As one St. Croix local told me, “The only bad meal you will have on St. Croix is Wendy’s or McDonald’s.” Mr. Ames—driver for our group of four travel writers—says there are many great places to eat in St. Croix and that his favorite is Chicken Shack (included below).
St. Croix is relatively isolated, 35 miles from the nearest island (St. Thomas). Imported items cost a lot so St. Croix chefs and residents incorporate local ingredients whenever possible. While farm to table is a trend all over the world it is an inherent cultural lifestyle in St. Croix.
Seafood is very fresh. Chicken is plentiful and free range (roaming the streets). Pork and beef are amazing. Local rum is made at the Cruzan rum factory in St. Croix. Pretty much guarantee yourself the freshest, local dishes and drinks by ordering any or all of these items.
Please also see the McCool Travel article: 8 Great Things To Do in St. Croix
8 Great Places to Eat in St Croix
1. AgriFest: Agriculture & Food Fair of the US Virgin Islands
Crucians—as St. Croix residents call themselves—love to eat at festivals and St. Croix hosts at least one festival nearly every weekend. Fortunately I visited St. Croix during Agrifest, the largest annual festival on St. Croix. Vendors from all over the Caribbean sell produce, baked goods, and crafts at AgriFest. Popular St. Croix specialties include crab rice, tamarind balls (sweet with seeds), conch in butter sauce, deep fried fish, goat, and pork.
Savant is located near the Danish fort in Christiansted. In fact, Savant is in a building made with bricks brought to St. Croix from Denmark before 1750. The outdoor patio is romantic and unbeatable on pleasant evenings. Savant’s chefs buy fish directly from fisherman at the nearby dock.
The daily special will be something caught within the past few hours so definitely consider ordering it. I ordered the pork chop, advertised as double cut but was probably triple thick. I ate maybe half and gave the rest to my local host to take home. USA Today named Savant one of their top 10 Caribbean restaurants.
Rumrunners is a popular restaurant and bar located on the waterfront at Hotel Caravelle. Sure, their rum drinks are inexpensive and potent but I was surprised how good their food is.
For dinner, I shared appetizers and entrees. The sea scallops were astounding. For one breakfast, their Caribbean French toast was really yummy and a side of ham perfectly complimented and offset the sweetness.
4. Zion Modern Kitchen
Zion Modern Kitchen’s creative chefs use local ingredients and sustainable products whenever possible. The mixologists prepare craft cocktails from custom infused blends, using local ingredients, rather than buying flavored liquors. Both use fresh ingredients from the onsite herb garden.
The name represents the harmonic convergence of a new life brought to one of the oldest buildings on St. Croix. Like Savant, the building is classic brick and you should strongly consider the daily special.
5. La Reine Chicken Shack
This quintessential roadside shack is one of the most popular places to eat in St. Croix. The outside rotisserie at La Reine—Crucians just call this place the Chicken Shack—continually turns, cooking dozens of locally sourced chickens. The atmosphere is casual but the food is top notch, tasty, and memorable.
La Reine Chicken Shack: Facebook
balter’s chef hosted a James Beard dinner (the first in the Virgin Islands), won Caribbean Chef of the Year, is a member of Slow Food Movement and James Beard Foundation. In other words, you cannot help but eat well at balter. You will also drink well— choose a homemade infusion cocktail (I had The Hemingway with local Cruzan rum) or craft your own cocktail.
Said to be one of NBA star and local celebrity Tim Duncan’s favorite places to eat in St. Croix, Harvey’s is an institution on the island. Unlike the other places in this article, Harvey’s is neither relaxed luxury nor a shack but something in between.
It is almost like eating homemade food at someone’s house, with a dozen new friends. The daily menu appears on whiteboards and, oh, yes, Harvey’s runs out of food. My pictures show availability when we arrived and when we left 75 minutes later. I love the homemade hot sauce sitting on tables in recycled rum and vodka bottles.
Shupe’s is St. Croix’ version of Five Guys, but with alcohol drinks and a better view. Instead of ordering at a counter, diners fill out a form at the table, choosing options like cheese, bacon, and toppings. The fresh ground burgers and hand cut fries are delicious. Try the three types of fries if possible: Sea Salt, Truffle Parmesan, and Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage. Give Shupe’s Happy Hour a try—it looked very popular.
What are some of your favorite places to eat in St Croix?
Note: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (USVI Tourism) hosted me as an opportunity to explore and learn about the food and culture of St. Croix, USVI and share my findings with the McCool Travel network.