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Update on great restaurants at St Barths

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My husband and I will be visiting St Barths fo ar week in may. Have read suggestions for lunch and dinner but need an update. Expensive, moderate, casual, romantic, we like to experience it all!

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  1. We just returned from St Barth yesterday. There are many recent restaurant changes, especially with regard to the older thread on which you posted.

    Our best meal of the trip was at L'Esprit de Saline, which is the new home to the Eden Rock chef. Everything was wonderful from the foie gras and duck spring rolls to the desserts. Great, romantic ambiance as well.
    Second best meal was L'Isola but I'm not sure I would recommend this place to a first-timer. The vibe is more NYC and its all indoors, not a Caribbean style place at all. Wonderful Italian food though.
    Third was Santa Fe, for classic French dishes. This also makes a great lunch spot with the views and proximity to Gouverneur Beach.
    Other high end places we like but missed this trip include Maya's, On the Rocks and Le Gaiac.

    You have lots of options for mid-range food. Many people love The Hideaway in St Jean, but we prefer the pizza at L'Entracte in Gustavia. Very local place. We almost always go to Eddy's for a cool Carib atmosphere and creole/Asian fusion food. No reservations. We also like Le Bouchon for take-out salads and paninis.

    We enjoyed lunch at Sand Bar for the first time ever (also the reason we skipped On the Rock-both are Eden Rock restaurants.) Wall House has a great lunch, and if you choose one of the daily specials its very reasonable. Plat, wine, coffee and dessert for 18 euro. Grain de Sel near Saline, La Gloriette at Grand Cul de Sac, and La Plage on St Jean are all great lunch spots.

    As you can see, you will be spoiled for choice. Each trip we miss some of our favorites, there are just so many great places. That's why we keep going back....

    4 Replies
    1. re: mb luvs SBH

      Sounds like we will be busy sampling delicious food! Thanks for taking the time to share your recent culinary experiences and give us so many options to consider.

      Any other suggestions as to nightlife? Live music to relax and sip some wine? Any "not to be missed" experiences?

      1. re: Margawil

        St Barth is not a big nightlife destination and we have never been there in May. If Baz Bar on the quay in Gustavia is open they often have good music. Other places are more sporadic. Make sure you get a copy of the Daily and Weekly publications, they will have all the info on local events.

        1. re: Margawil

          I think I posted a response to an earlier thread to you, but as mb says, SBH isn't really a nightlife kind of place, even less so in the off season. I usually avoid these places b/c I don't want the noise and crowds, but maybe you should check out Nikki Beach, Yacht Club or Le Ti. I prefer to get a cocktail at the Carl Gustaf at sunset.

          1. re: Bkeats

            A cocktail at sunset sounds like my kind of "nightlife". Thank you for the suggestions!

      2. We got back two days ago after two weeks on the island. We cooked at the villa two nights, but otherwise we ate out at some of the wonderful restaurants there. Here's a rundown. (Don't hold me to the spelling or the La or Le distinctions.)

        Lunches:

        La Gloriette -- this is the old Cocoloba. A true feet in the sand place. They have a traditional lobster cassette that is fantastic. Goat cheese salad is excellent.

        Boucaniers -- at the end of the harbor. We had a good Caesar salad, good chicken sandwich and the best tuna tataki we had this trip.

        Wall House -- pretty good. Good gazpacho and lobster club sandwich.

        Do Brazil -- great location and views on Shell Beach. Good burgers and another good Caesar.

        Nikki Beach -- had lunch both Sunday afternoons we were there. First time it got pretty wild with people making it up onto the tables dancing after enough hooch. This place is more entertainment than food, but actually has some excellent sushi.

        La Carre -- in between some of the shops in the middle of Gustavia. Franck Methvet (sp?), former chef at Wall House, is owner and host. We had an excellent chicken salad sandwich, Wagyu beef sliders and a gaspacho.

        La Plage -- on St. Jean beach at the Tom Beach Hotel. I've never been taken with their food, but Jimmy Buffett was at the table next to us and stopped to shake my daughter's hand, so everything was lovely.

        Mango -- at the Christopher Hotel. Great views, beautiful pool area. I had a Cobb sandwich that was good, not great. Wife had a Caesar with chicken that was good.

        Sand Bar -- on St. Jean Beach at the Eden Rock Hotel. Some have said "the best dinner in St Barth is lunch at Sandbar." Not so this day. Worst service we have ever had there. Food took way too long to come out and my companions' dishes came out twenty minutes before they got my burger to the table. Then got attitude when I complained.

        Santa Fe -- had both lunch and dinner here. One of my favorites on the island. Try the tomato tarte, an appetizer. Lobster Belvedere is also an excellent starter. Good Dover sole and specials.

        Dinners:

        Le Repaire -- our customary first night dinner. Excellent fish dishes, excellent and very friendly service. Right on the harbor. Some complain of the noise level, being right next to the main street, but I don't notice it at night except for the occasional loud motorbike.

        Pa Cri -- moved last year from the Saline area into the dining space at Taiwana Hotel. Excellent Italian dishes. Penne Pa Cri is an excellent dish on the menu. Good veal chop. Usually at least two specials. We ate there twice and it was overall good, not great.

        Spice of St. Barth -- this is a new place on the road down to Flamands. It sits right next to the road and is a family owned and operated place. Real St Barth creole cooking. We had a seafood medley and lobster creole, both spicy and delicious. Best cod fritters we had during the trip. A neat little very casual place that I'm afraid won't last -- no advertising and no recognition. I got clued into it through an online forum. Go while you can.

        L'Isola -- some of the best food on the island. Obviously Italian -- high dollar Italian. Went twice last year and loved the food, if not the slow service. Went once this time. Again the food was excellent, service slow.

        Andy's Hideaway -- love this place. Owned and run by Andy, a six foot five inch Englishman. Slogan is "Warm beer, corked wine, lousy food, view of the carpark." Excellent salads and pizzas. Has other options, but we stick with the salads and pizzas. One of the most reasonably priced places on the island. Sunday nights sometimes break into sing-alongs and line dancing as Andy leads the house singing "Sweet Caroline", "American Pie" and others. Fun.

        La Langouste -- as the name says, "Lobster." They have other dishes, but why bother? Lobster served steamed or as Thermidor. We tried the Thermidor this time. Back to steamed next time. Thermidor was just not that good. Good service.

        Santa Fe -- one of the most popular spots on the island. The owner and host, Emmanuel, known as Manu, is a wonderful host and he has put together a staff that is unexcelled on St Barth. Great fresh fish dishes and good beef. Fabulous ice cream desserts.

        Cote Port -- on the harbor. We had heard high praise for how it was doing this year. We had eaten there for lunch in 2011, but not since. Had dinner there and it was just so-so. Slow service. Just fair food.

        Maya's -- this time was good. I have eaten at Maya's when I thought it was excellent and when I thought it was not very good. Very simple food. Very, very expensive for what you get. Two of the four of us ordered filets mignon medium rare. Both came out very rare and sent them back. Within about ten minutes they were back and were perfect. Unfortunately, the other two of us had already finished our meals, since we didn't want ours to get cold. Overall and good experience.

        Le Gaiac -- in Hotel Le Toiny. This is probably the finest restaurant on the island. The chef is certainly the most innovative. Food is presented as if it were art. Several complimentary amuses bouche were served, complimentary palate clearing granita after the starter and complimentary petits fours after dinner. The food is just excellent.

        Le Case d'Lisle at the Isle d' France Hotel -- we had never been here for dinner, although we have eaten there at lunch many times. Service was ragged and non-existent at times. The food was excellent. Wife had Dover sole and I had a Wagyu roasted beef dish. Overall, good not great.

        The Best Meal We Had On This Trip -- Marmalade in San Juan. We spent the night in San Juan the night before we went to the island. I had seen some reviews of Marmalade, wjich is in Old San Juan. Had one of the best meals I have ever had. Oddly enough, the chef is originally from Iowa. That's right -- Iowa. He has also cooked in Europe and Asia and he has learned how to cook! Incredible flavors and fine presentation. Funny that the best meal of the trip to St Barth was eaten in Puerto Rico!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ddavis

          You have given us a great list of options with very hepful details, thanks! We live in PR and I agree with you, Marmalade has great food and ambiance!

        2. To all members who made suggestions thanks for sharing!

          My husband and I just returned from a 5 nite stay and we had wonderful dinning experiences, Our favorite: L'Esprit followed by Bonito. Only restaurant we wer disappointed with was Des Pecheurs at Sereno. Will have to go back to St Barths because 5 nites was not enough to sample all the wonderful choices!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Margawil

            Great to hear! We thought L'Esprit was a standout as well. Where else did you eat?