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Any Recent St. Barth Eating?

Has anyone been to St. Barth since Summer? Any new places or thoughts about old places? Will be there first week of January and am starting to plan my meals.

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  1. Hi - I just returned from St Barth yesterday, and I was going to write up a big report, but I'll give you the short version here.

    To give you context, we live in Napa Valley and love great food, and eat out often. We travel to France about once a year and eat everything from street food to Michelin 3 stars.

    Here were our favorite places:

    La Plage: great casual food in one of the most idyllic beach settings. Very friendly and very fresh, with wahoo tartare with ginger stealing the show. Desserts were also great. Lounge atmosphere, but no pretense.

    Francois Plantation: absolutely off the charts! We were told that a very famous Parisian michelin 3 star chef is now basically consulting. I can't name any names. Classic french high end gastronomy, with an emphasis on purity, with each dish having a rare exotic take, usually presented in a dish on the side. Poulet de Bresse stood out, with the classic breast meat in brown sauce, but with the thigh confited, chopped with foie gras, and tossed with potatoes and brown sauce! Absolutely delicious! Wine choices are phenomenally good, but very expensive (no surprise).

    The Hideaway: (Andy's) Really casual and friendly. Good but not great pizza, but very enjoyable nonetheless. we also had the Salade Perigourdine, with Gesiers Confit, Magret fume, and foie gras, which was nostalgic and very good. Wine choices are dismal.

    Eddy's: We had heard mixed reviews, so we stuck to the Creole specialties, and we loved it. Shrimp curry and the green Papaya salad were totally decadent, rich, and delicious. very good value.

    The let-downs:

    SandBar at the Eden Roc: Ambitious food that was just not very good. It looked good, sounded good on the menu, but just failed to deliver. We had the Wagyu beef salad, wherein the beef was surpisingly tough and chewy, plus flavorless, and another unremarkable salad. I'd choose La Plage over this place any day. Great view of the beach and very friendly service, but huge prices, too. Wine list is good: we had a 2005 Chablis from Fevre 1er cru for 70 euros that was great.

    Wall House: I'm sure the 5 course was a good deal, but we just weren't that hungry, so we ordered a la carte. It was decent, but somewhat dissapointing. The plus side: the leek salad with beet juice dressing! This is really nice and simple french country cooking. Then we had a Daurade that was mediocre, and a (whole!) Squab with brown sauce from the rotiserrie. The pigeon was good and small, and cooked well, but not exciting. The real disappointment was the dessert cart, which looked enticing, but the choices were simply scooped off the cart and slapped onto our plates instead of being warmed and plated in back with accompaniments. It felt like eating leftovers. Overall a solid B, but we expected more.

    Alas, we never made it Le Sapotillier! Too full from Francois Plantation!!!

    Hope that helps, and have a great time!

    3 Replies
    1. re: mhirby

      Thanks for the report! We have been to St. Barth a couple of times a year for the last few years and have eaten at all the places you mention except La Plage. I keep hearing good things about La Plage and plan to try it out this trip. Other new places we want to try are Trois Forces and the new edition of Santa Fe. Did you eat at the new place on the harbor next to Baz Bar? I think it's called Le Bistro or something like that.

      1. re: ddavis

        No, sadly we didn't make it to Le Bistro, Santa Fe, or Trois Forces. Santa Fe was recommended by the people at Francois Plantation, as it seems the new incarnation was started by the former sommellier from Le Sapotillier. Le Bistro was introduced to us as the place to go (get hammered at) before Le Yacht Club. I heard that Les Trois Forces has a very well-priced wine list.

        1. re: mhirby

          On the St. Barth boards I frequent, Le Bistro has taken a beating. Santa Fe is the current darling. We plan to make it to Santa Fe and Trois Forces on this next trip. Will let you know how they are. Your review makes me want to eat at Francois Plantation again, although I remember the prices from several years ago and it still scares me! Le Sapotillier is one of our favorites also. The new owners, Maud and Stephane, had just gotten there when we last ate there in July of 2006 and it was as good or better than before. We will check it out again (if I don't run out of meals!).

