Local Insights: Susan Coulton

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When it comes to getting to know Anguilla’s must-see spots and local hangouts, it’s hard to beat the insight that a local can share with you.  We’re continuing our ‘Local Insights’ series by talking with our staff members individually to get their thoughts on the Frangipani, island secrets, must-try dining and favorite experiences. This week, we’re stepping outside of our on-site staff pool and chatting with Susan Coulton, our East Coast-based marketing rep who’s been enjoying all that Anguilla has to offer for over fifteen years. As a regular visitor, Susan’s sharing her thoughts and insight on making a trip to Anguilla spectacular.

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Years at the Frangipani: 5 years

What’s your favorite thing about Anguilla?
The beaches, the people, blue water, and fabulous dining. It’s all the good things wrapped up in one!

What do you think makes the Frangipani a unique experience for guests?
The warm caring staff, the personal attention to detail and care for every customer’s needs… and the beautiful accommodations! 

What do you think is the island’s best kept secret?
Junk’s Hole.

When it comes to dining, what’s your favorite restaurant on the island?
Tasty’s. They consistently serve up incredible local food.

When it comes to must-sees and attractions, what are your top recommendations for guests?
There are so many! Go to Little Bay and Shoal Bay to snorkel. Have lunch at Garvey’s Sunshine Shack on Rendezvous Bay. Try your hand at a game of dominos. Try local BBQ at B&D’s. Do a kayak trip at Crocus Bay. Lastly, head to Elvis’ and the Pumphouse for nightlife!

What do you think is the #1 thing a guest should experience?
If you time it right, catching a full moon over Meads Bay is pretty incredible. 

Local Insights Series

Rasharn HarriganBeach Boy Extraordinaire
Kim BrooksPetals Boutique Manager
Candice RichardsonConcierge

Restaurant Spotlight: Dolce Vita

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Italian food makes a splash in Anguilla

Guests often ask for restaurant recommendations. For most, the sheer quantity of high calibre restaurants on the island make this is a seriously tough question to answer. There are a few restaurants that constantly stay top of mind for me — all standouts for their own reasons — but arguments can surely be made for many of the restaurants on the island.

One of the places that never fails to make the recommendations list? Dolce Vita in Sandy Ground. I’ll be frank in prefacing this discussion: Italian isn’t one of my favorite cuisines. Unlike the majority of mankind, pizza and pasta rarely capture my interest. That being said, Dolce Vita’s take on traditional Italian cuisine leaves me wanting more.

The food itself is, without a doubt, divine. Housemade pastas, fresh seafood, and high quality inputs make their fare irresistible. Beyond that, though, there’s the ambiance, the service and the proprietor, Abbi Ibrahim, who keeps Dolce Vita buzzing with life.

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Their appetizer menu offers perfectly balanced options: pair light and refreshing tuna tartare or bruschetta with the decadent gorgonzola gnocchi and your table is guaranteed to be all smiles. My love for tuna tartare is often unparalleled, but the gnocchi is tres magnifique; a must-try even for the most discerning palates.

Their pastas, seafood and meat options offer something for everyone. Not a pasta fan? The branzino, which is deboned table side, gets rave reviews from frequenters of this Italian spot. If you’ve made reservations at Dolce Vita because you are an Italian enthusiast, you’re in good hands. One of their frequent specials allows you to choose crayfish or lobster with your choice of house made pasta. Other house favorites include their famous homemade lasagna (more like a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth soufflé), the seafood pasta, and the duck paparedelle.

After the bread, the wine, and the pasta, you’re probably thinking you’ll need to be rolled out of Sandy Ground. Well, be warned: the desserts and after dinner drinks will set your hearts aflame, so save room. Abbi, ever the showman, expertly makes Grand Marnier sizzle, and sets bananas flambé aflame table side (see the picture above).

Here’s a snapshot of their dinner menu to whet your palate:

Dolce Vita Menu

See their menus here.

Dolce Vita is open for dinner Monday through Saturday and offers a lunch menu Monday through Friday. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Have you dined at Dolce Vita? What’s are your favorite menu items?

Restaurant Spotlight: Straw Hat Restaurant

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Beachfront dining on Meads Bay

I would be remiss to not discuss Straw Hat Restaurant in our restaurant highlights. Yes, Straw Hat sits on Frangipani property, but even if it didn’t, you could count me amongst the many in line to have an incredible meal with stunning views.

Perched ever-so-perfectly on Meads Bay, Straw Hat has managed to become the go-to for romantic dinners, family meals and corporate dining (just last week, the Subaru gang was there in force). While I, personally, have had my share of meals there à deux, I’ve also enjoyed meals with friends and with family in a setting that never disappoints.

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In terms of quality and innovation, Straw Hat has continued to up the ante. With their new chef, Nick Dellinger, taking the reigns in recent years, visitors have noticed some delicious new twists on their menu in the last year alone. Of course, their staples have continued to grace tables, but their new additions have not gone unnoticed. The ahi tuna banh mi and the big eye tuna flatbread (to name a couple of standouts) have introduced a fresh twist to the island’s typical lobster/crayfish/chicken medley.

If we’re talking service, Straw Hat has some of the best — if not the best — service on the island. A friendly, knowledgable (and efficient!) staff ensures that your cocktails are on the table and that your food is coursed out properly. Dining in Anguilla will certainly remind you that speediness is not always top of mind when you’re on island time, but Straw Hat’s management team seems to have emphasized the importance of timeliness when it comes to getting patrons’ meals on tables. I’m sure hungry diners around the world share my joy at that revelation.

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Here’s a bite of their dinner menu:

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Check out their full dinner menu here.

Straw Hat serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Reservations are strongly encouraged, especially during high season.

What are your must-tries at Straw Hat?


To stay up to speed on Straw Hat happenings, you can find them on Twitter @strawhataxa. Follow Chef Nick for a sneak peek of daily specials @chefngd.

Restaurant Spotlight: ‘A’ Burger

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Keeping it casual with budget-friendly island eats

Despite its small size, Anguilla is renowned as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. As tourists can attest, there’s no shortage of five-star options for foodies looking for their fix in the British West Indies. For many visitors, though, a mix of high-end dining and casual bites makes for the perfect blend during their getaway.

Enter ‘A’ Burger.

This casual island eatery sits in Lower South Hill and is the only traditional burger joint on the island. Serving up variations on burgers, hot dogs and fries (think sweet potato, garlic and cajun), visitors and locals alike pop in for an affordable meal. Not a meat-eater? ‘A’ Burger’s got you covered with gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Not entirely sure what to expect, we stopped in for a quick lunch, armed with about $30 in cash. With a fish burger, cheeseburger and an order of cajun fries to our name, I handed over $20 and some change for the entire meal. Naturally, you’re wondering if that $20 actually got us good food. The answer is a resounding yes! My fish burger was a switch-up from the traditional fish sandwich of the island; more like a zested up fishcake, perfect with a hearty dose of Rockfield Pepper Sauce. Our small order of cajun fries was plenty for the two of us to share, though they have large sizes available if you’re feeling extra hungry. All of their buns are baked fresh daily in Anguilla, burgers are ground fresh daily, their produce is locally sourced, and their fish is locally caught.

At first glance, it would seem that ‘A’ Burger’s business is probably equal parts dine in and take out, and their service is surprisingly fast by island standards. For visitors on the go, reservations are not required so pop in at your leisure.

A bite of their menu:

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To keep up to speed with ‘A’ Burger happenings, follow them on Twitter at @aiburger.