In Anguilla, restaurants offer a mixture of Continental, US and Anguillan dishes. Seafood includes lobster, conch and a variety of fish. Unusually for a Caribbean island, Anguilla boasts an exciting array of gourmet, gastronomic dining experiences. Because of that, there are many places to dine in Anguilla, with a wide variety of cuisines to chose from. The prices also vary depending on the selected restaurant.
Despite its small size, Anguilla has nearly 70 restaurants ranging from stylish temples of haute cuisine to classic, barefoot beach front grills, roadside barbecue stands, food carts and casual cafés. Many have breeze-swept terraces, where you can dine under the stars. Most restaurant owners are actively and conspicuously present, especially at dinner. It's a special treat to take the time to get to know them a bit when they stop by your table to make sure that you are enjoying your meal.
Don't miss the all-you-can-eat barbecue buffets at CuisinArt Resort & Spa, the best buffets on the island, with grilled lobster, chicken, and ribs; home-made desserts; and delicious sides and salads made with hydroponic-farm-fresh produce; a string band provides the entertainment. The pleasantly old-fashioned Old House (George Hill) serves terrific breakfasts; on Sundays, it serves a traditional Anguillan breakfast with salt fish and all the trimmings.
Anguilla has a number of casual beach bar/restaurants, most of which have live music at least once a week. You can have a light meal and a drink for around $20. These places are about as casual as casual can be, but remember, this is modest Anguilla; if you've been swimming, cover up before you sit down to eat. At Upper Shoal Bay, check out Gwen's Reggae Bar & Grill, which features daily barbecue; on Sunday it showcases live reggae performances. The palm grove here is one of the few naturally shady seaside spots on the island, and it comes with hammocks.
At the more populated end of Shoal, Uncle Ernie's is open from morning until at least sunset most evenings, serving up generous plates of chicken and ribs, fresh fish, fries, coleslaw and cold Red Stripe beer. At the west end of the island, a sign points off the main road down a bumpy road to Palm Grove Bar & Grill at Junk's Hole. Seafood is on the menu here, and the johnnycakes are so good that the recipe has been published in Bon Appétit. Islanders and visitors flock here for what many think are Anguilla's most succulent grilled lobsters and lightest johnnycakes.
Over at Sandy Ground, another island favourite, Johnno's Beach Stop, has live music most Wednesday evenings (reggae and soca) and Sunday afternoons (jazz). Burgers and grills are available all day, or you can just order a rum punch, plop down at one of the picnic tables on the beach, and watch the spectacular Sandy Ground sunset. A few minutes' stroll down the beach is the Elvis Beach Bar, which occupies an Anguillan boat beached on the sand, with tables and chairs nearby. There's great rum punch, nibbles and live music several times a week. Half-way between Johnno's and Elvis, overlooking the Salt Pond, the Pumphouse has rafter-shaking live music almost every night, the best cheeseburgers on the island, crisp Caesar salads, and dynamite rum punches.
Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve is located at Rendezvous Bay, with its own salvaged boats and the island's most seriously relaxed musician. Reggae star Bankie Banx is usually in attendance and joins in the live music performances here several times a week. In 2008, Bankie added a seaside restaurant called Tasty's, serving light lunches, dune burgers and onion rings. Heading from Bankie's toward the east end of the island, keep an eye out for the small sign that points from the main road to Smokey's at Cove Bay. Delicious crayfish, lobster (and lobster rolls), ribs, spicy wings, and curried chicken or goat are served up most days.
You'll notice a number of roadside food stalls on the weekends, in The Valley near the outdoor People's Market and around the roundabout by the school and library. Out on the island, you may see other food stalls, often doing barbecue in grills fashioned out of oil drums. This is a great way to sample such local delicacies as bull foot soup, pigtail soup, goat water, roti and fungi. Keep an eye out for Hungry's, the mobile food van that is usually parked near the Post Office in The Valley. You can eat yourself silly on sandwiches, wraps, curries, or stews, usually for a good deal less than $10.