Saint Maarten (or Martin) in the Caribbean
St. Martins sounds like a nightmare for chowhounds, but the following scant (and not-very-chowhoundish) info might help. None of it is from me; I've never been there. Also, it's a couple of years old. So caveat eater.
On the French side, things are expensive, but unlike other resort areas, you kind of get what you pay for in food quality as well as ambiance. All are worth the cost.
In Marigo on french side, there's a marina with restaurants all around, very interesting. Tropicana is best, famous for mussels, figure $20/25 per entree, but that's normal for around here (we'd gladly pay the same for food of similar quality even back in NY). Great ambiance.
Mario's, also in Marigo, (must reserve a week ahead...call the first day you arrive). ask for a table by the water. They cook french, and it's even a touch pricier. Also great ambiance.
In Grand Case, Le Taste Vin, is expensive but you can get a great lunch for $15 (dinner's outrageously pricy). "Lovely" (and Grand Case in general is "lovely"). Next door is The Fish Pot, also outrageously expensive (try for lunch) but very popular.
On Dutch side, near airport, a bit less expensive, Saratoga cooks a wide-ranging menu (pastas, chicken, etc). There's a cheap place, Turtle Pier, fast-foody but halfway decent for breakfast/lunch.
Indiana is on a side street on the way up to Pelican Resorts (a good casino, if you're interested). They make great inexpensive filet mignon (under $20), great burgers, don't miss them (lunch only, though).
As for beaches, go to orient beach. "that's where the action is"
re: Jim Leff
St Martin, both French and Dutch sides, has a lot of pretentious and overprices "goor-may" restaurants. However, it is also possible to eat very well there. We haven't been for about 7 years, but places and things to look for:
ribs -- ribs grilled with a dry rub. These may be had on the road to the Grand Cas beach, but also, as I recall, at a place behind a pizza hut near the Pelican resort not far from the airport.
Chez Yvette -- this is a family restaurant inland with great island food -- stewed chicken, fried snapper with onions and spices, conch stew, salt cod salad. I have heard that it had gone downhill, but it is probably worth checking out.
Saratoga -- new american ish, but actually quite good , good ingredients and nice wine list.
Tropicana in the Marigot marina.
Bistro Nu, also in Marigot, but a few blocks inland.
My favorite place was Cas'Anny, in Marigot, with french style caribbean food and wonderful plantains gratinee, blood sausage, and grilled snappper with creole sauce, but I think that it has since closed.
re: Jim Leff
re: Miguel Gierbolini
It is about 7 years since we have been to St Martin, but in Marigot, on the French Side, on the main road to Grand Case, there is an excellent Moroccan restaurant. Very atmosperic, and the food is also quite good. Tagines of chicken and lamb, with fruits, veggies or preserved lemons and olives, delicately and not over spiced; good couscous, excellent salads and really good b'stilla. It has to be ordered the day before, but it is worth it. The filling is unusual, as I recall both pigeon and chopped beef. Also,where it really stood out, is that the crust was with homemade warka, rather than with the phyllo with which it is almost invariably made elsewhere. Quite remarkable.