    2. We were there in November, with many revisits to old favorites that we still love - Sapotillier, Eddy's, Palace (a real gem!), Andy's, Au Port (still excellent under new ownership). New stops were Trois Forces for lunch and Sante Fe for dinner. The latter is now a must-stop for dinner or lunch. Maya's was still closed, so were not able to return there.

      4 Replies
      1. re: terrycatch

        What was your take on Trois Forces?

        1. re: ddavis

          I think it is hard to discuss restaurants in St. Barts and not talk about Maya and L'espirit de Saline. I think Maya is the best restaurant in St. Barts and a top restaurant for me in the world. L'espirit in my opinion is fantastic, but not as good as Maya. The reason why Maya is so good is that the food is so simple, yet has remarkable flavor and diversity. You never know what you are going to get because Maya changes the menu everyday, based on what's fresh. The one caveat is that there are a few restaurants on the island like Eden Rock, Toiny and Francois Plantation that are much more of a traditional french high end experience. On a side note there was a great panini place that I heard just closed called Coco lobo.

          1. re: jdpatricof

            Curious as it's been years since I was in Barths...what is the price for two mas o menos for Maya??

            1. re: phelana

              jdpatricof makes the argument for Maya's that is made by those who like it, and that is a lot of folks. I am in the other camp (very possibly the minority) that thinks Maya's has been living on its reputation for years. For me, there are just too many other places I like better to use up one of my limited meal slots by going there. That being said, if you have never been to St. Barth and never been to Maya's, it is such a tradition (a recent poster on a St. Barth site ludicrously compared it to the Statue of Liberty!) that you should give it a try.

              I haven't seen the menu for this season, but a menu from April 17 of this year has starters ranging from 16 Euros ($24) to 19 Euros ($28.50). Main courses were 29 Euros ($43.50) to 42 Euros ($63). Desserts were 10 Euros ($15) to 11 Euros ($16.50). So, one could get the least expensive starter, main and dessert for $82.50 ($165 for two) without drinks or gratuity. (Of course, gratuity is, according to the menu, "at your discretion" since it is, after all, a French island.)

      2. there was a wonderful French/creole restaurant on top of the hill--I forget the name--they served a lobster salad with mango which was superb--anyone remember this restaurant--I believe 3 star Michelin rating??Happy Holidays everyone-

        1. we just returned from st. barths and there is one change to report. (it's actually a year old, now, but last year we went to hawaii instead of st. barths -- that won't happen again!). the chef from le gaiac at hotel le toiny has started his own restaurant -- le tamarin. it's near saline beach, just over the hill from st. jean. in our opinion, le gaiac has suffered for its loss. service is still first-rate, but the menu doesn't have the depth it did. le tamarin has everything le gaiac lost -- a killer tasting menu, excellent wine list that was built with the specific menu in mind, and food that will make you slump in your seat after the first bite, and just moan with pleasure. be advised, however, despite the caliber of the menu and cooking, le tamarin has a much more casual atmosphere than its culinary peers. service is excellent, but not as formal as you'll find at francois plantation or le gaiac. for the quality of its food, though, le tamarin is already on our list of musts when we're in st. barths.

          1 Reply
          1. re: miss_ross

            We have heard about Le Tamarin for years but never tried it till last January. I don't know if the former Le Gaiac chef was there then, but the food was outstanding. We only did lunch there the day we were leaving and wished we had found it sooner. We didn't make it back when we were back on the island in July because we just assumed, without asking, that they were closed for the summer. We found out at the last minute that they were open but we couldn't make it. We'll be back down the first week of January and will certainly make it for dinner this time.

          2. We visited SB Nov. 25- Dec. 12.With the EU viz $ ratio we chose fewer high-end restaurants than usual, but were not disappointed in the cuisine.Nov. 29 was only our second visit to Trois Forces in 10 years.Ten years ago the cleanlines of the dining area was a disgrace, and the aged red wine was too heavy to be enjoyable.Hubert's escargot,and beef tenderloin bordelaise were memorable and I ordered them again this time.I'm glad to report that the interior of the restaurant was cheerful and clean this time and the wines were excellent.(I did not choose them).The parking lot is quite rough with many wrecked mopeds and scooters lying about but it's worth the trip, I believe.

