Dining Review – Aqua Bistro, Coral Bay
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Luckily St. John has some great places to eat and drink. So how do you know which places to visit? We review the restaurants on St John and give you our first hand impression including specialties, atmosphere, price and service.
“…Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining!”
Aqua Bistro is located on the “quiet side” of the island in Coral Bay. This local’s favorite spot has a great mix of plenty of bar seating, outdoor dining and ample parking. The atmosphere is casual but elegant – making it the perfect spot to kick back, relax and enjoy a wonderful meal under the umbrellas of their outdoor courtyard and romantic garden landscaping. Or enjoy an appetizer and a cool island-style libation surrounded by both tourists and locals, beneath the tiki-hut style outdoor bar.
What we liked
- Good food – range from island pub fare to culinary delights
- Price – $$$
- Good wine list
- Outdoor dining
- Ample parking
- Live music
What to Expect
Really Good Food Starts with a Great Chef
The cornerstone of any great restaurant is a skilled chef and a great menu. Aqua Bistro is blessed with both. Chef MJ Foody [ yes that’s his real name ] is famous on island for his culinary abilities. In fact, his Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining! Wednesdays he serves up incredible cuts of prime rib with a rich “beefy” Au Jus that’s simply to-die-for. But don’t let these signature dishes cast a shadow on the menu’s other gems! The appetizer conch fritters are tender, light, perfectly fried and come with a wonderfully -complex cajun tartar sauce. Aqua Bistro’s ceasar salad is crafted with plenty of flavorful dressing and large shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese [ a favorite of this writer ]. MJ’s burgers are arguably the best on the island. The fish sandwiches ( Grouper or Mahi ) are hearty-portions of lightly deep fried fillet. A Staff Favorite is the Pan Seared Sea Scallops! Jumbo, tender sea scallops …done to perfection! We choose blackened for an island-style spicy entree. We also highly recommend the Pamesean Crusted Grouper. This dish is a signature MJ creation – well worth the drive out to Coral Bay! Rich alfredo over a hearty risotto topped with a belly-busting portion of grouper!
Aqua Bistro boasts one of the Island’s best wine lists! Soak up the Painkillers and tropical drinks but when it comes to dinner you’ll most likely want to switch to food-friendly libations like beer and wine. Aqua Bistro’s owner, Marc Kaye, loves wine and has expertly put together a great wine list. Whether you enjoy red or white … there’s something for just about every taste and price range.
If we have one gripe, it’s that the restaurant’s outdoor dining leaves no place to “hide” when it rains. Luckily, most showers pass quickly and you can get back to enjoying one of St John’s top restaurants! We give it a 4 forks out of 5 rating. A great spot to grab a bite after the beach, have a romantic dinner or to celebrate a special occasion.
“This was the only place on the island we went to twice.” – Douglas T, Florida
The staff is experienced …no small feat on an island where staff changes are a part of high and low season migration. The waitstaff and bartenders, some of whom have been with the restaurant since it first opened nearly a decade ago, are some of the islands best. Don’t hesitate to ask them for recommendations …be it drinks or eats!
Getting to Aqua Bistro
Aqua Bistro is located in Coral Bay on St John’s eastern end. Visitors coming from the Cruz Bay side of St. John will take Centerline Road ( steepest exit off the rotary in Cruz Bay ) and follow the winding road for about 8 mi ( 25>30 minutes). Or, for a more scenic drive, take North Shore Road heading east – up the hill from Cruz Bay. Along the way you’ll have ample opportunity to see St. John’s North Shore beaches and scenic vistas. The road is slightly steeper so plan on a few more minutes travel time.
Check out the hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor® – http://bit.ly/1d0Y5SA
On busy nights ( Wed, Fri. ) the busiest hours are usually 4:30pm > 8:00pm.
Call 2 to 5 days in advance for peak dinner reservations.
Call (340) 776-5336
or check out the web site for more info: http://www.aquabistrostjohn.com/