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Rachel Perlow

St. Thomas / St John USVI Dining

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We'll definitely spend a full day on St. John and will have a rental car, planning to take the car ferry. Thanks for the directions.

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We are going to St. Thomas next week and I am hoping that someone has been recently.We have reservations at Tage and Stone Terrace but I wuld like some other suggestions. I did not love Asolare the last time(two years ago ) more because of the attitude than the food. I know I can trust you guys so let me know.

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Just returned from St Martin, a jewel of real French soil in the warm Caribbean. No poverty, no crime, and happy locals on this island. Very low key. And, as the locals emphasize, you are in FRANCE-- not a territory, nor a possession, but as much in France as if you were in Paris!

A food eaters paradise, I will expound on our great restaurant experiences here in a couple of days when I have more time. The key is, you will eat very, very well. I prefer Marigot to Grand Case, it has more of a genuine look of mainland France (with palm trees). Best spot is the Marina Royale, where about 20 restaurants wrap themselves around the dock, a nice facsimile of Cassis or even Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Best restaurant experiences:

La Main a la Pate, Marigot

Buffet de la Gare, Marigot

Le Mambo, Grand Case (Not on most lists, but fabulous!)

and of course, the "lolos" of Grand Case.

Will give more details later.

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Just returned from St Martin, a jewel of real French soil in the warm Caribbean.  No poverty, no crime, and happy locals on this island.  Very low key.  And, as the locals emphasize, you are in FRANCE-- not a territory, nor a possession, but as much in France as if you were in Paris! 

A food eaters paradise, I will expound on our great restaurant experiences here in a couple of days when I have more time.  The key is, you will eat very, very well.  I prefer Marigot to Grand Case, it has more of a genuine look of mainland France (with palm trees).  Best spot is the Marina Royale, where about 20 restaurants wrap themselves around the dock, a nice facsimile of Cassis or even Villefranche-sur-Mer. 

Best restaurant experiences:

La Main a la Pate, Marigot

Buffet de la Gare, Marigot

Le Mambo, Grand Case (Not on most lists, but fabulous!)

and of course, the "lolos" of Grand Case. 

Will give more details later.

Did you try Poulet d'Orleans or Citrus at Cupacoy?

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I'm headed to St Martin next week also and would enjoy your comments on you trip if you have time before March 1.Thanks.

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We were recently in St.Thomas. We ate at a place called Noche. It used to be a Mexican place, but now it is more a Steak place. Everyone at our table enjoyed the food. The Steak was very tasty and they do great salads....I had a spinach and Goats cheese, which was very good, and my husband who has to be forced to eat anything that resembles a vegetable had the lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing. He still talks about it. Desserts were average.

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Anyone else with comments, hidden gems, new places...? We're leaving in a week, but most of our time will be in Anguilla.

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My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon on the island :biggrin: and I thought that I'd contribute to the information and recommendations on this thread.

Poulet D'Orleans: We went twice in the 10 days we were there. Genesis, Chef Tony's daughter was our waitress and was a total sweetheart. The second time we went, Chef Tony took care of us himself. God, the chicken with peanut sauce was stunning good. I was bummed that there wasn't any salad as I really need salad with my lunch and dinner. But Tony made up for it with extra helpings of cooked veggies. Christophine... I not only learned about it, but Chef Tony told me how to prepare it. Yay! Those squash-looking things go by another name here in the states (chayote or something like that...) -- they look like Yoda's butt. <g> Anyways, we loved this place. Easy to find going through the French Quarter on the main road. (Oh, and the escargot was totally yummy!) :laugh:

Uncle Harry's: The lobster WAS good. Watching it in its death throes was kind of squicky. But you KNOW it's fresh! And the view during sunset was nice. The "scary ass boat yard" isn't that scary ass in the daytime. :hmmm:

Hilmas: Dammit! I just could NOT find her. I wish there were a better description of how to find that brown trailer. I was quite bummed. I went online at The Mailbox and popped around trying to find more info... to no avail. Pooh. :angry:

Talk of the Town: Major MAJOR yumminess. Those ribs were to die for. And the conch stew was mighty tasty. THE most reasonable prices next to Lidos. Same basic ambiance at both: none. Which was fine by me. :biggrin:

