Only 3 Dinners in St. Martin...What Are Your Favorite Picks?
We just got back from a week in St. Martin, and just to give you a heads-up, they're doing roadwork in Marigot which makes traveling to/from there or even through there to get from the west end of the island to the northeast a bit of a headache. There's always road construction somewhere on the island, so just be aware of that. For that reason and for, shall we say, health reasons (oy, the things that can happen when you're on vacation), we never made it to the north side of the island. (We stay in Cupecoy). Yes, we could have gone down Union through the middle of the island, but after one harrowing night of night driving, we decided to forego that and stay closer to our home base.
That said, avoid Temptation, which is actually in Cupecoy, not Philipsburg (unless there is another Temptation there as well). The food is very expensive and not great for the money. We went there because it was close (we could walk) but would have been better off at Rare, which we've been to in the past. They're owned by the same people and are right next to each other, but we enjoyed the food at Rare much more. (although our meal at Rare was two years ago)
We mostly stayed on the southwest side of the island - Cupecoy, Maho, Simpson Bay.
Bamboo Bernie's in Maho is really good - they describe their menu as NY style sushi with a Caribbean twist, but it's much more than sushi and a really fun atmosphere. It's not the gourmet French cuisine of much of the island, but it's really good food with a slightly younger but upscale vibe. It would be a really fun place for a group. You don't say what the typical age of your group is, but if it's a late 20s to 40s age group, you'll appreciate the fun but dressy vibe without it being too formal or too wild. It is kind of a NY vibe.
We also went to Pineapple Pete, in Simpson Bay, which is strictly casual but served us good food. I got their "famous" lobster thermidor, a huge half-lobster shell filled with chunks of lobster meat and mushrooms in a creamy thermidor sauce; my DH got grilled ribs and chicken. The ribs were excellent, and he didn't even share any of the chicken with me. Sit out on the deck and watch the ships in the lagoon - very serene view with a cool breeze. They have a pool room and, nearby, a sports bar. It's just a fun place. As I said, strictly casual but a real taste of island life.
We also went to Lee's Roadside Grill, which is two doors down from Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay, where I had the whole grilled lobster - you choose your lobster from the "pool" and they grill it right then and there for you. I chose the smallest lobster they had - 5 pounds - and thought I would be bringing home leftovers. I ate it all! As a start, I got a bowl of their conch chowder, which I wouldn't recommend. It was a watery soup with very rubbery but very large bits of conch in it. Neither the soup nor the conch had much flavor. I don't even remember what DH had. Again, you can sit out back and take in the view of the lagoon. We were entranced by a massive, monstrous yacht that parked itself within our view - it could easily have fit our house in it 5 times!!! But it was definitely a cool sight.
The thing we enjoyed about Pineapple Pete and Lee's is that they're open all day long. So many of the restaurants in St. Martin don't open for dinner until 6:30, which is a little late for us (we're in relaxation mode and don't want to be out all night, plus having a few drinks and driving home in the dark in St. Martin is a scary proposition!) It does get dark around 6:30 or so year-round, so take that into consideration. We went for late lunch/early dinner - around 4:00 - which suited our schedule on those days. The good food and casual atmosphere on those days was a bonus.
We also had Sunday brunch at Ernest & Fidel, which is in the new Porto Cupecoy complex just near the Dutch/French border at the far west side of Cupecoy. I know I had Eggs Benedict and lots of mimosas, so I don't remember much else except sitting outside on the porch and feeling absolutely relaxed. The pace of the servers was slowwwww, but we were in no hurry, and we really enjoyed. We wanted to get back for dinner but never did. The lunch and dinner cuisine is Caribbean / Latin American and looked really good.
I hope I've given you a few ideas. While all of the French food is wonderful, it's also fun to explore the many other cuisines on the island, and there are many, so I hope you enjoy your trip!
Bistro Nu country rustic French was one of my favorites.
Le Tastevin Restaurant is on the water across the street from Spicy. It was one of our favorites had has tables overlooking the water (10 feet away)
Also "Spicy" is great the name is misleading as there IS NOT SPICY FOOD it is French
All three of these are place I will go every time I am there.
LUNCH on Oreint Beach at BOO BOO JAM is great, if they have grilled lobster you won't regret it.
Grand Case is the gourmet center of the island which itself is the gourmet capital of the Caribbean.
The best restaurant on the island is in Grand case and it's called L'Estaminet. Google their reviews. Nuf said
Other restaurants to consider: Spiga, Skip Jack's(not fancy but good) and La Vie en Rose. For a great, reasonable restaurant that serves local creole food try Yvette's.
Pinel Island is a must, no matter what you eat. All the food is good their ( only open for lunch, the last boat back is at 6PM). The Lolo's in Grand Case is a must. The best one, in my opinion is Talk of the Town. Prepare for a smokey atmosphere. The bbq ribs, chicken, lobster is excellent. The mac and cheese , potato salad, sides are good. Try the Johnny Cakes for sure.
Le Planteur, near Oyster Pond, has great foie gras, and very fresh well made fish. There is another place near there L'Eden, has very good mussels.
Mr. Busby's, on Dawn Beach for lunch has good ribs and chicken and lobster. At night it becomes Daniel's and serves Italian food.
Avoid Aura at the Westin, not very good and quite expensive. Temptations in Phillipsburg is good.
The restaurants that do pizza by the ferry in Marigot are all bad, especially Arawak Cafe that place is the worst.
The beach restaurants on Orient Beach are good. The one that has thai food , I think it is Kon Tiki is terrific for lunch.
The restaurants in the Village of Orient Beach, are decent except for the Italian one that serves pizza. It is bad.
I did not enjoy the fancy restaurants in Grand Case, i found them overrated.
Spend a night in Anguilla for some really good food, try Blanchards. or for lunch Smokeys.