St. Thomas / St John USVI Dining
Posted 16 January 2004 - 03:09 PM
Posted 20 January 2004 - 10:14 AM
Posted 06 April 2004 - 05:27 PM
Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:12 AM
Oh, yeah, there is also a sort of gourmet convenience store next to Citrus restaurant (part of the hotel complex).
Posted 12 April 2004 - 04:11 PM
Posted 12 April 2004 - 07:21 PM
Prices in the supermarkets were reasonable. Restaurants ranged from cheap to overpriced, just like anywhere else. Be sure to check out the Dinghy Dock recommended Tony Bourdain, upthread. We didn't take the ferry so I dunno.
Posted 13 April 2004 - 09:26 AM
Have been reading the threads above and taking notes! Will report back when we return! Any other info you can share will be great. Pelican is near Simpson Bay. Halfway btw French and Dutch side, I am told.
Posted 13 April 2004 - 12:10 PM
However, Simpson Bay is rather near the airport and I don't remember if you make it to the traffic circle before getting to your resort. So you may not just run across the Ram's supermarket as I indicated you would upthread. However, I'm sure that you can be easily directed to it from your timeshare.
Posted 13 April 2004 - 11:39 PM
Edited by angeltriano, 14 April 2004 - 12:10 AM.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 08:02 AM
Also, are you allowed to take cars by ferry to Angilla? Thanks so much! We want to visit the island but would rather take our own transportation!
Not that kind of ferry, from what I understand. We're headed to Anguilla next week and for the first time we'll be flying into St. Maarten and taking the ferry over....... Once you get to Anguilla, you should be able to rent a car close to where the ferry lands in Blowing Point, I've heard there's a rental agency nearby. Just ask anyone around the customs and immigration area. Getting around the island is really easy if you have a decent map, just remember they drive on the left and the roundabouts are tricky!
Can anyone recommend a nice place to have lunch in Marigot that won't be too, too expensive? I think my daughters and I will take a day trip from Anguilla to do some browsing and shopping.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 09:32 AM
St. John, especially was much more to my liking. More tropical forest, less scrub brush, and while still quite touristy, significantly less seedy. I didn't snorkel on St. Martin, but Waterlemon Cay in St. John was stunning and well worth renting a boat and traveling halfway around the island, even after our map blew overboard. Whoops.
Edited by wnissen, 15 April 2004 - 09:34 AM.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 10:15 AM
You should try visiting Anguilla. It meets our primary criteria for a great vacation spot: no gambling, no nightlife, no shopping, no cruise ships, just great beaches and friendly people . But, I do have three daughters aged 9, 15 and 17 and they enjoy browsing around in little shops and the designer places, would love to have some braids put in their hair and I think they'd enjoy lunch in a typically French spot.
Posted 19 April 2004 - 05:02 PM
BTW, can you rent mopeds or motorcycles on Angilla??
Posted 27 April 2004 - 05:37 AM
No moped or motorcycle rentals on Anguilla. Car rental is around $40-50 per day for a small sedan, a little more for a Jeep-type vehicle. Taxis are very expensive, with set rates for point-to-point travel. The island is pretty small, just 16 miles long by 2-3 miles wide, and a sedan will be fine for most places you'd want to go. Feel free to email me or send a PM if you want more detailed information on good beaches, etc.
Posted 28 April 2004 - 05:11 AM
Posted 28 April 2004 - 05:32 AM
Posted 29 April 2004 - 09:47 AM
Posted 03 May 2004 - 10:28 AM
I mainly want to relax on the beach. The good food is a great bonus. I want to do snorkeling and my friend wants to go horseback riding on the beach. The Perlows didn't like the snorkeling. Has anyone had a good experience snorkeling on the island? Any good dancing places?
Any additional and recent information, especially about the food, will be most appreciated!! Also, I would appreciate any practical info that you got through experience on St. Martin, that you wish you had known before you went.
Thanks in advance.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 09:07 AM
For food? See earlier posts--but Marigot--if you look hard enough--has some good spots. You might try Bistro Nu or Le Plongoir there. Best market for shopping is Supermarche--right before the bridge to Sandy Ground: Lots of straight-from France meat, charcuterie, cold cuts, cheese--and the best baguettes nextdoor at the bakery.
Grand Case? Le Cottage is not bad.
Near Mullet Bay--by the casino is Temptation--high end "caribbean fusion".
