Caribbean Kitchen-Castara Retreats

The best dining experiences in Tobago offering incredible views

Posted Mar 24, 2020

From treetop terraces to beachside shacks, there are some fantastic places for traditional Tobagonian feasts as you ogle the island’s incredible scenery. 

One of tiny Tobago’s many charms is its laid-back vibe and authenticity. And that’s definitely true of its approach to food. While there are some lovely places to eat, where it’s all about unpretentious Caribbean cooking. Traditional Tobagonian food is a delicious mélange of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Latin American flavors.

With fishing a mainstay of the local economy, you’ll eat some of the Caribbean’s freshest catches, too, whether it’s from a simple kiosk or a breezy beachside restaurant. The small fishing village of Castara, on the quiet western coast, is a good place to start.

Watch the fishermen haul in their cumbersome seine nets on the beach before heading to The Caribbean Kitchen to feast on what they’ve caught. The restaurant, part of the eco-resort Castara Retreats, has the best views in town. Perched up in the trees, diners gaze down at the bay from the restaurant’s wooden terrace while tucking into the freshly grilled catch of the day, curried lamb or blackened jerk chicken, and sipping rum cocktails. Time your visit with sunset for even more magical views.

Blue Crab Restaurant
Local dishes: Alison at the Blue Crab restaurant CREDIT: JOHN WILMOTT

Also worth checking out in Castara village is Marguarite’s Local Cuisine. It might not have the views, but it does a brisk trade in affordable home cooking, serving generous portions of seafood and spicy stews with rice and slices of fried plantain. 

On the northernmost tip of the island, picturesque Charlotteville is another fishing hub. Watch the fishing boats bob along Man O War Bay, then try for a table at the ever-popular Suckhole Restaurant and Bar, set right on the sand. The unfussy menu features the likes of grilled red snapper, breaded shrimp and curried chicken. Be warned, though, the portions are huge. If it’s busy, the little bay has plenty of other simple shacks to choose from. 

Big portions can also be expected at nearby Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen in Speyside, as can the incredible views. Overlooking the Atlantic coast and the vistas of Goat Island and Little Tobago, diners feast on groaning platters of fried, grilled or curried fish and creole shrimp served with salads, rice, beans and fried plantain. Don’t miss Jemma’s signature breadfruit pie. 

Tobago’s national dish is crab ’n’ dumplin’, and the best place to try it is Store Bay Beach near the airport. This is where the locals go to get their fix. There are several kiosks by the beach that serve up inexpensive local specialities, including curried crab and dumplings and a fierce goat curry roti.

Jemma's Treehouse
Catch of the day: tuck into a generous portion of seafood at Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen in Speyside

All run by local women, there’s Alma’s Local Food, Miss Esmie’s, Miss Jean’s, Miss Joyce, Miss Trim, and Sylvia’s Food Shop. Pick a line, order your food and head down to the soft sands to devour it. 

The stuffed Indian roti flatbread is another national staple that can be found wherever you go. For a more refined version try the spicy shrimp one at Waves, a lovely beachfront restaurant on Stonehaven Bay. Locally-caught mahi-mahi, lobster, and tuna are also on the menu – it’ll be hard to tear yourself away from this airy terrace as you watch the waves lap the bay.

For a special dinner, it has to be the long-established Seahorse Inn just up the coast on Grafton Bay Beach. It might be one of Tobago’s smartest tables but it, too, is typically laid-back and prices are reasonable. Expect Tobagonian classics done with finesse, and some European dishes, too. Its rooftop terrace delivers the classic Caribbean dining experience: all twinkly lights, tropical breezes, starlit skies and the melodious lull of the waves.

Check out even more of Tobago's restaurants here.  Discover even more things to do, see and experience here and check out our blog for more ideas on how to plan your trip to Tobago. 

Article by: Rachel Truman, The Telegraph UK