This is a must for your trip. The best time to go is between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., so you arrive while the sun is shining and leave after dark.
Simply drive over the hill behind the St. Christopher Club, and follow the road for fifteen minutes. Be careful of goats, cows, and monkeys in the road (warning: don’t honk at animals). On your left, you’ll eventually see a sign for Beach House and the Reggae Bar. Turn left, and follow the road to the second main turnoff to the left, which will have a Beach House sign. Follow the road to the end, and park on the right.
Though others don’t do this, I generally bring a swimsuit and towel to the restaurant. While waiting for the drinks to arrive, walk to the end of the dock, dive in the water, and have a nice swim.
Everything is great here, though my favorites are the squash soup, the cheese ravioli appetizer, the red snapper, and the salmon. The prime minister of the island dines here at least once a week.
Update: The Beach House recently changed its chef, so the food is no longer quite as good and it is now closed for lunch.
Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack
Another must. Simply walk or drive to the Caribbean side of the island closest to the St. Christopher Club. Once you’re on the beach, the first shack on your right is Mr. X’s. Sit at a table on the sand for the best casual fish grill on the island, and order the lobster, snapper, or mahi mahi. Their jerk chicken is also good.
The Spice Mill
This is the newest restaurant on the island. Follow the original turnoff to Beach House, but instead of turning left, stay straight. It’s a great place for lunch, where you can eat amazing burgers while lounging on daybeds on the beach. On Sunday afternoons, half the island comes to the beach here to hang out, and there’s usually some live music. They’re also open for dinner, and the filet mignon and rum cake are out of this world.
Another must is this big wooden grill on Old Road near Ross University. It’s a great place for a beer (my favorite local beer is Mackleson’s, a milk stout), and the ribs, chicken, and lobster are also first-rate. It’s right on the water, with great views from the long wooden benches. Popular with locals, students, and tourists-in-the-know.
It’s definitely worth making a reservation at either Ottley’s Plantation or Rawlins Plantation on the island for dinner. The food is good, the setting is beautiful, and the hosts are strange and memorable. You can drive there, take a cab there, or they can pick you up at the Marriott.
- On the Christopher Club property, Ciao (for Italian food) and Rock Lobster are decent and very convenient.
- On the Caribbean Strip, at the far end along the water, slightly inset with a totally unnecessary fence around it, Buddies has the best ribs on the island (and great homemade ice cream). Ask for the fish of the day there too; it’s usually great. And the food at Monkey Bar is okay, but the pina coladas are amazing.
- The Reggae Bar is another good lunch-and-lounge location, with coconut shrimp highly recommended and delicious homemade desserts (banana bread pudding and banana chocolate cake). On Sundays only, they have banana nut bread, a local delicacy.
- Nearby, on the road that runs to the roundabout outside St. Christopher Club, there’s also an excellent French restaurant, La Belle Vie, right in the chef’s home. Definitely have the gazpacho, which tastes like small bursts of spring in your mouth.
- In Basseterre, Ballahoo is popular with a great view of the town square, Fisherman’s Wharf has a great location (but average food), Stonewall’s serves a great breakfast, Serendipity has amazing views and decent food, Formosa is a cute Chinese restaurant (the salted pepper shrimp and sweet and sour shrimp are recommended), and there’s a little place on Bay Road just outside of town (I forget the name) frequented by locals that’s great. Finally, for a nice night out, Marshall’s (make a reservation) is semi-fancy and locally revered, for good steak and fish at tables set up around a swimming pool.
- The restaurants in the Marriott are pretty abysmal. Only go here either for late night food at Calypso Café, mediocre sushi at the bar, or if you want a pizza and a smoothie by the pool during the day.
And, believe it or not, there’s a newly opened Domino’s Pizza next to the movie theater, which delivers.
Finally, the islanders love something called Goat Water, which is basically goat soup, only available in town on certain days. But ask any local or cab driver about it, and they’ll rhapsodize about it for several minutes.