Ribs at Pedro's on Orient Beach...or at Johnny B Under the Tree.
Best beaches, in order: Baie Rouge, Cupacoy, Prune, Baie Longue.
Best hotel: La Samanna (pricey) Less pricey, Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case.
MUST AVOID: Pelican--and anywhere near it. You'd just as well go to Florida.
Ditto Maho area.
Good bars: Sunset Beach Bar, by the airport...Dinghy Dock near Oyster Pond.
Dancing? In Marigot --VERY late. Just follow the THUMP THUMP THUMP to the hot places.
And don't forget Hilma's Windsor Castle for lunch. (see earlier posts here for directions) Local, cheap, supercasual--and Hilma knows EVERYTHING about the island.
Unless you like seeing tiny German penises on display, crowds, chair service and water sports--avoid Orient for anything but a look. It's crowded, commercial--and gets uglier every day.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:16 AM
Do your Hurricane Ban in Sept. Dance for us! :)
Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:52 AM
I'll post my impressions when I get back.
Any extra advice welcome until 5/27.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 11:36 AM
Tranquility at Little Bay:
Afterwards you can drive over to Shoal Bay East to have lunch at one of the great beach restaurants (Gwen's Reggae Bar, Le Bar, Uncle Ernie's, Madeiraman's) and snorkel some more. For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, go to Palm Grove Grill in Junk's Hole and have Nat bbq you some lobster, ribs or crawfish while you snorkel in the calm waters and shallow reefs.
Before Nat opens up:
Your own private beach:
Edited by bushey, 04 May 2004 - 11:46 AM.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:47 PM
Posted 04 May 2004 - 01:36 PM
Sunset, blech unless you like being THAT CLOSE to landing aircraft.
Good bars: Sunset Beach Bar, by the airport...Dinghy Dock near Oyster Pond.
Ditto (the recommendation of) Dinghy Dock.
Go to Citrus at Cupecoy -- Highly recommended.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 05:06 PM
For sheer novelty value,and cheap drinks it IS a good place to wait after you check your luggage in. You can get drunk, watch the idiots stand right behind the turbines, and you'll know exactly when your flight arrives as it comes in right over your head. On departure day, I always check in my luggage VERY early--to avoid the lines, then hang at Sunset drinking.
Citrus has a new chef, so I don't know the situation there now.
But I highly recommend buying a bunch of freshly made French and local sausages at either Match, Supermarche Dupont or one of the fine local butchers in Marigot and bbqing em on the beach. The pre-made satays aren't too bad either. Strangely--for an island--the fish is pretty crappy. The local snapper is tough (and usually frozen). The lobsters are good--as are the crab backs. Almost everything else comes in frozen from Florida. The best seafood (for bbqing) is at Supermarche Dupont--but in typical French style--you gotta wait for the delivery to come in (usually Thursday or Friday). It varies wildly--and can be either a bounty of great stuff fresh from Brittany--or some really reeking crap.
The VERY popular Lee's Deep Sea Fishing restaurant in Simpson Bay is to be avoided at all costs. Same jokers you saw on the plane--only sunburned--and increasingly bad food. Best lobster is at Uncle Harry's on the airport road--in the back of a scary-ass looking boatyard. I'd stay away from Thai or Vietnamese.
Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:49 AM
OK, Sunset late. Check. We were there during the busy plane time and I didn't care for that experience.
I thought the chef at Citrus was one of the owners, has the place changed hands?
Posted 05 May 2004 - 02:25 PM
Also, does the Pelican resort do day trips for snorkeling? And is a trip to St. Bart's or Saba worth it??
Posted 08 June 2004 - 11:04 AM
I will try to list some of our experiences. The food stuff is 1/3 down this post.
Car Rental: Was strongly recommended and I strongly agree you need one. I do not think a 4x4 is essential--we did fine in a Corolla. I rented from Tropical Car Rental, which was recommended by another website. This local company (and others) send a representative to wait for you at the airport. Mikey was there as promised. The car was not the Platina I reserved, but a Corolla, but it had air and was automatic and only $20 a day, so I didn't change it. He gave us directions to the car rental office (close by) and we drove there to fill out the paperwork. Yes, I actually drove the car before filling out the paperwork.
