The Frugal Foodie Goes A Little Tropical On Martha’s Vineyard

If you’re like me, you’ve driven by Tropical Restaurant in Vineyard Haven at Five Corners almost daily for years. I decided that this was the year, the season, the day to stop in. One craves a little adventure during February on Martha’s Vineyard.

Tropical Restaurant Vineyard Haven

Friends have told me it’s really good, but I was skeptical. The windows are tinted, you can’t see in, and I don’t know much about Brazilian food. However, I was game, but needed a little support.

For my support, I enlisted my friends Erik and Rebecca who have eaten there numerous times before. I figured if necessary, they could guide me towards something tasty.


When you enter, you notice the space is large and open, plenty of seating, and the restaurant is actually a buffet. I haven’t been to a buffet style restaurant in decades, but I was up for it.

After all, the salad bar at Cronigs is one of the best places to create a meal on the Island, and part of the reason is, because you choose all your own favs.

Friends lead the way

There were so many options to choose from, all sorts of veggies, salads with veggies, beans, rice, fried fish, and fried chicken on the buffet line. I navigated carefully, following Erik and Rebecca’s lead.

I got hearts of palm, a cabbage salad, rice, black beans, a piece of fish, and then I realized that I needed to save room for the carving station! Whoa is all I have to say. There’s a large rotisserie style oven with all sorts of meats cooking away on it.

tropicalErik got the pork and some sausage, Rebecca got the beef, and I opted for sausage and beef. Next step is to pay. They weigh your plate, it’s $7.99 a pound no matter what you get. What a montage we had all gotten, and mine was less than a pound. What a deal for all of us Frugal Foodies!

my plate

We were all pretty excited to dive in. Let me tell you, the rice and black beans were amazing! Why can’t rice that I make taste like that? And oh my, the beef was to die for, medium rare, juicy tasty.

I could have eaten another pound of the rice, beans, and meat. The veggies and salad were good and a necessity for me when I made my plate, my attempt at being healthy.

Desserts at TropicalWhen we finished lunch, it was decided that dessert was a must. Let’s keep the experience going.

There is a dessert fridge with a good selection of house made desserts. Rebecca likes flan so we got one of those, a piece of tiramisu, and a Brazilian coconut dessert, Beijinho de Côco.

TropicalThe flan was probably the best any of us have ever had, and the coconut creation made you think of tropical things, sand, palm trees and such. The tiramisu was good too but the flan – a must.

The Menu at Tropical

One of the interesting things about Tropical is that you don’t know what might be available. There’s a different line up daily.  Also in the Summer months, there’s even more food to choose from. Thursdays through Sundays, they offer even more food choices, while Mondays through Wednesdays are a bit slower for the restaurant.

TropicalI had to ask Joelson (Joel) who was working at the carving station what the trick to the amazing beef was. Perhaps a special marinade I wondered? He said the only thing he adds is salt. It must be the way it’s cooked because I need a heck of a lot more than salt to make something that tasty.

Also, the sausages are made in house, and were quite good. Joelson told me I missed one of his specialties, chicken wrapped in bacon. It’s usually one of the first things to sell out. Tropical gets a big lunch crowd, not so much to dine in but a lot to go.

House made hot sauce

Authors note: be careful of the house made hot sauce, it really is crazy hot! Not for the meek for sure.

Getting take-out

While we were there, we even ran into some friends getting takeout. If you work in town in Vineyard Haven, this is the spot to go for many. It’s nice to be able to choose your own lunch combinations. You can be as good or bad as want.

Final verdict. I will go back to Tropical. I can’t believe it took me this long to try it. This is another one of those life lessons, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.


If you too like the flan, you can order an entire one for about $35. This would be the perfect dessert for a Winter potluck. Your host would be impressed.

Tropical is open daily, Monday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday until 5:00 p.m.

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2 thoughts on “The Frugal Foodie Goes A Little Tropical On Martha’s Vineyard”

  1. Thank you so much for bringing us all up to speed about this place. It is so close to my work and I have never thought to eat there. Now….I will!

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