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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


Domcan’s Retreat: Restaurant and Guest House

We live in Calibishie and way back in the 1980s when we first started coming to the Nature Island, that’s where Domcan’s was.

We ate there then and in some ensuing years and it was always great: The food was wonderful, the prices reasonable, and the view from the table and the ambiance were admirable. Only one thing has changed since – Domcan’s has moved to Castle Bruce.

You can visit Domcan’s virtually by visiting Domcan’s Retreat dot Com. Castle Bruce is a village about midway down on Dominica’s east (Atlantic) coast. From Roseau take any road inland that goes to the Pond Casse roundabout and then head east toward the Emerald Pool. Keep going until you reach Castle Bruce, then turn left and head uphill.

Domcan’s will be on your right within about a mile. From Melville Hall Airport, turn right at the airport exit and go through the town of Marigot. After Marigot, at Hatton Garden, turn left as if you were heading to Carib Territory (passing the entrance to the now closed Silk’s Resort). Proceed through Carib Territory. There are occasional road signs giving the distance to Castle Bruce, and Domcan’s will appear on your left before you reach the village proper.

Domcan’s Retreat: Restaurant

Harry is an expatriate Dutch via Canada. His wife Grace is Dominica. She’s the cook, and a terrific one!

I recommend calling 767-445-7794 to check to see if what you would like is available on the menu. Call a day or two ahead if possible, because although Harry & Grace call Castle Bruce “centrally located”, it is far from any other dining amenities.

We’ve never stayed at Domcan’s but we’ve seen the lodging accommodations they offer. They’re very nice, clean, and modern (with cable TV) and very reasonable priced at US$70 per night with meals at the restaurant 10% off to lodgers.

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brandy manor guest house in Dominica

Brandy Manor is a family owned Guesthouse, not just a restaurant, which caters to nature lovers, and especially horse lovers. Travelbarefoot dot Com website, which houses information about Brandy Manor Vacation packages directs you to horseback riding “nearby” but now Jasmine the owner has her own horses at Brandy Manor.

Brandy Manor is close to Portsmouth, on the road leading to Melville Hall Airport. It isn’t easy to find. Look for a very steep cement drive descending on the right side of the road before you reach the “S” curve lined by royal palms. Head down that drive and cross the concrete bridge over a creek at the bottom and then just keep going down the dirt track, which gets rough just before you reach Brandy Manor on the left. It has an iron gate and a sign.

The ambiance is lovely, boosted by Jasmine’s gardening. When you go, ask to wash your hands – the bathroom is done up in shells and quite a sight to see. You’ll enjoy the sound of the Brandy River, unless you’re there at night where the sound of the generator drowns it out. Jasmine has a CD collection that helps overcome the generator noise. There are also a few musical instruments around and if you bring yours you may be able to strike up an impromptu jam session.

The food at Brandy Manor is quite good, but in this writer’s experience, not worth the price. Prices are high at Brandy Manor. They appear low on the web site, but they are per person, so double them for a couple.

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coral-reef-restaurant

The Coral Reef Restaurant is an add-on to the back of Augustus Austrie’s general store in Calibishie.. Look for the general store on the main road heading towards Melville Hall Airport on the left not far after you’ve passed the primary school and tourist info center on you right as you reach the bay and enter Calibishie village proper.

There’s a telephone booth directly in front of the store. You can enter the Coral Reef Restaurant directly by walking down the driveway on the left side of the store to the restaurant and beach or by entering the store, passing the checkout counter and going through the western-style “saloon” swinging doors at the back of the store. There’s no need to phone ahead for a reservation. The Coral Reef is open when the store is open, and that is from about 8AM to 9PM Monday-Saturday and from about 6PM to 9PM on Sunday.

The Coral Reef has a bar and very, very reasonable meal prices. Chicken, ribs, fish, etc. usually run in the range of EC$12-15 per serving. The generous servings come with local vegetables (“provision”) and French fries or rice. And the food is delicious. Besides bar drinks, soft drinks are available from the store, at regular store prices.

A bonus is that frying is done using heart-healthy canola oil. Gus, the proprietor, takes his meals from the restaurant and wants them to be healthy ones.

coral-reef-restaurant in Calibishie

The tables overlook the bay with a view of Marie-Gallant Island in the Guadeloupe group directly ahead to the north and the mountain of Guadeloupe itself can be seen to the left.

The weekday (8AM-5PM) cook is our neighbor and very dear friend Hildreth; and she is just a superb cook. Tipping isn’t required in Dominica (although very few of the restaurants and hotels add a gratuity to the bill), but with the meal at the Coral Reef costing so little and being so good, and the kitchen staff working so hard and well, I hope you will tip at this restaurant. The tips are pooled and shared by the employees at the end of each month. These nice people deserve the extra bit of income.

There are also two tables inside the store just in front of the kitchen. They are a good place to take a very casual meal or pick up food to go.

I recommend the Coral Reef for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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