WINTER 2011I sea&iI53Point, allowing you to walk for miles without encounteringanother footprint: barefoot luxury at its best. Further south at the bottom of the Windward islands,Grenada'sGrand Anse Beachis one of just 45 beaches on theisland, but it is fabled to be the best. Few visitors come here,and at just under three kilometres (two miles) long there isenough space to give the impression that the beach is deserted. Dining Most Caribbean islands have a handful of wonderfulrestaurants. For those seeking authentic Caribbean dishes,several good local restaurants serve up native specialitiessuch as Jamaican jerk, conch and flying fish. Beachsideshacks also offer a taste of the Caribbean in a casual setting.For those wanting a more formal experience, fine-diningrestaurants can be found in many of the resorts and towns.The BVIs are not known for fine dining opportunities but thereare exceptions. Fantastic fresh seafood dishes and an influenceof French cuisine can be found at a number of resorts, includingVirgin Gorda's Biras Creek, Bitter End Yacht Club, Little Dix Bay,and the private Peter Island Resort. With a distinctly French flavour and outstanding reputationfor gourmet dining, the Leeward island of St Barthsis theCaribbean's alternative to the Côte d'Azur. The island hascountless restaurants serving up gastronomic feasts and isknown for having the best chefs in the Caribbean. Thoselooking for French-inspired cuisine will find the best restaurantson the island to be Le Sapotillierin Gustavia, Le Gaiac at HotelLe Toiny and On The Rocksrestaurant. The latter is perched ontop of the rock of the Hotel Eden Rockand boasts panoramicviews over St Jean Bay. The hotel also has a casual lunch menuat the Sand Bar, located on the beach at St Jean. For localcuisine in St Barths, try Maya'sdaily changing menu of localCreole dishes, La Route des Boucaniersin Gustavia, or Le Grainde Selin Saline. Also in Saline and close to Saline beach, thefashionable restaurant L'Espirit Salineserves a fusion menuthat changes daily. Le Case de L'Isle at the Isle de France hotelprepares fresh grilled fish, fusion style, while La Langouste hasthe freshest lobster on the island. Across the water, Anguillais home to more than 70 restaurantsand offers true gourmet dining at restaurants the likes ofKoalKeel, Pimms, Oliver's, Hibernia, Malliouhanaand theaward-winningBlanchard's. The latter, located in Mead's Bay,is infamous on the island for its fusion cuisine and ever-evolvingmenu. For a slightly more casual affair, the Straw Hat offers aunique dining experience where seafood reigns supreme. Further south, take the tender ashore to the island of Nevisfor freshly caught lobster at the Hermitage Beach Clubon?Main picture: set on a300-acre private island,Jumby Bay lies off thecoast of Antiguaaboardashore
54Isea&iIWINTER 2011Pinney's Beach, or dine by candlelight at The Terrace,Montpelier Plantation Inn, or at The Mill, a 300 year-oldconverted sugar mill. Antiguais in pole position on the cruising map and has anumber of dining experiences to choose from. Harmony Hallin Brown Bay is known for its fresh seafood dishes, while itssister restaurant at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina serves upItalian-influenced cuisine. Take the tender ashore at CarlisleBay for alfresco dining at the resort's Indigo on the Beach.Alternatively, the resort serves up Japanese, Thai andVietnamese cuisine at its East restaurant. The private islandresort Jumby Bay is accessed only by boat and is located justthree kilometres (two miles) off the coast of Antigua. Re-openedfollowing a refurbishment, the resort has been totally revampedand has several gourmet options, including The Estate House.Down in the Windward island chain, Barbadoshas a choiceof outstanding restaurants, but worthy of a mention isThe Cliff.Located on the island's West Coast, the restaurant's multi-tiereddesign means every table has a view of the sea. The nearbyexclusive Sandy Lane resort is home to another award-winningrestaurant, L'Acajou, where fresh seafood plays a starring roleon the menu. Other restaurants worth mentioning in Barbadosinclude Daphne's, serving some of the best Italian in theCaribbean;La Mer, where the grilled meats and fish