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Oct 31, 2008 10:17 AM

Heading to St. Martin in 2 weeks. Anything new?

We have a timeshare in St. Martin, but haven't been down since 2005. We have some favorites we will definitely go to - Mario's, LePressoir, but is there anything new? Have they all gotten really expensive? Thanks for the info!!

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  1. Most restaurants on the French side stopped doing 1 Euro = 1 USD for cash when the Euro got too expensive, but I have heard rumors that they may start again now that the Dollar is getting stronger. In any case, you would still benefit from the more favorable exchange rate. La California in Grand Case continues to offer E1=$1, and Le Santal in Sandy Ground now does so too...

    A lot of new openings on the Dutch side, and two popular restaurants have moved to a new location: Peg Leg Pub and Bamboo Bernie's. I personally think that the Dutch side is shaping up nicely, and offers a lot of bang for your buck.

    If you remember Philippe, the owner/chef at Tabba Khady: he's now manager / executive chef of Captain Oliver's in Oyster Pond - look for beautiful pictures of his new creations on his personal blog. Search for sxmcoconut-retriever Also in Oyster Pond, The Big Fish is getting great reviews on St. Martin travel forums.

    See you soon in SXM!

    3 Replies
      1. re: DineSXM

        We've been to SXM twice on cruises. Once was some French religious holiday in August and the other was on a Sunday, so almost everything was closed there both times. Fortunately, we found Sarafina's which is a nice cafe that has great (at least we thought they were great) pastries. I'm not sure when we will be back again but are there other places that are even better, and are they open on Sundays?

        1. re: MisterBill2

          Mister Bill - yes there are a lot of restaurants that are open on Sunday - Bistro Caraibe in Grand Case, for one. I don't remember others offhand, but there are any number of St. Martin tourist books you can pick up for free and they list all the restaurants and their hours.

      2. I highly recommend Big Fish in Oyster Pond. Great food and service!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jl0328

          We have a time share in St. Martin. We plan on definitely going to Big Fish this year. We'll be on the island from 12/13-12/27 so it's a certainty. I will report back (if I remember that is). We will also go to our usual favorites among others during those 2 weeks. Nobody asked me but I'll tell you anyway: Johnny B's, Top Carrot, Zee Best, Topper's, Peg Leg's, The Boat House.

        2. I love the French side. go to the Lolo in Grande Case. Fresh lobster cooked over the wood grill and the sea at your feet. Cheap and a lovely night. If you use USD cash you can often get 1=1. The dollar is much better today than it was in Aug. when I was in Grande Case.

          1. I made my first trip to St. Martin last month. Contrary to what some other posters are saying, most of the restaurants did NOT offer $1=1 Euro deals.

            We had some great meals there: first, at Bistro Nu in Marigot for lunch. Jean Claude is a warm and lovely host, making us feel very welcome. I had a rabbit in mustard cream sauce that was delicious. A lovely ex-pat French couple were sitting next to us, and when we asked for other recommendations, they suggested Le Chanteclair, also in Marigot. We went there for dinner, and had a fabulous 4-course meal for - if I recall correctly - 50 Euros per person. Not cheap, but it was fabulous.

            The couple also strongly urged us to try Le Ti' Provencal, in Grand Case. The woman of the couple told us to try "coffre" (trunk fish, something unfamiliar to me). In her charming, halting English, she said, "It's the must!" As suggested, I ordered the coffre, and it was great: mild white fish with a patterned shell-like exterior (pic #2). As a starter, we had something with crabmeat, avocado and grapefruit (pic #1). It may sound too busy, but somehow the flavors all worked together beautifully. Dessert was a tarte tatin (pic #3), which was wonderful, w/beautiful and delicious garnishes on the plate (red currants dipped in sugar). A final rec would be the restaurant at the Esmeralda resort (where we stayed), on Baie Orientale. It was called L'Astrolabe, and the meals were also great. Pic #4 is a photo of the dessert from there. Notice the small tube inside the bowl of fruit. That contained and "infusion" of lemon and verbena, sweetened, to be squirted over the fruit. Talk about attention to detail!!

            In summary, I was very impressed with the food on St. Martin. I hope it gets a bit cheaper, as the dollar strengthens, though, as it was a bit steep for us (but worth it!).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Lisa M

              We too ate at Le Ti Provencal. I was saddened to see them serve so many reef dwelling fish, particuliarly Parrot Fish. Eco wise, that is a no no. The service was abysmal. At least the USD is stronger. In Aug. it was very weak but we spent anyway.

              1. re: phelana

                Yes, I had heard something about parrot fish being a no-no. Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but my friend ordered it, and I did not eco-police her on this one (she said it was good, BTW). Now I'm wondering whether the coffre was also an eco no-no.... Service was okay, if a little slow.

                What else have you liked on St. Martin, Phelana?

                1. re: Lisa M

                  Lisa, the Parrot Fish cleans the reef..he is an incredibly important reef dweller. Trunk fish and others IMHO are no no's. I hate lecturing folks.

                  SXM was a place I used to frequent 20 years ago when I lived in Antigua. I was there recently for one night en route to the cuisine capital of the Caribbean, Anguilla. I defer to others Lisa for great recs. If you head to Antigua, Anguilla or the ABC islands, I can assist better.

                  I have a few websites to share if you wish to email me at

                  Ann Phelan

            2. Not new, but we went for a day over Thanksgiving (from Anguilla) and had a really lovely lunch at La Samanna, and it was not outrageously expensive. Not the warmest service, but we did look a little grungy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: susan robin

                We used to go to La Samanna for breakfast because it was so beautiful, but the last time the food was so bad and so expensive, we gave it up. Nice to go for drinks,though