Restaurants and Dining on St. John
From Fresh Seafood to BBQ ribs to Fine Dining
So many choices and so few days...
Restaurants are plentiful both in town (Cruz Bay) just a 5 minute drive from the Villa. Our favorites, using the `Guide Michelin' 3 stars-is-worth-the-trip as the highest rating adjusted, of course, for St. John are:
Hands down best BBQ on St John (or anywhere!)
*** Uncle Joe's Barbecue (across from the Post Office in Cruz Bay)
If you are in town around 6 PM any night and downwind of "Uncle Joe's Tropical Delight", while you may not find the "restaurant" sign easily, you cannot miss the delicious smells of their barbecued ribs (the best), chicken (sometimes dry), and/or steak (a little fatty) which you can take out (recommended) or eat in (no ambiance, but great for watching Cap's Place, the open bar across the street - do NOT go there); this is THE place if you are not a vegetarian (the meal comes with rice & beans, coleslaw or corn). Without a doubt, this is our all time favorite BBQ! Read Reviews >
**Candi’s Delight BBQ.
Ribs, chicken, steak and, what makes Candi's different from Uncle Joe's BBQ, fish (Mahi-Mahi and Grouper when we were there last), barbecued (not fried) too! Cole slaw -- a favorite of ours at Joe’s -- is even better at Candi’s with raisins. Candi also has home-made desserts including carrot cake she was making which looked awfully good. Not as long a wait as Joe’s BBQ.
*** Vie's Snack Shop
About a 45 minute drive to the other (east) end of the island past Coral Bay is THE place to go for a West Indian lunch on St. John; while heavily-fried, Vie's Garlic Chicken with Johnnycakes is terrific, her Conch Fritters are fun and just going there is part of the adventure. Read Reviews>
Phenomenal views (on the hillside overlooking the harbor in Cruz Bay on the way to the North Shore beaches): with great sunsets and gourmet food. Read Reviews>
** Zo Zo’s
Serving fancy Northern Italian food (at fancy prices) at Gallows Point Resort with fabulous views of Pillsbury Sound and St. Thomas. Reportedly, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ate here while staying at Cannel Bay.
** La Tapa
Well-conceived, fresh-daily food ranging from appetizer-sized servings of a variety of healthy, delicious food to paella for two. Michael J. Fox and Kevin Bacon were reportedly frequent guests during their vacations on St. John. Read Reviews>
** Chateau de Bordeaux
Overlooking Coral Bay with great moonrises (no kidding); fabulous views; air-conditioned; would-be gourmet; moderately expensive. Re-opened in January, 2010, under new ownership. Read Reviews>
** Caneel Bay Resort
This world-famous resort built by Laurence Rockefeller in the 1950's
on the North Shore road to the National Park beaches allows non-registered guests to use one of their restaurants; great for lunch (the weekday buffet is half the cost of their Sunday buffet brunch), or dinner and a walk around the resort and their beautiful beaches. Very expensive and you may need to `dress' for dinner (coat, but no tie).
** The Westin Hotel
Formerly a Hyatt, this resort hotel that re-opened as a Westin in November 1997 after being severely damaged by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, has an excellent steak house “Cruz Bay Prime”. By the way, if they are not totally full, you can use (they hope you will buy lunch or drinks) the Westin’s enormous freshwater pool and their beach filled with water sports.
** The Lime Inn
In Cruz Bay with no ambiance but great Caesar salads with shrimp or chicken or whatever for lunch; excellent dinners (good fish dishes); famous for their Wednesday night "all-you-can-eat-barbecued-shrimp". Read Reviews>
* Morgan's Mango
Frequented by Harrison Ford who came here for dinner when he was secretly ensconced at Caneel Bay on vacation. Read Reviews>
Café Roma -- This informal place is a family favorite with the best pizza on the island.
Miss Lucy's -- There is no better place in St. John to introduce your child to West Indian cookery than this restaurant. It's fun, it's local, and families enjoy it, often ordering a big paella that all members can feast on. The fish is among the best on the island.
Rhumb Lines -- Children will love the South Seas ambience and the Caribbean/Pacific Rim cuisine at this restaurant with a designated kids' menu. The appetizer's are among the island's best.
A favorite open restaurant & bar (with great live music) right on the beach is aptly named The Beach Bar
A favorite casual bar & restaurant spot that is located right on the beachfront of Cruz Bay is aptly named The Beach Bar. It is also a great spot to watch the sunset and listen to live music. If you are looking for a spot for a anniversary or birthday party or even a casual wedding reception you might want to contact the folks at The Beach Bar.
Not rated by these reviewers (but recommended by previous guests) are:
- The Fish Trap in Cruz Bay for fresh fish
- another Mexican restaurant called Margarita's (693-8400) which is near Morgan's Mango
- Bamboo Grill, also near Morgan’s Mango, claiming to offer Japanese, Chinese and Thai food
- Jake's, brought to you by the folks who owned the Front Yard, now in the space the used to be Chilly Billy's. Jakes serves from 7:30 AM - 4 AM (really!) their full menu all day & night. Breakfast (don't miss the corned beef hash) or we hear great burgers, wraps, steaks, chicken, and on and on. You can even call for take-out (777-7115).
- Fatty Crab, where Hinds and then Tage used to be across from the new roundabout in Cruz Bay (same Fatty Crab as in NYC) has quickly become an island favorite (although pricey)
- Sam & Jack's Deli, on 3rd floor of Marketplace, where Baked in the Sun used to be (and, from the sandwich menu is might well be worth the walk up the stairs! looks like great comfort food), they are open for dinners including take-out and recently started a provisioning option. Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am-7pm; call ahead for take-out 340-714-3354
- Iguana Grill serves specialty burgers & onion rings, etc. (directly across from Woody's)
On the east end of the island south of Coral Bay (since it is a 45 minute drive each way these are excellent choices for a great daytime excursion for Sunday brunch) are
- Miss Lucy’s for West Indian cuisine (except, oddly, for their Sunday brunch)with only your standard brunch fare, albeit quite wonderfully done but food you could get anywhere except for the great live music and incredible beachfront ambiance!)
- Sweet Plaintains a wonderful restaurant in Coral Bay.
- Aqua Bistro gets high marks on Trip Advisor (especially for their tuna)
- Shipwreck Landing for almost-gourmet food right on the water!
- Ekaete Pink Corner for real Caribbean food like roti and curry goat
Yes, there are places to get pizza on St. John:
- Ronnie’s Pizza and ‘Mo actually will deliver
- Café Roma upstairs across from FirstBank
- Mamma Mia’s Pizzeria reportedly open 24/7 (and delivery available) in Wharfside Village
- On the weekends, Richie’s at the Inn at Tamarind Court.
While most of the aforementioned restaurants will provide food-to-go in the omnipresent styrofoam containers, the best ‘take-out’ places on St. John are: Joe’s Barbecue (ribs, chicken and steak) and the deli section (both for cold as well as hot food) at Starfish Market. The best hamburgers on the island are way out in Coral Bay at Skinny Legs or Shipwreck Landing although Woody's, the bar hangout in Cruz Bay next to La Tapa, is supposed to be very good.