st. martin gourmet restaurant reservations?
I guess there are not many chowhounds roving St Marten, judging by the lack of replies to your and my query regarding St Martin restaurants.
I heard, perhaps incorrectly, that St. Marten is the gourmet dining capital of the Caribbean. However, I have found widely discrepant reviews of restaurants, and was hoping to find some first-hand experience at Chowhound.
I go to St. Martin at least 2 times a year (heading back 6/15!!) fr the past 17 years. I will preface this by letting you know I don't go to eat on the Dutch side very often They now have some very good restaurants, but I just prefer the French side. That being said, my favorites in Grand Case are:
L'Auberge du Gormand
Tropicana (do dessert!!!)
La Vie en Rose
Skys the Limit in Grand Case
and the lolo at Friars Beach
We either stay at L'Esplanade in Grand Case or we rent a villa. No La Samana - I have friends that say it is pretentious and I like to be where I can feel part of the community.
Sol e Luna - not one of my favorites but not bad for lunch. Nice location
La Cigale I have not been to but have heard good things about from my friend who is a chef in ST. martin
Le Santal - if this is what I am thinking of in Baie Nettle - I did not care for it - but I might not be thinking of the correct place.
Spiga is one of my favorites and Temptation was absolutely worth the trip to the Dutch side for me.
I order the rib plate or sometimes the chicken plate. The plates come with all seven or so sides (macaroni and cheese, pigeon peas and rice, spagetti, green salad, plantains, johnny cakes, macaroni salad...) If you want more of one side you can substitute it for another, or all of one if you prefer. That and an ice cold Presidente beer and I am quite happy.
We go once a year and I would, first, totally agree about eating on the French side. That being said, I would add:
Mario's Bistro in Sandy Ground
La Cigale in Nettle Bay
Petite Auberge des Iles next door to Tropicana in the Marina - very simple excellent salads and cold soup for lunch.
BTW - had one of the best meals EVER this year at Le Pressoir. The new owner is great and I terrific hostess. Food was exceptional!
Here are restaurants that I found to be good or have good reputations. The restaurants with an * mean that I've been there and like it.
Peg Leg's Steakhouse--Dutch side*
Topper's or Topper's by the Sea--Dutch side*
3 Palms--Dutch side
La Gondola----Dutch side
Mario's Bistro--French side
Le Cottage--French side
The Greenhouse--Dutch side, 2 locations
The Hideaway--Dutch side*
The French side restaurants and La Gondola are expensive though recommended. The others I mentioned are very good and popular though not considered gourmet by any means.
My husband and I spent a week on the Dutch side this past April. We also ventured to the French side (Marigot, Grand Case). We get a lot of top-notch French food near where we live so we didn't go to some of the fancy restaurants in Grand Case but we did have a lot of other amazing meals! Some of the best food we have had in the Caribbean was in St. Maarten/St. Martin.
Walking distance to our hotel in Cupecoy were La Gondola, Temptation and Rare (all highly recommended!). We had two yummy lunches in Grand Case (at Talk of the Town lolo and Le Soleil) and lunch at Claude mini-Club in Marigot. I loved all the amazing boulangeries around the island where you could pick up croissants, quiches, etc. There were some nice French gourmet delis as well. The best seafood meal we had was at Lee’s fish grill in Simpsons Bay– whole grilled red snapper and delicious plantain and coleslaw. Mmmm! We had good sushi (but expensive) at Bamboo Bernie’s in Maho. I was hoping to see more of a Dutch influence on the Dutch side but other than a few items in the grocery store (e.g., herring) it wasn’t that strong. Our guidebook had recommended an Indonesian restaurant but it had closed.
Enjoy your trip.