Dining in Saba
As I mentioned in my previous talks about Saba, Scott and I had little idea of what to expect when we arrived on this little island. Friends who had visited raved about the island’s outdoor activities, the dramatic views and — this caught us by surprise — the food. After living in Anguilla, I suppose I shouldn’t ever assume that a small island can’t also be home to some stunning food options, but the dining in Saba really took me off guard. Now, there aren’t a lot of dining options, but we were pleasantly surprised by the general calibre of the food and extremely surprised with a couple of stellar meals that we enjoyed during our stay.
Here’s a quick rundown of our lunch and dinner experiences, with a couple of meals that really took the cake. Keep in mind that we ate breakfast at Shearwater Resort each day so we didn’t have any breakfast/brunch-type experiences aside from that. For others that opt for strong cup of coffee and fruit instead of a full breakfast, there’s a place called Bizzy B in town that looked like the go-to cafe for a fix.
$10 – $15 | ☆☆☆☆
1Our first meal during our time in Saba was lunch at Tropics in Windwardside. A girl in town recommended it, and not knowing anything else, we figured we’d give it a whirl. That meal ended up being the best lunch that we experienced in Saba. The restaurant, set amidst the Juliana Hotel, is open and airy and the prices are reasonable. Their vegetarian lunch wrap is great. I love seeing avocados on a menu!
$6 – $15 | ☆☆☆
2After hiking Mt. Scenery on day two, we emerged from the base of the mountain sweaty and muddy. We wanted a place that we could sit outdoors and air out after a strenuous workout. Saba Snack, set in the heart of Windwardside, was a natural choice. On an island that seems to be eerily empty, Saba Snack always seemed to have patrons noshing on sandwiches and sipping on smoothies inside. We took this as a sign that the food good and affordable. Both of those assumptions were true; it’s the perfect place to post up after a hike.
$10 – $20 | ☆☆
3On our third day, we were tempted to revisit Tropics since we had a great lunch there previously. Instead, we opted to try Scout’s, one of the few lunch spots in town that we hadn’t yet visited. We walked in to a surprisingly trendy bar and a good-sized outdoor seating space. We sat outside, overlooking the mountain’s edge and the Caribbean sea far below. There are a few salads on the menu but the place reads like a burger joint. If you’re looking for a burger and fries type place, this fits the bill. Decent.
Bistro del Mare
$20 – $35 | ☆☆☆☆
1Bistro del Mare is on site at Shearwater Resort making it an easy call for our first night’s dining. The restaurant has an insane wine and beer list by any standard and the fact that it’s in Saba makes it even more incredible (they have a beer available that’s only available in Belgium otherwise).
For anyone dining here, do know that the portions are hearty. The salad starter was practically entree-sized and I could only manage about half of my entree before I had to call it quits. Everything we had was spectacular though and the service was prompt. Again, being on this tiny little island we tried to adjust our expectations accordingly. We realize how difficult it is to import products, and running a restaurant is certainly no easy feat. Still, these guys nailed it. Scott ordered the foie gras starter and the duck entree (and miraculously didn’t die of a heart attack that night) and raved about it. According to him, quite possibly the best duck he’s ever had. Bold.
$15 | ☆☆
2Swinging Doors isn’t even remotely in the same category as Bistro del Mare or Eden (below). This place is the casual, fun local spot that helped to break up our otherwise pricey dinners out. On Friday, Swinging Doors does a chicken and ribs night for about $15 per person. I opted for the veg plate where they served up their normal offerings sans meat (potato salad, cole slaw, beans, rice). It was fairly quiet when we were there but is alleged to be the go-to on a Friday evening, pulling in folks from across the island for cheap eats in a casual environment. Inexpensive food and good company always makes for a great night.
$20 – $35 | ☆☆☆☆☆
3My meal at Eden was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. From start to finish, I was impressed with the food quality, the plating and the service. The setting is unbeatable, romantically lit with seating under a lush gazebo. I would never consider myself a foodie in the slightest, but I do appreciate a nice meal and I’m okay with spending the money on it when it really makes an impression. Eden left an impression.
The food was fresh, fresh, fresh. I went the vegetarian route with a caprese salad and the garden risotto while Scott opted for the polar opposite, beef carpaccio and veal with scalloped potatoes. Decadent like whoa, but everything was out of this world delicious. There was no way I could finish the risotto, especially when I knew I had to save room for their dessert. Note to anyone going there: SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT. Their homemade ice cream, a strawberry balsamic pepper blend, is mind-blowingly good. Pair it with their dessert wine and have them call a cab. After that meal, there’s no way you’ll be able to walk home.
Those were our dining stops during our four day stint and we were pleasantly surprised by the dining scene in Saba. Have you been to Saba? Any restaurants or orders that are a must in your book?