L'Escargot: Very delightful meal with the ambiance that you pay for. I was hoping to see the cabaret show advertised in the weekly "Kay Pasa" guide. But no show that night. Kind of a letdown. I don't think I would have gone if not lured by the possibility of the show. Apparently, in the low season, there are either no or few shows. :huh:

Captain Oliver's: Again, nice ambiance - or at least an interesting view. We sat near to the water and could look down and see a giant turtle and a shark and other big fish from our table. The swimming pool with the see-through wall was kinda cool too. And the sunset + lights on the water was pretty. Didn't hear or see anything that indicated a good deal meal during happy hour. We paid for the ambiance. <sigh> This place was the closest to where we were staying near Dawn Beach. Nice not to have to do major driving to get somewhere for dinner. :smile:

Lido: Went there toward the end of our stay. Got two orders of ribs and one order of chicken and that gave us dinner plus lunch the next day at the airport - the BEST finger food!! And we still had a little left over for dinner again. Just cooked or cold, very tasty and excellent prices. :rolleyes:

We went to Anguilla for a day trip and I am such an off the beaten path kinda girl... so we tried going to Nat's place in Junk Hole. Damn, I though the potholes in St. Maarten/Martin were bad! And when we finally got there (1ish), there was a big sign "Be Back Soon" and the place was deserted. Pooh again. So, we pot holed it over to Gwen's Regge Grill. We were SO hungry by then! It was a good thing the portions are generous. The noodle salad was particularly tasty. Nice location too. The prices I think were a bit steep for the fare and lack of ambiance though. :hmmm:

After visiting the Butterfly Farm (which was WAY WAY cool!!), we went to Orient Beach and upon the recommendation of one of the butterfly farmers (okay, tour guides), sought out The Friendly Bar and a tall blonde drink of water named Ludovich. Very friendly and helpful. My husband ordered a lovely (and yummy... and IMHO overpriced) lobster salad. I brought my lunch with me that day and Ludovich was very kind and helpful regarding my food limitations. He also treated my beloved to a shot (well two shots, since he had mine as well) of flavored liquour -- a ginger flavored one and an orange-ginger one. My hub definitely liked them. Shady sitting area and comfy seats around a common table. Very community-friendly setup. :smile:

We LOVED the Marigot market. Went both Wednesday morning and Saturday morning. Even getting there around 8ish, most of the fish was gone. But we got some wonderful produce. Mangos, papayas, Christophine. Also got great spices and sure enough the vanilla beans there were $2 each (compare with the French market nearby that had a package of 12 for well over 50 Euros)! Cool beans, so to speak. :wub:

And that market was great. We found a gouda cheese with cumin that we absolutely loved. We got some brie at the Marche near Philipsburg and it was adequate. But the brie we got at this little market was WAY better. The meats and cheeses here were top notch. :cool:

And this all without my notes! I will post again if I forgot anything...

Thanks to everyone who made recommendations and contributed to making my honeymoon less of a scramble and more of a focused adventure.

Regards,

Sage

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re: Talk of the Town -- do they still have that fantastic, mustard-based hot sauce? We keep trying to find a replica here in the States, but continually strike out.

Sorry that Nat's Palm Grove Grill wasn't open the day you went. His johnny cakes are wonderful. Did you snorkel at all while you were there? We've had some surprisingly good sightings. Speaking of which, one of the fun things to do at Gwen's (in addition to relaxing in a hammock while you wait for lunch) is to snorkel. They even have some equipment available.

Oh, and congrats on your marriage!

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re: Talk of the Town -- do they still have that fantastic, mustard-based hot sauce?

Hi Bushey! Hmm... didn't try (or seek!) the hot sauce. Sorry I can't give an update on that. All I know is that the recommendation for that particular venue was a two-thumb's up from us.

Sorry that Nat's Palm Grove Grill wasn't open the day you went. His johnny cakes are wonderful. Did you snorkel at all while you were there? We've had some surprisingly good sightings. Speaking of which, one of the fun things to do at Gwen's (in addition to relaxing in a hammock while you wait for lunch) is to snorkel.

