If you crave local creole cooking in St. Thomas, two names will always come up. Cuzzin's and Gladys' Cafe are the two eateries that specialize in spicy and hearty Caribbean cuisine. Located in a former 18th century stable on bustling Back Street, Cuzzin's attracts lots of travelers. Frothy drinks like the Green Iguana above, cater to touristy tastes but locals go for Virgin Islands home cooking like island style mutton, conch and curried anything.
Saltfish happens to be my favorite so I ordered this overflowing platter of it slathered with peppers, dumplings, plantains and cassava.
Cuzzin's is an intimate spot accented with vivid tablecloths and brick walls.
The dancing lady logo on the Cuzzin's signs always looks to me like she's trying to shake off all the food she's just inhaled.
Gladys' Cafe is ensconced in a lovely stonework courtyard, inside of what used to be a 17th century pump house. The menu above, features a host of Caribbean favorites like roti, conch chowder and curried goat, as well as dishes that I've never seen, like jerked pork chops.
I sampled the curried chicken with rice and peas, macaroni pie and more cassava. You can't avoid starch overload on most islands so I just pretend that there's a vegetable or two on my plate and go for a long walk later.
Gladys' is bigger than Cuzzin's, with checked tablecloths and the gregarious Gladys, who actually hails from Antigua.
Hot sauce is Gladys' real claim to fame, she makes a mustard version and a tomato based selection that's super hot. There's a rivalry between these two St. Thomas spots, some say that Cuzzin's is more authentic and that Gladys' focuses too much on tourists and vice versa. Personally, I prefer Cuzzin's food and Gladys' ambiance. I think both restaurant's offer important elements to the St. Thomas experience.