Baie Long Beach, St. Martin, 2nd half of February
Hi folks. Hoping for some insights. We will be staying at a villa and would like to know where to go for groceries (for breakfast grub, bread, cheese, greens, fruit, charcuterie, olives, etc.) and chow. The board doesn't seem to have anything fresher that 9-12 months old regarding St. Martin. Are there any places that we must try? Where to go to buy wine and rum? We will be 3 adults and 2 teenagers all of us love to eat and enjoy and are well travelled. Is it easy to get around to both Marigot and Grande Casse? What are usual dining hours? We like to mix high and low dining so don't hold back on your recommendations. I really appreciate in advance any help you can give.
Hope this reaches you before you travel. If you get the chance absolutely go to the french bakery called Le Sucierre. there are 2 of them , one is in marigot market, and the other is on the Dutch side. They have a bright yellow sign outfront. Get the Parius Brest, its out of this world...Have fun firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, my husband and I will be in St. Martin in the middle of February too!
We have been to St. Martin one other time 3 years ago.
Here is what we can recommend.
-Breakfast,in Marigot there is an amazing little place that serves baskets of French pastries and great coffee. Zee Best is the name of the cafe.
-Also at the Marigot marina is a place for wonderful pizza, just as good as we remember in Italy! Unfortunately we don't remember the name of the restaurant , but just ask any shop in the marina where they make brick oven pizza and I'm sure the will know. The Marina is a great place to people watch as well as drool over the boats!
And one last restaurant recommendation, again at the marina in Marigot.
Chanticler. This is one of the fancier restuarants around but well worth the splurge.
Have a great time!
My wife and I go to St. Maarten every year and stay on the opposite side of the island from where you will be (Oyster Pond). For basic groceries there is a French supermarket in Marigot called Match.
There is also a smaller shop called Bounty in Grand Case. Both places will have great fresh baguettes, pastries, etc. There is also a gourmet shop in Marigot called something Epicerie, but I could not find the link just now. That is probably the shop with the highest end food products on the island.
It is easy to get around -- we rent a car. There are also lots of buses and taxis, but I don't have any experience with those. Grand Case is really just one street (albeit filled with some insanely good restaurants) that runs along the water. Marigot is bigger; there are really great places tucked away in Marigot depending on how adventurous y'all are and whether anyone speaks French (or restaurant French).
St. Severin in Marigot is, in my opinion, the best restaurant on the island for the money. There are some pretty fancy places popping up in casinos on the Dutch side that are getting good reviews (one notably helmed by a CIA grad), but my wife and I spend all of our time on the French side, so I really can't speak to that.
Bistro Nu is a cool little spot on a back street in Marigot that tends to a mostly French clientele -- they had no one there who understood any English. We got by with my little bit of restaurant French and a willingness to try some new stuff. Great place.
The lolos (open air barbeque restaurants) in Grand Case are worth a lunch for sure. Ribs, chicken and rock lobster. Cheap and pretty darn good. You can't miss them when you walk through Grand Case.
There are some nice beach bars (open air restaurants sitting right on the beach) particularly in Orient Beach. My favorite is called Cocoa Beach. Good pizzas, panini, salads, etc. Nice place for lunch.
There are some very nice, high-end French (and one or two Italian) restaurants in Grand Case, as well. They ain't cheap though, and we usually stick to only one or two dinners in places like that. Le Ti Provencal (French cooking in the Provencale style) is very good. Le Pressoir is excellent, really great, and set in a charming old Creole house, but dinner there for 4 set us back around $500 last year, when the dollar was stronger.
I could go on about this forever (and I'm heading to SXM myself in a week) but I guess that's it for now.
Emazzone and Chocolateslut - Thanks so much for your recommendations. Exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I think we'll be avoiding the Dutch side. I do speak French so that's not a problem. Question: how long a drive is it from Marigot to Grand Case? The cost for Le Pressoir scares me a bit as our family is not known for holding back, but Le Ti Provencal sounds great as do Bistro Nu, Chanticler, St Severin.
We're a bicoastal family. In NYC we really like places like Hearth, Prune, Barbuto, Gramercy Tavern, Al di La, etc. In LA we love Axe, the Mozza's, Caffe Angeli, and Angelini Osteria (we haven't yet been to Comme Ca and there hasn't been good French food in LA in a while). Are any of the above or others in St. Martin not yet mentioned reminiscent of these restaurants?
Marigot to Grand Case is 10 - 12 minutes, except in "rush" hour (haha). It's a two lane road connecting, so traffic can slow you down.
The restaurants in St. Martin have a lot less going on design-wise than the NYC spots you mentioned -- they tend to be smaller, simpler, and when possible, have an emphasis on the view. The food varies from pretty classically French (Parisian, Provencal, etc) to more Creole and island inflected.
You can expect a similarity between some of the St. Martin restaurants and the ones you mentioned in terms of the sophistication (and on occasion inventiveness) of menu. Some of the really wonderful places, though, like St. Severin, are more simple and in the bistro tradition.