Yeah, we were tres bummed that Nat's was deserted - especially after pothole fest. We were so SO hungry... so we didn't take time to snorkle there. After we ate though, we DID snorkle near Gwen's. THAT was lovely. The snorkling there and at one of the Cupacoy coves was delightful. My best beach experience (not snorkling) was at Tintamarre. I could have stayed in the water there for hours and hours... <happy sigh>

More on the food...

I don't think I mentioned in my previous post that while we were searching for Goodfellas Cafe in Simpson Beach (and couldn't find it!! Hmm... is it closed??), we stumbled across Tutta Pasta. VERY nice, romantic but not overdone. The food was yummy, reasonably priced, AND they met my dietary constraint requests (I don't eat pasta... ). I had the cooked vegetables with the tomato-italian sausage on it, the calamari salad (delicious!), and a big gorgeous garden salad. My husband had the spaghetti (traditionalist!) but with their special sauce (I remember it has anchovies in it...) Very generous portions so we got to take some for the next day. And the server, Pam was especially friendly and helpful.

We went to The Boathouse. ICK! Double ICK! Terribly ubiquitous. The service was not very good and they weren't terribly responsive to requests. The food was average and overpriced. It seems like one of those places you steer the *tourists* to so they can have the equivalent of TGI Fridays in paradise. <sigh>

And we tried to go to Spartaco... what is up with this place? It looked totally deserted... like someone was living in the back of the building. It was dark and empty. Did they close? :unsure:

Oh, and when we were at the Marigot market, we got some very very yellow grain. When I asked what it was, I honestly could not understand the vendor and didn't want to keep pushing it. I thought I'd just experiment. Not sure what it is... I keep looking at grains in the store here to see if I can match it up. Anybody have an idea what it could be?

And, how does one store vanilla beans? What are some creative uses for them?

I made the Christophine just as chef Tony instructed. Very simple. Very yummy. I cut it in half and then in slices (looked like pear slices!), cutting out the seed pod in the middle. Then, just boiled in in water with a little salt for about 10 minutes. I love that you can eat the outer skin! :biggrin:

God, we are going to be so sad when we eat the last of that gouda with the cumin... :sad:

Cheers,

Sage

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Hello Everyone, I'll be heading to Saint Martin in late October and am looking for advice on which town to stay in, what spots are not to be missed for a first time visitor and what, if any, places are to be avoided. I'm very much the "When in Rome" type of traveller but am limited to 5-7 days on this particular trip and would like to get a good feel for the island. Thanks for your help and this great forum!

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I'm headed to St. Martin next week and looking for some really excellent food. Any updates on the food scene? What about local chefs - now of any?

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I was in St Martin in March and highly recommend the following:

Johnny B's under the Tree, Cole Bay, excellent ribs.Better than the lolo's in Gran Casse.

La Mambo, Gran Casse, owned by a young French couple, laid back atmosphere, very good food.

Rosemary's, Marigot, as recommended by Bourdain.Rosemary's food is outstanding value and very, very good.There is a cluster of lolo's or outdoor eateries in Marigot, all jammed togethor, make sure you get under Rosemary's awning.

Poulet D'Orleans, Orleans, a must go.The chicken is sublime.Get a half chicken with peanut sauce, if your with someone else make them get the half chicken with creole sauce.the veggies that come with are also outstanding.While your eating on the porch, you are entertained watching the cars negotiate the hairpin curve right underneath you.

Kali's Beach Bar, Friars Bay, decent food right on the beach.I had a farm fresh egg omelet one day.Really good, fairly inexpensive also.Beautifal beach.If you go here,walk over the bluff and check out Happy Bay (about a 5 minute walk) even nicer beach, pretty secluded also.

Take a ferry over to Ile Pinel.I believe you get the ferry from cul de sac, if my memory is correct. Gorgeous beach. Two rest's there serving okay food.I would consider bringing a picnic, renting a lounge chair and umbrella and spending the day, swimming, sunning, snoozing,drinking and eating.

Also ate at O' Plongior (sp?) in Marigot. It means diving board in French.

Very good, casual, big portions.You could probably do app's for dinner and be satisfied.

