Restaurants & Bars
There are specialist magazines and ‘phone apps which will give you a comprehensive guide to the island restaurants and eateries including a new table booking service app, TripService.me available from the App Store, Google Play and on-line.
It is easy to eat and drink well and it need not be costly. Most bars have a Happy Hour (or two) where prices are cheaper. In line with anywhere in the world, drinks with meals are more expensive but cheaper when standing at the bar without the service charge.
We try to provide a few pointers where to find a variety of different foods although one problem with printing a few months before the season starts is the number of new venture restaurants which pop up and some of last year’s new ventures which have disappeared.
Many of the restaurants around English Harbour and Falmouth close for part or all of the summer and most that are open limit their days and/or hours.
Well known in the Dockyard is the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel & Restaurant, now doing a speciality fish supper on the dockside lawn on Friday nights all year round. It is also a great place for traditional English breakfast. Perhaps the most iconic restaurant in the whole of Antigua and a jewel in English Harbour is the Admiral’s Inn with its outdoor waterfront terrace and Pillars’ restaurant overlooking the Dockyard’s 18th century stone pillars. The stunning setting is the perfect spot to enjoy evening cocktails, lunch in the cool breeze or an intimate dinner while watching the moonrise. Boom, a restaurant located accross the water at the Gunpowder suites and part of the Admiral’s Inn complex, is situated alongside a spectacular infinity-edged pool which overlooks the Dockyard. Open daily during the season from 11am until 6pm for lunch and cocktails, it is accessed both by road and by water taxi.
Also in the Dockyard is the Galley Bar, open for breakfast and lunch during the season and occasionally during the summer. On the other side of the Dockyard is the Hot Hot Hot Spot Cafe which serves breakfasts, snacks, lunches and occasional evening dinners sometimes accompanied by guitar players and crooners. Take- away pies, cakes, pasteries and snacks can be purchased from the Dockyard Bakery in the early morning and up until lunchtime.
Across the water on the opposite side of the harbour is the Inn on English Harbour has a beach bar/restaurant on Galleon Beach which is open to the public as well as hotel guests as is the formal terrace restaurant set on the hillside overlooking English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. Also on the other side of the water and located at Antigua Slipway is an Italian restaurant, Incanto and a French restaurant, La Brasserie.
Outside the Dockyard is Abracadabra’s, English Harbour’s long established early evening restaurant and, later, a night club, adjacent is the Rasta Shak bar. New last season serving fantastic steaks was The Moxy with Pirate’s Pizza nearby, an eat-in or take- away/delivery pizza parlour and a little further the Cap Horn which is two restaurants, one serving pizzas and sizzlers, the other, a fine dining restaurant.
Also in this location is one of Antigua’s most popular restaurants, Trappas, full almost every night and well patronised by locals and sailors. Booking is recommended. On the opposite side of the road, Lime is a pub/bar only open in season, holding regular music session evenings and serving occasional snacks. Adjacent is the successful South African style restaurant, Flatties, next to that is the long established Jackie’s Quick Stop, best known for her bacon and egg English breakfasts.
On the corner of Falmouth Harbour is LIFE which remains open for most of the summer as does Paparazzi, a popular pizza restaurnat. Match Sports Bar & Bistro is another new addition, located in Temo Sports, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Barbie’s, a colourful full dining restaurant and bar occupies the ground floor of Antigua Yacht Club The Club House, on the first floor with its large deck overlooking Falmouth Harbour, open all year with only brief summer breaks. Cloggys is at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina and, for those with more modest tastes, below are Sea Breeze and Skullduggery whose coffee-martinis are legendary.
Past the Antigua Yacht Club and on the way to Pigeon Beach is South Point’s restaurant inspired by Middle Eastern Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Located on Pigeon Beach is the very popular Catherine’s Café Plage, an up market, French run restaurant. However, if relaxing beside the beach is more your style then Bumpkins, also located right on the beach at Pigeon Point, is the place to chill out.
A new venture for 2019 was Colibri, a stylish French Creole restaurant opposite Falmouth Harbour Marina. Further up the road and also new was the Sitting Monkey. Nearby is Roti Sue and the Waterfront Bar is next with a view over Falmouth Harbour.
Nearby, with a mixture of local, French and Italian cuisine is Sun Ra, a restaurant which can be accessed by both land and sea. Also accessible by water and road with a large car park. Island Fusion is now located at the National Sailing Academy restaurant and stays open through summer. Around the corner at Cobbs Cross, is Famous Mauros, a family friendly pizza restaurant and a favourite with the yachties. During the season, fresh bread and croissants are available in the mornings.
