We'd never done dinner at DaVida before, only lunch a couple of years ago at their casual beachfront restaurant that was an experience so singularly unpleasant that we never wished to repeat it. However, as wiser people than I have pointed out, dinner is very different from lunch, so 7:00 one night found us heading out toward Crocus Bay for dinner. We figured we might as well eat there since the drive would be shorter (from Las Esquinas, our home for just the one night) than coming from the West End (where we spent the rest of our vacation), and I'd been wanting to give the place another shot anyway.
Well, the place was lovely. In terms of ambience, it may be among the loveliest on the island, in my eyes at least. It was also nicely breezy, thanks to the efforts of Mother Nature and the arsenal of ceiling fans hard at work. The beach was lit up beautifully, and for the first time, I realized that those people on the travel forums who say they want a beachfront restaurant at night might have a point...and best of all, it wasn't the least bit buggy.
Our service from various gentlemen was quite genial, and we were congratulating ourselves on discovering a new favorite. Then the food arrived. It varied along the "not good--okay--not bad" spectrum, but not beyond that. The amuse-bouche was okay, but a little on the bland side. I ordered one entree, the blackened shrimp served with gingered spinach and fettucine. It was...not bad. It wasn't actually blackened (or perhaps that means something else in Anguilla than it does in the States), but the shrimp, though lacking in flavor, were succulent.
DH ordered two small plates: the spring rolls, which were...not bad, and the dumplings, which he didn't like at all. He barely managed to eat one. I tried one and thought it was okay, but I didn't like it enough to eat a whole one.
I also ordered a DaVida variation on rum punch. Before ordering, I mentioned to our server that I don't like very sweet rum punches. Assured that theirs would be perfect for me, I tried it and didn't like it at all--plus it was absolutely covered in cinnamon on top, to the point where the first sips were almost sandy in texture. I told them I didn't like it (and why) and then asked for a glass of white wine instead. I didn't ask for it to be removed from our tab, but I hoped that it would be since it was (1) syrupy sweet and thus not as described to me, and (2) drowning in cinnamon, which was not a listed ingredient. It was not removed from our bill, however.
We thought we'd give it one last go by ordering dessert, but the dessert that sounded most appealing, banana-caramel spring rolls, were sold out. We ordered some rum & raisin ice cream since something cold sounded good, but it was crystallized with freezer burn, as if being stored too long at the wrong temperature. It's a bad sign when the kitchen cannot even store ice cream properly.
Still, the evening wasn't a total write-off. The ambience was just lovely, and the live music was low-key and non-intrusive. Would I return? Theoretically I would, but I'm in no rush to do so. Maybe for their tapas restaurant instead, but I have to say that DaVida already has two strikes against it in our book.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.