Enjoy your trip!

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Hello, I have just returned from St. Thomas, and I am going to share our finds:

1) First dinner was at Craig & Sally's. This is by far one of the finest restaurants on the island. After eating in a few really nice restaurants, I have to say that the price is right up there with the rest of the places on the island. We started with the eggplant cheesecake. Now... I wasn't excited about it, thinking, a cheese cake with eggplant? But, after my partner and I shared 1 appetizer, we were making noises. It was the best, lightest, fantastic innovative dish we've ever had. We even asked for the recipe, to which, they must be asked all the time, because they had it all ready printed out and ready for giving away.

My main course was a top of the line sea bass stacked on top of a generous amount of sweet seaweed salad, fried soba noodle pancake, enoki mushrooms and veracorts. It was a splendid dish that made my taste buds dance with excitment. The thought of all of those tastes combined was nothing short of artistic. There was a light sweet sauce, with a touch of sirachi sauce drizzled around the plate.

My partner requested the grilled tuna steak, which was stacked on top of blackened potato salad with tomato salsa, and veracorts.

We ordered a glass of Duck Pond Pinot Noir with our meal.

For dessert, we ordered a dish of fruit cobbler, with many fruits embedded in a flaky crust.

Dinner with tip came to close to $100.

Sally is a true artist in the kitchen, and nothing but the signiature eggplant cheesecake stays on the menu. Everyday is a new day for her, and a new canvas. I highly recommend this restaurant for the true chowhound.

2) Next major meal was at Heidi's on Water Island. A local told us about this, and even gave us her phone number. A local woman, living on Water Island cooks dinner every Sat. night on Honeymoon cove beach, on Water Island. You must reserve a plate in the morning. Call her and tell her what you want. You have a choice of beef, chicken, or seafood.

My partner ordered the chicken, and I ordered the seafood.

You take a ferry from the Crown Bay Marina over to Water Island. Before you go, stop in the market in the marina and buy a bottle of wine. Bring your swimming clothes, change of clothes, bug spray, snorkeling gear, and a towel or two.

Take the ferry over, climb the hill and over to Honeymoon Beach. Heidi has a truck there, selling drinks, snacks, and whatever. Swim for the afternoon, bask in the warm waters, and then as the sun goes down, grab a table, change into some clothes, put on some bug spray, and begin the evening.

I captured the prettiest sunset photo's from this beach, as it faces due west.

We opened our wine, sat with all the local residents of Water Island, and learned about their quiet, private way of life.

We ordered dinner, my partner got a baked chicken breast stuffed with fresh spinach, black olives and feta, generously sprinkled with roasted pine nuts, and a lovely side of rice, on china plates!

I ordered the mussels and shrimp in a light curry sauce over linguini, on china plates! We didn't order the steak, which was a HUGE rib eye, grilled on charcoals, by Heidi's husband. Her kids walked around, putting gas lanterns on each of the tables. All of the residents come out at night, bringing their linen table cloths, bottles of wine, a picnic, unless they ordered dinner from Heidi. To find Heidi, either ask a local, or look her up in the phone book. (the bartender at Wax, in downtown Charlotte Amalie, gave us her phone number)

We sipped our wine, watched the sun go down, made some lovely aquaintenances of the local residents.

Then Stu drove us to the ferry on his golf cart, and we hopped on the 9:15 ferry back to Crown Bay Marina. This was a magical night, and it was nice to share it with the people of the island. $ 20.00 per plate.

3) Off the Hook Restaurant in Red Hook. This was a great surprise. We didn't sit right on the water, because we wanted to sit directly under a ceiling fan, as the dining is outside, in the Red Hook Marina. The waiter was knowledgeable about his menu, and told us how large the portions were, so we opted not to order any appetizers.

My partner ordered the tuna steak, which came with a large helping of fruited rice pilaf. Tuna was grilled to perfection, and a nice side of fresh mango chutney made everything come together nicely.

I ordered the fresh yellowtail snapper filet, served with a sweet pepper sauce and rice. We both ordered a glass of Oregan state wine, and he kept filling our water glass. Everything was cooked to perfection, an abundance of food, fresh, fresh, fresh, and delicious. Dinner, with wine came to under $75.00.

