For fun, unpretentious dining and excellent sunsets try Mine Shaft Café and Pub (Coppermine Rd., 284/495-5260, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $7–25). In the same neighborhood as Coppermine Point National Park, the Mine Shaft overlooks a pleasant, dry countryside marked by cacti and flowering century plants. The diverse menu features roti, curry shrimp, jerk chicken, and steak, plus fresh fish and lobster. Its barbecue ribs are a house specialty. And don’t miss the deadly Cave-In house drink.
The Flying Iguana (Airport Rd., 284/495-5277, 6:30 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $7–35) is a friendly little café overlooking the Virgin Gorda airport. Chefs Puck and Lenny serve standard favorites from the grill, plus “Duck by Puck,” steak, rack of lamb, and fresh fish. For breakfast (6:30 a.m.–3 p.m.), choose from smoked salmon or lobster omelet, French toast Grand Marnier, or eggs Benedict.
There is always a crowd at the Bath and Turtle (Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, 284/495-5239, 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m., $8–25), a patio pub surrounded by the shopping mall at the marina. The menu is diverse, with pizza, quesadillas, curried chicken, seafood, and pasta. This is a good choice for breakfast or a burger. A few steps away is Rendezvous Bar, an outdoor bar overlooking the marina. This is a popular stop for happy hour or a casual meal. Also of note are Gracie Vanterpool’s home-made pâtés (fried bread stuffed with savory meat mixtures), sold outside the Bath and Turtle most mornings.
Olde Yard Village (Olde Yard Village, 284/495-6994, noon–6 p.m. daily, $10–22) has a poolside restaurant serving Mediterranean-inspired meals. Dine at the bar, or grab one of the covered tables. Entrées include an appealing array of wraps, salads, grilled sandwiches, and pizza. The atmosphere here is decidedly welcoming, and the service is pleasant and not stuffy. Restaurant guests are welcome to enjoy the adjacent pool.
There is something extra special about the piña coladas at Mad Dog (The Baths, 284/495-5830, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. daily, $6–10), but don’t try to find out the secret—they won’t tell you. This inviting, open-air café serves sandwiches and hot dogs all day, with lots of cold drinks. Beat the rush to get one of the comfortable loungers on the porch, and you won’t know where the afternoon has gone. Mad Dog is next to the Top of the Baths parking lot.
The food plays second fiddle to the view at Top of the Baths (The Baths, 284/495-5497, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $12–32) where the dining room overlooks spectacular boulders. The menu features pasta, salads, sandwiches, and fresh seafood. Diners can take advantage of the freshwater pool.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition