In May and June, two travel advisors from Coasters & Castles Travel visited the all-inclusive resort Sandals Grande Antigua in the Caribbean. Antigua is the largest of the two islands that make up the Eastern Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It is an English speaking island and is 14 miles long and 11 miles wide with a population of about 85,000. Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. And the annual rainfall averages only 45 inches, making it the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands.
The resort is beautiful with lush, colorful greenery, it's truly a tropical paradise. There are many things we could talk about including excursions off resort, sports, the spa and accommodations but first we wanted to go thru the dining options. Sandals are adult only, all-inclusive resorts so everything was included in our stay. We ate and drank as much as we wanted and we had some fabulous food and drinks. There was definitely something for everyone here. You can't make reservations until you arrive on site so on your first day be sure to decide which restaurants you want to visit for dinner.
Here is a breakdown of where you can dine for every meal on property. BUT be sure to check your weekly planner which will be in your room when you check in. The seven main dinner restaurants each close one night of the week so you'll want to plan your week out with those nights in mind. And if you are in a club or butler room you can order room service between 7am and 10pm.
Breakfast Bayside, Eleanor's, Mario's, Café de Paris
Lunch Bayside, Barefoot by the Sea, Bella Napoli, Courtyard Bistro, Doggie's
Dinner Bayside, Eleanor's, OK Corral, Barefoot by the Sea, Mario's, Kimono's, Soy, Drunken Duck
Sandals and Beaches resorts share a lot of the same dining concepts Bella Napoli, Doggie's, Barefoot by the Sea, Soy, Kimonos and more. So if you've visited more than one resort you are already familiar with most of the dining options. Lisa has visited a few of the Sandals resorts but for me it was my first visit. We had such a great time I can't wait to visit more Sandals and Beaches resorts.
Coasters & Castles Travel Lisa Wainwright
We had a lovely trip to Sandals Grande Antigua! We spent 4 nights and 5 days for a quick Anniversary trip. It was just enough time for us to get away and enjoy some adult time. Our favorite restaurants were Soy & Barefoot by the Sea. We stayed in the Mediterranean building so it was a easy walk to lunch & Dinner.
On our arrival day we ate at Barefoot by the Sea for
lunch and I always enjoy the fish sandwich! Last year we went to Emerald Bay and I also did the fish sandwich from Barefoot there as well! We had some pre dinner drinks and didn’t need a reservation for Soy and it was terrific! 10/10. The best part is you can order more of your favorites and it’s all included.
Barefoot by the Sea is awesome for dinner since it is right on the beach and you can watch the sunset (for us we watched it from 615-630 in July) and then ate dinner. This restaurant does not have reservations so it we just went at our own time. The calamari appetizer, surf in turf and pumpkin cheesecake were my selections for dinner and they were great!
There’s a hot dog stand by the pool I tried one day and the pizza oven, Bella Napoli. The Hawaiian pizza was delicious!
Ok Corral was the other restaurant we tried and we were given chips and salsa on arrival, shrimp cocktail and BBQ tacos for appetizers and I had the chicken fajitas! Being that I live in Texas we have a lot of Tex Mex but I really enjoyed the seasoning on the Fajitas.
One night I wanted to take advantage of the Club level room service so I order a BLT and fruit tart. I LOVE the convenience of room service and the food was great!
Mario’s was a lovely breakfast buffet with a made to order omelet station. I can’t think of anything missing at this buffet.
Overall, we had a wonderful vacation at Sandals Grande Antigua. The staff was wonderful, we had fantastic weather, the grounds are gorgeous, and the food was delicious! The fruit was always 10/10 each and every day! I think I miss that the most. I’m looking forward to our next Sandals destination! Since 2021 I’ve been to Sandals Emerald Bay, Sandals Ochi, Royal Plantation (for a property tour) Beaches Ocho Rios, Beaches Turks & Caicos and now Antigua!
Coasters & Castles Travel Melissa Lenox
We visited Antigua back in May for a friends 40th birthday. There was a group of 8 of us, 4 couples so we got to experience Sandals as a group rather than just a couple. 3 of us stayed in the Mediterranean Village and 1 in the Caribbean. I was there for 6 nights so I got to experience all the dining options and many of the activities. Being in a large group we didn't have any trouble getting a table. We did split up once at Barefoot between the men and women but for the most part every restaurant was able to accommodate a table of 8 which was great.
Barefoot by the Sea was one of the best restaurants. The atmosphere is beautiful and the food was fabulous. Thru the week we went for both lunch and dinner. I got the Island Jerk Chicken the first day then the Fish Sandwich on our last, then the other girls got the Vegetable Wrap, Chef's Salad and Quesadilla. It was probably the best Fish Sandwich I've ever had! For dinner we tried the Seafood Bisque, Golden Fried Calamari and the Melon & Field Green Salad from the Appetizers. Then for dinner the Blackened Salmon Filet, Surf & Turf, Mahi Mahi and Seared Tuna Steak with the Teriyaki Glaze. And we had to try all 3 desserts; Nut Slice, Pumpkin Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake.
