Fine Dining in the Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are famous for fresh caught seafood, but if you dig a little deeper they have much more to offer than that. I admit, I did eat most of my meals at my hotel during my lovely stay in the Virgin Islands, but every time I ventured out I was more than pleasantly surprised with the cuisine.
My first foray into fine dining in the Virgin Islands was at Oceana in St. Thomas, which came heavily recommended from the St. Thomas locals. The Caribbean restaurant is an a villa that dates back to the 1850s, previously used as the Russian Embassy and open as Oceana Restaurant and Wine Bar in 2002. The Villa’s main dining room is ocean front and open, perfect to enjoy the spectacular views and boats sailing by.
We were greeted by the owner, Patricia, and sat ocean side. I started my meal, which will not soon be forgotten, with a roasted beet salad. The red and yellow beets were perfectly cooked and topped with basil oil and fresh basil. My companions raved about the chorizo sausage and leek stuffed calamari, steamed P.E.I. mussels, and the trio of Maryland style crab cakes.
Next up was an ‘in between’ course, something that Oceana just made for us as a treat. Mine was petite tomatoes with balsamic and pesto. The small green ones pictured were fresh from St. Croix! My dinner mates raved about their scallops, and swore to order a full portion the next time we were on St. Thomas. All agreed the fresh baked focaccia and olive oil was more than just bread, Oceana puts thought into everything that is put on the table.
Petite tomatoes from St. Croix - yum!
Finally, my main dish arrived. Our waiter said I was the first to order it – simply named ‘vegetarian selection’ at the bottom of the menu. The dish definitely deserved more credit, it was one of the best vegan main dishes I’ve had at a non-vegan restaurant – easily! Perfectly roasted squash, zucchini, tomatoes and marinated tofu were layered with a pesto sauce. On the side was a pyramid of cous cous with spinach and vegetables and roasted asparagus. When a dish made of simply vegetables, it must be perfectly cooked, and this was. Even the tofu was great, smoky and flavorful, something that I struggle cooking for myself after 15 years of being vegetarian.
The vegetarian entree making it's debut - I was the first to order it!
The other diners seemed to be equally impressed, especially with the Oceana Bouillabaisse with Caribbean Lobster Shrimp Mussels and Clams.
The wine list left nothing to be desired, we drank and enjoyed the St. Thomas restaurant for more than 3 hours.
Our waiter Tyler (from Ohio!) was more than pleasant and very knowledgeable; we had excellent service from beginning to end.
Overall Oceana is a must visit in the Caribbean, and must be the best restaurant in St. Thomas.
Where is your favorite place to dine in the Caribbean?