Don’t be turned off by the somewhat ramshackle appearance of Palm’s Delight (Carrot Bay, 284/495-4863, 6:30–9 p.m. daily, $8–16), a real gem among restaurants on Tortola. This is simply the best place on the island for local food. Specialties include fried and steamed fish, shrimp, rotis, and a special chicken dish made with Stone’s Gingerwine. Try the generous portions of peas and rice, fried plantain, coleslaw, and vegetables, or ask for fungi, dumplings, and ground provisions. On weekends or in season, come early so you don’t have to wait for a table. Service is careful, but slow; don’t come here if you’re in a rush.
For an entirely different type of West Indian dining, head to the one-of-a-kind Sammy’s Ital Place (Carrot Bay, 284/495-4796, 6–9 p.m. Thurs.–Tues., $6–13). A small restaurant attached to a fruit and vegetable stand and located on the picturesque Carrot Bay coastline, Sammy’s serves ital food—vegetarian dishes that meet the dietary standards of the Rastafarian faith. Dinners often include vegetarian lasagna, eggplant, and tofu main dishes, complemented with brown rice, salad, breadfruit, plantains, and slaw. Don’t miss the homemade juices, made from locally grown fruit including passion fruit, limes, ginger, and pineapple, or the made-from-scratch desserts, including soursop ice cream and carrot cake. Devoted meat-eaters might turn up their noses, but all others will very likely rate this as one of the best, and most memorable, meals of their vacation.
Bananakeet Café (Windy Hill, 284/494-5842, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., $18–32) is a good pit stop if you’re touring around the island—the view is unrivaled. On top of that, you can take a dip in the pool to cool off. For lunch try the chicken curry pita or lobster quesadillas. At dinner, specialties include fish grilled in banana leaves, sesame salmon, and rack of lamb. With a dramatic sunset view, this is an excellent happy hour (4–6 p.m.) choice.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition