The volcanic island of St. Lucia is rather unique for the Caribbean landscape. More mountainous than most of the other islands, its charm manifests itself as clearly as the two Pitons ascending above their surroundings. Historically the island often passed between the British and the French, thus leaving a permanent imprint on the local culture. Together with West African and East Indian influence, all of this created the unique flavors that are present in the local cuisine.
The St. Lucian national dish is green fig and saltfish that back in the day was cheap to make, easy to preserve and provided much-needed protein to the plantation workers. And despite popular belief, the green fig isn’t a fig at all – many might be surprised finding out that they are actually green bananas, the island’s largest export. The starchy fruit serves a similar purpose in St. Lucian cuisine as the potato for Western cultures. Mixed in with other vegetables like steamed cabbage, peppers, and onions, it is served together with salted fish – historically it was cod.
The Cliff at Cap
If you can tear your eyes away from the ocean views that stretch all the way to Martinique, Chef Craig Jones is sure to wow you with his nouveau French West Indian fare that has earned him praise as one of the best chefs in the Caribbean. Professionally trained in classic French cuisine but with a natural love for St. Lucian flavors and traditions, the chef and his team celebrate fresh and local ingredients to create a contemporary spin on every dish. Seared yellowfin tuna is paired with compressed watermelon and dressed with Creole flavors, while the pumpkin and mushroom risotto delivers a creamy sensation to your taste buds. The rum smoked Kobe short rib is everything we love about food – meat so tender it melts in your mouth, and is enhanced with local rum – something the Caribbean is well-known for.
Dinner with an accompanying view of the stunning Pitons is a reality at Dasheene, Ladera Resort’s impressive restaurant. White linen tablecloths, the cool sea breeze, stars flooding the skies, and a perfect panorama of the forested slopes and the enigmatic mountain peaks are the realities here. Choose between outdoor seating under the starlit sky or for more privacy – the wine cellar boasts a beautiful setting and comes with a private server. Executive Chef Nigel Mitchel and his staff only work with the freshest locally-sourced ingredients provided by local farms and nearby plantations. Expect a true Caribbean flair with pickled vegetables in a yam basket, plantain gratin, and sweet potato and coconut soup – all traditional dishes with a contemporary and stylish twist.
Hotel Chocolat offers more than a heady place to sleep – praised as the top spot for finding some of the most imaginative food on the island, Boucan takes diners on a true culinary adventure. The idea of every dish having some form of cocoa in it may sound a little tired, yet Boucan manages to pull the rabbit out of the hat with style and flair. The dining space is dramatic with its open plan design allowing the warm night air surround you and wild bats to stretch their wings nearby. Tempt your taste buds with cacao gin cured mahi-mahi or beef-filled Yorkshire pudding with a white chocolate mash. Fall in love with the delicate buttery cacao broth fish bouillon, and finish with any number of the staged chocolate dessert tasting plates. This is indulgence at its richest.
The Coal Pot
With over half a century beneath its belt – The Coal Pot is considered a St. Lucian dining legend. Off the beaten path and a little difficult to find at first, but when you do, you are met with sleepy marina views, uncomplicated fresh fish dishes, and waterfront tables ensure an elegant yet unpretentious experience married with homegrown food. Callaloo soup, mussels dripping with white wine and garlic butter, the catch of the day thrown on the grill until black on the outside and falling-apart-on-the-fork soft on the inside, and freshly chilled ice-cream. We know this is the perfect lunch spot for those who want to sit beside the water and dream the afternoon away.
Big Chef Steakhouse
One of the best and most reliable places to dine in the Rodney Bay Village is without a doubt the Big Chef Steakhouse where mouthwatering and tender steaks are outstanding not just by St. Lucian but worldwide standards. Serving only the finest quality Angus steaks and locally sourced seafood, exceptional quality is the basic standard that Big Chef Steakhouse bases everything on thus delivering plated perfection each time. And it’s not just about steak here – duck breast crostini and sesame tuna sashimi, Thai-style New Zealand mussels and coconut colada shrimp are only some of the starters on the exciting menu which then leads to a remarkable selection of soups and salads and the main players – New York sirloins, prime ribeyes, and gourmet steaks. We honestly think this is the perfect balance between blending locally-infused flavors with something that is as timeless as the steak. What more could you wish for?