Dockside Dining: Sail In, Fill up, Ship Out

The Havensight cruise ship terminal, otherwise known as the West Indian Company dock, is where the majority of cruise ships berth while in St. Thomas. Which is why there's a larger dining scene in its vicinity than at the other cruise ship dock.

Those seeking familiar brand-name eateries will find time-honored favorites such as Hooters and Senor Frogs, which offer lively bar action as well as gooey, calorie-laden grub. Locally-owned joints such as Fat Turtle, Pizza Amore, Delly Deck and Havensight Cafe offer sustenance and a casual, fun vibe for visitors looking to take a break from shopping and sightseeing. Barefoot Buddha, the Asian-themed coffee shop across the street, offers perhaps the most unique environment, with artisanal coffees and teas, plus gourmet sandwiches and pastries as well as clothing, gifts and jewelry.

Crown Bay, the site of the other cruise ship terminal, sees less ships and has fewer dining options – but you won't go hungry. Tickles Dockside pub, a fun waterside bar and pub, is just a five-minute walk from the ships, in the adjacent Crown Bay Marina. A short walk up the road takes you past Rescue Me, a food truck that dispenses authentic West Indian food and drink – which you have to try while you're on the island, right?

And last but not least is the Greenhouse. Located on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront equidistant from both ports, this well-loved island institution offers hearty grub and a great ocean view to day trippers taking a break from shopping and sightseeing.


This small, unassuming pizza joint may not look like much, but offers some of the best pies on the island. Unlike chain stores, Pizza Amore offers handmade pizzas, ranging from 16 to 20 inches with a wide variety of toppings. You can also order by the slice. If you're not in the mood for pizza, try one of the cold cut sandwiches or tasty salads, and wash it down with a beer, a glass of wine, or a cappuccino. Pizza Amore can be a bit hard to find: it's located in Al Cohen's Mall, directly across the street from the Havensight shopping center.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: The high-quality pizza, friendly service and convenient location earn Pizza Amore a spot on this "best of" list.

Karen's expert tip: The restaurant offers free Wi-Fi.

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Fat Turtle
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

This casual island restaurant is located in the elegant Yacht Haven shopping center, facing Charlotte Amalie harbor. It's known for its home-cooked barbecue with family-size portions, exotic cocktails, and fabulous frozen drinks. House favorites are the succulent, fresh lobster, spicy beer-steeped shrimp, mango and ginger "wings in paradise," the signature Fat Turtle burgers, and the massive brick oven pizzas. The fun, relaxed atmosphere is rounded out by pool and foosball tables, and plasma TVs. The restaurant is especially nice in the evening, when diners can watch the sunset and see the lights of the city and harbor from the open-air patio.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: This popular local hangout offers a great view of the marina plus tasty pizzas, fish and salads.

Karen's expert tip: During happy hour (from 4-7pm) domestic beers are $2, imported beers are $3, well drinks are $3, and wine by the glass is $5.

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Yes, the chain that bills itself as "delightfully tacky yet unrefined" has a branch in St. Thomas. The usual offerings of beer, rum, fried food (try the battered shrimp) and busty waitresses can be found, as well as copious amounts of sports on TV. In fact, several times a year the bar televises major pay-per-view sports events such as MMA and boxing. Monday through Friday means happy hour from 5-7pm, where $2 beers flow freely. Monday is $11.95 all-you-can-eat wings night. Hooters is located across the street from the Havensight shopping center and cruise ship dock, in the Buccaneer Mall.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: For those who like familiar brands and food piled high and cheap, Hooters can't be beat.

Karen's expert tip: Hooters offers take-out as well as dine-in service.

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Rescue Me
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Food trucks are common in St. Thomas, but are not overly popular with tourists since they tend to be far from touristed areas, and not too user-friendly for those unfamiliar with the local foods and lingo. However the "Rescue Me" food truck offers friendly service and a prime location not far from the Crown Bay cruise ship terminal. Sarah, the proprietor, cooks up a rotating menu of local favorites, from conch fritters to sweet potatoes to curried beef with peas and rice. Sides include fried plantains and mac & cheese. About $10 will buy you a combo plate with a little bit of everything. Oh and Sarah serves drinks too, so if you're actually not in a hurry to get anywhere, have a seat at the nearby picnic tables and nurse a rum and Coke for a while. At night the place stops serving food and turns into a little bar.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: Rescue Me combines local West Indian food, informal outdoor seating and a small bar for a perfect casual lunch.

