For West Indian food in Charlotte Amalie, your first choice should be Cuzzin’s Caribbean Restaurant & Bar (7 Back St., 340/777-4711, Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. lunch, Tues.–Sat. 5–9:30 p.m. dinner, $13–20). This is the place to come for authentic Virgin Islands and West Indian cuisine, served in a friendly setting. Located in a restored 19th-century livery stable and cook shop, Cuzzin’s has local favorites like stewed chicken, mutton curry, and conch salad, as well as standards like steak and seafood. Try the conch Creole, and don’t forget to order an authentic local drink like mauby, ginger beer, or sea moss.
You can taste Jamaican food at Negril Café and Cocktail Lounge (6A Commandante Gade, 340/774-4830, 11:30 a.m.–late, $6–15), a cozy eatery in the colorful neighborhood behind Government Hill. Try the Jamaican-style jerk chicken, pork, curry, and other favorites. On Wednesday and Saturday they serve saltfish and ackee, a Jamaican stand-by. This is not in the best part of town, so steer clear at night.
If you follow the “where the locals eat” philosophy of dining, then head to Petite Pump Room (Veteran’s Drive, 340/776-2976, 7 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $9–15) for breakfast or lunch. This waterfront restaurant is upstairs in the Wilmouth Blyden Ferry Terminal and draws a large lunchtime crowd from downtown offices.
For a more informal lunch or dinner, get some of the tastiest island-style barbecue at Open Pit Bar-b-Que (Waterfront, 340/513-4582, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–midnight Fri., 5 p.m.–midnight Sat., $4–8), a mobile food stand that sets up along the waterfront. Look for it across from FirstBank at lunchtime, and across from the Lottery Building after 5 p.m. The barbecue comes with traditional sides, including potato salad, coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition