On island that’s half Dutch, half French and edged by over 70km of Caribbean sea, one might fear a confused culinary identity. But fear not—when the fresh fish of the sea meets top-of-the-line French fare, the result is a foodie’s paradise. Whether you’re on the market for something casual or a place with a swanky pizzazz, St Martin will transform even the most discerning food critic into a die-hard fan (prepare to hear your stomach growl).
Where: Enoch’s Place, Marigot
Why: When you’re in the mood for relaxed barbecue style fare, Enoch’s Place will soothe your cravings. You’ll enjoy your Creole classics such as conch stew, cooked plantains, stewed chicken and of course, and no island beach shack would be complete without the best grilled garlic shrimp. Each dish comes with traditional rice and beans too, a perfect way to balance out the spiciness. If you’re traveling with a big family, this is an ideal spot to grab lunch for the whole gang–it’s relatively quick, very reasonably priced considering the quantities, and you can meander on over to the beach right after.
Where: Tropicana, Marigot
Why: If you’re on the market for an upscale lunch, Tropicana, a mainstay on St Martin’s dining circuit, is a must-try. You’ll be indulging in fine island-style French cuisine, and you’re guaranteed to discover a whole new appreciation for salad; their tasty dressings, fresh produce and unique combination of ingredients consistently transform casual salad dabblers into addicts. This, combined with a view overlooking the marina and the raved-about service is likely to summon you back more than once during your stay on the island. Whatever you do, don’t dare leave without trying their pastries–they have an in-house pastry chef and a chocolate mousse you’ll never forget.
Where: Le Cottage, Grand Case
Why: Head to Le Cottage when you’re ready for a truly special dining experience, where they have a much-desired daily prix-fixe menu. The quality of the food and extended wine list rival the real Parisian deal, and diners rave about Le Cottage’s friendly and attentive service. Aside from the wines you’ll beg to take back home with you and the French classics like pan seared beef cooked to perfection, (there’s an amazing cheese platter too), the island-inspired fare such as breaded maui maui with light cream curry sauce or fresh grilled sea scaled may have you coming back for more.
Where: Karakter Beach Bar, Simpson Bay
Why: Karakter Beach Bar is the ideal place to go after a long day picnicking on the beach. On a Friday night in St Martin, lounge areas with reclinable chairs, live jazz music and the picture-perfect sunset over mile-long Simpson Bay are just what the doctor ordered. Fried calamari, dates with goat cheese and bacon and grilled vegetables with a sweet glass of rose? What more could you ask for?
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