            We chose La Plage twice due to atmosphere and live music provided by Papaguyo.On my second visit I had my first less than stellar meal there, which was the shrimp risotto.It was quite dry and chewy.Other than that, I highly recommend La Plage and agree that it is superior to Sand Bar, which we used to enjoy but stopped visiting a couple of years ago after the meals tended to be rather average.
            A newer place for us was le Bananiers, next to Petit Colombe Bakery in Colombier.We were the only patrons there the first Monday night, and our charming waitress was near tears.However, the rack of lamb with garlic mashed potatoes was the best version on the island and I dined on rack of lamb at Wall House and La Plage as well.Lovely garden with romantic lighting, too.
            We did try Le Bistro one Friday night.There were eight at our table, but the service was fine.The food was not outstanding, and the menu was limited, which accounted for my choice of beef once again rather than something more exciting.I can't complain, however, and the music was fine and bar area were a convenient gathering place for our group.
            There was a lovely Birthday lunch at Sereno one afternoon.The restaurant and pool area are elegant and the service thoughtful and friendly.With 22 people at the table the champagne and rose were constantly refilled and we had the whole menu to make our choice.Seafood is the specialty there and excellent.I had the dover sole, which is popular at many restaurants in SB and could not have been better.
            We ate at Eddy's twice.I believe he hired a new chef in Nov. 2006, so there is more than the creole on the menu.Both times I had the sashimi plate, as I am particular about seafood and don't like it overcooked or any steaky type of fish.Eddy's smells wonderful and is lovely looking as well.
            Le Tamarin has been around for years, but has changed owners and chefs several times.Nevertheless, the food has been consistently good.On the Sunday we had lunch there,the clientele were mainly locals and even the bar area across the lawn under the tamarin tree was busy.All of us had seafood and my friend had the shrimp risotto which was the perfect flavor and consistency.I had a lovely salad with seared tuna and avocado.The fashion show put on by Poupette was entertaining.The only new addition there which wasn't very impressive was the new above ground pool with stairs a la Hooterville water tower.
            Pi Piri Palace, Andy's, le Vietnam and Saladerie rounded out our dining experience.We intended to see Santa Fe but waited too long and it happened to be closed Monday dinner and all day Tuesday.

            1. New restaurant O Corner in Gustavia -- everything on the menu sounded great, but most things disappointed. I don't know if they were out of ingredients, but I ordered a chicken with green curry and it arrived with a very nondescript brown sauce. Almost every dish in our party of six did not taste how we thought it would. The one cool thing about the restaurant is that every dish can be ordered in different sizes - small, medium, large. The atmosphere was lacking also - we sat in a back room connected to the main restaurant by sliding glass doors, but it wasn't a patio. Weird.

              Also had a great dinner at Eden Rock - we actually reordered some things they were so delish! Sure, it's expensive but so is everything else. We thought this was a high point. Lunch, hoever was a huge disappointment. I agree with ddavis - nothing quite lived up to the description on the menu. Good lunch vibe, though.

              Great lunch at Do Brazil and you can't beat the location on Shell Beach.

              Went to Isle de France for lunch but left because it was all old people.

              Excellent dinner at le Tamarin with a great wine list and great service. We ate all of the specials, but the highlight was the tuna tartare.

              Also dinner at le Sereno was fabulous. I just wish there were more people in the restaurant.

              3 Replies
              1. re: majik

                Nice review, majik!! You should try le Sereno for lunch next time. The, use the pool after...it is the most heavenly pool. Maybe because it is tiled all over? I don't know, but we had lunch there and it was fantastic!! The French onion soup came with a huge puff pastry around the top. My dover sole was fabulous!! My husband had a salad with some great feta in it, and a ravioli dish that just melted in your mouth!!

                Isle De France's lucnh menu was boring to me. We ate anyway, but I would not return. You did not miss anything.

                1. re: Angelina

                  Angelina - we actually stayed at le Sereno so we did have lunch there as well. Loved the gazpacho, steak tartare and also the burger. It has a really nice casually elegant vibe that is a bit different from other places. I can't believe interlopers like yo and your husband used the pool!!!! (just kidding...)

                  1. re: majik

                    All the years we have been going to St Barth's , we never used the pools in any of the hotels, until a very good friend (who lives on the island 1/2 the year and the other 1/2 in France) told us that is what they do in St Barth's. I know here in the states, we don't do that, and she could'nt help but laugh why we don't!! (I guess she is right....after dropping close to $ 300.00 on champagne, lunch, and wine..why not???)

