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Caribbean Food and Cooking

The Caribbean has not exactly been renowned for its food over the years. Recently though, things have improved and it is possible to eat well. The settings have always been wonderful – right above the waves, or looking onto a pretty lit garden - but in certain islands at least, eating out has now become a key part of the pleasure of a Caribbean trip.

It is easy to forget how hard it is to create cuisine in the islands. Most of the ingredients have to be imported, and the West Indians cook very differently from most of the visitors. In the past the result has tended to be fare that is studiedly international. Recently though, certain islands have developed a greater tradition of cuisine. In St Barts, St Martin, Anguilla and Barbados there are some very good restaurants. Most islands now have a good restaurant or two for a romantic evening out.

West Indian food also has its own strong traditions. The best of it is delicious, with a good use of local fresh fish and the exceptional spices and fruits. In general local food is unexpectedly heavy, with stews accompanied by a volley of starchy vegetables, so you might find that the weekly buffet is enough, but many islands have delightful local restaurants which give a good exposure to Caribbean food at its best. If you are staying in a villa in which there is a cook, she or he may be happy to show you how to cook some local dishes.

Rum 'n' Recipes

Why not sign up to receive our newsletter. Each issue of the Standpipe Newsettler has an original recipe for traditional Caribbean Food and Rum recipes, and look out for the Signature Dishes and Readers' Offers.

Accommodation for Food and Cooking

  • The Condominiums at Palm Beach,Barbados Condos, Penthouses & Suites

    Prime South Coast beachfront property in Hastings, within walking distance the Garrison Savannah for horse racing and numerous restaurants, bars and shops. A number of 2-3 bedroom condominiums available for rental - 59 residences. Read more

  • Rockhouse Hotel,Jamaica Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    A trendy, laid-back hotel on the cliffs in Negril, set in a series of stone walled and wooden, thatch-roofed cottages that line the cliff tops of the West End. Secluded and low-key, the 34-room Rockhouse has great tropical style and a distinctly cool vibe. Read more

  • Kariwak Village,Tobago Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    Small, environmentally friendly and holistic retreat set in lovely tropical gardens. Just 24 rooms, pool, healthy cuisine, yoga, Tai Chi, massage rooms, close to beaches. Read more

  • Amarillo,Grenada & Carriacou Villas & Villa Living

    A modern 4-bedroom villa in quite grand Mediterranean and Caribbean style and with lovely views over the True Blue promontory. Read more

  • Maca Bana,Grenada & Carriacou Villa & Condo Resorts

    12 rooms in six villas overlooking a secluded cove in the south of Grenada. Romantic and comfortable gem, with all mod cons and fantastic views. Read more

  • The Lone Star,Barbados Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    Stylish, 4-room hotel on the glitzy West Coast, with a fashionable restaurant right on the Caribbean Sea. Cool place to be seen. Read more

  • Cobblers Cove,Barbados Hotels & Resorts

    One of the Caribbean’s most exquisite hotels, 40 suites hiding within enviable tropical gardens at the northern end of Barbados’s West Coast. Read more

  • Little Arches Hotel,Barbados Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    A delightful 10-room hotel, tucked away on the South Coast just across the road from the excellent Enterprise Beach; family run. Excellent dining room. Child-free zone. Read more

  • Hermitage Bay,Antigua and Barbuda All-Inclusive

    An extremely stylish 25-suite hotel in its own spectacularly beautiful bay on the west coast of Antigua. Read more

  • Sugar Mill Hotel,British Virgin Islands Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    One of the nicest small BVI hotels - friendly and comfortable set in pretty gardens within an old sugar estate on Tortola’s north shore. 23 bedrooms and a prize-winning dining room. Read more

  • Treasure Beach Hotel,Barbados Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    Trusty, small, luxury hotel on the West Coast of Barbados, 35 suites in a horseshoe configuration leading straight onto a good stretch of beach. Read more

  • Hôtel Le Toiny,St Barthélemy Hotels & Resorts

    A secluded and refined small hotel with cottages ranged across a hillside in the east of St Barths. There are just 15 private suites, each with a pool and decorated in gracious style, Read more

  • Eden Rock,St Barthélemy Hotels & Resorts

    A small, stylish and extremely fashionable 32-room hotel with 2 villas set on its own rocky promontory above a lively stretch of St Jean beach, right at the heart of St Barths’ north coast Read more

  • Hotel Chocolat - Boucan Hotel & Restaurant,St Lucia Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    A very impressive, newly-built luxury hotel with just 14 rooms set on a venerable cacao estate with fine views of the Pitons. Romantic place for foodies, walkers and chocoholics. Read more

  • The Hermitage Plantation Inn,Nevis Boutique/Small Hotels & Inns

    A wonderful plantation inn, with gracious West Indian atmosphere, set on the flanks of Mount Nevis. With authentic style, it is an intimate retreat for couples and weddings and honeymoons. A Caribbean gem with just 15 rooms in traditional Caribbean cottages. Read more

  • Timothy Beach Resort,St Kitts Hotels & Resorts

    A well-priced, modern beach hotel set above the Caribbean side of Frigate Bay in St Kitts, where its 60 rooms overlook the lively beach from the hillside. Read more

  • Baraka Point Estate,British Virgin Islands Villas & Villa Living

    An exotic, fully staffed retreat boasting the best of bohemian style with African, Oriental and Caribbean influences that complement its fabulous clifftop setting. A myriad of mod-cons make it an ideal getaway haven. Sleeps 14. Read more

  • Almost Paradise,Grenada & Carriacou Cottages & Apartments

    A collection of cottages set into hillside gardens on the northern coast of Grenada, with views to the Grenadines. 8 rooms. Read more

Read Food and Cooking articles

Top 5 islands for food and cooking

  1. Trinidad

    The polyglot nature of Trinidad's society and culture has influenced its cuisine accordingly and it is probably inarguable that devotion to food and good cooking is greater than anywhere else in the Caribbean.

  2. St Barths

    Food is one of the pleasures of a visit St Barths. The restaurants are excellent and well supplied with ingredients from France and Florida (some flown in fresh to St Maarten and shipped in time to reach the dinner tables that same evening).

  3. Grenada and Carriacou

    Local Grenadian food has legacies from all the island’s various influences including British, French and, of course, African, but it is also solidly West Indian.

  4. Anguilla

    Perhaps unexpectedly, for a barren island, owned by the British and visited largely by Americans, the food in Anguilla is often excellent, both in the hotels and outside.

  5. St Lucia

    With its complex history and racial heritage, St Lucia has an interesting tradition of local food - with some strong French Creole influences of course - which is worth investigating.