My wife and I stayed in Charlotte Amalie for two nights before going on to Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands. Let me start this review with two comments. First, my wife and I are moderate foodies. We know our way around fine restaurants both domestic and international, have taken cooking classes in Paris, and are charter members of a local gourmet club. But we are not hard-core about this stuff, we just enjoy good food. Second, for our two nights on St. Thomas we booked tables first at Havana Blue, which I found listed in several tour guides to the USVI, and also on the Tripadvisor site for restaurants in the Charlotte Amalie area, and then at Oceana, which was recommended to us by Pam, our host at the bed and breakfast, At Home in the Tropics, at which we stayed. Oceana also is listed in the guides we looked at and rates highly on Tripadvisor. This review concerns our dinner at Oceana.
The restaurant is located in the Frenchtown area of Charlotte Amalie directly on the beach of a spit of land that looks across a narrow channel to Hassel Island. It’s a lovely restaurant, done in the Caribbean Tropics style with lots of wood, wicker and rattan. Completely open, the dining room reeks of the romance of the tropics. How can you not love this. The desk staff was personable and excellent, first showing us the bar, then seating us at a beachside table as we had requested. They were very friendly and very helpful. My wife and I started by splitting as an appetizer the grilled calamari stuffed with spiced Chorizo minced with leeks accompanied in a coulis of roasted pepper with tomato confit and drizzled with olive oil. It was an excellent beginning. The combination of flavors was perfect, while the texture of the calamari was nicely offset by the smoothness of the sausage and leeks. For entrees, we were disappointed that the sea bass was not available, so my wife ordered one of the nightly specials, a wonderful sautéed Mahi Mahi. The fish was fresh, light, tender and flakey, and done superbly in a delicate sauce. All in all a first rate substitute for what I am sure would have been an excellent sea bass. I had the Oceana Bouillabaisse, a dish that I would not normally order. What a great choice; it also was excellent. The broth was particularly flavorful as was the mixture of shellfish. All tasted fresh and simmered to perfection. For dessert, my wife had the chocolate mousse gateau that was a dream for chocolate lovers; creamy, and smooth with a rich natural chocolate taste. I had the sorbets and I must confess that I am not a fan of the currently trendy nouveau flavors made from odd ingredients. Their offerings, which I am sure were technically fine, did nothing to change my mind. This the only disappointment of the evening, but entirely my fault. The coffees were superb. Table service was excellent. Our bill came without the bar tab. When I brought this omission to the attention of our waiter, the restaurant waived the charge. Overall, it was a wonderful meal in a lovely location. Oceana treated us to one of the best meals we have had anywhere in some time. Dinners, two cocktails and wine by the glass ran close to $200. Given the quality of the experience and the prices in the USVI we considered it a bargain.