The concept of “Island time” is something visitors to Anguilla quickly become accustomed to. Things run on their own clock — one that is much slower than the average person living in a hustling and bustling city is used to. Folks drive a little slower, talk a little slower, and stores open and close according to their owners’ schedule that day. Dining is no exception to island time.
When I dine out at a restaurant at home in the US, my husband and I usually have our three small children with us and make it a goal to consume food as quickly as possible and leave the eating establishment before we lose our minds, or our kids destroy something, whichever comes first.
Island eating is a different experience altogether. Food isn’t generally prepped en masse; the cooking process is started and finished after you order, meaning that your food is fresh and the chef is putting careful thought into your individual plate. It also means it generally takes a little bit longer. Servers leave plenty of time for a drink to start (we preferred virgin fruit coladas) and fresh bread from one of the local French bakeries in abundance on the island. Appetizers, like fried calamari or garlic-butter muscles, are to be enjoyed and savored before the main course. Portions are considerably smaller and dining times are considerably longer, prompting an experience where food is savored, sweeping beach views are absorbed, and company and conversation is precious. It was a fresh and appreciated experience compared to the rush and commotion of the dining that I experience in my everyday life. A reminder to slow down, savor each bite, and enjoy the experience of a good meal.