Driving: There is one main road than circumnavigates the island. The airport is in the southwest of the island. I recommend avoiding the Dutch section of the road, unless you are going there (and you would be disregarding Tony's advice). There was always a lot of traffic on the road that leads to Phillipsburg. Even if on the map it looks longer, we found it better to go around the island and avoid the Dutch section. Do drive defensively and do not get confident. All roads are 2 lanes, one each way and cars pass each other all the time. Goats, horses and cows graze right next to the roads, or cross the road. The roads have names, but we never got any directions with road names. They would go like this, "Go left on the main road, take a right at the fork by the Texaco, and go left at the Kentucky (KFC--this was the Dutch side), take a right at the T, then follow signs to …." There is a gas station between Grand Case and Oyster Bay that was open at all hours and on the holidays.
Language: We only encountered one shop lady that didn't speak English, and she tried her best to help anyway. Neither of us speaks French (although I know a lot of French words). Everybody else spoke English.
Currency: US dollars can be used anywhere. Some places do equal exchange with Euros if paying cash, and others don't and just convert it with a calculator, but we had absolutely no problems paying with dollars anywhere. Also, they put through the credit charges in dollars.
Beach: We only went to Dawn Beach. It was right next to the resort and had free chairs and umbrellas and a shower. We liked it so much we didn't feel like driving to another beach. It had clear water and was mostly calm, but in the afternoon it had some small waves, which I like. Ms. B's beach "eatery" also rents snorkeling equipment. I snorkeled 2 mornings (better in the calm morning) and saw some pretty fish and 2 lobsters. I wanted to go to Anguilla, as recommended by a lot of people (see bushey's post), but JB would not go in past her waist (the movie "Jaws" scarred her for life) and it seemed like a lot of trouble to go to snorkel by myself. Next time….
Oyster Bay Beach Resort: We stayed at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, in a small efficiency (a smallish room with a tiny kitchen area and a balcony). It was exactly as on the Website. Small, but doable. The front desk people were very helpful. They went out of their way to get us appointments for JB's back. The resort was very clean. A request for an extra blanket and to change the air conditioner's filter was taken care of right away. They do charge per day for the air conditioner, which I new about from my internet research. I did not know about the $50 per room time-share St Martin tax (there is also a $20 departure tax that on some airlines you have to pay in another line). Rooms are cleaned only on Wednesdays; other days are extra. Trash is taken out daily and towels replaced daily. Our room was small, but a one bedroom next to us (we peeked) was huge. There was also a pretty good air-conditioned workout room. Beware of the stepper (a swing-type device), which really hyper-extends the legs and I think contributed to JB's back problems.
Bug Spray: Bring it with you and apply no later than 4pm--even on the beach. Disregard this advice, like JB did on the first day, at your own risk. I also brought anti-itch cream--JB was so grateful.
Food--finally (and where my lack of professional culinary training will be obvious. Some flavors I just couldn't place):
We ate two lunches at Ms. B's, right on the beach. I had the rib and chicken combo both times. JB had that once and a cheeseburger the 2nd time. The ribs are grilled, small and pretty good. The sauce was sweet, but not too sweet, and tasty. The chicken was marinated and grilled and also good. Served with rice and peas ("peas" are any pulse, I think. These were pigeon peas-my favorite), and a small salad with bottled Italian dressing.
The Diet Coke was especially carbonated, which I love. I have found most foreign countries carbonate more.
One lunch at the Creperie in Marigot-I had the Croque Monsieur with great fries. My friend had a rather too-golden omelette-but she liked it.
We had dinner the first night at the Dinghy Dock (a "bourdain" recommendation). Get there early (6pm) if you want a table. We sat at a one of the large picnic tables inside, but try for outside as the reggae band is loud for the small space. A couple asked if they could share the table and we said of course. But then eight people showed up and crammed into the table. I'm asking how many, next time. We ordered the special, the spicy burger, It turned out to be a good sized ground beef burger with a spicy brown sauce (not "hot" spicy), baked potato (already with sour cream) and a salad (already with dressing). It wasn't the best meal ever, but it was tasty enough and we were starving! All salads that we were served on the island came with dressing, so ask for it on the side if you want.
The Dinghy Dock got crowded as the sun went down. It seemed like an "in" place for the people with boats at the marina.
One dinner at Le Cottage in Grand Case (also a bourdain recommendation) I had the lobster ravioli in rouille sauce and they were fantastic. They served 4 raviolis in a square plate. The pasta was very thin (like wonton-wrapper thin) and the sauce light in consistency but not thin and balanced in taste and delicious. For entrée the waiter recommended the special, which was 3 white fishes and sea scallops sautéed with island spices and in a sauce. It was very fresh and tasty, but I was a little disappointed that the sauce was the same as my appetizer. My friend had the ravioli special, which were filled with goat cheese and had a morel sauce. They were good, but not as good as the lobster ones--get them if you go.