For dinner that night we went to Mario's. It was a favorite in our group. We wanted to go back again but because we were trying to check out each restaurant for dinner, we couldn't fit it in. Mario's is also open for breakfast with a huge buffet as Lisa mentioned above but dinner is a little different. You choose a main course then you can visit the Antipasto Buffet for a lovely selection of Italian appetizers and soup. You can even order a dessert and of course a glass of wine or the server will get you a drink from the full service bar next door. Being a big seafood fan I ordered the Fettucine allo Scoglio which is squid, bay scallops, gamberoni, mussels, cherry tomatoes, garlic, chilli. and herbs. My husband got the Pollo alla Parmigana or chicken parm. My biggest tip, get the chocolate lava cake! It was spectacular but I was so impressed by the appetizer buffet. That would have been a meal in itself.
If you'd rather eat poolside or you want to order something specific you have a few options; Courtyard Bistro for burgers, sandwiches and salads, Bella Napoli for pizza or Doggie's the hot dog cart. You can also order food from the servers that come around to the pool. They have a menu of appetizers you can choose from. We actually did that and pizza a couple times because the food was so great and it was nice to eat quick and get right back in the pool. Just pack your patience and remember you are on island time. It took about 30 minutes for my burger and fries but I just enjoyed my drink and beautiful beach view.
Another place I frequented was Café de Paris. Open all day from 7am to 10pm there were many reasons to pop in thru the day. I would head in for a quick breakfast such as yogurt or a pastry and an iced coffee after a visit to the Fitness Center. Then later in the day grab a spiked frozen coffee and a crepe. And ice cream anytime you want? What's not to love!
Bayside is buffet style for breakfast and lunch and on the Caribbean side. Lunch each day is themed so be sure to check the menu. Monday for example is Indian, Tuesday Antiguan and Wednesday Mexican. Being on the beach is always a beautiful backdrop and they also had lots of options like Mario's. The breakfast selections are very similar so the smart thing to do may be to head to the one closest to where you are staying! This is the one restaurant where we didn't try dinner and it is a la carte. The menu actually looks pretty good!
Eleanor's is Caribbean style and serves both breakfast and dinner. Reservations are not needed for breakfast but they are required for dinner. It is also the only restaurant at the resort that has a dress code which is only applicable for dinner. 'Dress pants or jeans for men, long or short sleeve dress shirts (with or without collar). Dress shoes or sandals. No shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, sneakers, flip flops or slippers. No hats.' Breakfast was fabulous! We went 3 times, it became our go to spot! The Crunchy Banana French Toast and Classic Eggs Benedict were spectacular plus the coffee was better here! Dinner was beautifully presented but we were not as excited about this menu as some of the other restaurants. So if making a decision on where to eat thru the week be sure to review the menus on the app or the resorts site. We ordered the Pulled Jerk Pork & Coconut Shrimp and Pan-Seared Crab as appetizers, Antiguan Lambi & Seafood Curry and Blue Mountain Coffee Rubbed Strip Loin for our entrees and tried the Mango White Chocolate Mousse and Pumpkin Bread & Butter Pudding for dessert.
Kimono's is the brands Japanese Teppanyaki. Being a party of 8 we were able to get a room to ourselves which was fun. Our chef was great, putting on the usual hibachi show but I thought the food was ok. I was underwhelmed by their signature sauces; Ginger Teppan, Sweet Chili and Teriyaki. I also tried the Duck Salad and Sticky Coconut Rice.
Just like Lisa, I also enjoyed the fajitas at OK Corral. It is another restaurant only open for dinner and where reservations are required. I loved the open kitchen and location of the restaurant, on the second floor so you got a beautiful view of the beach. In addition to the fajitas I ordered the Salmon Tostado and the Dulce De Leche, both were delicious! The only complaint we had was the Surf & Turf included 2 very small shrimp so it was mostly turf, not much surf.
The final restaurant was our favorite, Soy. We also gave it a 10/10. Reservations are not accepted however we only waited about 30 minutes for a table for 8. Our waitress was superb and took such good care of us. We all love a variety of sushi so instead of placing orders she just brought out a few large trays of a variety of sushi and it was all spectacular. Some of the best sushi I've ever had. We ordered the Boiled Edamame and loved the Snow Crab, Crispy Spicy Tuna, Spicy Crispy Shrimp and the Seared Tuna Tataki. And when we finished it all in a matter of minutes she brought us another round!
We had such a spectacular time at Sandals Grande Antigua. Great accommodations, drinks, food, activities and friends! I'm looking forward to visiting another resort next year, the hard part is deciding which one!
Looking to visit a Sandal's resort soon? Reach out to Lisa or Melissa with Coasters & Castles Travel to help you plan your next getaway.
Lisa Wainwright is a Senior Travel Advisor with Coasters & Castles Travel.
Melissa Lenox is a Gold Level Vacation Specialist and blog editor with Coasters & Castles Travel. She is a former entertainment cast member, loves Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, Chip 'n Dale, great food and planning trips for others! Follow her on her pages below or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan your next adventure!