What St. Kitts and its sister island Nevis lack in square miles, the tiny island makes up for in zesty Caribbean flavors. Eat island style when you’re here, and jump into one of the many seafood dishes, such as a curry-flavored Kingfish, fresh lobster, or a parrot-fish filet. For a more festive feast, dig into some beach-shack barbecue, with a cold bottle of local Carib beer or the island’s favorite cocktail, Ting with a sting, a grapefruit-flavored soda splashed with local rum. For starters, check out our Top 10 places to eat, and let your palate take over.
1. Beach House
Island chic and sophisticated flavors come together at the Beach House, on Turtle Beach, on the southwest end of St. Kitts. If you’re wowed by the airy indoor-outdoor setting—plush furnishings, hardwood floors, flowing white draperies, romantic twinkling lanterns, and water gently lapping along the shore—you’ll be equally enchanted with the cuisine. Chef Lionel Garnier uses the freshest fish and Caribbean flavors to create such specialties as grilled wahoo and shrimp in a tomato-cilantro vinaigrette or creole-spiced swordfish bedded with a sweet pea risotto. The wine list is one of the best on the island.
Ensconced inside a stylish Creole home with views of the ocean and Basseterre, Serendipity provides an aura of charm, with its yellow-and-blue dining room and open-air patio. The food is delicious and well-prepared, with such standouts as bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin, sautéed seafood Jacqueline (shrimps, scallops, and crayfish in a vegetable-infused sauce), and pan-seared sashimi yellow-fin tuna. It’s a nice spot for lunch, too, with inexpensive tapas, sandwiches, and salads.
3. Double Deuce
It’s worth the short ferry ride to Nevis to visit this popular beach bar and restaurant. A half-mile down Pinney’s Beach from the Four Seasons, this groovy timber shack, dressed to the gills in nautical décor, is a fun place to hang out. Order fresh fish (wahoo, red snapper, mahi mahi) or a cheeseburger from the blackboard menu, and soak up the lively vibe. Come Thursdays for the famous karaoke night.
4. Fisherman’s Wharf Seafood Restaurant and Bar
It’s all about the sea at this very casual, nautical-themed waterfront eatery, part of the Ocean Terrace Inn on Basseterre Bay Road. It’s a great, low key setting. Your appetite will perk up with the scent of sizzling freshly caught lobster or snapper on the grill floating through the restaurant. Start with the superb, spicy conch chowder, then order the fresh catch from the grill. The place gets jumping on weekend nights with live bands.
5. The Royal Palm
Framed with views of the ocean on one side and Mount Liamuiga on the other, The Royal Palm is one of the more elegant restaurants on St. Kitts. Part of Ottley’s Plantation Inn, on the northeast side of the island, you’ll dine alfresco on a stone patio, ordering from a menu that changes daily. Come prepared to enjoy eclectic dishes that blend indigenous ingredients with international flavors. Past dishes include a lobster Bambaya, French roast of lamb, and savory lobster quesadillas. You can order ala cart or go for the four-course prix-fixe.
One of my favorites on the island, Stonewalls, in Basseterre’s historic district, really evokes a Caribbean vibe. The open-air tropical courtyard is surrounded by banana trees, bougainvillea, and bamboo trees. The convivial bar itself is a highlight, but better yet is the Caribbean fare. The menu changes daily, but some standouts regularly appear. Try the barbecue ribs or coconut fried shrimp. Specials might include zesty takes on kingfish or tuna. The bar even has Wi-Fi.
The pool area of Horizons Villa Resort, on Frigate Bay, comes alive as a stylish restaurant. It’s a romantic setting for sure, especially at night, with its flickering candles, elegantly-dressed tables, and picture-perfect views of the bay and Nevis. The food is phenomenal, and Jamaican chef Verral Marshal creates inventive dishes from local ingredients with international influences. Menu highlights include crab cakes in remoulade sauce, Caribbean curried shrimp, and grilled French rack of lamb. You’ll splurge here, but it’s worth it.
8. Reggae Beach Bar & Grill
Head to the Reggae Beach Bar & Grill for a day of food, fun, and sun. This lively open-air beach shack is festooned with nautical gear as well as business cards and pennants. Cold bottles of Carib and tropical cocktails are the order of the day, as well as grilled lobster, coconut shrimp, burgers, and salads. It’s no frills for sure, but you can’t beat the vibe. Laze in the shade in a hammock between palm trees, rent a kayak, or go snorkeling. On Sunday afternoon, locals come to dance to the live bands. Underneath the bar is a sea turtle nest, where turtles occasionally hatch and make the mad dash to the water.
9. Golden Lemon
Elegance and refinement are the hallmarks at the Golden Lemon, set on the northern tip of St. Kitts. Begin a quiet evening on the bougainvillea-draped flagstone patio, a perfect setting to enjoy a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres, with only tree frogs and classical music for your soundtrack. The ever-changing menus focuses on a blend of Caribbean, continental and American flavors. Fresh fish and lobster, expertly grilled, are favorites, as well as steaks and the rum-beef strew. Come to linger.
10. Shiggidy Shack
It doesn’t get anymore local than this! Dine on picnic tables under the stars over Frigate Bay at this local beachside shack, while feasting on grilled lobster, lemon scented snapper, melted lava jerk chicken, or a bastard fish burger. Come for a party, because the beer and rum flow, and the reggae keep the joint lively.
– William Travis