Tel: 264 497 2831
This informal St.-Tropez style bistro brought fine dining to the beach at Sandy Ground. Executive Chef Graham Belcher and Jill Shepherd own and run this Franglais find featuring artistic presentations of mostly traditional French fare such as fish soup with rouille, a seared escalope of foie gras, and a crispy duck leg confit in an orange sauce with caramelized vegetables. For dessert, housemade ice cream or a traditional crème brûleé may be tempting, but the chocolate tart with mild chili and lime sauce is Barrel Stay at its best. While Belcher sticks to the kitchen, Shepherd runs the bar and dining terrace with air kisses and cheery banter. Weekend lunch can get busy with visitors from St. Martin, but service generally keeps pace, and sunset lures early diners to the seaside terrace.
Open Saturdays through Mondays noon to 3 pm, Thursdays through Tuesdays 6 to 10 pm. Closed August through mid-October.
Tel: 264 497 6100
In 1994, Bob and Melinda Blanchard opened this charming open-air pavilion set in a garden overlooking the sea, and tables have been consistently full ever since. The secret is Chef Blanchard's ever-changing menu, which blends Caribbean, Cajun, Californian, and Asian flavors in a way that everyone from Janet Jackson and Robert De Niro to Susan Sarandon and Michael Douglas seem to like. Popular staples include the lobster cakes; a trio of mahi-mahi with coconut, lime, and ginger; and jerk shrimp with cinnamon rum bananas. The tropical dining room, which wraps around an award-winning wine collection, is beach chic, its candlelit tables set with fine china and cooled by the sea breezes blowing through the louvered windows. Though some say it's overpriced, we think the setting and service are well worth it. Be sure to book well in advance.
Open daily 6 to 9:30 pm. Closed September and October.
Tel: 264 497 4290
The 11 tables in this open-air, brightly painted West Indian house overlook the fishing village of Island Harbour and distant Scilly Cay. Though the setting is distinctly Anguillan, the menu namechecks a world of culinary influences. French chef Raoul Rodriguez trained at the Ecole Hoteliere in Strasbourg and at cooking schools across Asia, and he and wife/hostess Mary Pat O'Hanlon spend two months every year traveling to exotic destinations, returning with art for the gallery and ideas for the kitchen. The resulting French/Indochine specialties make this one of the island's top gastronomic treasures (so book early). Staples include a selection of freshly smoked mahi-mahi, tuna, and kingfish served with a ginger/horseradish cream; naked crayfish sautéed with coconut and Balinese spices; and pan-grilled Perigord duck breast with a tamarind jus. Desserts include several unusual flavors of homemade ice cream—including one made of the smelly durian fruit—and an innovative prune dish cooked in chocolate and Armagnac. A recently expanded wine cellar brims with an ever-growing mainly French selection. Although the cuisine is haute, the ambience is fairly informal, and O'Hanlon meets your every need with her Irish charm.
Open Tuesday through Saturdays noon to 1:30 pm and 6 to 9 pm. Closed mid-August through October.
Tel: 264 497 2930
Koalkeel's heritage is palpable from the 1790s building, the second oldest on the island, down to the food cooked in its "coal keel," an old wood-burning rock oven. The open-sided dining room was added onto the lovingly restored Warden's Place, a former sugar plantation house in the Old Valley, romantically candlelit for quiet dining. Utilizing its historical significance to modern ends, the kitchen uses old recipes to turn out innovative dishes. Anguillian Executive Chef Gwendolyn Smith puts her "coal keel" to good use while Northern Indian chef Kamal Kumar masters the tandoori, resulting in an eclectic menu of European, Caribbean, and East Indian dishes. Current favorites include the tandoori seafood salad with sweet ginger dressing and crispy papadum, beef vindaloo, and the New Zealand rack of lamb coated in a spiced garlic ginger yogurt. The Rock Oven Chicken for two, slow cooked in the coal keel, requires 24 hours advance notice. Their 18,000-bottle limestone cellar won a Wine Spectator award for its mix of old and new world vintages, and you can stop in there for complimentary rum tastings. If you're in a forbidden fruit mood, ask about their cigar collection for your chance to try a Cohiba with your aged rum digestif. By day, French pastry chef Eric Fernandez bakes for Le Petit Patissier upstairs in the original historic building. Nosh on fresh cakes, fruit tarts, muffins, and housemade marmalades, with a view of picturesque West Indian cottages across the way.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 6:30 to 10 pm (Petit Patissier open 6 am to 10 pm).
Tel: 264 497 6810
Weeks after its opening in late 2007, Luna Rosa was already the island's hot new trattoria, garnering kudos for its no-fuss Italian cuisine, friendly service, and breezy cliff-top terrace with views of offshore islets. After dark, the islands disappear under the stars, but the friendly bar, and accommodating Italian staff encourage lingering with an espresso and a chilled limoncello. Be sure to ask for a terrace table when you book, as part of the romance is in the alfresco dining. Even on a hot and sticky night, this is one of the island's cool places to be with a bubbly prosecco or pinot bianco by the glass. The lunch menu includes several panini, and insalata caprese, as well as eggplant parmesan and other traditional, heavier fare, but feel free to make special requests. "No problem" seems to be the mantra here. For dinner, try the pasta in a lobster bisque or crab meat sauce, zuppa di pesce (Italian fish stew), or red snapper deboned tableside. The focus here is less on innovation and more on subtle and solid takes on traditional fare.
Open Mondays 6:30 to 9:30 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 6:30 to 9:30 pm.
