Finding the gem
Nicely tucked away on the side of a stunning, pristine beach known as Ffryes Beach, this lively bar and restaurant is really easy to find, in fact it’s hard to miss it as, despite being positioned directly overlooking the beach, it’s also really close to the main road, with plenty of clear signs guiding you to it. It’s easy access for everyone is just one more draw that makes the journey to the restaurant a pleasant and straightforward ride.
Located on Antigua’s south-west coast, this atmospheric eatery is also in close proximity to Darkwood beach, the Cocobay Resort and the Sheer Rocks restaurant, so plenty of good reference points and access from nearby hotels and attractions. It’s not the first time I illustrate Dennis Bar and Restaurant, as I included an image of it in my previous blog post about Antigua in a section about the island’s tasty food but more on that later.
Perfect beach setting
Ffryers Beach is often included in the top 3 of Antigua beaches and with good reason too. It’s a splendid stretch of powdery white sands lapped by gentle turquoise waters, not unlike other similarly pretty Antiguan beaches, uniquely beautiful in different ways. Antigua is actually famous for its rainbow of beaches, with sands that wildly vary in colour, from black to pink or platinum. This particular beach is considered an ivory beach, with its soft blanket of glimmering sands.
On the day we visited it was a national holiday so I got to observe a lively bunch of locals having fun on the sands. Before the meal we had the chance to join in the merriment and go for a cooling dip in the crystalline waters and I loved the fact that, apart from Dennis, there was no other bar onsite and no other commercial attraction or touristy spot.
Visitors and residents
We encountered a herd of cute-looking goats just before our arrival, freely roaming by the road. There was also the eye-catching lizard by the entrance with its bright, colourful little face greeting us as we entered. Then, the most unexpected but welcome of surprises: a litter of adorable puppies living under the stairs! We couldn’t help but get down to stroke them and they were certainly happy with the attention. There was also a friendly cat roaming the restaurant in search of cuddles (and possibly a bite or two!).
What's on the menu
It was not my first time trying Antiguan food, and in a previous blog we referred to the flavoursome local cuisine when talked about the first impressions of Antigua. Dennis is very popular with locals and tourists alike due to its combination of sweeping sea views and tantalising cuisine. The menu includes fresh ingredients and consists of a varied mix of local fare and international favourites. With a strong focus on freshly-caught seafood and green goat curry being a specialty, there’s plenty to choose from. Popular local dishes include saltfish, grilled pork shops, Johnny Cakes, grilled lobster, garlic shrimp, island grilled steak and the catch of the day.
During our visit we sipped on a Beach Bum (the green cocktail in the middle picture at the top) and tucked into a delicious Chicken and Shrimp Medley with beans and rice and some salad on the side. Behind each delicious dish is Dennis Thomas, the bar’s owner and enthusiastic chef who says he learnt everything he knows about food and cooking from his mother. And you can tell this instilled love for cooking translates into his tasty food. On weekends Dennis has live music, with decent space for dancing in the restaurant, while a regular Pig Roast draws people from all over the island.
A peaceful lunchtime
Our lunchtime at Dennis was thoroughly relaxing and inspiring, with the soft crashing of the waves in the distance and the cooling breeze offering a respite from the sun. Unfortunately, at some point during my meal the weather turned cloudy which was a bit of a shame, especially when compared to another one of our bloggers who was lucky enough to enjoy a sunny, cloud-free bite and drink at a selection of Antigua’s best bars.
Yet, despite the clouds, the day was as lovely as could be, quiet and relaxing, ideal for indulging in a little nap after lunch, which was exactly what we needed, as can be seen on the bottom picture, which shows our driver & guide, Paul (who took great care of us during the entire trip and who we fondly remember) dozing off for a little while. In fact, the staff at the restaurant close down for a short siesta to recharge batteries for the afternoon and evening service. It was the perfect way to wrap up an excellent meal, in a relaxed and soothing ambience.