The dining scene in St. Thomas these days is among the best in the West Indies, but it has its drawbacks: Fine dining (and even not-so-fine dining) tends to be expensive, and the best spots (with a few exceptions) are actually not right in Charlotte Amalie and can be reached only by taxi or car.
You'll find an eclectic mix of cuisines on St. Thomas, including American, Italian, Mexican, Asian, and other options. We recommend exploring some of the local Caribbean dishes at least once or twice, especially the seafood specialties like "ole wife" and yellowtail, which are usually prepared with a spicy Creole mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The winner among native side dishes is fungi (pronounced foon-gee), made with okra and cornmeal. Most local restaurants serve johnnycake, a popular fried, unleavened bread.
On the Trail of Good Barbecue -- Locals will direct you to one of three locations for Texas Pit BBQ: the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront, Red Hook, or Seabay. The owners brought their secret barbecue recipe from Texas, where they learned how to make a fiery sauce to wake up your palate -- "and everything else," a habitué confided. These takeout stands are favored by yachties, St. Thomas cowboys, and frugal families. Chicken, tender ribs, and Texas-style beef are dished up in hearty portions, along with rice, coleslaw, and potato salad. One local pronounced these ribs the island's best. We tend to agree. The Waterfront joint, across from the Windward Passage Hotel on Veterans Drive, is open Monday to Saturday from 5:30 to 11pm; Red Hook, at the Red Hook Plaza, Monday to Saturday from 3 to 10pm; and Seabay, at the Nisky Center, Monday to Saturday from noon to 5:30pm. For information, call tel. 340/776-9579.