Article and photos by Elena del Valle
One of my favorite spots to sit at breakfast at Montpelier Plantation and Beach
During my five night stay in the beautiful Caribbean island of Nevis, in the West Indies, I was impressed by the surprising number of good meals I enjoyed, especially for an island of that size. While there I had a chance to eat at eight venues. Whether in one of many informal eateries, at a fine dining restaurant, on a hill setting or beach side the quality of the meals and dexterous preparation was notable.
One of my dinner courses at Restaurant 750 at Montpelier Plantation and Beach
Seeking local or regional ingredients and fresh produce I often favored simply prepared fish in lieu of classic European dishes made from products that had previously been frozen. I particularly appreciated the availability of fresh caught fish and the chefs’ ability to prepare it well. Almost without exception every fish dish I ordered was made to highlight its flavor and texture without overwhelming it with exotic (to the island) or excessive spices and garnishes.
An appetizing main course at Restaurant 750 at Montpelier Plantation and Beach
Stephane Caumont, French executive chef at Montpelier Plantation and Beach
My first meal on the island was at Restaurant 750 at the Montpelier Plantation and Beach (+1 869 469 3462, firstname.lastname@example.org), the lovely hillside hotel where I stayed. Camera shy owner and operator Muffin Hoffman was a behind the scenes presence at the restaurant headed by Stephane Caumont, a newly arrived French executive chef, which offered “a blend of French and Caribbean cuisine with emphasis on fresh, innovative food.” I looked forward to the combination buffet and prepared to order breakfast every morning.
The Sea Breeze Beach Bar at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club
My fresh caught kingfish with a side salad and Nisbet Chips at Sea Breeze Beach Bar
The next day I had a delicious beach side lunch at Sea Breeze Beach Bar at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club (+869 469-9325, NisbetPlantation.com, email@example.com). The shaded setting two steps from the sand was comfortable thanks to cooling breezes. I tasted wonderfully prepared fresh caught kingfish served with a side salad and Nisbet Chips, made from thin slices of tania, sweet potato and breadfruit. I had a fresh fruit smoothie without sugar (at my request) and for dessert I tried the coconut panna cotta with fresh melon, strawberries, pineapple and starfruit. Glendina, our friendly server, was accommodating and had a ready smile. The toes in the sand beachfront dining service was available for snacks and lunch. The property, owned by David Dodwell, was managed by Alistair Forrest, general manager, who greeted us soon after we were seated.
For an appetizer I tried the pumpkin fritters with sweet and sour chili sauce at the Lime Beach Bar.
My spiny lobster at the Lime Beach Bar (click to enlarge)
Dinner that evening was at another beach location although I didn’t realize it until several days later. At the Lime Beach Bar (Pinneys Beach, + 869-662-9620, + 869-469 1147, firstname.lastname@example.org) I had pumpkin fritters with sweet and sour chili sauce for an appetizer. I also had a mixed salad with lettuce, feta cheese, watermelon slices and fried zucchini and eggplant pieces followed by a spiny lobster with rice and peas. Randy Jeffers, a local entrepreneur, owned the popular restaurant that served West Indian style cuisine.
My fresh fish lunch at the Oualie Beach Restaurant at Oualie Beach Resort
My fresh fish lunch at the Oualie Beach Restaurant Oualie Beach Resort (Oualie Bay, + 869-469-9735, www.oualiebeach.com, email@example.com) was outstanding. Although there was outdoor seating we chose an indoor table in the shade. The beach front restaurant was owned by John and Alastair Yearwood and managed by Faith Bertie. Our server was friendly and attentive.
The sweet Killer Bee signature drink at Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill packed a punch (pun intended).
My fresh fish sandwich with fries and a side salad at Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill
During lunch at Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill (Pinneys Beach Bar & Grill, + 869-662-8817, + 869-469-5817, www.sunshinesbeachbar.com), another beach side restaurant (steps away from the Lime Beach Bar), we were greeted by a smiling Llewellyn “Sunshines” Caines, the owner. The bright interior was chock full of celebrity photos and international flags. West Indian and seafood dishes were on offer. I had another well prepared fresh fish in a sandwich while sitting in the shade steps from one of the island’s best known beaches. I tasted The Killer Bee, a deceptively tasty rum punch drink well known on the island.
A shared appetizer medley of local specialties at Bananas Bistro (click to enlarge)
A pasta and seafood main course at Bananas Bistro (click to enlarge)
For local and international cuisine we went to Bananas Bistro (Hamilton Estate, + 869-469-1891, www.bananasbistro.com, firstname.lastname@example.org), a hilltop see and be seen dress up dining venue owned by Gillian Smith, a world traveler turned restauranteur. I liked the romantic rooftop views of the island at sunset and the varied rum offerings.
While awaiting my spa treatments at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Nevis (P.O. Box 565, Pinney’s Beach, Charlestown, Nevis, + 869 469-1111, http://www.fourseasons.com/nevis/spa, SpaConcierge.NEV@fourseasons.com) I had a spa lunch consisting of a bento box with fresh fish and a smoothie. It was so good I would return just for lunch.
A tasty dinner under the stars at The Rocks at Golden Rock Inn
The beautiful dinning room at The Rocks at Golden Rock Inn
Dinner at The Rocks at Golden Rock Inn (Golden Rock, Gingerland, + 1 869 469 3346, www.goldenrocknevis.com, email@example.com), owned by Brice and Helen Marden and run by Peter Dunning, was a delight. We sat under the stars facing the hotel’s striking water features and enjoyed another outstanding Nevisian meal refreshed by cooling Caribbean breezes. I had a veggie tart amouse bouche followed by beet and citrus salad, and perfectly prepared fresh red snapper with wilted spinach, sweet potato wedges and red pepper coulis for the main course. Key lime pie rounded out the meal. Jocelyn, our server, was friendly and extra helpful. The beautiful and romantic setting combined with the delicious dinner made it one of my favorite restaurants.
Avocado Mousse with Shrimp, Greens and Mustard Vinaigrette
Pan-seared Mahi Mahi Fillet, roasted Pineapple and Cilantro Sauce
Richard Lupinacci, co-owner and manager The Hermitage Plantation
Chef Janice Ryan, The Hermitage Restaurant at The Hermitage Plantation
My final meal on the island was at The Hermitage Restaurant at The Hermitage Plantation (Hermitage,+ 869 469 3477, www.Hermitagenevis.com, Contactus@Hermitagenevis.com), an island estate rebuilt from ruins and owned by Maureen and Richard Lupinacci. I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with Richard Lupinacci, the property’s affable manager. The restaurant specialty was Caribbean gourmet, prepared by Chef Janice Ryan.