Picture this: You’re tottling down a steep metal staircase from an airplane onto the steamy-hot tarmac of an airport runway. A wave of humidity cloaks your body, your cheeks flush. All around you are lush, green mountains jutting out from the island you’ve just landed on.
Arriving in St. Kitts marked my 11th island hop, but this wasn’t the island I was spending my vacation on — I was headed to its sister island, Nevis.
After clearing customs and immigration, my mother, boyfriend and I hopped into a big cab painted with rasta colors and drove across the island to Reggae Beach, where a ferry was waiting to take us to Oualie Beach in Nevis. The first mate on the ferry gave us complimentary Carib beer and Ting grapefruit soda (my all-time favorite soda) for our short and smooth six-minute ride. My father was waiting for us at Oualie.
I was in awe of all the mountains and the volcano on Nevis, aptly named Mount Nevis. As if the beauty of the island wasn’t enough to make me fall in love, Nevis fed me some of the best food I have ever had while on a vacation. Seriously, if you visit Nevis, BRING STRETCHY PANTS because you will be gorging yourself on all the tasty food.
Here’s a list of the restaurants I visited in chronological order:
The Yachtsman Grill
The Yachtsman Grill is found in the Hamilton Beach Resort, where I stayed. This place was my first and last meal in Nevis and provided many convenient pool-side and beach-side meals throughout my stay. The staff is kind and accommodating — the manager, Lisa, even drove my boyfriend to Lime Beach Bar for a nightcap after Yachtsman closed!
I recommend the following dishes:
- Ahi tuna poke bowl
- Crab and lobster croquettes
- Lobster tail
- Tiramisu (with house-made cream and ladyfingers!)
- Semi-freddo key lime pie
- House-made chocolate-Baileys ice cream (this one was my favorite)
They also have a huge selection of thin-crust pizzas that are the perfect size for two people.
If you’re craving a juicy, beefy burger, then look no further than Double Deuce. I am not exaggerating when I say Double Deuce serves the best burgers I have ever tasted. Oozing with juice, the tender meat is flavored with caramelized onions and fresh herbs — it’s so perfect that you don’t even need condiments. The barbecue chicken breast was also delicious and juicy with fruity notes in the sauce. Word to the wise, however: it’s hot. Luckily, Double Deuce features a swimming pool right next to the dining room, so go ahead and take a dip while your food is being prepared!
Aladdin’s is located in the Ram’s grocery store parking lot, next to three other small restaurants. All four restaurants are made from 20-foot shipping containers that have been converted into functioning kitchens and painted attractive colors. They pretty much look like immobile food trucks. This place is perfect for a super quick lunch or a to-go meal. Aladdin’s has awesome shawarmas, my favorite being the classic lamb. They have great house-made tzatziki sauce, but you’ve been warned: You will have a five-foot radius on your garlic breath after eating it. Breath mints or gum are suggested for your post-meal comfort (or, perhaps more importantly, the comfort of those who will be smelling you). They also have massive portions, so I suggest starting with one meal for two people and ordering something extra if you’re still hungry after (but you probably won’t be).
Mount Nevis Hotel
Mount Nevis Hotel is an older development nestled a short way up the volcano. Because it’s one of the higher spots on Nevis, it offers amazing views of St. Kitts, Nevis’s mountains and a grassy field full of adorable donkeys and cows (I even saw a couple baby donkeys. They are so fuzzy and silly it’s really not fair). My family and I only stopped for appetizers here, but the coconut shrimp and calamari were enjoyable. The menu looked great and I would definitely visit this spot again — it has a great atmosphere for romantic dining, plus it’s an excellent location for watching the sunset or stargazing.
This place was my favorite in Nevis. Bananas is a beautiful bistro and art gallery nestled in thick jungle a short way up Mount Nevis. My family and I visited for lunch and had spectacular food. My boyfriend and I both had jerk chicken sandwiches, featuring juicy, spicy, outrageously flavorful chicken on a house-made brioche bun (I could go on and on about this bun, but I’ll keep it short: it’s doughy, soft, chewy, sweet and pairs so perfectly with jerk chicken). The French fries were also seasoned with a blend of spices making this a crazy delicious meal. My dad had a fish cutter (a Caribbean term for a fried fish sandwich), which he said was delicious and well prepared. Be sure to check out the roof deck for incredible panoramic views and the boutique for interested handmade jewelry and fine art pieces from paintings to sculptures. You’re also likely to see some of the famous Nevis monkeys around here.
Rodney’s is a shack with seriously good down-island food. If you’re looking for authentic Caribbean cuisine, look no further. This is a place where you’ll see tons of locals eating on their work lunch break, which is how you know the food is the real deal. Also, food can be pretty pricey on Nevis, and Rodney’s offers giant portions for cheap. If you’re not familiar with Caribbean cuisine, you may be shocked to see things like curry goat, whole steamed fish and mutton (sheep) stew. These are staples of island diets and definitely worth trying. Fried plantains, rice and peas, and baked mac ‘n’ cheese are also a good way of easing yourself into Caribbean cuisine if you’re not very adventurous.
Indian Summer is a great restaurant for fine dining or takeout. The restaurant has beautiful Indian inspired decor and a huge menu to match. While waiting for our takeout order, my boyfriend and I also smoked a watermelon hookah on the breezy patio. The bartender fills the hookah bowl with ice, ensuring a smooth, cool smoke.
The night we went, my mother made a huge mango chicken curry, so we ordered the following sides from Indian Summer to complement our meal:
- Paneer tikka
- Cumin spiced jasmine rice
- Garlic naan and butter naan
Indian Summer is a must-try.
Nevis is a volcanic, tropical island with extremely fertile soil. Because of this, fruit grows EVERYWHERE. Driving down the road, you will see mashed mangoes all along the sides and you will see many monkeys eating them. If you’re looking for a snack, pull over by a fruit vendor and buy some fresh mangoes, soursops or any of the other fruits they’re selling. It is pretty much impossible to starve in Nevis because there is an abundance of fruit everywhere. Also, if you stop by the grocery store, you may see clear plastic bottles filled with colorful juices in a refrigerator with sodas and waters. They’ll have small printed labels on them showing what fruits are in the juice. These are cheap and delicious local-made juices and they are always seasonal — try these and you will be craving them when you leave!
Lastly, there are many restaurants on Nevis that I didn’t get the chance to eat at. The Gin Trap, Montpelier Plantation and Golden Rock are my top recommendations though I never tried their food. I recommend these spots, though, because I did visit them and take a ridiculous amount of pictures.
Based on the beauty of their locations and my parents’ testaments to their delicious food, I’d also like to say these are must-try spots.