February 22, 2012
The Lolo: the best restaurant in St. Martin and St. Maarten?
Whenever we talk about restaurants in St. Martin and its lovely Dutch neighbor St. Maarten, we should never forget the ubiquitous Lolo, a Caribbean culinary tradition that epitomizes the heart and soul of this lovely Antilles island. “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. Never far from the water, Lolos are pleasantly informal, usually featuring nothing more than picnic tables, plastic plates and cutlery. And tremendously tasty food. Some claim that, thanks to its French, Dutch and Caribbean heritage, St. Martin has the best food in the Caribbean. While it’s certainly hard to quantify such a claim, we can tell you the local food here is unbelievably good. 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 restranteurs 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. But high-quality cuisine is a local obsession too, passed on from generation to generation, and kept alive in the small coastal communities that dot the island. There’s said to be close to 1,000 restaurants on the tiny island, and while you never know what you’re going to get when you sit down at the table and pick up a menu, there’s a good bet you can order a heaping helping of creole barbecued ribs, with rice and vegetables, and topped off with an excellent local beer for under ten dollars – just be sure to leave a tip! 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. Please contact Grand Case Beach Club for more information about restaurants in St. Martin and St. Maarten