areprepared over two grills - one with lava rock and the otherwith wood; and the Lone Starat the hip Lone Star Hotel. Therestaurant has a casual beach-bar atmosphere throughout theday, and by night it becomes a romantic spot for dinner. In the northern part of the Windward island chain, Martiniqueand St Lucia are dotted with resorts offering gourmet cuisine.On Martiniquethe fine-dining restaurant at the Plein SoleilHotel serves contemporary cuisine and is one of the two mostpopular fine-dining restaurants on the island. The acclaimedrestaurant, Bélem, in the northern part of the island at the CapEst Lagoon Resort is another good place to go. For more of alocal vibe on Martinique, join locals and the yachting crowd atLe Zanzibarin Le Marin for an African, Indian and Asian inspiredmenu and live music. The nearby island ofSt Lucia has a mix of resort restaurantsserving fine cuisine and well-established family run restaurants,worth a visit to taste spectacular St Lucian Creole cuisine, suchas grilled pig tails, crab backs, callaloo, roasted breadfruit andsaltfish. At The Great Room Restaurant at the JalousiePlantation you will find fresh seafood dishes. Dasheene, locatedat the Ladera Resort, serves locally grown organic produce indishes influenced by Caribbean and Creole traditions. PianoPiano at Cotton Bay Village is one of the better-knownrestaurants on the island. The menu has internationallyinfluenced dishes, including Moroccan lamb and local fresh fishserved Creole style. Local Creole delicacies appear in manyisland dishes, including one of the oldest restaurants on theisland - Charthouse. The main ingredient here is the hot andspicy sauce that can be ordered with almost every dish - be itcatch-of-the-day or steak. The Coal Potis another local restau-rant that has been serving international cuisine since 1966. It isfamous for its French dishes with a Caribbean twist. At the bottom of the Grenadines island chain, Grenada'smost popular restaurantAquariumis worth a visit on Sundayafternoons when it serves up a barbecue accompanied by livereggae and calypso by the water's edge. For local food onGrenada, visit BB's Craback along the Carenage in the capitalof St George. Beach bars The Caribbean offers a menu of beach-bar settings for laid-backmargaritas and local beers on the beach. The BVIs are home toa handful of quintessential Caribbean classics including theinfamous Foxy'sonJost Van Dyke. Located on a spit of landfacing Great Harbour,Foxy'sbarbecues and calypso music havebeen attracting the yachting crowd since the 60s. Further downWhite Bay beach, the Soggy Dollar Baris the essence of theCaribbean. The bar was aptly named when it opened as accesswas by water only, and it is where the Painkiller cocktail, theBVI's signature drink, was first created. There is now a roadconnecting Great Harbour to White Bay, but the atmosphere(and pace) remain suitably languorous. Other popular beach bars in the BVIs include Ivan's StressFree Bar, also on Jost Van Dyke; Saba Rock's Calypso BaronVirgin Gorda; the Cooper Island Beach Club; and Pusser's Barin Tortola. On St Barths, St Jean is the place to see and be seen. Hometo the aforementioned Eden Rock's Sand Bar, Nikki BeachandLa Plage, it is probably the hippest strip of sand in the world.The chic beach shack Do Brazilon Gustavia's Shell Beach is alsoperfect for a sundowner and fine ceviche. Nightlife Nightlife in the Caribbean is generally very relaxed. Smallreggae clubs and beach bars make for a fun evening whereyou can really join in the spirit of local life. Whether diningaboard or ashore, the evening casually slips into drinks atone of the islands bars. Among the best on St Barths are Boubou, where there isdancing and lounging, andLe Ti St Barth- a popular hilltopspot that perfectly captures the spirit of the island. If cruising around Antigua on a Sunday, head to the ShirleyHeights jump-up. A Sunday afternoon session begins with abarbecue at 4pm and continues with reggae, steel-pansOpposite page, clockwisefrom top:the view fromOn The Rocks over StJean Bay, St Barths; Antigua has a beach forevery day of the year;Pusser's Bar, Tortola,USVI; Little Dix Bay,Virgin Gorda, BVI;Daphne's restaurant inBarbados; The Bath's,Virgin Gorda ?