Dining in Sint Maarten/St. Martin
Enjoy a wide variety of cuisines, prices and experiences on either side
In the Simpson Bay area of Sint Martin dining runs the gamut from having a quick breakfast in the kitchenette of your time share hotel room or a full tropical breakfast on the beach to gourmet offerings from around the world. The wide variety of choices also come with a choice of economical, but delicious meals, to elegant dining.
One can start the day with fantastic French rolls, pastries or baguettes along with fresh local coffee at a variety of French bake shops that line the main road along the beach. One such shop is the Taste Factory. Prices are low and one will always take away a baguette or two and pastries for either a snack or to accompany another meal. The shops also offer a variety of sandwiches and salads that can be carried to the beach for an inexpensive lunch.
Road side stands and a variety of little restaurants offer great lunch and dinner options. One such roadside stand is Captain D’s Roadside Grill on the main drag in Simpson Bay. Here one will find a variety of fresh barbecued meats and fish served with rice and beans. The size of the crowd around the stand testifies to its popularity. Although the stand is usually open well into the evening one should go early for the day’s featured meat or fish. A number of restaurants offer Middle Eastern fare. In particular Little Jerusalem offers inexpensive, but wonderful kebabs, salads, falafel and other delights in an open air setting. Many other restaurants along the beach road offer fare from seafood to Indian dishes to Asian dishes in settings ranging from simple and inexpensive to elegant and pricey. One restaurant that falls into the latter category, but not to be missed is Crave. This restaurant has been rated top of the list of places to eat in Simpson Bay for quite a while. The middle-eastern fare here is excellent and mostly locally sourced. It is well worth an evening’s dining experience. http://cravesxm.com/
For those craving the familiar, Simpson Bay also offers chain restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King.
To top off a day’s eating, one can’t do much better than wandering down to the Carousel. The building houses an authentic European carousel and an incredible array of ice cream, gelato and sorbet flavors served in many different ways.\
The French side of the island also offers a wide variety of food choices. Marigot is full of fine restaurants featuring traditional French to creole to fresh seafood. On the beaches one will find many offerings of seafood, traditional lunch fare and French cuisine. Of note are the two beach side cafes at Isla Verde (see accompanying article on island beaches) and the many excellent cafes that line the beach at Orientale beach. Many of the beach cafes will also offer inexpensive umbrella and chair packages which may include access to Wi-Fi and a cold cocktail or beer.
Regardless of the great fare on the French side of the island, very little compares to the offerings found in Grande Case. This town boasts an incredible number of gourmet restaurants for its size and deservedly is known as the Epicurean capital of the Caribbean. A few miles north of Marigot on the coast highway a road leads off to the left which is the start of an arc of fine restaurants that end back at a southern entry to the highway. Due to the distance from Marigot it is highly suggested that one drives to Grand Case or take a taxi. There is ample parking in town in close proximity to the dining district.
A variety of cuisines are offered in the Grand Case establishments including creole, Vietnamese, Chinese and St. Martin roadside grilled. However, the stars of the area are the restaurants that offer seafood with either a traditional French flair or a fusion with another cuisine.
L’Auberge Gourmande is at or near the the top of the charts in popularity in Grand Case. The delicate seafood appetizers and entrees are uniformly excellent and will please all patrons. Also offered are a variety of other dishes such as lamb, chicken and beef which are equally as good. However, the stars remain the seafood and fish dishes. A tuna tartare was an excellent start (accompanied with another appetizer of traditional foie gras) and sufficient for two. This was followed by a yellow fin tuna dish for one diner and a wonderful local take on bouillabaisse. A variety of chocolate desserts provided a delightful end to the meal. Being off season we were also treated to an excellent glass of wine and an after dinner aperitif. Despite the abundance and quality of the food the total bill (with tip) was less than $100. http://www.laubergegourmande.com/.