For dessert I couldn’t resist the caramel soufflé, served with caramel sauce and house-made caramel ice cream. I highly recommend it. The service was excellent, in a relaxed and friendly way. This bill came to around $100 (including bottled water and tip)
Another night we went to L’Auberge Gourmand. This was my friend’s mother’s favorite restaurant (and on a lot of guides). The menu looked good, so we decided to try it. I should say that since we were in the off season, we didn’t need reservations and that at 6:30-7:00 pm we could just walk up and down the Grand Case restaurant row and decide on the spot. I had the grilled shrimp field greens dressed with excellent vinaigrette-but it had a lot of vinaigrette. Tell them to go light or on the side. The shrimp were incredibly fresh and sweet. The shrimp were as fresh as in southern Spain, on the beach. The kind that makes me wonder what exactly I’m eating when I eat shrimp in the US. The salad was served on a crepe basket, which reminded me of a French papadum. My friend had a salad of the mixed greens with Roquefort cheese, baked apple, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese baked in a light crust--very good, but heavy for an appetizer. For entrée I had the whole grilled bass (of a size good for one person) with Mediterranean vegetables. They fillet it for you, if you want. It was fresh and delicious. My friend got shrimp and scallops—oops, I can’t remember what sauce, but also good. No dessert. The bill came to $108 (including bottled sparkling water and tip).
A note about Grand Case (case as in "cass" in cassoulet). It is a very narrow 2-way street which has restaurants and a few shops interspersed between houses. There is no side walk. Parking is, mostly, where you find it. Cars and people on foot share the road. It was not crowded in May, but I can only imagine that it could be a nightmare in high season.
Monday night I made us cheese omelettes in the “kitchen.” My friend had to be on bed rest for the night. We had great mangoes from the Market at Marigot for dessert.
Tuesday night we finally made it to the Poulet D’Orleans. It was closed Sunday on our first try. It is right on the main road between Oyster Pond and Grand Case in what looks like a very modest neighborhood. We were both a little skeptical, but I wasn’t missing it. After all, Tony eats there and the Perlows went back with their friends and these are recommendations I trust implicitly. And they were so right. It was the best chicken JB or I have ever had. You can get the breast (breast and wing) or the half chicken. I got the breast, because I thought the half would be too much--a mistake, because it was so good that at the end we were both searching our plates for any bits of meat we had overlooked. This home-grown chicken was falling off the bone and incredible moist at the same time. The "peanut" sauce was a Thai inspired sauce, not too peanutty at all. It had other Thai flavors in a perfect balance. I finished off the sauce with the garlic bread. JB got the Creole sauce (tomato-type, not hot). There is also a barbecue sauce. The chicken came with an assortment of vegetables including perfectly steamed broccoli, corn, a small piece of christophine (chayote) and fried almost-ripe plantains. The plantains were great with the Thai sauce. Really, anything was good with that sauce. The entrees also came with roasted potatoes and rice and peas (beans, this time). For appetizer I got the accras (codfish fritters). These fritters are pillowish and not crispy--still addictive. JB got the "stuffed crab back." She liked it, but I thought it was too bready and not flavorful enough. There are also other entrees besides chicken. This bill came to $44 (including water and good tip). Go, go, go. But don't forget the bug spray!!!
Market in Marigot: Right in front of the water in Marigot is an open air market. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, vendors come from the adjacent islands (and I'm guessing also from St Martin) and sell fish, fruits and vegetables and spices. At the resort they told us that for the fish you have to get there at 6 am. We went around 10am. We bought mangos (spectacular) and spices. JB bought jerk seasoning and a spice assortment for her mother. I bought something called "magic spice", which is an all-purpose dried whole-herb blend for rubbing or marinating any meat or fish. I can't place all the smells, but it is incredibly fragrant. All the spices were very fragrant. In that heat and humidity I can only imagine they are so fragrant because they are really fresh. I also bought 3 vanilla beans for $2 each. They were also incredibly fragrant. Now I'm regretting I didn't buy more…
In the market there are also non-food stalls that they told us are there every day. I bought a cotton pareo from a young French guy that salt-dyes the cloths himself. There was a nice stall selling Provencal linens and things made out of the linens. And there were many other stalls--from tchotchkes to nice hand-made silver jewelry.