Karen's expert tip: Look for this truck on the road that leads from the Nisky Center to Crown Bay marina. It's on the right side as you head south, in the parking lot of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Tickles Dockside Pub
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Tickles serves familiar, American favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Morning patrons will want to sit outside on the deck and enjoy a cup of coffee while they wait for their cooked-to-order omelet. For lunch, try the house specialty Reuben: your choice of corned beef, ham or turkey is piled high and topped with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Tickles' own Russian dressing. Dinner diners should try the baby back ribs or the excellent fish and chips, washed down with a cold mug of beer. At night, Tickles becomes a boater's watering hole, where yacht owners congregate to watch sports on TV, listen to live music, and live it up.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: The blissful dockside location, fun nautical decor and wide-ranging menu earn Tickles a spot on this list.

Karen's expert tip: On Saturday and Sunday Tickles serves brunch.

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Delly Deck
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

This simple Havensight Mall diner has been feeding locals and tourists alike since 1976. Located adjacent to the cruise ship dock, you'll find cheap tasty food piled high, with most breakfast items available all day – except the house specialty pancakes. Breakfast items include waffles, English muffin sandwiches, omelets and steak and eggs. Lunches run to sandwiches, salads, soups and burgers. In the afternoon, slide up to the bar and shoot the breeze with mellow locals while nursing a rum drink, or enjoy the breeze on the covered outdoor patio. Bring cash because credit cards aren't accepted, and don't expect to get dinner here, because Delly Deck closes at 4pm.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: Classic breakfasts and stomach-satisfying lunches appeal to both locals and visitors.

Karen's expert tip: Get there before 11am if you want to order the scrumptious pancakes!

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This waterfront eatery is popular with cruise ship passengers who come to refuel between shopping binges. Start with zesty jalapeno poppers, and then try the chef's special baby-back ribs. Chicken can be ordered island-style, with mangoes and bananas or with coconut. Many patrons swear by the giant, Angus-beef burgers cooked to order, and the homemade soup. After 10pm, The Green House stops wining and dining, and starts rocking and rolling. DJs spin hot tunes to get revelers on their feet. Occasionally, local reggae bands raise the roof. Beer and tropical cocktails are the poisons of choice.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: The Greenhouse, a longtime favorite, has a great waterfront location and lots of delish seafood dishes for a reasonable price.

Karen's expert tip: You can walk to the Greenhouse, or just hop on a dollar taxi and jump off at the stop directly across the street.

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Havensight Cafe
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Havensight Cafe is an ideal spot to nosh and decompress during a day of shopping at the surrounding Havensight Mall. The menu is extensive, with well-priced burgers, sandwiches, salads and even bagels and lox among the selections. There are also a few West Indian dishes such as roti, oxtail, and boneless curry chicken with mango chutney. The well-stocked bar has a wide variety of beers and mixed drinks to slake your thirst. You can either sit in the covered open-air dining area and watch the cruise ship passengers hustle by, or opt for the enclosed air-conditioned dining room next door.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: A great place for quick and filling meals while off the ship for a day.

Karen's expert tip: Credit cards aren't accepted here, so make sure you stock up on some cash before you eat.

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Barefoot Buddha
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

This Asian-chic coffee house across the street from the Havensight shopping center offers a huge array of coffees, teas, homemade pastries and sweets, inventive sandwiches and soups, and other food items. Nearly everything is made in-house from organic ingredients, many of which are locally sourced. Linger for a while with one of the numerous magazines, or fire up your laptop and hook into the internet, which is available for a fee (in-house terminals are also available). Next door, the Buddha Boutique sells a variety of clothes and jewelry items, plus meditation, yoga, fair trade, artistic and whimsical goods and gifts for all ages.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port - St. Thomas because: This cafe offers style, ambiance and easy access to the cruise ship dock.

Karen's expert tip: If you plan to use Skype over the cafe's wi-fi, sit at one of the outdoor tables. It's not allowed inside.

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Meet Karen Elowitt

Karen worked for several years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor before becoming a travel writer. She worked for renowned  travel expert Peter Greenberg before going freelance, and now...  More About Karen