St. Lucia Restaurants
Tel: 758 452 5566
More than 40 years old, this tiny place on the water in Vigie is still adored by everyone who manages to score one of the ten tables. Its second-generation owners, Michelle Elliott (artist daughter of the founder) and her French chef husband Xavier take great care to make sure their guests are happy. That's usually not a problem, thanks to choices like grilled or sautéed steak, chicken, or fish with a variety of sauces—red-wine peppercorn, ginger, Creole, and coconut-curry are just a few. Start off with the lobster bisque or pumpkin soup—both are served in hand-thrown pots, and delicious. On a fine night, a table outside can't be beat, though you'd miss seeing Michelle's paintings on the semi-open wood walls. Don't forget to call ahead.
Open Mondays through Fridays, noon to 2:30 pm and 6:30 to 10:30 pm; Saturdays 7 to 11 pm.
Tel: 758 459 7323
Down Soufrière way, the essential reservation is a table at Ladera's restaurant, with its über-romantic Piton vista accompanied by the giggling of honeymooners and the chirrup of tree frogs (also by a reggae band, depending on the night). Though chef Nigel Mitchel (sometimes aided by visiting star toques) has a penchant for silly names ("rhythm of rasta pasta," "seventh-heaven carrot soup") his food is perfectly unpretentious—the fresh, delicious, inventive dishes include fried green-tomato-and-plantain tart; saltfish with green-fig salad; lime-pepper-marinated seared steak with fries; or the day's catch, grilled in butter seasoned with jerk spices, local flowers, or lemon and caviar. The space isn't overtly fancy—there are plain wood tables, white tablecloths and flowers on the patio and in the dining room—but it feels elegant and civilized, and many people dress for dinner here.
Open daily 7 to 10 am, 11:30 am to 3 pm, and 6:30 to 9:30 pm.
Rodney Bay Village , St. Lucia
Tel: 758 450 3343
The Edge, named for its dockside location on Rodney Bay, is the showcase restaurant of chef Bobo Bergstrom, a Swedish expat who has channeled his expertise cooking for discerning palates at Michelin-starred restaurants into his trademark "Eurobbean" cuisine (a playful and artful fusion of Caribbean and European culinary traditions). Appetizers include kingfish ceviche with diced mango and passion fruit. Entrées flaunt the wide variety of spices and fruits on the island, such as the grilled red snapper with lobster in a tamarind and mango sauce, or the jerk-marinated beef tenderloin with grilled zucchini, seasoned with ginger and garlic in a pepper-coffee gravy. Thankfully, the romance of the open-air terrace with flambeau torches compensates for the terrible Muzak playing in the background.—Douglas Wright
Open daily 8 am to 3 pm and 6:30 to 10 pm.
Chef Harry Drive
Tel: 758 452 3399
Perched above Castries on Morne Fortune (which means "Hill of Good Luck") is the must-visit restaurant for anyone staying in the north. It's not just the food—which is excellent, slightly French, and particularly strong on seafood (do yourself a favor and try the "Fish a la la," grilled with garlic and lemon butter and served with a tomato sauce). No, an equal draw here is the host, Harry Edwards, better known as Chef Harry. This guy loves to have—and to show his guests—a good time, which is why there's always something fun going on: belly or limbo dancing; fire dancing; impromptu singing. The place itself has a sprawl of tables on a landscaped patio, the twinkling lights of Castries far below, and the promised parrots contributing their squawks to the general hilarity. Prices are fine, reservations essential, jacket required.
Open daily 7 am to 10:30 pm.
Tel: 758 458 1900
Jacques, also locally known as "Froggie Jacques"—perhaps due to the tree frog on the hand-painted sign, or maybe because the owner, Jacques Rioux, is from France—is a local landmark serving fresh Creole food with a Mediterranean twist. Jacques himself can usually be found in the kitchen most afternoons and evenings, making sure his homemade plaintain chips with salsa dip, blue-crab backs, conch fritters, and duck salad are all up to scratch. Portions are generous, and the menu includes a number of dishes suitable for vegetarians, such as the delicious chilled tomato and green-peppercorn soup. The baked banana pie with chocolate sauce is outstanding: light, fluffy, and not too sweet. All tables are outdoors and overlook Vigie Cove. Eat by candlelight on the newly expanded wooden deck and watch the moon rise over Morne Rouge.
Open Mondays through Fridays, noon to 2:30 pm and 7 to 9 pm.
Marigot Bay Road
Tel: 758 451 4076
In sheltered, perfectly picturesque Marigot Bay is this beloved hot spot to which people—people with access to boats, at least—flock just for the scene. The atmosphere is gemütlich, especially on special nights like Creole Crab Wednesdays (with vast quantities of local fish and shellfish and a live band) and the Friday jump-up. Order the perfectly grilled lobster and you'll be in heaven.
Open daily October through August, 8 am to 11 pm; September, Tuesdays through Sundays 8 am to 11 pm.
Rodney Bay Marina
Tel: 758 452 0761
Opposite the St. Lucian Resort, this casual and cozy place has been around forever—and nobody's complaining. Certainly not the tourists liming (i.e., hanging) here in the afternoons, or the locals for whom it's a favorite neighborhood joint. Everyone comes in for a cold Carib beer, some jerk chicken, char-grilled fish, or salads at distinctly non rip-off prices. Upstairs is the Late Lime, which is exactly what it sounds like: a club.
Open Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 11 am to 12:30 am; Fridays 11 am to 1:30 am; Saturdays 11 am to 2 am.
Tel: 758 286 0511
A three-minute boat ride across the placid waters of Marigot Bay leads to a private dock set among the mangroves. If it's evening, a man with a flashlight will await you, and in a scene reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera, will guide you to the Champagne bar, where you can enjoy an aperitif at the water's edge before dinner. Start with locally caught mahi mahi; clean the palate with coconut, lime, and ginger sorbet; and then move on to the perfectly cooked risotto, which, for the Caribbean, is almost as much of a surprise as finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Service is equally flawless in what is one of St. Lucia's finest restaurants.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays, from 6 pm.
Tel: 758 450 8551
When Tao opened its doors (or in this case, louvered shutters) in the Bodyholiday resort, serving sushi was still a novelty in this part of the Caribbean. Nowadays it seems as if the fusion of Eastern and Western foods is almost obligatory. Tao is now at the forefront of the "adopt a farmer" initiative, sourcing its food locally. It might not matter, if the food were not superbly prepared, but one taste of tuna skewered on sugarcane puts doubts to rest. For meat eaters, try the miso pork tenderloin or perfectly cooked tamarind lamb. The restaurant also has one of the most interesting selections of rum on the island. Reservations essential.
Open daily from 7 pm.