4) In St. John, a local told us to skip all the tourist traps and go have lunch at the Deli Grotto, in Mongoose Junction. WOW! We shared a breast of chicken sandwich, that was made with a succulent piece of chicken breast, NOT cold cuts. It was called; Trunk Bay Chicken sandwich. We also ordered a side of broccoli salad which was their version of broccoli slaw. It was sweet, full of broccoli and fruit. Hit the spot! Along with 2 beers, our lunch came to $15.00

Missed having an abundance of vegetables.

Would go there again, and eat at the same restaurants.

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We headed over to Frenchtown and hit Craig and Sally's for the first time since living here.  Reservations are highly recommended.  The menu changes nightly with Sally's one signature dish remaining at the top of the appetizer list - eggplant cheesecake with Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted garlic, roasted eggplant all topped with a tomato basil confit.  Excellent.  Regardless, Craig and Sally's comes as my highest recommendation thus far on the island. Mark

If anyone is interested in the eggplant cheesecake recipe, I got a copy of it, scanned it, and have it on file for anyone interested in me emailing it to them. Just PM me.

Shirley

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I'm just back from a 7 day cruise (no comments from the peanut gallery please!). Had stops in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Did a scuba trip in St. Thomas - was the only person who booked for that day and ended up with a private dive trip - just the boat captain, the divemaster and me. Very cool.

Had forgotten to bring my coffee on board ship and was dying after two days of no coffee (so bad I could not drink it) and crappy espresso (barely drinkable with a spoonful of sugar added). Tracked down the island's only known coffee roaster - Scotty at Hi-Tech Watersports. He's at the end of a dirt road near Frenchtown next to the defunct Sunset Cantina.

Cool guy - has a nice drum roaster and hooked me up with a half pound of Ethopian for $4 (I got a courtesy discount because I'm a coffee roaster by trade and avocation). Stumbled across a classic Caribbena lunch truck on the way out. Run by two Spanish speaking ladies - very good oxtail stew with rice 'n beans and a soda for $8.

On to St. Martin (the French side). Stopped in Marigot to visit an Internet cafe and has "un cafe" (espresso) at La Vie en Rose on the corner down near the water. They had some amazing looking pastries in the window but I was saving my appetite for Grand Case. The bartender and waiter, both very friendly, suggested Le Tantevin or Pressoir as good upscale choice but suspected both might be open only for dinner.

They also mentioned the Fish Pot as a decent choice. Pressoir was closed, as was a brasserie a few doors down and across the street (that looked interesting and also reasonably priced by Grand Case standards). Tantevin had a $53 US "tourist menu" as their plats du jour price fixe. Ouch.

Decided to try the Fish Pot so I could skip dessert and save a few bucks (and I wasn't that hungry. By the way... most desserts were $17 to $23 US (not a typo!). Fantastic view on the porch where I was seated - the most spectacular scenery of any place I've ever eaten.

Hint #1 that I made a mistake - broke open one of the dinner rolls that were served piping hot (on the outside) prior to the arrival of my appetizer. they were rock hard and still frozen in the center. This is on an island where good baguettes are made fresh on a daily basis. I should have left right then.

The mussels arrived - six on the half shell - broiled nicely with snail bbutter or its equivalent but described in the menu as "stuffed". With what? The sparse sprinkling of bread crumbs atop each? Spare me - please.

Now the entree arrives: sauteed sea scallops atop angel hair pasta. Bland scallops lacking the flavor and texture I expect in any decent restaurant and a butter sauce that had a hint of garlic and as not redolent of any other flavors - nada. Did I mention that the pasta was luke warm and a shade more cooked than the appropriate al dente?

Total price including a small glass of San Pellegrino: $45 US with tax and tip. I went back to the cruise ship and had an "Italian night" (northern Italian) dinner in the main dining room that totally blew away the quality of my lunch. I realize that food costs are higher in the islands but WTF? The best dinner I had last year on a Paris trip cost me $60 US but was three courses rather than two. It also included an amuse bouche, a large rather than small bottle of Pellegrino AND a foie gras surcharge.

