Amalia Cafe on St. Thomas is a special place for me. It’s a Spanish restaurant and one of my favorites on St. Thomas. I first visited there in the spring of 2014 after meeting the owner, Randolf Maynard (he goes by Maynard), at the Taste of St. Croix where we were both judges. That night was one of my highlights of living in the islands. Pure magic!
A couple of weeks after the event I convinced my husband to check out Maynard’s restaurant with me. Neither of us had been, and at that time I was in the early stages of helping out with a local television production called ‘Best Bites’. I was staking out restaurants where we could film for the show and this was the perfect opportunity to check it out.
Amalia Cafe is located in Palm Passage in the heart of Charlotte Amalia, near the waterfront and shopping areas. It’s in a nice location down a stone-paved alley. The restaurant itself is beautiful and has all out-door seating (covered). There is often a nice breeze blowing, and there are ceiling fans to help out when the air is still.
We went for lunch on our first visit. Maynard was there and remembered me. I introduced my husband…we all chatted a bit, and then we ate! We ordered the sangria to start…I think I have had it every single time I’ve visited since! It is simply the best…best on island for sure, and perhaps the best sangria I’ve had period. You can order it by the glass, the carafe, or by the pitcher. When you order by the carafe or pitcher you get a full carafe or pitcher as well as 2-4 glasses to start off with. I’m convinced the pitcher is the best bang for your buck. It seems like a lot, but in St. Thomas you can take to-go cups if you have any leftover (yes, this applies to alcoholic drinks, too!)…though I must say we rarely had leftover sangria. 😉
Their starters – or tapas – were also delicious. You could really make a meal out of several starters if you wanted. My favorites were the garlic shrimp (I advise you to order some bread to go with it so you don’t leave behind any of those delicious garlicky juices) and the octopus, which was always so tender. The photos of the starters did not turn out as clear as I had thought, but they give you an idea…
There are several dishes which I always had trouble choosing among on the menu. The Zarzuela was a favorite (see photo below). The seafood – shrimp, mussels, various fish – was always cooked perfectly, the portion size was just right for me, and I loved the side of rice topped with raisins and pine nuts.
Paella Valenciana was another favorite…and a specialty of the house. The seafood and chicken are cooked in fish stock with the saffron rice. On our final visit here (at least for this time period) my husband and I shared a a portion for two. It came out in a nice sized paella pan and was a nice sendoff back to the mainland.
And for the grand finale: Poached Pears cooked in red wine, served with ice-cream. So tasty after a wonderful meal. We were brought a straw as we finished so as to not miss a drop of flavor. Sigh…I was in heaven…
If you find yourself on St. Thomas, I highly recommend a stop here for lunch and/or dinner.If you see Maynard, tell him I say hello! And please, DO NOT FORGET the sangria!!