St Martin (and a touch of Anquilla) food report
L’Estimenet: This used to be my favorite restaurant in SXM. This meal was just not in the same league as the past meals that I’ve enjoyed here. It seems that they are resting on their laurels. For example, they spilled an entire glass of our decanted wine on my girlfriend, and after wiping it off, offered her a glass of cheap white wine. No apologies, no offer to even clean her soiled dress. The food, usually spectacular, was lacking flavor and verve. I would not come back here on my next visit. Grade: 1 star
Lolo# 6: While there has been some talk that this lolo has gone downhill, in my opinion, it is now cooking better than ever! The ribs were sensational and my gf’s fish was perfect. Add that to the ocean view, and it was great for a lolo. Grade: 1 1/2 stars
Ti Bouchon: We happened into this very local restaurant. Owned by the incredible host Momo, who treats each and every guest as royalty, we had a wonderful meal off of their menu. We loved the food so much we decided to go back on our last night and we asked Momo to make us a special dinner. We stopped at the restaurant two hours before our reservation to choose a red wine to decant. When we arrived, the decanter of wine was brought to our table along with SEVEN of the most incredible courses of food we have EVER had in the Caribbean. We were fortunate to have eaten in a three Michelin star restaurant in NYC a couple of weeks ago, and in our opinion, this food, course for course was better. From incredible seafood, to the most outrageous stuffed duck breast, this was easily our most memorable meal out of our 14 meals last week in St Martin. Momo will make special menus by request, but must have a few days notice. Do not miss this place on your culinary tour of St. Martin. It is wonderful. Grade: 4 stars!!!
La Villa: This place was probably the busiest of all the restaurants we ate in. The meal was good, the service fine. Grade: 2 stars
L’ Astrolabe: The WORST meal of the trip. We specifically booked this place on Friday night because it was lobster night. I also booked a table by the pool. We arrived for our 8:3 reservation at 8:40, and the long haired owner came up to us and told us because we were later (???) he gave away our table. Fortunately, another couple was just finishing their dinner and we could have their table when they were done. When finally seated at 9:00, we waited another 15 minutes for anyone to come over to take a drink order- or anything. I ordered the lobster and my girlfriend the Dover sole. This place offers 3 courses for 49 Euros. The appetizers were actually pretty good and we were psyched for our dinner. Her Dover sole came out and it was like a mini Dover sole. It was the tiniest version of this I have ever seen! My lobster came out and it was barely cooked. I sent it back and when it reappeared it was STILL not cooked. Are you kidding me???? The waiter looked at it and basically said the kitchen couldn’t cook that lobster right. Yes at that point he offered me something else to eat, but my GF was long done with her meal, so I passed. When they take your order, you have to order all three courses in advance. So when they took away the dishes, they brought out our two desserts and left. Next came the bill. No they didn’t charge me for the lobster, but they charged my full menu retail for their appetizer and dessert- Which would have meant the 2 pound lobster would have come out to $14.00. Are you kidding me? By the way, the owner NEVER came over to apologize for this disaster, not did we get the after dinner drink every other table got. In summary, all I can say is this: eat ANYWHERE else but this place. They just don’t know how to run a restaurant. Grade: -4 Stars
Lolo Coco in Marigot: What a surprise. Great drinks, great food including a grilled whole snapper platter for $12, and incredible Creole food. Great service too!! A wonderful lunch. Grade: 2 stars
Le Pressoir: A professionally run restaurant with great friendly service and wonderful food. Just understand that the food isn’t creative, it’s pretty straightforward, but delicious nonetheless. Excellent wine list as well. Grade: 3 Stars
Two last things: Take a ride to Pinel Island. Stay to your left and go to the Karabuni restaurant. The grilled shrimp, crayfish lobster, and grilled lobster are to DIE FOR. A wonderful day at the beach you won’t ever forget.
Finally, we took a day trip to Anquilla: Went to Hope Bay where we discovered Smokey’s Beach Bar: Maybe the best chicken wings and fried calamari of all time….and his ribs were wonderful too. And don’t miss the house “special” rum punch!!
All in all it was a good week of eating. I felt that the food quality has gone downward since my last visit six months ago. Is it possible that the recession is making the restaurants us less quality food than they used to so they can maintain their prices?