Antigua is not known for fine dining. I’m going to be up front and honest with you about that. Antiguan food (and Caribbean food as a whole) is rather varied, but there aren’t many restaurants on the island. Regular Antiguans do eat out, but there only so many dining spaces that bring visitors and locals together. Either way, I was glad to have my first fine dining experience at Carmichael’s restaurant at our hotel, Sugar Ridge.
With the exception of the main pool and restaurant area, everything at Sugar Ridge is built into a hill. The rooms and their premier restaurant, Carmichael’s, require walking up steps but the best way up is to just call a golf cart to take you where you need to go. Husband J wasn’t into the golf cart idea on our way up to Carmichael’s. **Side eye** Instead we climbed lots of stairs.
Here he is taking me through all kinds of back paths…Thanks, dear.
Luckily for us, all that trekking was worth the views from Carmichael’s.
There is a small infinity pool right next to Carmichael’s.
I’m smiling in that picture above, but I am actually getting eaten by bugs. One of the issues with being away from the water and sea breeze is that you’re closer to the trees. Sunset seems to be the witching hour for bugs. If you go to Antigua make sure to bring your Off or other bug spray if you’re going to be out at sunset. If you’re not from the Caribbean, your blood is oxygenated differently making you especially tasty to the critters.
Carmichael’s is an open air restaurant and perfect at sunset.
One thing that I don’t understand is that Carmichael’s doesn’t technically open until 7pm, but for a large chunk of the year the sunset in Antigua is well before 7pm. It means that diners don’t get to enjoy the sunset during their meal. You do see some lights after dark, but that’s it. Go to Carmichael’s for lunch or a drink at sunset to really take advantage of the views.
Public Service Announcement: Get the Carmichael’s Joy, which is a drink only served at the bar at Carmichael’s (you can’t get it at the Sugar Club, the other Sugar Ridge restaurant). It’s the best rum punch I have EVER tasted. Really. I have no picture of it. Sorry!
Dinner was good. Very good. Surprisingly good.
Husband J’s scallops
My fish Carpaccio (I’m forgetting which fish this was)
I really did want to have a dish that tried to elevate Caribbean food, so I had Carmichael’s version of jerk pork.
Grilled Jerk Pork
It was essentially pork three ways. From left to right: with bok choy, with tomato and red onion salad and with roasted sweet potato puree.
I made sure to ask for it extra spicy in case they made the spice too tame for tourists. Learn more about jerk seasoning here.
Husband J surprisingly ordered pasta. Okay…
Spinach & Goat Cheese Cannelloni with Pesto Sauce and Balsamic Reduction
After the trek up we couldn’t leave without dessert.
Bread Pudding with Antiguan Rum Sauce
The sauce reminded me of rum raisin ice cream. A perfect ending to the meal.
Overall, I thought that all of the food we tasted at Carmichael’s was high quality. I’m still not sure why everything had sprouts or other greens on top as a garnish, but I am totally going to overlook that. The service was friendly even if our server was a little forgetful. You are paying for the views to some degree, but I think it’s worth it for a treat. It’s great to see the beginnings of great fine dining options in Antigua.
at Sugar Ridge Hotel