highlights included a chicken breast stuffed with cappicola and roasted red peppers, and slender french fries cook in duck fat with sliced truffle aioli. Wonderful!
Also on the west side, we took the short ferry ride
($5 each way) from Coral Bay to Water Island. The island only has 200 residents and people get around on golf carts. At one end of the the island there's a WWII fort with a great 360 degree view. It's a long walk - maybe 2 miles uphill and down each way - but people will offer you rides and also redirect you when you get lost. You can rent a golf cart for $40/day, but you can also skip the fort and easily walk from the ferry to the main attraction, Honeymoon Beach -- a lovely, lovely beach with food-truck type bar/restaurants at each end. Edith's - the first one you get to -- has good grilled sandwiches and fish tacos. Water Island is a must-do.
We did not spend much time in Red Hook. largely because the road is so bad and we were almost hit by other cars who crossed the line to dodge potholes. We spent a day at Lindquist beach with a break for lunch at nearby Off the Grid, an outdoor barbecue place on the top of a hill overlooking the Caribbean. The barbecue lacks a smoke flavor, but it is slow cooked and tasty. The sauce is on the sweet side, but you can add a few drops of one of the wide variety of hot sauces for a better balance. And they have a grilled/smoked vegetarian plate that actually was very good. They have cold beer and give you a koozy. A good place, and Lindquist is nice beach (no services -- there's a semi-permanent portable toilet at lone end that's disgusting, but a clean one at the other end next to a building (bathrooms? food service?) that is under construction, although they seem to be adding some). This is a must visit - good food, good beach.
We also went to Mim's, which is impossible to find and has no parking (park in the Iggie's lot and walk) but which is pretty good, and at Iggies, where we stumbled into a buffet and entertainment extravaganza -- dancing on stilts, eating fire, dancing on broken glass. The $38!!! buffet was pretty bad -- flavorless roast pork?? -- except for the ribs (actually oven-cooked, but tasty), the macaroni and cheese and the potato salad. I hear the desserts were good. The entertainment was a hit with the crowd.
We had 2 lunches in CA- Gladys' and Fresh something (part of Grand Cru in Yachthaven) and enjoyed both - sort of different ends of the culinary spectrum. At Glady's, we had good goat and chicken curries with a variety of carbohydrates, and at the fresh place a very fresh/local salad with real local tomatoes (in March! Madness!) and a griilled chicken sandwich that was moist and flavorful, unlike most grilled chicken sandwiches. It was worth the money just to taste a real tomato. Both places were $15-20 per plate. Closer to 20.
We also had a day trip to St John but just went to Caneel Bay this trip. Lunch was good but pricey. The Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is much better than the one at Caneel Bay, and much, much cheaper.
dcbbq, this is just awesome. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this up, and you will help to make our trip lots more fun and the planning easier.
I'll report back after our trip. Sounds like you had a great time. We're staying at Bolongo Beach Bay Resort for five nights, and Iggie's is one of their spots, so we will probably hit that up Wednesday night despite the lackluster food just for the entertainment.
I can't wait!
Iggie's has entertainment every night -- in the past we've enjoyed Jimmy Buffett-style music there, and have mainly had sandwiches and the like. It;s a nice place for a casual drink and dinner. Check their calendar to see what the entertainment is. You might want to stroll along the beach over to Mim's for an early dinner on Carnival Night rather than hitting the buffet, and then back to Iggie's to watch the show.
One place in Red Hook I wanted to try was Latitude 18, and I heard some good things about Banana Tree and Room with a View in CA. I'll be interested in any places the folks at Bolongo Bay recommend. I'm sure we'll probably return.
Well, here’s a very overdue report from our trip to St. Thomas. My apologies for my usual procrastination. We had a fabulous time and really appreciated your suggestions, dcbbq.
