This was my fourth trip to the island and having spent over two months there in total, along with the local knowledge of my in-laws who have lived there for a decade, I like to think that I know St Lucia pretty well by now.
I have spent the majority of my time on the North of the island, where you’ll find Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, Gros Islet, Castries and Cap Estate.
St Lucian restaurants are naturally geared up for the year-round tourism that the island receives, and in particular there’s a strong American influence, being relatively close by and receiving a large portion of holiday makers from the USA. Local food is more likely to be found in huts and vans and at the side of the road which must be checked out along with the main restaurants! St Lucian food is lightly spiced and often accompanied by lentils or sweet potatoes. Roti is a popular dish as well: curried chicken, pork or lamb wrapped up in a flatbread to resemble a tasty square parcel.
There’s a wide variety of cuisines to discover; here are the ones that I’m most fond of!
Big Chef: For The Best Steak
Being close to both Argentina and America, St Lucia has some absolutely fantastic beef to offer. The best place of all to experience it, and so far in my life the most delicious steak that I have found on the planet is at Big Chef.
Now don’t let the naff name fool you, this restaurant is an absolute must for any serious steak lover who finds themselves in St Lucia. With its classic dark ‘steak house’ interior you do have to remove yourself from those lovely Caribbean vibes for a few hours, but the reward is divine, juicy and unforgettable steak. For me it’s all about the New York Strip here: I cannot tell you how beautifully sweet the meat is with a salty, smokey crust that makes your eyes roll back in your head! Come hungry and go big: a 12oz strip with Courvoisier peppercorn sauce will set you back about £36 (sides not included).
Spinnakers: For The Sunsets
This beachside restaurant on Reduit Beach is the perfect spot for relaxing with a cocktail and watching the sun sink below the horizon, leaving behind a wonderful display of colour over the water. I don’t know what it is about St Lucian sunsets in particular but they are just absolutely breathtaking…
At Spinnakers you’ll sit in an open dining space covered by a simple straw roof. Once the sun goes down the timbers light up with a thousand fairy lights which is a beautiful sight! It really is a lovely little spot… and they have a regular happy hour.
Eugenie’s: For the Local Food
You can find Eugenie’s little hut on the boardwalk at Vigie Beach, overlooking the sand and the sea. Ask her what she has cooking and you’ll be amazed at the large menu that she can produce from such a small space, where silver pots of innumerable delicious things are bubbling away. Q and I enjoyed her baked chicken with plantain, rice & peas and a fresh salad. All washed down with a local Piton!
Two big ol’ meals and two beers set us back less than £15, and it was honestly one of the tastiest meals I’ve eaten in St Lucia!
Elena’s: For Authentic Italian
Italian might seem like an odd choice when you’re in the Caribbean but hey, this Italian owned restaurant has their tables packed every night so they must be doing something right. And since when is pizza not a great idea? The restaurant is in Rodney Bay and is a good spot for casual dining and they have a lovely deck right on the water where you can stare out at the moored yachts or observe the open kitchen and pizza oven.
Elena’s also have an incredible selection of gelato. Yep, ice cream cones… now we’re talking hot weather and palm trees! Their Strawberry yoghurt flavour is ultra refreshing.
Rituals Diner: For The Burgers
That tasty beef also features in the ground steak patties at Rituals, located at the Baywalk mall at Gros Islet. A good one to have in mind for days when you fancy something simple; Q and I come here after hiking up Pigeon Island… there’s some very welcome air conditioning too!
Rituals Sushi: For Indulgent Japanese
Yep, Rituals have their fingers in many pies (they also have a coffee shop). I use the term Japanese very loosely here because there’s no hiding that the sushi here is highly Americanised… but damn it, I can’t help but be fond of this place! The menu has every kind of California roll you could possibly desire from classic rainbow rolls, to teriyaki beef rolls (which Q loves). The dishes are picture perfect and super fillings. Cold California rolls on a hot Caribbean night are ideal.
The Side of The Road: For The Coconuts
One of the biggest treats in St Lucia is both the cheapest and the most natural. You’ll find vendors at the sides of the roads and stopping off for a coconut drink is an essential experience. Trucks are piled high with young, green coconuts and are chopped open with machetes. Add a straw and you’ve got yourself a beautiful, all natural drink that brings joy like drinking from a glass never could! If you’d like some coconut water to take away the sellers can often decant a few coconuts into a bottle for you.
You don’t get experiences like this at your all-inclusive.