St Thomas contains many of the finest restaurants not only on the US Virgin Islands, but in all of the West Indies. However, several St Thomas restaurants are expensive and situated fairly far from Charlotte Amalie. The best St Thomas culinary bargains are found at the Texas Pit barbecue served at the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront and restaurants serving local specialties like johnnycake, yellowtail, and an okra and cornmeal dish called fungi. Stewed goat, salted fish, and summer mangoes are St Croix’s best known local dishes. Most of St John’s over 35 restaurants are either fine dining establishments located within luxury resorts or more casual West Indian restaurants where most locals dine. The legal US Virgin Islands drinking age is 18.
Bars and Pubbing in US Virgin Islands
St Thomas remains home to the US Virgin Islands’ liveliest nightlife, although much of the action has shifted from Charlotte Amalie to Frenchtown in recent years. Although many St Thomas hotels have their own nightclubs complete with live fungi bands, those venturing outside their hotels will find a taste of Europe at Epernay (St. Barthélemy Street, Frenchtown). This sophisticated bar serves six different champagne brands alongside caviar, sushi, and chocolate covered strawberries. The funky Hull Bay Hideaway (10 Hull Bay, St Thomas) surfer bar offers a far more laid back atmosphere, especially during its Sunday afternoon and Saturday night live music shows.
In recent years, the heart of the US Virgin Islands gay nightlife scene has moved from St Thomas to St Croix, but guests of all types are welcome at The Palms (4126 La Grande Princesse, St Croix). Palms patrons can sip on tropical drinks while facing the ocean or this romantic bar’s adjacent gazebo. Another highly recommended St Croix bar is Blue Moon (7 Strand Street, St Croix), where a jazz trio performs each Sunday and a five piece band performs until midnight on Fridays.
St John’s nightlife may appear far more sedate than that of St Thomas or St Croix, but the island is filled with carefully tucked away local hangouts like JJ’s Texas Coast Café (Cruz Bay) which serves lethal margaritas across from the ferry dock. Skinny Legs (Emmaus, Coral Bay) serves St John’s best burgers alongside its dartboard, satellite television, and horseshoe pits. This popular St John’s sports bar also offers weekend live music during the high season.
Dining and Cuisine in US Virgin Islands
St Croix is the unofficial US Virgin Islands culinary capital, and no restaurant on any of the islands may come more highly recommended than Kendrick’s (2132 Company Street, Christiansted. Some of the signature dishes served at this posh restaurant in the historic Quin House have been published in Bon Appétit. Visitors craving more down-to-earth dishes have plenty to choose from at Junie’s Bar and Restaurant (132 Peter’s Rest, Christiansted) a favorite among local taxi drivers for its stewed Creole-style lobster, pork chops, and key lime pie. Ginger beer, sea moss, and mauby are among the most unusual drinks on Junie’s menu. Maggie’s Snackett (65 King Street, Frederiksted) is the best place to find similar home Caribbean cooking in Frederiksted.
Cuzzin’s Caribbean Restaurant and Bar (7 Wimmelskafts Gade, Charlotte Amalie) serves up traditional St Thomas cuisine inside a former 18th century stable where Cuzzin’ Nemo, the restaurant’s seafood and pasta signature dish, is served inside a comfortable stone and brick dining room. Fried plantains or green bananas are the side dishes accompanying most of this restaurant’s other freshly caught seafood and fish dishes. Virgilio’s (18 Dronningens Gade, Charlotte Amalie) serves the finest northern Italian cuisine in the entire US Virgin Islands.
Shipwreck Landing (34 Freeman’s Ground, Coral Bay), one of St John’s highest rated restaurants, is situated eight miles east of Cruz Bay. This seaside restaurant serves frozen tropical drinks and nightly pastas of the day on its scenic veranda. No cover charge is required to watch Shipwreck Landing’s Thursday and Sunday night jazz performances. The garlic fried chicken is the most recommended specialty at
Vie’s Snack Shack (East End, St John), a casual roadside snack bar which also serves johnnycakes, conch fritters, and fresh limeade.