This little Caribbean island has had many guises over the years. To some, it’s the Land of Salt – harking back to when that was the top export. To others, it’s known as the Friendly Isle, after the Treaty of Mount Concordia amicably divided the island into northern French and southern Dutch sections in 1648. More still call it the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean for its fusion cuisine that encompasses more than 140 nationalities registered among the island’s residents. Sound good? Here are the waterside restaurants to cruise by.
Sail around the restaurants of Saint Martin.
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Recognized with the 2020 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, this refined restaurant offers romantic views of Great Bay Beach and luxury yachts sailing past. Part of the Holland House Beach Hotel, it serves breakfast buffet and à la carte lunch, but the tasting menu offered at dinner is outstanding. The house specialty is fruits de mer (grilled seafood platters). For dessert, the friandise (a plate of small, sweet treats) can’t be found anywhere else.
This boho-chic spot on Grand Case Beach serves breakfast, lunch and an evening menu of sunset cocktails and tapas. Mostly French with a smattering of international dishes, seafood is the star, with entrées including braised and seared octopus with green salsa, and mahi-mahi ceviche with passion fruit vinaigrette. Enjoy a sweet bite of pineapple paradise dessert spiced with ginger and coriander as you wiggle your toes in the sand, or relax in a macramé swing chair on the rooftop deck.
Sol e Luna
Tropical foliage and waterfall plunge pools surround this charmingly renovated Creole house. Above the restaurant is a boutique hotel with six guest suites. The menu showcases French classics with a Caribbean twist – try the lobster mojito with edamame, mint and sesame oil, or flambéed shrimp with bok choy. This Orient Bay Beach spot is only open for dinner, so plan ahead.
Walking distance from Great Bay Beach boardwalk, this popular spot has been serving for more than 30 years. Situated on the Great Bay Marina, passing boats and gentle breezes are constant. Cozy, nautical-themed decor helps you get your sea legs after a long day of sailing around Saint Martin. The menu isn’t sophisticated, but ample portions of steak, fish and chicken satisfy any palate. Known for fresh-caught seafood, don’t miss the catch of the day served with creole sauce.
In its new location at the Cliff, this popular fusion restaurant offers stunning views of Cupecoy Beach. Chef Mario established it in 1995 in Marigot. In 2015 he brought his blend of Asian, French and Caribbean cuisine to Porto Cupecoy Marina, and in 2020 settled into his new home. The thing that’s never changed is the cuisine. Mario’s signature sautéed scallops served with sweet pea purée, and roasted pork tenderloin served with bacon jam still satisfy hungry travelers.
This family-operated, dinner-only spot with lagoon views and an open-air patio has offered intimate dining experiences since 1998. On entering, Olivier or his brother Stéphane will greet you, and the service only gets better from there. The food hails from Provence, the Pays Basque and Mediterranean regions of France. Dishes ranging from flambéed pineapple with ginger ice cream to wine-flavored duck liver pâté served with home-made brioche and fig confits are showstoppers.
This sunny yellow building is one of the island’s oldest Creole houses, renovated into a popular French restaurant. Adjacent to Grand Case Bay, the Caribbean breeze makes for pleasant dining on the front terrace. A seasoned sommelier will guide you with wine pairings for signature dishes such as herb-crusted rack of lamb with olive mashed potatoes, or grilled whole sea bass on a bed of ratatouille. They also have vegetarian options and a children’s menu, but are only open for dinner.
At dinner-only Big Fish, it’ll be hard to choose between sitting on the outdoor patio with its tiki torches and view of Oyster Pond, or in the elegant indoor dining room with modern chandeliers and open kitchen. The international menu is seafood-focused, with dishes including Provençal-style shrimp casserole. There’s a full sushi menu, as well as meat options including jerk pork tenderloin. If it’s Tuesday, you can bring your own wine without a corkage fee.
Sample the best food in Saint Martin.
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