On the Way to Shirley Heights is the Inn on English Harbour with its high class Terrace restaurant plus a second restaurant on Galleon Beach. At Shirley Heights is the Lookout restaurant and bar which is famed for its all year round Sunday and Thursday live bands and the sunset viewable from the cliff edge. Visit for the steel bands and sunset and, if the mood takes you, sip the rum punch and stay on for the various local live bands which play on until ten.
The Catamaran Marina, off Falmouth Main Road, is host to both Cambusa, an Italian restaurant only open in the season and the Captain’s Table serving pan-European food in a quiet waterfront setting, open year round. Opposite the marina is Sweet T’s, a burger bar with a fantastic selection of ice creams. Take away or eat in, Sweet T's also holds regular karaoke nights. Volunteers may often get a free burger. A little further along the road is the local Rose End Bar.
By road or by sea around the west side of the island brings you to the Carlisle Bay resort which has two restaurants, East serves a selection of Eastern dishes and Indigo serves pan- European food. Nearer to Jolly Harbour, Turners Beach Restaurant serves the best rum punch on the island. Recently opened and next door to the long established OJs is the beachfront London bus bar and restaurant known as The Rum Bus. Almost adjacent is Jacqui O’s, a year round restaurant serving high quality food and a little further up the road is Sheer Rocks, nestling on the cliffs over the Caribbean sea. In the same area is the informal Dennis’s bar and restaurant.
Jolly Harbour is a modern development which combines holiday resorts, a marina, supermarket, shopping centre and restaurants but some come and go with such regularity that it is hard to keep track. More permanent and adjacent to a swimming pool is the Crow’s Nest and inside the complex are Acropolis Greek Taverna, Melini’s and newly opened Flatties. Jolly Harbour’s only beach front restaurant is Castaways located on the South Finger. With its own dock, Al Portos allows you to sail your yacht to the door. Just outside the complex and overlooking Jolly Harbour is Sugar Ridge with the casual Sugar Club restaurant on the lower level offering indoor and outdoor dining. On the hilltop is the more formal Carmichaels where the infinity pool blends into the Caribbean shore line.
St John’s is a mine of small and large bars and restaurants and St. John’s night life is mainly for the young where you need to like your music loud but a wander around the capital during the day can produce some good lunch time venues. Live local bands regularly play at a variety of venues. A wander around Redcliffe Quay will produce quite a variety of places to eat and drink and, in next door, Heritage Quay, favourite of the cruise ship tourists, there are several bars and restaurants. On the fringes of the city in the new shopping malls are quite a selection of new restaurants and cafes serving everything from Indian to English food.
Dickenson Bay has numerous bars and restaurants including the unique Warri Pier and new for 2019 Salt Plague. Ana’s on the Beach is Mediterranean style with a touch of the Caribbean. If you crave fish and chips, then look for Chippy Antigua who parks his fish & chip van in the area on Wednesday and Friday evenings.. There are a hoard more restaurants in this area. For more information check the TripService.me app available from the App Store, Google Play and on-line.
Outside of town Le Bistro, at Hodges Bay, is worth a visit as Antigua’s most authentic French restaurant. Travelling east you will encounter Cecilia’s and La Bussola restaurants at Dutchman’s Bay. Just over the water is the Jumby Bay resort, an up market holiday resort, the restaurant is open to visitors with a reservation. Also close to the airport with anchoring facilities at Shell Beach Marina is the Runway 10 restaurant.
Situated within the manicured grounds of the airport is the Antigua Athletic Club’s Vitality Kitchen & Bar. If travelling First or Business class relax in comfort before your flight in the airport’s VIP lounge. Others can pay a fee to enter.
Located at the Nonsuch Bay Resort, an up market residential and holiday area and close to the yachtsman’s favourite, Green Island, is The Bay with a jetty for dinghies. Views across the restaurant’s infinity pool to Nonsuch Bay are complimentary to the fine cuisine and service. The next bay down,Halfmoon Bay boasts Beach Bums Bar & Grill where you can enjoy a fine lunch.
Something you will notice about Antigua is the number of small roadside bars and restaurants, many of them excellent value for money. Stop and try one. Occasionally you will come across some interesting offerings. During Sailing Week food vendors set themselves up outside Nelson’s Dockyard and a meal with drinks can be had for just a few dollars.
