One of the joys of spending time in the Caribbean is the availability of fresh locally caught fish. While it is possible to find fresh seafood in many of the grocery stores on St. Barths, I really appreciate paying a visit to the fishermen’s kiosk in right in the entrance of the harbor in Gustavia. Beyond knowing that the catch has been taken right off of the boat, there is a certain charm in taking time to buy directly from those who caught the beautiful snapper or dorado that will end up on my plate that very evening.
First, I think it’s important to be clear- the fisherman are up early, and to get the best selection (or sometimes anything at all) it takes a bit of a commitment to get up and to the port early. By 8:30 much of the selection has already been sold, although one can usually find a little something right up until 10 or 11 AM. As soon as the fisherman have sold their catch for the day, they close up shop- but have no fear, they are open Monday thru Saturday so there are plenty of opportunities for the early bird to get the…FISH.
The kiosk itself is located at the entrance of the harbor in Gustavia. As you approach the main street that runs through town, you will see a small hut just before the Ferry Terminal. There is usually a sign posted along side the street with the daily offerings which do vary from day to day; typically there will be Mahi Mahi (Dorado or Dorade), Red Snapper, Marlin, and spiny lobster but occasionally I get lucky and am able to grab some exceptionally fresh Tuna It’s possible to buy the whole fish or large cleaned filets, and for an extra fee the fishermen will portion out smaller filets for convenience. Prices range, but Mahi Mahi is sold for €14/kg, and smaller fish for €8 or €9/kg. You’ll find the seafood in the grocery stores to come at a higher premium and are usually shipped in from other islands or sometimes even France or the US, making it far better to buy fresh and local.