by Artie & Millie
(New Jersey, USA)
My wife and I will be making our yearly trip to Anguilla this coming May. This is trip #2...Haha, OK... We just got started, but we plan on making Anguilla an annual vacation!
We enjoy visiting a different high end Anguilla restaurants every night for dinner during our stay. We rent a car for the week so we won't be limited in our choices. We try to choose restaurants on the beach and on the side of the island where we can watch the sun set while sipping a pre-dinner cocktail and relaxing after spending an entire day in water and sunning on the beach.
Nori's current top 3 restaurants - daVida, Straw Hat and Cote Mer are interesting to us because the first two we visited last year during our stay and had incredible meals!
In fact Straw Hat was the only restaurant we had dinner at twice because we just loved the location, ambience, service, food and relaxing atmosphere. We also enjoyed meeting the owner, Peter Parles, a transplanted New Yorker. Since we are from the NYC - NJ area, we enjoyed talking to him. We'll be back again this year.
We did not visit Cote Mer last year but have added it to our list for this trip. We are excited about having dinner there, especially reading Nori's most recent reviews and providing the update regarding the new owners. This remade restaurant seems right up our alley in terms of our preference so we're looking forward to checking it out and hopefully meeting the new owners.
One of our other favorite restaurant we'll be returning to is The Barrel Stay. We loved how the chef and co-owner Graham, greeted us and asked us if we had any "favorites" in terms of an entree. When I mentioned to him I was partial to "white steak fish" he got excited, ran into the kitchen and returned carrying a very large section of fresh Wahoo, which he just got in and which he proudly showed off to me and told me he could prepare it any way to my liking.
Well, with that type of personal service, I couldn't resist. I requested the Wahoo be grilled, cajun style and Graham was true to his word. It was one of my favorite meals I enjoyed that week. So we will be sure to visit Graham and his lovely wife Jill again this trip for another wonderful meal as we watch the sun set.
So their preference in terms of what Nori and her family enjoys, seems to match our preferences, as well as our taste buds.
Last year we passed on Koal Keel, but we are not sure why we did. After reading Nori's review that Koal Keel has been restored and has a beautiful ambience, we've decided we will give it a try this vacation.
So that leaves us with only two dinner nights left. Last year we also tried Trattoria Tramonto and Luna Rosa, both fine restaurants but we weren't "overwhelmed by pleasure" like we felt with our other choices.
So at this point, our two "wildcards" we are considering are Blanchards & Hibernia. We are curious if Hibernia is along the lines of daVida & Straw Hat when it comes to its prices.
The Hibernia review by Nori makes it sound substantially more expensive than da Vida & Straw Hat. If anyone has any insight for comparison purposes, we'd love to hear it.
Thanks for reading,
Artie and Millie from New Jersey
Nori's Reply: Wow, Artie and Millie, you sure experienced many Anguilla restaurants on your first trip to Anguilla!
I am glad to hear that you enjoyed daVida and Straw Hat. They just get it right on all levels, as you pointed out. From the food to the ambience... Dining in Straw Hat and Cote Mer is the ultimate in laid-back luxury dining.
Cote Mer is another favorite, for all of the same reasons. I do hope you enjoyed Cote Mer during your second trip to the island, and would love to hear about your experience.
We are long overdue for a return visit to The Barrel Stay. As you described, service was very personal. My sister was a picky eater at the time, so they prepared a dish just to her liking. With a picture-perfect Sandy Ground sunset, it couldn't get any better.
Koal Keel, while not on the sea, is a charming, classic Caribbean house that always seems to sparkle in the night. Do call ahead to ensure that they will be open.
I am sorry to hear that Trattoria and Luna Rosa did not compare. Many prefer Trattoria for lunch, when they can enjoy the St. Martin scenery.
As for Blanchards and Hibernia... Both offer supreme Anguilla dining experiences, and are two of the original five-star Anguilla restaurants.
Tip for Blanchards: Be sure to ask for the Western corner table on the "lower" part of the restaurant, nearest to the sea.
These two restaurants are both substantially more expensive than other five-star Anguilla restaurants. All main dishes start at over $30. Our bills have always come to at least $350 USD.
Happy Anguilla dining! :-)
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