Papa Zouk

This is the no-nonsense place for seafood, rum and zouk music. Tucked away in a rustic house in a leafy side street on the outskirts of St. John’s, the restaurant has achieved near-cult status with its loyal devotees, who come from far and wide to enjoy the cozy vibe, great food and the reasonable prices.

They know what they’re good at here, and they keep it simple: a wide selection of fresh, local fish and seafood in a variety of wonderful combinations. The snapper (pan-fried, grilled or steamed) is legendary -‘ it has to be among the best you’re ever likely to taste. The bouillabaisse and the carnival platter (which includes calamari, shrimp and mussels) are also terrific. Delicious dips accompany some of the starters and the side salads come with a refreshing passion-fruit dressing.

And then there’s the rum. A staggering 200 different varieties at the last count, and rising. You may feel this is territory you shouldn’t explore in too much depth ‘ but it’s almost impossible to resist. Many of the rums are exquisite and extremely rare, including the 1952 Clement from Martinique. Others have been sourced from the most unlikely places, such as Reunion, the Seychelles, India and the Philippines. Some of the best are from Central America and throughout the English- and French-speaking islands. It’s a collection that owners Bert and Faye Kirchner are justifiably proud of and claim as the largest in the entire Caribbean, and among the largest in the world. Who’d doubt them’

All in all, Papa Zouk is a hidden gem. It’s also a really cool name.

  • Kick-start the evening with Papa Zouk’s signature Ti-Punch ‘ fabulous (and far stronger than it seems!).
  • No credit cards; house wine only.
  • Dinner only (no lunch); Monday-Saturday in high season (check with the venue for opening times in low season).
  • Reservations recommended in high season.
Leave a Comment