                    We stay in villas...so great! Eden Rock's Sand Bar Restaurant I did not care for. (Lunch anyway) I absolutely LOVE the lunch at La Plague!!! How great id the D.J. and the fashion show?? I always wind up buying way too much from that boutique!! (Wish we had something like that in NYC or NJ!!!)

                    Thanks for your post!! :) :)

              2. I'll answer my own post now -- we were in St. Barth January 3-10 and ate out almost every meal. If you are interested, my report is at:


                I post on that board as stbarthlover.

                1. A couple of weeks ago I had a tremendous lunch at Eden Rock and a great dinner at Le Ti. If you enjoy Moroccan cuisine, don't miss it when featured at Le Ti.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gekko

                    gekko...did you dance on the tables like me??? haa haaa

                    too much fun!!!

                  2. We just returned from 10 glorious days in St. Barts. Here is our list of favorite (and not so favorite) restaurants:

                    L'Esprit de Saline
                    Le Bete a Zailes - sushi
                    Le Pimente - great for burgers
                    Carl Gustaf
                    Le Marine - for dover sole

                    Not so Favorites:
                    Le Plage - great atmosphere on beach; great music - go for drinks
                    Pipiri Palace - dreadfully slow; mediocre food

                    Go for lunch at the Isle de France hotel - great setting

                    Maya's to Go - our favorite for take out
                    Kiki et Mo - also good for take out

                    1. My family and I are currently on St. Barth with kids ages 13/16. We went to a place called Kudeta last night and had one of the best meals in a long time, certainly on this or the last trip to St. Barth. Also like Andy's Hideaway very much and Le Creperie for a light dinner. Went to Jao tonight and was very unimpressed. For a very pricey meal it was poor quality chicken (gristle-like) and nearly inedible soup. All four of us left our meals and went to Le Piment for dessert, which was fantastic, as usual.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jncd2000

                        Thanks for the update. Looking forward to our next trip in July. For those who might not recognize the name Kudeta, it's where L'Entr'act used to be. It changed names beginning in high season this year. Glad to hear it is still putting out good food. We've never been to Jao. Probably won't! We also like Le Piment a lot. Thanks again.

                        1. re: ddavis

                          Thanks ddavis...I was just about to ask where Kudta was!! :)

                      2. We've been going to St. Barth's since 1989...a couple of comments....Maya's is the most overrated restaurant in the world...been there many times and every time, I ask why I wasted another nite...High end...go to Le Gaic at Le Toiny...everyday food, go to Andy's...great people...and good food at great prices...Wall House is very good also...Le Plage is good for lunch...you don't get a bad meal on the island...a great meal by NY/Boston standards is hard to come by...but many very good meals...beautiful women and the French know how to live...have been going every year since we discovered it while on a day trip from St. Maarten during our honeymoon...now ask me how many times we've been back to St. Maarten...none.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: hydraaa

                          We have been back twice since my last post on this thread in April of 2008. We went in July '08 and again in January of this year. Haven't eaten at Maya's for at least five years -- I finally learned. The last two times we were on the island our most outstanding meals were at Santa Fe and Le Tamarind. Both of them were really hitting on all cylinders.

                          1. re: hydraaa

                            You don't like those loud, sweat-suit wearing, swimming in cologne on the plane ride down to SXM? haa haa!! My husband and I CRINGE on that flight! We can't seem to get to the Win Air counter any faster. Never fails, that flight drives me crazy. I leave from Newark, NJ so you can only imagine what the hell I see on the flight.

                            I agree about Maya's. Although, sometimes I do get a quick bite at Maya's to go before the flight back over to Staten Island...haa ha...just kidding, SXM.

                            1. re: Angelina

                              I also am NOT a fan of Maya's. I just don't get it. Sure, it's a beautiful restaurant physically, but the food was highly, highly overrated and overpriced. It was plain, spare spa cuisine on a big dramatic plate. Maybe it seemed better back in the day when it was the only decent restaurant on the island (over 20 years ago). Only now decent doesn't cut it. The emperor has no clothes!