Anguilla, an unassuming island only 10 miles long and 3 miles wide, sits nestled in the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea. Just a 20-minute ferry ride north of the bustling island of St. Maarten, Anguilla is somewhat of a hidden gem. While St. Maarten is dotted with fashion, nightlife, and high-end shopping, Anguilla is serene and secluded. It’s home to what the Travel Channel boasts is the “best beach in the world” and offers private bays and unmatched Caribbean views. There are few tourists to be found and, with over 33 of the world’s most beautiful beaches and a small year-round population, you almost always feel like you have the tropical island all to yourself.
At first glance, you would never suspect that this quiet little island is known to be the culinary capitol of the Caribbean. With only about 30 square miles of island and over 70 restaurants, it’s said that Anguilla has more gourmet restaurants per acre than the island of Manhattan! Chefs, both locally born and raised and those classically trained and returned to the island, create some of the most ingenious plates in the region.
Our first meal was at Straw Hat in Meads Bay, where we sat among oil lamps and tiki torches, under twinkling lights just steps off the sand. We started with Thai Spiced Crayfish Cakes with Tropical Salsa and Ginger-Lime Sauce and then ripped into fresh lobster, grilled Anguillan style on a large open-flame grill.