Our first night there, Bolongo Bay was having their two-hour sunset cocktail cruise for $55 pp on the catamaran Heavenly Days, so we signed right up. There were rum punches, champagne, beer and some pretty decent bar snacks from the Lobster Grill, including conch fritters, spring rolls w/ Thai dipping sauce, and a crudite platter with Blue Cheese dip and delicious olives. The cruise was very pleasant and the two young crew members were fantastic…really friendly and enthusiastic and worked their tails off to make sure everybody was having a great time. We decided to stay close to home so we headed to Iggie’s for dinner. They were out of everything we ordered initially and I ended up with okay but overcooked mahi mahi and my husband had a pulled pork sandwich with mango bbq that was smokeless but okay along with a ice-cold chilled bottle of merlot (my unsettled stomach wasn’t quite ready for more cocktails after the rough seas). We were pretty underwhelmed with the food and didn’t end up back at Iggie’s for dinner, but did head there after dinner every night for the good live music. It’s a fun place. We were a little disappointed that the Caribbean Night show on Wednesday was cancelled because Iggie’s was closed for a private party. The food may be so-so but it’s a fun bar and a big plus for the resort.
We went to Mim’s twice, even though the food was decent but not memorable, because the setting is amazing. I think I’d splurge on the lobster in green curry next time, but at $60-90 it was more than I wanted to spend. I got seafood fra diavolo one night (overcooked fish and pasta) and the snapper almondine (very nice) the next and my husband got eggplant parm (decent) and ahi tuna (very good). We’d return in a heartbeat to sit at those semi-circular two-tops overlooking the gentle surf.
My husband was craving a good burger one night so we headed to the Twisted Cork for the house-ground brisket and filet burger on a house-made onion roll. Excellent burger, and those duck fat fries with truffle aioli were swoon-worthy. What a great place. The specials sounded amazing and service was wonderful. It’s definitely worth a stop.
We had lunch at Cuzzins’ in Charlotte Amalie one day and were glad we did. It’s a great little local place and the food is quite good. I had butter-poached conch, which was tender and really delicious. My husband had a jerk chicken wrap that he enjoyed quite a bit. Their house-made hot sauce is outstanding. Unfortunately, it isn’t available to take home.
Our other dinner was at the Lobster Grill at Bolongo, and it was surprisingly good. We both had mahi mahi and it was perfectly cooked and the rice and beans and mango salsa were all flavorful. The beach-side setting was wonderful. We had breakfasts there every morning for convenience, with the breakfast burrito and the eggs Benedict with decent Hollandaise both a nice way to start the day. We had an okay brunch at Pesce on Sunday morning. I probably wouldn’t bother going back, but the bottomless Bloody Mary bar looked tempting.
We made two day trips to St. John, one for snorkeling at Trunk Bay and one just to walk around. We tried to find the food trucks that we had seen earlier but they must have relocated, so we grabbed some delicious black bean soup at the Sun Dog Cafe in Mongoose Junction, and had good ice cream at a new place in the Junction, St. John Scoops. It was more sorbet-like than creamy, but the flavors were excellent. We also enjoyed browsing at the St. John Spice Company.
With “snuba”, scuba without tanks at Coral World (amazing), shopping in Charlotte Amalie, along with a taxi ride to the highest point on St. Thomas, we had many wonderful experiences. Bolongo Bay was a really pleasant, laid back resort with very friendly staff and owners. It’s great having Iggie’s and The Lobster Grill right on the resort, and Mim’s a couple of steps away. The beach views from our balcony were incredible. The resort is just far enough from town and other restaurants that we ended up eating locally more than we had planned, but we didn’t feel stuck or isolated since taxis were readily available. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and we look forward to returning.
Another thumbs up for Twisted Cork! We had lunch there last week, on our way back from St. John. Both the food and service were excellent. The waitress told us the desserts are made by the chef and not to be missed. Definitely save room for dessert - it was worth it! We had a dessert called "Ballpark" a peanut butter pie, with a pretzel based crust, topped with drizzled chocolate and a sprinkle of caramel popcorn. So delicious and not too sweet, which it easily could have been. We also had a delicious cherry bread pudding which was only slightly overshadowed by the other dessert.