Five years ago, we went to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. I fell in love. The diving is what we initially went for, and it is breathtaking! The water is clear blue, the sand is white, the people are friendly, and there is some really good food. We have returned for each vacation since then. It is easy to get to, and for a Caribbean getaway, very affordable! Every year is fantastic, the diving is consistently beautiful, and Bananarama is a great dive shop and eco-resort with wonderful, experienced staffers. We can't stay anywhere else on Roatan now. Over the years, I have met so many amazing people that will remain in my heart forever.
On our first visit, we were a little disappointed that there wasn't a lot of Caribbean or Latin food. The cuisine is all over the place, but there are some really great finds. In the 2 years between our first trip and second trip, Vintage Pearl Restaurant and Wine Cellar opened. In their first year of business I promised the owner I would write a review on Trip Adviser... which I did, even if it did take me a couple years.... But now I am featuring them here!
Front entrance to Vintage Pearl
I am not lying when I say this is my favorite restaurant in the world. It is unassumingly elegant. But you don't have to wear shoes! No shoes is always a bonus for me. The cozy, inviting atmosphere features an astonishing wine list and what I will call a French-light menu. My mom and I love wine (and food). So a nice four course meal with a beautiful bottle of wine is an indulgence we allow ourselves at least twice every time we go to Roatan. (And I think it may be the only place on Roatan to get a really, really good bottle.) The food is definitely inspired by the decadent French bistro classics, but is less oppressive and pairs nicely with the tropical climate. The menu changes daily based on availability to ensure that the food is fresh. (It's also a good business plan to keep people coming back again and again!) Everything is top-notch quality. Simply but impeccably prepared.
Vintage Pearl introduced to me to the wonders of Kobe beef. The meat is rich and tender beyond belief! Also, I had my first- and, well, only- escargot here. Despite the black flesh, they are sweet and succulent. The seafood is local, which may be the best part because I can not get enough spiny lobster! I like Maine lobster, but I prefer spiny. It isn't quite as sweet, but the tail is super meaty and juicy. The flavor is a cross between Maine lobster and prawns. And then there is the bread pudding with guava rum sauce. This is the absolute perfect dessert in all of creation! I know there are eternal debates on "light and airy" or "dense and custardy" when it comes to bread pudding, but this sealed the deal for me: dense and custardy. It's not too sweet or dry or gummy. It is smooth and evenly baked and topped perfectly with the guava rum sauce (two things I can't resist!) Of all the food I've had there, the only thing that didn't quite measure up was the creme brule. The flavor was spot on, but the texture of the dish as a whole was off. I know that creme brule is hard to get just right. If that is the one thing that isn't flawless, that is fine by me.