The Fish Pot is perhaps a notch above the Red Lobster but just barely. Regrettably, due to last minute hotel and flight cancellations, I wasn't able to research this thread in time to make a better choice.

But I loved the French side of the island - quaint and funky in unique mix of European and Caribbean influence. I'll definitely go back for a longer visit and do more exploring. By the way - if the presence of bathroom facilities isn't crucial and you can pack your own chairs and lunch - had down the road past the Butterfly farm and take a left towards what appears to tbe the private beach of an old resort. The buildings are empty shells - defunct and overgrown. But there's a great little private/open to the public beach that's in a sheltered cove. Orient Beach was mobbed (and tacky) but this place was pristine.

There were a dozen or so folks on the beach - very nice.

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my boyfriend, Jared, and i will be going to St. Martin/St. Maarten for a week, at the beginning of next month. we will be staying on the Dutch side but will visit the French side as well, especially where food is concerned. this will be my second trip to the island (last year, we went around the same time of year). we stay in a time share where we have a full kitchen, which i would like to utilize for more than making coffee and warming up leftovers this time. that means that while i love eating out, i would also like to take full advantage of what the local markets have to offer (eurobutter, coffee, jams, breads, cheese, charcuterie, coffee, poultry, seafood, etc.).

for this post, i'm listing the places that i've visited already, as well as names of markets and eateries that i've collected over the past year. i know we won't be hitting all of them, but i'd like to choose from them based on egulleters' recent experiences. i appreciate all your comments.

l'épicerie de marie (market/restaurant, marigot): i plan on bringing a batch of frozen gumbo to which i'd like to add local seafood. by email, this épicerie has told me that they are unique for having seafood flown in from france every wednesday, while their website says they serve fresh oysters every thursday. has anyone tried it?

supermarché dupont and march (marigot): recommended by bourdain in an article he wrote for the new york times a couple of years ago. any comments?

pineapple pete's (simpson bay): it's all about the lobster thermidor here. cheesy 1960's "fancy" restaurant dish though it may be, they do it well here. we plan to eat here again, and i will forego all wine pairing rules by having it with a mudslide, as i did last time. then for another night, when we do it as take away, i've already purchased the bottles of chidaine sparkling montlouis and clos baudoin vouvray that we'll have with it. has anyone been to the crêperie that's in the same shopping complex?

talk of the town (grand case): we went here last year. i followed the advice i'd read somewhere (was it bourdain?) to eat christophene whenever it appeared any st. martin menu. this was great advice. the crab-stuffed christophene still haunts me.

poulet d'orléans (btwn grand case and orleans): highly recommended by bourdain and the perlows. any recent reports?

wajang doll (simpson bay): i've heard/read a lot about this indonesian spot. is it good, or is it a tourist trap?

hilma's windsor castle (simpson bay?): last year, although armed with bourdain's new york times article, where i first read about this spot, i never made it to hilma's. definitely want to check it out this time. still worth it? must-have dishes (bourdain recommends salt-fish sandwich and pigtail soup)?

la main à la pâte (marigot): mentioned in many guides as a great spot for seafood salads, and i think the perlows mentioned in another thread that they really liked it.

pâtisserie le colibri (marigot): looks like a good pâtisserie and/or lunch spot.

sol é luna (grand case): we had dinner here last year. very friendly staff and very good French and Italian menu in a pretty, treehouse-like setting outside. enjoyed this very much and might go back, but am also interested in other places on the french side, especially those with a view of the water/marina. some places i'm curious about are:

l'alabama (grand case): a couple of mentions here.

le cottage (grand case): ditto.

anything not listed here that is not to be missed?

also, any bar recommendations would be greatly appreciated. i am always bad about that side of things.

thanks!


Edited by bethala (log)

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You have the french side pretty well covered, although there are so many more places to try. Rosemary's, also mentioned by A Bourdain, is well worth it - the oxtail stew is really really good but then so is the goat curry.

Both Match and Dupont are nice, but keep in mind that Dupont (the one by the bridge in Sandy Ground) is much smaller. However, I was impressed with their selection of pates and cheeses, not a huge selection - just better. Great baguettes and pastries.