For upscale shopping go to the West Indies Mall, also in Marigot (if you are facing the ocean it's on the right of the market). It is a beautiful air conditioned mall. We got there on another day just a little before closing, and probably for the best. The shops in St Martin can only have a sale 3 weeks of the year, and this was it. They have a Hediard store, where I had to practice restraint. JB wanted to go to New Man, one of her favorite designers, and they are not in Philly. There is also a nice cosmetic/perfume store. The whole island is duty-free. Some people told us that the shopping was better in Phillipsburg (a lot of jewelry stores and true 1 Euro=1 dollar exchange). But we weren't buying jewelry or anything that expensive, so for us it wasn't worth going to Phillipsburg, especially after Tony was so vehement about staying away.
Food Stores: We went in 2 Ram's supermarkets. If you leave the airport and go counter-clockwise on the main road (towards Oyster Bay) there is a non-air conditioned one. If you go clockwise out of the airport on the main road, there is an air conditioned one. Both are about the same size and you won't miss them from the road. We shopped with more detail at the non-air conditioned one. It had a section of international foods, including a lot of Indian products. I love going to supermarkets in other countries. From Ram's I brought home Carte Noire Arabica instant coffee. (Bring milk , or milk and a little water, to the boiling point then add one teaspoon of the instant coffee and sweeten to taste and you got café latte. I grew up in Puerto Rico. My grandfather made the best coffee, very dark and espresso-like, brewed with a flannel "sock." As kids, my sister and I got the hot milk with just a taste of the coffee. But when we moved from their house, my mom wasn't brewing like that and we had the instant caffe latte, as I described. Made with good instant coffee, like this Carte Noir, it is very good).
In Ram's we got stuff for breakfasts (eggs, cheese, butter, coffee, milk, etc) and chorizo (our favorite) and olives. Also a gulab jamun mix to take home.
We did not have time to check out the large supermarkets on the French side.
We stopped at the Bounty Gourmet store (on the main road between Marigot and Orleans). There are gold-colored signs advertising it on both sides of the road. This is a small gourmet market with a great assortment of French cheeses, charcuterie, and canned goods. They also have prepared foods that looked very good, but we didn't buy (a big mistake, since JB's back prevented us from going out to dinner and when we tried going later they had closed because it was a holiday on the French side. We had been lucky it had been open in the morning). Here we bought brie meaux and a baguette (the regular baguettes on the island all look good but are already stale by 11am). We also bought great pre-sliced chorizo. They had 3 kinds of chorizo. To take home I bought a large can of cassoulet (Raynal et Roquelaure), guava jam, pineapple jam, passion fruit-mango jam (these 3 M'Amour brand, made in Guadalupe) and Reine Claude (greengage plum) jam (this last one Bon Maman). Guava paste and jelly I can get here in the Philadelphia area, but guava jam has to be bought in another country. Pineapple jam is also hard to find here. I like it on Ritz crackers--a childhood treat.
The Perlows wrote about ice cream in St Martin. We looked everywhere and could not find the I'l Cappuccino gelatos. They didn't have them in Ram's or in several other small stores. I don't think they are being made. If someone can find them, please post detailed directions. We did find Etna ice creams and sorbets, but not in the guava flavor (the one I wanted). The most exotic they had were mango and coconut, and I can get those flavors here in the US. Hagen Daaz, however, was everywhere.
We also followed Tony's recommendation and went to the The Butterfly Farm. I highly recommend it. Once you pay you can go back on the other days of your trip for free. The morning tour starts at 9:30 (another one at 3pm). The tour was very informative and they open the chrysalis and pupae box and you can see the first flight of the butterflies and moths that hatched that morning. A newly-hatched Blue Morphoe landed on my neck long enough for JB to take 2 pictures! These insects are only active if there is sun, so don't go on rainy days. Great photo ops, especially if you can do close-ups.
Any other time not accounted for we spent at Dawn beach or sleeping.
I am hoping to return to St Martin. It's not too big nor too little and the people soo friendly. Next time I'm going to Anguilla and trying the Rastafajarian restaurant and eating at least twice at Poulet D'Orleans.
Posted 08 June 2004 - 04:43 PM
O que nao mata engorda.
Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:45 PM
So that's it. Gotta go - its happy hour somewhere.