A Foodie Diary: 4 Days of Fabulous Dining in St. Martin
The Villas of Distinction team recently visited St. Martin, and during our stay we experienced one of the island’s most decadent draws: authentic, gourmet French food. Read on to hear our recommendations.2015-12-28
St. Martin is in many ways what you would expect from the French side of the half-French, half-Dutch St. Martin/St. Maarten: chic, fashionable, dotted with charming boutiques and quaint cafes. But the island’s laid-back atmosphere, cheerful residents and endless sunshine are distinctly, undeniably Caribbean. It is this unique fusion that keeps vacationers coming year after year, and what keeps St. Martin on the top of our must-visit list.
The Villas of Distinction team recently visited St. Martin to inspect villa properties, and during our stay we experienced one of the island’s most decadent draws: authentic, gourmet French food. The epicenter of St. Martin dining is the coastal town of Grand Case, known as “The Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean,” where chefs from around the world serve up French cuisine with American, Caribbean, and Creole flair. You can pick virtually any restaurant along Grand Case Boulevard and enjoy a guaranteed delicious meal, but this time our team wanted to try something different.
Day 1 – In-Villa Dinner with Fabulous Feasts
On the first night we arrived in St. Martin, we enjoyed a private gourmet meal prepared by Fabulous Feasts, a service we cannot recommend highly enough. Our group was tired from traveling and didn’t have the energy to cook or go to a restaurant, so while we unpacked and took a quick dip in the pool, our private chef prepared our four-course dinner. One of our colleagues doesn’t eat meat, and Fabulous Feasts accommodated us beautifully by altering their traditional Champetre Menu to replace the organic chicken breast with Mahi-mahi. Everything on the menu was absolutely delicious, and the view from Villa Agora’s alfresco dining area was stunning. And the best part? We didn’t have to set foot outside our villa to enjoy an authentic French meal.
Day 2 – Dreams Beach Bar & Restaurant
Set directly on gorgeous Baie Nettlé beach, Dreams Beach Bar & Restaurant serves up creative French food in a relaxed, no-fuss environment. We suggest trying Le Club sandwich (ham, Swiss cheese, bacon, hardboiled egg and rotisserie chicken), or for a more decadent meal, the Duck Plate: duck breast, sautéed foie gras and preserved duck served with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce. Dessert is also a must: the cheekily named No Name Dessert (L’innomable) with ice cream was heavenly. Luckily, Dreams is just a short 5-minute drive from Terres Basses, where many of our luxury villa rentals are located, so you could conceivably come here daily.
Day 3 – Le Bateau Ivre
On day three, we ventured to the Dutch side of the island to eat at highly recommended Le Bateau Ivre, winner of the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Located on Cupecoy Bay, Le Bateau Ivre is just a short drive from the villas in Terres Basses, perfect for a night when you want to stay close to home. Dim lighting, warm décor, and a gorgeous view over the marina made for a charming atmosphere, and the service was impeccable. Needless to say, the cuisine completely lived up to our expectations – we highly recommend the stuffed flank steak with goat cheese and the chocolate mousse for dessert. After dinner on the covered outdoor patio, head inside to the cozy lounge bar to enjoy a live performance by local singers and musicians.
Day 4 – L’Auberge Gourmande
On our final day, we revisited “Restaurant Row” in Grand Case, where we had the pleasure of dining at the endlessly charming L’Auberge Gourmande, located in one of the oldest Creole houses in the island. We chatted with the patrons dining alongside us, who had been visiting L’Auberge Gourmande regularly for years, and we could see – and taste – why. The staff is extremely friendly, the ambience is intimate and authentic, and the food is sinfully good. Our favorite dish was the jumbo shrimp and sea scallop duo, which is served in a phyllo dough brick with mushroom risotto and garlic parsley butter…need we go on?