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St. John's dining scene offers a lovely paradox: even the finest eateries offer a mellow, relaxed atmosphere where jackets and ties are not only not required, but not even part of the vocabulary (who would want to wear a jacket in the heat anyway?) However, the casual attitude does not extend to the food itself, whose flavors are serious indeed – seriously vivid, intense and exciting.
Flavor, flair and even fire are words that can easily be used to describe the food on St. John, an island where dining is the second most popular activity after going to the beach. Seafood is the common denominator at the top 10 restaurants on the island, but that's where the similarities end. Each eatery has its own signature style and niche, whether it be the French-Asian fusion at Asolare, "neo-Caribbean" at Morgan's Mango, or nouveau-Malaysian at Fatty Crab (bet you've never had pickled watermelon served atop a chunk of crispy pork before. Didn't think so).
Though unusual combinations excite, there's also a strong streak of traditionalism. Zozo's and Cafe Roma both pride themselves on their command of the Italian language of cuisine – with one offering northern Italian in an elegant seaside setting, and the other offering hearty pizzas and lasagna in a lively trattoria-style dining room.
All the eateries mentioned above are centered in Cruz Bay, but St. John's great food also extends to Coral Bay and beyond. Aqua Bistro excels at American and Mediterranean classics, while it's worth making the trek to Shipwreck Landing just for the curry nut crusted grouper.