Anguilla is considered to be one of the Caribbean’s culinary paradises with more than 70 restaurants situated across its small area. Although the island boasts a large number of fine dining restaurants complete with celebrity chefs and wine cellars, visitors on more modest budgets also have plenty of tasty options to choose from. Traditional Anguilla dishes such as tamarind balls, breakfast salt fish, and the Johnny cakes that accompany each meal may be less fancy, but are no less delicious. Rice and pigeon peas are Anguilla’s most popular side dish and intimate beach bars where patrons dance barefoot to live music are the pulsating heart of Anguilla’s nightlife.
Bars and Pubbing in Anguilla
Although visitors cannot gamble or go to casinos in Anguilla, the island has its fair share of lively nightlife within both the luxury resorts which encourage you never to leave and the beach bars where the locals prefer to party. Sandy Ground is Anguilla’s weekend party destination and the rum punch served at the Pumphouse (Sandy Ground) ranks among Anguilla’s most infamous drinks. Just a few steps away lies the beached Anguillan boat containing the bar, Elvis (Sandy Ground), where visitors can enjoy a cocktail while hearing live music most days of the week.
The party moves to Shoal Bay on Sundays and Wednesdays and one of the most legendary watering holes, Gwen’s Reggae Bar and Grill (Upper Shoal Bay), offers live reggae music on Sundays and shady hammocks to recover from the party the next morning. Elodia’s Bar and Grill (Shoal Bay) has a slightly quieter atmosphere away from downtown and next to the beach’s favorite swimming spot. Live music Sundays are their busiest time of the week.
Dune Preserve (Rendezvous Bay) is undoubtedly Rendezvous Bay’s most well known watering hole and many of its patrons are even more famous, including Bankie Banx, a celebrity in the reggae world who regularly participates in Dune Preserve’s numerous live musical performances. The Valley, on the other hand, is the best place in Anguilla to croon along during Wednesday and Friday night karaoke at the Next Level Nightclub (The Valley) or enjoy relaxing jazz music at Ambiance Night Club (The Valley).
Dining and Cuisine in Anguilla
Anguilla may contain some of the Caribbean’s finest dining, but visitors do not need bottomless bank accounts to afford the croque-monsieur sandwiches and French onion soup served at the Valley Bistro (The Valley). Those able to splurge a bit more can enjoy freshly baked pastries in the morning and Caribbean meals in the evening at Asian fusion restaurant KoalKeel (The Valley) housed within one of Anguilla’s oldest stone houses dating to the 1790’s. Shuttle service is available between KoalKeel and several local resorts.
In 1994, Bob and Melinda Blanchard opened one of Anguilla’s first high end restaurants. Today, Blanchard’s (P. O. Box 898, Meads Bay) ranks among Anguilla’s most famous and renowned dining institutions, thanks in large part to their owners’ book, A Trip to the Beach, which visitors can buy after enjoying jerk chicken, roasted lobster and other island specialties. Blanchard’s has since been joined by other beachfront restaurants like Jacala (Meads Bay), whose French chef owners cook up simple yet stunning seafood and pasta dishes.
Sandy Ground’s most unusual restaurant is Veya (Sandy Ground), a hillside tree house perched above the beach. If you can’t afford the pricy five course tasting menu, you can sample the freshly baked Johnny cakes and jerk chicken at Veya’s shaded downstairs café. Ripples (Sandy Ground) may live forever in infamy as the restaurant where Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston dined the evening before their separation, but most people who eat the fresh fish, traditional English roast, and burgers have much happier stories to share.