If you're staying on the Dutch side, there's a recently opened Le Grande Marche supermarket by Simpson Bay that's ok for staples.

Do not miss Etna ice-cream - found in supermarkets. You'll curse me. :raz:

I'm drawing a blank on the name of the boulangerie in Marigot that we loved - can I draw you a picture? :laugh: Really, is along the parking area by the water, where the Market is held, if you drive along is hard to miss. Best bread and Paris breast and fruit tarts and... I've never seen this mentioned anywhere - however we've seen people leaving with armfuls of baguettes and we figured there must be something to it. And it is. Promise I'll be back if I can remember the name.

If you go to Mullet Bay don't shy away from the beach grill, excellent fries, also.

Also on the Dutch side, Johnny B. under the tree (pic) - decent bbq chicken, ribs and lobsters.

gallery_8322_465_255244.jpg

Bars:

Buchaneer Beach Bar by Simpson Bay is pleasant, for us was also very convenient as we stayed at Pelican Resort.

Sunset Beach Bar - the one where to watch the planes touch down.

I haven't been, but heard that Dingy Dock by Oyster Pond has great happy hours.

I'm sure there's more. Have a great trip, I wish I was going.

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my boyfriend, Jared, and i will be going to St. Martin/St. Maarten for a week, at the beginning of next month.  we will be staying  on the Dutch side but will visit the French side as well, especially where food is concerned.  this will be my second trip to the island (last year, we went around the same time of year).  we stay in a time share where we have a full kitchen, which i would like to utilize for more than making coffee and warming up leftovers this time.  that means that while i love eating out, i would also like to take full advantage of what the local markets have to offer (eurobutter, coffee, jams, breads, cheese, charcuterie, coffee, poultry, seafood, etc.). 

for this post, i'm listing the places that i've visited already, as well as names of markets and eateries that i've collected over the past year.  i know we won't be hitting all of them, but i'd like to choose from them based on egulleters' recent experiences.  i appreciate all your comments.

l'épicerie de marie (market/restaurant, marigot): i plan on bringing a batch of frozen gumbo to which i'd like to add local seafood.  by email, this épicerie has told me that they are unique for having seafood flown in from france every wednesday, while their website says they serve fresh oysters every thursday. has anyone tried it?

supermarché dupont and march (marigot): recommended by bourdain in an article he wrote for the new york times a couple of years ago.  any comments?

pineapple pete's (simpson bay): it's all about the lobster thermidor here.  cheesy 1960's "fancy" restaurant dish though it may be, they do it well here.  we plan to eat here again, and i will forego all wine pairing rules by having it with a mudslide, as i did last time.  then for another night, when we do it as take away, i've already purchased the bottles of chidaine sparkling montlouis and clos baudoin vouvray that we'll have with it. has anyone been to the crêperie that's in the same shopping complex?

talk of the town (grand case): we went here last year.  i followed the advice i'd read somewhere (was it bourdain?) to eat christophene whenever it appeared any st. martin menu.  this was great advice.  the crab-stuffed christophene still haunts me. 

poulet d'orléans (btwn grand case and orleans): highly recommended by bourdain and the perlows.  any recent reports?

wajang doll (simpson bay): i've heard/read a lot about this indonesian spot.  is it good, or is it a tourist trap?

hilma's windsor castle (simpson bay?): last year, although armed with bourdain's new york times article, where i first read about this spot, i never made it to hilma's.  definitely want to check it out this time.  still worth it?  must-have dishes (bourdain recommends salt-fish sandwich and pigtail soup)?

la main à la pâte (marigot): mentioned in many guides as a great spot for seafood salads, and i think the perlows mentioned in another thread that they really liked it.

pâtisserie le colibri (marigot): looks like a good pâtisserie and/or lunch spot.

sol é luna (grand case): we had dinner here last year.  very friendly staff and very good French and Italian menu in a pretty, treehouse-like setting outside.  enjoyed this very much and might go back, but am also interested in other places on the french side, especially those with a view of the water/marina.  some places i'm curious about are:

l'alabama (grand case): a couple of mentions here.

le cottage (grand case): ditto.

anything not listed here that is not to be missed?

also, any bar recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  i am always bad about that side of things.

thanks!

