Food is a cornerstone in the rich cultural history of the Caribbean. St. Croix, with it's agricultural history, has cultivated itself a culinary capital; becoming a haven for 'foodies.'
Many events are held yearly to celebrate the agriculture and food service industries of St. Croix. We celebrate the whole experience of a meal from sourcing ingredients and preparing those ingredients to the event of breaking bread with friends and family. It's a group event where everyone is welcome to participate in the frivolity. The more the merrier.
St. Croix has so many options it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat, even if you live here 365 days out of the year. I've obnoxiously polled everyone I can, whether it be on the street or on Instagram, what their favorite restaurant is and why. Most everyone responded with "I can't pick a favorite. There are too many!" and proceeded to list a dozen restaurants that they love. Three descriptors were used over and over again: ambiance, service, and consistent. Safe to say those are pretty universal standards for a memorable dining experience, though also universally hard to come by.
From French Continental to Local fare below are some of St. Croix's most recommended restaurants, in no particular order.
Galangal is a well-curated experience. The wine list is just as thoughtfully prepared as their modern Thai Cuisine (I literally crave the Red Thai Curry about once a month!) Huge ornately carved wooden doors shipped from another hemisphere adorn the walls and the hinges. The owners greet you, seat you and craft your specialty cocktail. Sit at the bar with Gregory and he can regale you with stories of their worldly travels while you enjoy the flavors they've brought back for you to enjoy.
Ambiance is one of the most common arguments for Savant's position on this list (I think you can see why in the images below.) Since 1998 Savant has been preparing locally caught fish, lobster, and so much more for the lucky residents and visitors of St Croix. Paired with consistently wonderful service and a farm-to-table approach Savant is guaranteed to entice you back for more.
Local legend and mixologist, Frank Robinson opened Bes Craft Cocktail Lounge after winning bar tending completions throughout the Caribbean and the US. Born and raised in the USVI he sources local foliage for his infusions, juices, and tinctures. He and his staff are some of the friendliest on island and wealth of local knowledge. Sit down relax and definitely order the saltfish!
You'll find that in an island community this small, most menus are sourced as locally as possible, Un Amore is no exception. Owners Frank & Kat have been long time restaurateurs on St. Croix; first opening Bacchus in 1997, a fine dining restaurant in Christiansted. Kat and Frank have opened 3 restaurants and consulted in the opening of others. I'm convinced they are alchemists; the passion they have for their profession turns everything they touch into gold. Un Amore was born from a love triangle between Frank, Kat, and Italy. Enamored with the bright, passionate flavors of their favorite Italian Trattoria's. Their tagline says it all: "Hand made pastas, pizza, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and tiramisu. We care about the food we prepare as much as we care about every guest that comes through our door."
Dave & Jane Kendrick have owned and operated restaurants on island for decades. Their old restaurant, Kendrick's, was my favorite for years and years when they closed I was devastated. So imagine my joy when they opened Uptown Eatery a little over a year ago. Dave & Jane pack a ton of flavor and charm into a little 4 table eatery. There isn't a single thing on the menu that won't impress.
*Dave's son Dustin recently opened a restaurant in Christiansted called Too Chéz and I received a number of positive shout outs for them. Knowing Dave Kendrick's skills in the kitchen, I'm confident that Dustin is going to surpass expectation with his food.
"Such great vibes" a pretty succinct and apt description of Zion Modern Kitchen from a friend and local business owner. The historical Quinn House is home to Zion Modern Kitchen, the old property has so much personality, it truly is a beautiful place. Chef and Owner Michael Ross has built an exceptional menu and the nightly specials are killer. Twinkle lights adorn bushes that border an age-worn brick patio, it's a perfect place for a date night... and you know the vibes are going to be great :)
--I captured the above images at Zion Modern Kitchen--
Chicken Shack is a staple on St. Croix, a no-fuss quality meal. The praises of which have been sung by Martha Stewart and Andrew Zimmerman; two names you may recognize if you watch foodie shows. Roast half chicken, mac & cheese, stuffing, rice and beans, Johnny Cakes - so many options, all great.. order and pick up at the window. Take it to the beach or enjoy it on their patio with a frosty beer. A number of my friends have had Chicken Shack cater their wedding, just saying ;)
*right next to Chicken Shack is a marketplace that hosts the local farmer's market on Saturdays. Get there early for the best local produce!
Ok, so...the above restaurants are the most popular responses I received. There are SO many quality restaurants on St. Croix, I feel I cannot do justice in one small blog. Below I will make a quick reference guide to some other notable restaurants. You could eat at a different place every meal for a month and not make it to every restaurant St Croix has to offer. It may seem a little overwhelming but hopefully I've provided a good launchpad to get you started on your Crucian Culinary Journey.
Now get out there eat to your heart's content and have fun!