I love my friends for many reasons.  But the main reason is because they’re incredibly smart — they are well-read, highly educated (whether through formal education or on their own), etc.  And most of them have also traveled extensively (funny because I really haven’t, but it’s something I’d love to do!) . 

It’s this last reason that I went to the Islander.  One of my friends has traveled more than anyone else I know, so when she said that this was one of the best Trinidadian restaurants she’s ever been to — I knew I had to go. 

  • Food: My friend made a lot of recommendations, but she said her favorite was the potato and chana roti (note that this isn’t the photo of what we got, but it was a great description and photo of the food!).  It comes with a side of this hot sauce which consists of mustard, hot peppers (she said it’s the size of black peppercorns but with the heat of a habanero), vinegar, salt, and a couple of other ingredients.  Before I had a chance to dump the hot sauce all over my roti, my friend warned me that it was insanely hot and to use a little bit.  Thank God she said that because it was fiercely hot.  I love hot food, but holy cow was this spicy!  The roti was fantastic and the hot sauce was a perfect addition.  We also ordered fried plantains, which might be the best in the city — except there was no creme fraiche or any other side to dip them in.  Regardless, they were really good.
  • Service:They were polite and kept calling everyone “honey.”  I felt like I was in someone’s house and not a restaurant.  
  • Atmosphere: What it lacks on the interior, it makes up for in the food.  If you’re looking for an upscale experience, this isn’t it.  But if you’re looking for authentic Caribbean food, this is the place for you.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’m looking forward to going back and trying some of their other dishes like their Calypso Chicken and brown stew chicken.  But really, I’m looking forward to that hot sauce.  Wow!  On Saturday nights between 8-midnight, they offer live jazz and Wednesdays from 7:30 PM-11:30 PM is karaoke.  For the list of events, please click here.


  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: Mon closed; Tues-Wed 12 PM-10 PM; Thur 12 PM-11 PM; Fri-Sat 12 PM-12 AM; Sun 1 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1201 U Street NW; Washington, DC
  • Ph: 202-234-4871