Dining on Tortola

An Indagare member, who is also an avid traveler and founder of a luxury villa rental company, has rented houses for years on Tortola and counts the island as one of her favorite in the Caribbean. Below she shares the restaurants and beaches that keep her coming back.

Favorite Restaurants

Road Town: 

Located on Main Street, Dove Restaurant & Wine Bar (67 Main Street, Road Town; 284-494-0313) is really one of the best restaurants on Tortola and has a charming décor and very good Asian-influenced French food. The restaurant also has a martini menu and good Champagne and wines. Make a reservation. Le Grand Cafe, formerly Le Cabanon (Waterfront Drive, Road Town; 284-494-8660), on Waterfront Drive is fun and serves good French food. Roti Palace (Old Main Street, Road Town; 284-494-4196) in Russel Hill has specialties from Trinidad and Guyana and the best rotis ever!

West End: On Long Bay Beach, Nathan’s Snackette (Long Bay) is very tasty and local with specialties like coconut and banana breads, fish grilled in foil, roti, BBQ chicken and delicious fish chowder. They also serve drinks like limeade from the owner Myra’s own lime tree.

Apple Bay: The Sugar Mill (North Shore, Apple Bay; 284-495-4355) serves excellent four-course dinners in a very pretty old mill, which is part of a hotel. Lunch is available at its the beach bar and is over at 2 pm. Dinner reservations needed. Sebastian’s on the Beach (Little Apple Bay 284-495-4212) is the place for good, casual food, casual and is always fun. Try the fresh fish, which can be prepared several ways, the West Indian fritters and the jerk chicken. Lunch is over at 2:45.

Carrot Bay: Upstairs in a yellow and white building opposite the primary school, Mrs Scatliffe’s (East End, Carrot Bay; 284-495-4556) has great local food with home-grown fruit and vegetables. Sometimes the family entertains after dinner. Reservations essential. Palm’s Delight (Carrot Bay, North Shore; 284-495-4863) is on the water and offers really yummy inexpensive barbecue and local foods like roti, shrimp Creole and chicken in ginger wine sauce. It’s also a local scene. Clem’s By The Sea (Carrot Bay; 284-495-4350) features West Indian specialties including goat stew, boiled fish and fungi. There is usually a steel band on Mondays and Fridays. It’s very funky and open late.

Cane Garden Bay: You can “jump up” almost every night at Rhymers (Cane Garden Bay; 284-495-4639). The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there is a lobster special with a steel band on Thursday nights. Quito’s Gazebo (Ole Works Inn, Cane Garden Bay; 284-495-4837) is a restaurant and beach bar with calypso and reggae music and especially good roti. They also have burgers and a fish fry on Fridays. You can get a late lunch.

Inland: A fun restaurant just off Ridge Road and 10 minutes from Road Town or Cane Garden Bay is Skyworld (Ridge Road, Road Town; 284-494-3567). Owned by a very amusing Scot, it has an amazing panoramic view of all the Virgin Islands. Try the conch fritters, ceviche and calamari. Lunch is over at 2.

East End: One of the best and most charming restaurants on Tortola with indoor and outdoor dining is Brandywine Bay Restaurant (Brandywine Estate, Sir Francis Drake Highway; 284-495-2301), which cooks delicious Florentine food and has a good wine list. Reservations needed. It’s a 10-minute drive from Road Town.

Favorite Beaches

Smuggler’s Cove

is located at the western end of Tortola. It’s very cute and has two beach bars plus good snorkeling. Long Bay West is just north and over a hill from Smuggler’s Cove. Though it has a mostly sandy bottom, there are some rocky stretches, so pay attention. Elizabeth Beach can be reached by a private road leading to the Lambert Beach Resort. This is a beautiful beach lined with palm trees where green sea turtles nest on the beach in January and February. Depending on the weather, Josiah’s Bay can be great for surfing. There is a beach bar and restaurant there.

Favorite Bakery

The New England Culinary Institute runs the Road Town Bakery (Road Town; 284-494-0222), which is part of their Tortola campus. Everything is delicious, including sandwiches and pastries. It’s primarily take-away, although there are a couple of tables outside. If you do sit at one, do not make the mistake of throwing crumbs to any passing hens with chicks. Once you stop feeding them, they get crabby and will peck your legs.


There are lots of shops on Road Town’s Main Street. Visit Sunny Caribe (119 Main Street, Road Town; 284-494-2178) for spice presents. Other places to shop are Wickham’s Cay in Road Town and Soper’s Hole in the West End, both of which have a marina and shopping wharf.

Don’t Miss

Every visitor should have a picnic on Sandy Spit, a tiny, deserted islet is just off the eastern tip of Little Jost Van Dyke. After lunch and a swim, go over to neighboring Green Island, which is also deserted, for wonderful snorkeling. To get there, charter a boat and captain. Also, be sure to stop by Bomba’s Surfside Shack (Apple Bay; 284-495-4554), the most famous hangout on the island. Step inside Bomba’s shack on Cappoon’s Bay, which is built with whatever he could find like old tin roofs, surfboards and driftwood, and you may be a bit taken aback by the unusual décor, which features ladies’ underwear hanging everywhere. This spot is not to be missed, especially the night of the full moon when Bomba hosts his famous monthly party. It’s a wild and amusing scene especially after some of the gusts have imbibed in the free house tea, which is allegedly spiked with hallucinogenic mushrooms. It’s also wild on Wednesday and Sunday nights, when there’s live music and an inexpensive all-you-can-eat barbeque.


As the island has some very steep and winding roads, a four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended, especially if it’s raining!

Published onNovember 13, 2009

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