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A Guide to St. Martin, the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean

Saint Martin is often called the “culinary capital of the Caribbean.” From fish kebabs to barbeque and sushi, there is something for every taste on our island.

Phillipsburg, on the Dutch side, is the only true city on the island. The town caters to an international, cosmopolitan crowd – think part James Bond, part Richard Branson, with a healthy dose of us regular fun-lovers thrown in. 11393230_10153377055902264_4463101768322427330_n  

More than 67 Restaurants in Grand Case Alone

It’s high cuisine, trendy food, and dining as an experience. In order not to be left out, Grand Case itself has become a bit of a culinary mecca itself. In fact, there are more than 67 restaurants set up in typical Creole houses along Grand Case Boulevard, just a short walk from our beautiful Caribbean resort. It’s said that St. Martin’s combination of relaxing Caribbean lifestyle (and perfect climate) and European sensibilities acts as a lure to attract top chefs and creative restaurateurs who just want to drop out, get away from it all, and concentrate on their art, which happens to be making the world’s best food. And since half of the island is part of France, the wine here is pretty good, too.

 

The Restaurants of St. Martin

 St. Martin is relatively laid back compared to its Dutch neighbour on the other side of the island. Grand Case used to be a fishing village, and has lost none of its charm as the small seaside village has become popular with tourists.

With more than 500 restaurants on both sides of the island, Saint Martin is a foodie’s paradise. Make sure to ask our front desk for recommendations.

Here are a few our guests enjoy visiting.

Grand Case Restaurants

Ocean82

grand case restaurant

Located right on the water in Grand Case, Ocean82 is open for lunch and dinner, and features a mixture of Caribbean and French cuisine.

Oysters and seafood are a specialty, and the restaurant is a favorite place to stage family reunions, with visitors flying in from all over the world.

Bistrot Caraibes

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Centrally located on the restaurant row in Grand Case, Bistrot Caraïbes offers a charming and relaxed ambiance in which to dine on French-Caribbean cuisine.

For over 15 years, the well-reputed restaurant is run by the brothers Thibault and Amaury Mezière, who know their way around food.

Both former chefs at Paul Bocuse’s restaurant in Lyon/France and later at the French Pavilion at Epcot center in Orlando/Florida, the brothers Mezière consistently earn high marks for their excellent food, service, and ambiance.

L’auberge Gourmande

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L’auberge Gourmande, in the center of restaurant row in Grand Case, serves fine French cuisine in an intimate dining room in one of the oldest Créole houses on the island.

Lovingly remodelled in subtle browns and yellows, the wood and stone of the old house harken back to a time of slower pleasures.

The Lolo: the best restaurants on St. Martin?

“Lolo” is the local nickname for the dozens of small, independent eateries, sometimes right on the beach or side of the road on St. Martin.

grand case lolo restaurant

Never far from the water, Lolos are pleasantly informal, usually featuring nothing more than picnic tables, plastic plates and cutlery. And tremendously tasty food.

The most popular types of cuisine in St. Martin are traditional French and spicy West Indian Créole, and many Lolo combine the best of both.

Fresh seafood appears on virtually all menus, sometimes prepared in Créole style with spices, sometimes in the classic French manner with herbs.

Most restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner on the Dutch side serve throughout the afternoon and evening.

On the French side lunch (le déjeuner) is often the main meal of the day and usually served from 12:00 noon to 14:00 and restaurants generally open for dinner (le diner) between 19:00 and 20:00. Although not necessary at lunch, it’s usually a good idea to call ahead for dinner reservations anywhere on the island.

Other restaurants in Grand Case

  • Le Tastevinlocated right on the ocean, and serves French cuisine with Caribbean vegetables and spices
  • Le Cottage offers free samples to give you an idea of what’s on the menu
  • L’Estaminet is well-known by locals for delightful desert called “Chocolate Overload”

[UPDATE: L’Estaminet is now closed; thanks to Tim Danielak for pointing this out – Nevin]

  • Le Pressoirnamed after the famous old Salt Presses that once were the mainstay of St. Martin’s economy. It is one of the most romantic and serves excellent wines.

Longtime friend and visitor Tim Danielak recommends:

“You failed to mention the wonderful Italian restaurants in Grand Case, too! Piazza Pascal is a favorite of ours.”

 Restaurants in Sint Maarten

 Sint Maarten itself offers many fantastic eateries. You’re in the culinary capital of the Caribbean, after all. Here are a few our guests at Grand Case Beach Club have sought out:

Oualichi Beach Bar & Restaurant

Oualichi, also located on Philipsburg boardwalk, features a stunning its outdoor terrace, and is a great place to watch incoming cruise ships from. Offering pizza and casual fare such as sandwiches and wraps, this a great place to stop for lunch or dinner at the end of the day.

Taloula Mango

Taloula Mango is casual beachfront restaurant serves a variety of sandwiches, seafood, beef, pasta, vegetarian entrées, and some of the best ribs on the island. On weekdays, lunch is accompanied by live music, and on Friday evenings guests can enjoy happy hour with a live DJ.

The Sunset Cafe at Grand Case Beach Club

Whether you’re looking to enjoy fine French cuisine at its best or simply don’t feel like leaving the resort for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll love the culinary artistry of the Sunset Café.

 

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Fish and Seafood in Grand Case and on St. Martin

The waters that surround Saint Martin teem with fish. The largest blue marlin on the planet cruise Marlin Boulevard.

Many other species can be found here, including barracuda, mahi-mahi and wahoo, and black fin and yellow fin tuna

October marks the start of the mahi mahi and wahoo fishing season, and June and July are the best months to try your luck at catching marlin.

mussels

On Thursdays, the Sunset Café receives a shipment of fresh mussels, a very popular menu item that offered with a free bottle of wine when two orders are bought.

There is a live lobster tank where Café diners can size up and choose their dinner before it is dipped into a boiling caldron of water before being deposited on their plate, ready to eat.

lobster in st martin

Catch Your Own Fish for Dinner

There is always an opportunity to go fishing in the waters near St. Martin. It’s  possible to go out in the morning, catch something and bring it back to the Sunset Cafe for one of our talented chefs to prepare for you.

The chefs can also slice, dice, and grill up any fish – and fish are quite abundant in the water around our island. Here’s Mimi with a Yellofin Tuna:

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Here our chef is getting ready to prepare a Mahi Mahi he has just caught for our guests.

mahi mahi

Enjoy the Sunset As You Dine

Witness the amazing transformation as the Café becomes a romantic candle-lit fine French restaurant for the evening, while catching a glimpse of the green flash at sunset.

sunset cafe

The Sunset Cafe becomes a romantic candle-lit fine French restaurant for the evening, while catching a glimpse of the green flash at sunset.