I visited in May, but stayed on the French side. I can recommend Rosemary's and Bistro Nu in Marigot as well as Poulet d' Orleans. They are all unique island experiences. For the best "restaurant" experience I recommend Le Cottage - very friendly people, good food (excellent duck plate and caramel souffle) and very knowledgable wine service.

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Both Match and Dupont are nice, but keep in mind that Dupont (the one by the bridge in Sandy Ground) is much smaller. However, I was impressed with their selection of pates and cheeses, not a huge selection - just better. Great baguettes and pastries.

mistinguett, thanks! - i'll take smaller and better over bigger any day.

If you're staying on the Dutch side, there's a recently opened Le Grande Marche supermarket by Simpson Bay that's ok for staples.

Do not miss Etna ice-cream - found in supermarkets. You'll curse me.  :raz:

I'm drawing a blank on the name of the boulangerie in Marigot that we loved - can I draw you a picture?   :laugh:  Really, is along the parking area by the water, where the Market is held, if you drive along is hard to miss. Best bread and Paris breast and fruit tarts and...  I've never seen this mentioned anywhere - however we've seen people leaving with armfuls of baguettes and we figured there must be something to it. And it is. Promise I'll be back if I can remember the name.

we are staying in simpson bay. these all sound great. i'm excited about the ice cream. and if you figure out the name of the boulangerie in marigot, please do let me know; i'm a fool for a good paris brest.

and thanks for the bar tips (no pun intended)!

I can recommend Rosemary's and Bistro Nu in Marigot as well as Poulet d' Orleans. They are all unique island experiences. For the best "restaurant" experience I recommend Le Cottage - very friendly people, good food (excellent duck plate and caramel souffle) and very knowledgable wine service.

thanks for the recs, joe! i did some research into bistro nu, and its appeal with the locals makes it sound intriguing. and le cottage's menu and wine list look very promising. decisions, decisions...


Edited by bethala (log)

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Bethala, I hope you'll find the time to report on your trip in St. Martin.

hi mistinguett, it's coming...

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I realize bethala's trip has come and gone, and I too am anxious to hear the report, but I thought I'd add my two guilders to the discussion.

Of the higher end restaurants mentioned, I think Sol e Luna is quite lovely, and both Le Cottage and L'Alabama are excellent, though on the wrong side of the street for the admitedly spectacular evening vistas. Taste du Vin and Rainbow are two that I think are quite good, and have the view.

La Main a la Pate is fine but not close to the best in the Marina - Tropicana and Chanteclair are truly great, perhaps a few more $.

Bistro Nu is terrific for classic French bistro, plus he regularly has loads of other, often obscure stuff (kangaroo steak springs to mind, yes, pun). And around the corner, the second floor Mai is a beautiful, high end Vietnamese/Oriental destination.

Pineapple Pete's is OK, constantly getting good reviews, but not my style. And Wajang Doll can be interesting, I certainly wouldn't call it a tourist trap, but the guy running it can be a bit, well, miserable.

And you're aware Hilma's Windsor Castle is a trailer? Now I'm all for the out of the way, islandy, wacky experience, but you're sitting between a very busy road and a dusty parking lot, eating decidely ordinary fare. Though he was dead right about Uncle Harry's, sometimes Bourdain is a bit crazy.

Try Friar's Bay Beach Cafe for lunch - very French, very cool, different menu. Also Waikiki at Orient provides a top quality, diverse, interesting menu as well, albeit at a price. And the first restaurant as you get off the ferry in Pinel has turned a corner and is quite wonderful, though a bit hectic on the weekends.

I think that's enough.

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Uncletrouble, it's never enough :)

Bethala's trip has come and gone, but mine is coming in a month. So I'm hoping to hear more.

Friar's Bay Beach Cafe - do tell more, please.

I think AB was pretty clear about Hilma's being a trailer, if I remember correctly there was also a picture with the article. The main turn off for me would be the early hours.

Now, I know this is horribly late for bethala, but I think the bakery I was talking about is called La Sucrerie. Maybe. This time I'll take pictures of all the places I eat at. :D

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