On the way back to English Harbour, at Marmora Bay the St. James Club, mainly caters to its resort guests but its restaurants are open to visitors with advance booking. Check the dress code.
There are many more restaurants than listed here and many have their own websites. Most restaurants on the island are listed on the TripService.me app available from the App Store, Google Play and on-line.
Much of the accommodation in the English Harbour and Falmouth area is the antithesis of the ‘beach holiday’ as most hotels cater for yachts and sailors although a couple of hotels in the area do have access to beaches. Most of the beach holiday hotels are on the north of the island with a few on the west coast particularly around Jolly Harbour.
Most hotels in the area of English Harbour/Falmouth have their own bars and restaurants which cater for the general public as well as hotel guests. Some hotels, such as South Point, have high end restaurants specifically targeted at both tourists and local residents. Check the TripService.me app on GooglePlay or the Apple Store.
A rather unique hotel situated in Nelson’s Dockyard is the Copper & Lumber Store. The style, finish and furnishings of this hotel transports you back to the days when Nelson’s Dockyard was full of the wooden warships from the Royal Navy. The Copper and Lumber Store was built as a storage facility in 1789 of bricks brought to Antigua as ballast in the holds of ships. The hand-hewn wooden posts and beams from the period are very much in evidence. Its massive brick aches, central courtyard and the wooden beams create an atmosphere of quiet comfort and gracious elegance. The hotel has 14 suites fitted out in the style of an 18th Century luxury cabin and each is named after one of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s ships or Captains. Antique period furniture and paintings decorate the fully air-conditioned rooms which have en-suite bathrooms, TV and internet.
Another historic hotel in Nelson’s Dockyard is the Admiral's Inn also originally a store but, in this case, of turpentine, pitch and lead with engineer’s
officesabove. Recently added but across the water are Gunpowder Suites converted from an old gunpowder and munitions store as can be evidenced from the thickness of the walls now with four deluxe suites, an infinity-edged pool overlooking Nelson’s Dockyard and a poolside restaurant appropriately called ‘Boom’. The rooms at the main hotel, housed in 3 buildings dating from Nelson’s era, all feature A/C, WiFi and a free boat ride to the beach or to Boom restaurant and the adjacent spa/massage parlour.
Few hotels in English Harbour and Falmouth have direct access to a beach, exceptions being the Inn on English Harbour, South Point (which also has its own dock) and the less expensive but very commodious Catamaran Hotel. Not only does it have its own beach but also a pool. Quietly located, it is very convenient to the Catamaran Marina and only a short bus, taxi or car ride into the centre of English Harbour and Falmouth. It comes highly rated by those who have stayed there. Adjacent to the Hotel are two restaurants, one pan-European and one Italian, both with bars.
The National Sailing Academy offers accommodation at very reasonable rates and the restaurant on site offers all day catering. Some room only accommodation is available in places such as The Moxy Hotel, Harbour View Apartments or the Waterfront. Other accommodation only hotels include the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort and the Ocean Inn.
Other hotels. Outside of the English Harbour/Falmouth area there are a variety of hotels to suit all budgets but at the top of the list has to be Jumby Bay from US$1,345 per night. At the other end of the scale but providing that perfect beach holiday is Starfish Jolly Beach Resort from US$150 per night. In between there are a multitude of hotels and resorts, mainly on the west and north coast, most of them all inclusive but some offering board only with meals optional allowing the visitor the option of trying many of the local restaurants and other eateries on the island.
Booking Hotels can be done through a large selection of websites or travel companies but it is often cheaper to contact the hotel direct and see what they have to offer. An excellent place to start is Antigua Nice.
Christmas is a popular time and not as busy as during the regattas, Hotels and villas are generally easily available but still quite expensive. Low season, June to November, can be much cheaper but the weather is definitely warmer and there is a small risk of a hurricane. If you don’t mind a short drive, there are plenty of hotels on the north of the island.
Villas or apartments are available from rental agencies. Prices vary according to the time of year and some bargains can be obtained out of season. You can rent anything from a 2 bedroom apartment at US$1,000 per month (long term) to a 4 bedroom villa at over US$5,000 per week. All inclusive hotels are not necessarily suited to the visiting sailor but can be an attractive proposition if attending a regatta with the family staying ashore. Websites like AirBnB offer affordable accommodation but, if you are visiting for sailing events, check the location and access to transport.