The island of St. Martin has a split personality — one side is French and the other is Dutch. Two different countries on one island makes for a diverse food scene. From Creole to French cuisine, St. Martin restaurants are brimming with some of the best culinary adventures in the entire Caribbean.
There are over 300 restaurants spread across St. Martin’s nearly 34-square miles. Plan ahead, and you’ll dine in the island’s hidden gems. They say you can find the best restaurants by paying attention to where the locals go, and we definitely agree.
La Sucrière is a quintessential island favorite. With a french name and french fare, you may expect this café with outdoor seating to be on French side of the island, though it’s not. Located in Philpsburg on the Dutch side, La Sucrière has freshly baked bread, quiches, and a strong French press coffee. Make sure you bring a box of pastries back to your villa because you’re going to be dreaming about them for the rest of your trip.
When mid-day hits and it’s time to pull yourself up off the beach, you’re going to want something satisfying, delicious, and casual. Lunch is the ideal opportunity to try out one of the famed “lolos.” Lolos are laid-back, small barbecue joints that set up shop in outdoor market areas. The meals are priced well and the plates are overflowing. One of the lolos with the best reputation is Sky’s the Limit in Grand Case. It’s known for its eclectic collection of side dishes all together on one plate (did someone say mac and cheese, coleslaw, and rice?).
Another lunch spot that, despite getting a shout out from Anthony Bourdain in The New York Times, remains a tucked away treasure is Hilma’s Windsor Castle. Don’t let the name surprise you — the “castle” is an old trailer. There are four stools at the ordering window, and the menu is a tiny blackboard. Hilma is always there, and she’s always ready to swap stories. Get there early for Johnny Cake sandwiches because she sells out fast!
When it’s time for dinner, there are St. Martin restaurants where you can dine casually or opt for something a bit higher end. For the casual joints, try Chez Yvette’s or Mark’s Place. Yvette has passed away, but her family continues to serve authentic Creole food with a smile. It’s no frills and tricky to find, but once you step inside you’ll feel as if you’re having dinner at your grandmother’s house.
Mark’s Place is a restaurant that’s easy to overlook because it’s in the parking lot of Le Grand Marché, but the inside is charming and cozy, the menu is extensive, and the big portions provide a great value. Don’t miss out on the “All You Can Eat” ribs and the buckets of fresh, flavorful mussels.
If you’re looking for a dinner that’s a bit more lavish, be sure to dine at Le Chanteclair or Bistrot Caraibes. Le Chanteclair has always been top notch, but even if you’ve dined there before, be sure to stop in again because it’s under new ownership, and there’s a new menu to sample. It features fine French cuisine with an inventive twist, and the location on the water in Marigot is utterly romantic.
Bistrot Caraibes, located in Grand Case, has been one of the top restaurants in St. Martin for over 20 years. Brothers Thibault and Amaury greet each guest and strive to keep the dining experience an intimate one. Be sure to try the Creme Brûlée for dessert.
When you book your St. Martin villa with WIMCO, we’ll also handle your flights, first-night provisioning, provide recommendations — and, of course, make any restaurant reservations you’d like to get on the books right away.
Are you more than familiar with St. Martin’s restaurant scene? What is your favorite restaurant? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!