All-inclusive hotels in St. Lucia offer patrons exciting menus, respected chefs, attentive service, and convenience. But visitors who are willing to venture away from their resorts will find relaxing restaurants, lively fish fries, and local vendors all teeming with French and spicy Creole influences.
The majority of restaurants in St. Lucia are concentrated in the tourist areas, namely in and around Castries, Soufrière, Rodney Bay, and Gros Islet. Establishments are sparse on the eastern coast of the island, and the terrain becomes inaccessible north of Dennery. Expect to find all types of food in the tourist areas, from pizza and fast food to Asian, Creole, Indian, Mexican and Nouveau American cuisine. Barbeque, drinks, and fruit can be purchased at vendors, although you should be sure that the fruit is both peeled and washed for health reasons.
Fish fries offer cheap and lively alternatives to restaurant dining. The Friday night fish fry at Gros Islet provides an exciting, vibrant atmosphere. It is, however, monitored by police, and women should seriously consider attending only with a group of people. The fish fry at Anse la Rey, also on Friday nights, is somewhat lower key, and attendants dine at communal tables.
During the busy winter season, reservations are essential for moderately priced and fancier restaurants. Service in St. Lucia is often extremely friendly. In fact, some restaurants will arrange for transportation to and from their location. Managers sometimes greet patrons as they are seated. While the atmosphere is usually one of “liming,” dress is conservative. Beachware should be reserved for the sand and sun.
Few of the smaller, mom and pop restaurants and nearly no vendor accepts credit cards, so it is wise to have cash on hand. Most establishments list their prices in both Eastern Caribbean Dollars and U.S. Dollars and will take both forms of currency. Change is given predominantly in Eastern Caribbean dollars. An 8 percent tax and 10 percent service charge are usually added to the bill, but you may tip more if the service was informative and attentive. If a tip is not included, 10 to 15 percent is appropriate.
With the exception of hotel restaurants, many establishments close their doors on Sundays. During the off-season, hours may change or restaurants may close for weeks at a time. Generally, the hours for restaurants are 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for breakfast; Noon to 2:00 p.m. for lunch; and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for dinner.
Restaurants in St. Lucia are wholly unique, and your dining experiences can be a significant and enjoyable part of your stay. Explore your options. Whether coming off of a boat, a beach, or a mountain, find a meal that will get you through another day of adventure and relaxation in St. Lucia.