The Caribbean’s Most Romantic Seaside Restaurants
by Melanie Reffes, Special for USA Today
The most romantic night of the year is fast approaching, and what could be more perfect than an intimate dinner for two at sunset with your toes in the sand. We’re certain that if you book one of our favorite sexy tables for two, you’ll impress that certain someone with a mood-setting meal she (or he) will never forget. Reserve a table on the sand and spoil your sweetie with a dreamy date under the stars.
Like its name promises, Water’s Edge Restaurant is right at the edge of the one-mile sandy swath at the adults-only Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. Overlooking St. Maarten’s beautiful Great Bay and just a 10 minute stroll along the boardwalk to the capital city of Philipsburg, the seaside bistro at the all-inclusive offers an a la carte menu of Mediterranean and Italian fare from traditional spaghetti pescatore to salads splashed with a mist of fine olive oil. With views of the passing ships, the twinkle of the city lights and a superior wine list, beachfront dining is delicious. The sinfully delicious, chocolatey desserts are the icing on the cake.
With the hottest tables on the island, Sheer Rocks, well, rocks for date night. At the swishy Cocobay Resort on Little Ffryes Bay, the chic hangout is equal parts fabulous food and views to-die-for. Known for discreet yet super-efficient service, you might run into divas like Mariah Carey, whose fiancée James Packer is bankrolling a new resort on the sister island of Barbuda. For lunch, tapas plates are for those who like to share while at night, tables tiered on wooden pavilions that hang over floor-lit rocks are perfect, if you can get a reservation. “Of course, everybody wants a waterfront table,” says operations manager Alex Rocks, “our restaurant is a romantic retreat with tables in the wooden dining pavilions that are draped with sheer white curtains.” Artisan signatures created by a team of British chefs include a savory seafood stew, blackened grouper and ravioli in a party dress of sundried tomatoes and artichokes. Ask for two forks and share a pesto, tomato and mozzarella salad and save room for a sweet treat in the form of an espresso dessert. Not hungry for dinner? Opt instead for innovative cocktails at the too-cool lounge that overlooks the crashing waves below.
At first glance, it looks like a romance movie set on the sand. Add a butler in white gloves, a four-course dinner, long-stemmed roses, a top-shelf bottle of wine and a table set for two and you know this movie has a happy ending. At the adults-only all-inclusive Sandals Halcyon Beach in Castries City, dining at sunset on the beach is a necessary extra (dinner for two starts at USD$180) for couples making their way to the island for the holiday. For twosomes vowing to do it right this year, blow the budget and add a musical serenade to your dinner plans. Staying at a Sandals on another island? Not to worry! Romantic dinners on the beach are served at all Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean.
Pull up a sea-blue chair at a pretty white table and dig into a beachfront feast at Mango’s Seaside Grill. In West End Village, the family-owned grill founded by Rhode Island expats Kim and David Coburn is a hot ticket. “We are the only restaurant right on Barnes Bay,” smiles Kim Coburn showing guests to their table on the beach, “you really can’t dine any closer to the sea than right here.” Start with Chef Darien Baptiste’s bowl of mussels, get funky with his thin-crust Rasta Pizza topped with sundried tomatoes, feta and olives or go classic with an Anguillan lobster simply grilled with butter and herbs. Local disc jockey Sugar rocks the sand and for the ladies; desserts are on the house.
On the pier, every table at Pinchos comes with views of the Caribbean Sea. Dinner is tres romantic amidst the twinkling of candles and the setting of the sun on L.G. Smith Boulevard in the capital city of Oranjestad. High above the waves, the trendy bistro is chic enough for a romantic tete-a-tete yet casual enough for a scrumptious dinner with friends. Start with a refreshing salad of pickled cucumbers and white grapes and share forkfuls of tuna ceviche with a wickedly fiery wasabi and ginger drizzle. Meat lovers can move on up to a veal chop with roasted red pepper jam or a juicy 8-ounce filet mignon with dark rum infused blue cheese sauce. For those who prefer their mains to come from the sea, tuna seared medium rare and grilled salmon with a sweet plum wine and orange glaze is the choice du jour.
If you thought romantic dining on the beach has to be white-tablecloth fancy, think again and head to Bamboo Blu fronting the Caribbean Sea next to the lavender-colored high rise Riu Resort. In Ocho Rios at the Mammee Bay Estate in the Parish of St. Ann, the open-air casual restaurant fronts the beach with palms trees that bop to a Jamaican beat and endless warm breezes. Island-born Chef Osmond Brown is a wizard with his perfectly share-able specialities like spicy crab wontons, honey BBQ ribs grilled jerk-style and bruschetta made Jamaican with saltfish and bammy; those addictive cassava flatbreads that are toasted on the outside so they’re soft on the inside. Should the deck get too crowded or the call of the sun too hard to resist, bring your plate (and your sweetie) to a lounger planted in the sand.
Find additional photos on USAToday.com