Best Bites: 7 Places You Can Eat Like a Local on St. Croix

There’s no shortage of fabulous food on St. Croix. But as such a popular tourist destination, there are bound to be spots that are all hype and no heart. 

Not so with the restaurants on this list. For the flavors and friendliness that the local residents (aka Crucians) prize, here are the places you can’t miss on your trip to St. Croix. 

Salt Great Pond

Caribbean diner Salt may look like an unassuming shack from the outside. But once you’ve passed through the relaxed interior, you’ll find seating on a charming, rustic patio with views of the Great Pond lagoon beyond. 

While the ambiance is relaxed, the locally-inspired food is elevated. Chef Chris Booth keeps the dinner menu fresh and interesting with unique dishes like Compressed Watermelon Salad and Pickle-Brined Pork Chops. For brunch, housemade bagels stand out. Try the mango shmear! 

After your meal, sip on a Grapefruit Jubilee (made from rye, fresh grapefruit juice, and cinnamon simple syrup) and enjoy island time like the locals do.


The tropical vibes of Caroline’s won’t let you forget that you’re in St. Croix. Relax in the pink and green bedecked dining room, or dine on the pretty patio with archways framing views of Christiansted Harbor beyond. (Very Instagram-worthy!)

Enjoy French/American all-day breakfast and weekend brunch, with savory dishes like eggs benedict or build-your-own omelets. If your tastes run sweet, try decadent brioche French toast or crêpes filled with fresh fruit or rich caramel sauce. For a boozy brunch, house-made syrups like thyme, sorrel, and lemongrass add a sophisticated touch to your tipple.

Located inside the King Christian Hotel, Caroline’s is perfectly situated at the edge of historic Christiansted. So you can enjoy duty-free shopping and tour the historic sites after your meal.

La Reine Chicken Shack

“La reine” is French for “the queen,” and chicken is certainly the queen at La Reine Chicken Shack.

The menu at this open-air restaurant changes daily. But roasted chicken is the star here, cooked low-and-slow on a homemade contraption that uses old dryer motors to turn the spits. The resulting birds are tender and juicy inside, with perfectly crispy skin on the outside. 

If you’re not in the mood for chicken, look for fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs and stew saltfish, a Caribbean specialty. Most dishes are served with a perfectly fried johnny cake or two.

Don’t eat and run! This spot is a favorite with Crucians, so stick around to soak up the local flavor. When you are ready to move on, La Reine’s central location puts you within a short drive of your next adventure.

Polly’s at the Pier

Early risers in Frederiksted start their day with breakfast at Polly’s at the Pier. This cheerful neighborhood diner right on the waterfront specializes in gourmet coffee and hearty grub. 

For breakfast, build your own scramble or burrito with your choice of veggies and protein. Or try their answer to the McMuffin, made with veggie sausage instead of pork sausage. For lunch, the menu includes wraps, salads, and a “Gourmet Grilled Cheese,” made to your specifications of bread, veggies, cheese, and optional protein. 

Polly’s keeps it local, with walls covered in Crucian art and island-made crafts and jewelry available for purchase. Get your coffee to go and watch the cruise ships arrive at Frederiksted Pier, just steps away. Or fill up on breakfast before a dive to explore the sea life beneath the pier.

Ziggy’s Island Market

Seasoned travelers know that the best food can sometimes be found in the least likely places. Local favorite Ziggy’s Island Market on St. Croix’s East End is a testament to that, serving up tantalizing to-go food out of a gas station/convenience store. 

The daily rotating menu can range from local favorites like Cruzan BBQ and conch fritters to Cajun cuisine to southwestern burritos. It all depends on the mood of Chef Aaron. 

Bring your meal home with you, or take it to the outdoor “Libation Station” where you can get a cold beer to accompany your dinner. And after you’ve eaten, you can play cornhole, darts, or pool on the deck. 

This is an ideal stop on your way to Point Udall, the easternmost point on St. Croix, where you can take in some of the best views on the island.

Rosa’s Booth

In the yard of a modest family home in Frederiksted Southeast, a small shack has been delighting the St. Croix community for over 50 years. It’s Rosa’s Booth, a family-operated to-go stand that has mastered two area favorites—piping hot Crucian pates and frozen ice pops.

The pates (pronounced pah-tay) at Rosa’s Booth are made fresh and sell out daily. Savory fillings like conch, saltfish, beef, and snapper are wrapped in dough and fried to a perfect golden. 

Nothing beats a hot savory pate accompanied by a sweet ice pop, or fraco. These Crucian treats are made with shaved ice drizzled with sweet syrup. Flavors vary, but past options include mango, passionfruit, and fruit punch made from fresh fruit. 

Hours of operation can be a bit sporadic, but you’ll usually find the window open around 1:30 pm. Rosa’s pates top every list as the best on the island, so it’s worth the short drive from Frederiksted.

Toast Diner

Tiny and eclectic Toast Diner is a Venezuelan-inspired breakfast and lunch spot located just off the Christiansted Boardwalk. Their 20-ish seats fill up fast, but locals know it’s worth the wait.

Toast is best known for its arepas—fried Venezuelan corn cakes stuffed with a variety of fillings. Try the Platano, packed with sweet plantains, honey, guacamole, and sprouts. For a sweeter option, the Elvis is full of peanut butter, banana, and powdered sugar. Or go Crucian-style with the Saltfish Creole arepa. 

Sprinkle a bit of their homemade hot sauce on top of savory dishes for extra zing. And build-your-own Bloody Mary with over a dozen optional fixings.

If you don’t want to wait, get your arepas to go and enjoy them on the Boardwalk with views of the harbor. 

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