Tel: 264 497 6479
By "seaside," Mango's means literally on the sand. This open-air, candlelit restaurant looks like the white-wooden porch of a beloved beach house. The menu focuses on fish, preparations are simple, the quality of ingredients is high, and, unlike those at its gourmet peers, prices are reasonable. Start with the richly flavored conch chowder and move on to a spicy blackened lobster or a very tender steamed whole snapper. Desserts, such as Key lime and lemon pie, are simple but well executed. Two warnings: The owner can be brusque, and the music can be loud (but fun). Check the schedule if you'd prefer to have a quieter meal.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays 7 to 9:30 pm. Closed August through October.
Malliouhana Hotel & Spa
Tel: 264 497 6111
This fancy resort's cliff-top open-air restaurant, over Meads Bay, set the standard early on for Anguilla's culinary reputation. It certainly has distinguished origins: Its first menus were devised by Michelin three-star chef Jo Rostang. After his death, consulting duties were taken over by his son, Michel, who has two Michelin stars at his eponymous Parisian restaurant, and longtime Head Chef Alain Laurent. The menu is changed seasonally to include French and Mediterranean classics re-imagined with local touches. Try the roasted whole lobster with basil butter sauce or the mahi-mahi with eggplant caviar in a tomato vinaigrette. Oenophiles will be impressed by owner Leon Roydon's 25,000-bottle wine cellar, which focuses on marquee-name Burgundies and Bordeaux. In keeping with the resort's elegantly casual style, no jackets or ties are required in this, the most formal of all Anguillan restaurants. The hotel's informal beachfront Le Bistro Restaurant, with its extensive Children's Menu, tends to keep them out of the main restaurant during lunch.
Open daily 7 to 11 am. Closed September through October.
Tel: 264 497 5123
Reachable only by the island's launch (stand on the dock and wave your arms), private boat, or helicopter, Scilly Cay is the ultimate beach bar despite the unbeachbar-like prices (entrees start at $30 and soar upwards). There's no electricity, so it's lunch only, but the big platter of local crayfish (seasonal favorite), lobster, chicken, snapper, or a combination of any of the above, is prepared in a secret marinade and grilled to perfection. Bring your snorkeling gear and have a swim before you feast… and before you experience paradise on owner Eudoxie's notoriously potent rum punches. Blame it on the splash of Amaretto if your knees buckle in the sand. It's particularly fun when there's live music: guitarist Sprocka serenades the tables on Wednesdays and the local scratch band Happy Hits grooves on Sundays.
Open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm, November through August.
Tel: 264 497 2737
A local favorite, this simple spot specializes in sophisticated West Indian cuisine. Chef Dale Carty's skill in the kitchen previously landed him at Malliouhana, where he cooked for a dozen years. The influence of that restaurant's French chefs is obvious in Carty's more upscale versions of local food. His marinated conch salad, for example, made with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, is delicate but flavorful. His true strength lies in cooking the dishes that he grew up eating, such as West Indian curry goat, cooked with potatoes and peppers in an iron pot handed down from his grandparents. This season, Carty has opened a new restaurant, Dune Preserve, on Rendezvous Bay, co-owned by the island's most famous reggae musician Bankie Banx.
Open Fridays through Wednesdays 8 am to 3 pm and 6:30 to 10:30 pm, November through August
Tel: 264 498 8392
If Luna Rosa is the hot new casual restaurant, Veya is the "it" spot for a special night out (witness A-listers like Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, and Natasha Richardson). Perched on a hill overlooking Sandy Ground and Road Bay, this pretty West Indian house has been packed since Pennsylvanian restaurateurs Carrie and Jerry Bogar opened shop in January 2007. Veya means a ray of sunlight in the Carib language, and the menu adopts flavors from the world's warmer climes, from India and Vietnam to North Africa and the Caribbean. That idea translates well in dishes like the carpaccio of conch with Asian cucumber-chayote slaw, Moroccan spiced shrimp cigars with an apricot sauce, and the grilled jerk tuna in a rum-coffee glaze. Service is excellent, and you'll not go wrong with Jerry's recommendations from the thoughtful wine list. Veya's cozy bar/lounge with its wood-beamed ceiling and soft lighting is popular for pre- and post-prandial drinks, while its wraparound dining veranda provides a romantic venue to the tune of cicadas and, on Tuesday evenings, the soft jazz of Asher & Shyrone. Reservations are always advised, and be sure to book weeks in advance over the holidays.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 6 to 10 pm, September through July.
Temenos Golf Club
Tel: 264 222 8300
The entrepreneurs/authors/restaurateurs behind the internationally acclaimed Blanchard's Restaurant run this more casual spot at the 28,000-square-foot clubhouse of Temenos Golf Club. Zurra's vast terrace is particularly popular at lunchtime for its views of the lush greens of the 18-hole Greg Norman–designed course. The Mediterranean-influenced menus are somewhat limited, but quality, quantity, and service are what you would expect from the Blanchards/Temenos combo. Lunch features huge salads, panini, and a few grilled plates. The dinner menu leans towards more traditional steak house fare, along with half a dozen seafood dishes. Grab a lunchtime table on the terrace and share the signature iced shellfish platter, loaded with shrimp, lobster, oysters, and clams. The bar's specialty drinks include the usual umbrella offerings, as well as several variations, and the eponymous zurra, a white wine sangria with a tropical twist of pineapple, mango, and berries.
Open daily noon to 3 pm and 6:30 to 9 pm.