St. MartinFor all foodies’ planning a future trip…

St. Martin is known as “The Friendly Island”, but it could just as likely be called “The Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”. Its special gastronomy derives from historical French cuisine with the added spice of traditional Caribbean cooking. The island boasts over 350 restaurants – probably the highest concentration of fine restaurants per square mile to be found anywhere. The village of Grand Case is undoubtedly the best place to find the very finest chefs in St. Martin. Located in the north-west of the island, its main street is lined with great restaurants that cater to all tastes and desires including traditional French fare mixed with Italian, Indian, Creole and more – it’s a happy and delicious culinary melting pot!

St. Martin

Restaurant Le Pressoir, Grand Case.
Photo: Donovane Tremor

With 140 different nationalities sharing the island of Saint-Martin, there are literally dozens of cuisines from which to choose. From fine dining to casual restaurants, you can find the perfect meal for every craving, and for every budget.  It’s no wonder that visitors return to St. Martin over and over… foodies are drawn to the variety and the quality to be found in their hotel restaurants, at stand-alone restaurants and even from street vendors.

The Belmond La Samanna is home to two wonderful restaurants – romantic, candlelit La Cave and open-air bistro-styled L’Oursin Restaurant. Although St. Martin has an all-inclusive hotel opening in October (the newest Secrets on Anse Marcel Beach), the beauty of St. Martin is food is great everywhere – you don’t have to just stay at your hotel. Secrets will have 6 dining options including 3 à la carte restaurants. Explore the island…explore the food! Some hotel restaurants are only open for breakfast and lunch, which encourages visitors to dine around St. Martin.

In the culinary hotspot of Grand Case, try Le Pressoir for gourmet dining with its Creole charm and an amazing wine list. Bistrot Caraibe, L’Auberge Gourmande and La Villa offer terrific food right in the heart of Grand Case Village. Sol é Luna in the  Mont Vernon area has great atmosphere and is also superb. Wander around Marigot and visit cozy casual restaurants like Bateau Lavoir or La Petite Auberge des îles. A week’s vacation isn’t enough to sample all the culinary delights that St. Martin offers.

For casual dining, choose a Lolo!

St. MartinWhy do visitors rave about the culinary scene in St. Martin? One of the reasons is the variety of Lolo’s (low cost, local) outdoor eateries around Grand Case and Marigot. There are seaside eateries right in the heart of Grand Case, in small Creole houses, beachside at the pier, or with seating on covered terraces overlooking the beach.

Casual, open eateries run by locals – and with fabulous food. Fresh food prepared daily – fresh fish, lobster, ribs, chicken – the choice is yours, and very moderately priced for great food. Les Mardis de Grand Case (translated to Tuesdays in Grand Case), is a wonderful weekly street party that runs January through to the end of March. There are parades of music bands, and entertainment, and plenty of Lolo’s to visit – the area is closed off to local traffic, which allows everyone room to wander.

Lunch time dining by the Beach?

Sure, if you really want a burger or pizza, you can find it. But dining by the stunning white sand beach of Orient Bay offers you so much more. Casual, gourmet dining by the beach – this is the relaxed French way. From charcuterie boards to Cajun food at Chez Leandra, to grilled fish at Le Piment, to French fare at Le P’tit Bistro – the choice seems endless and all steps away from the beach. Try Kon Tiki, KKO, Bikini – all delicious food and amazing ambiance for dining right at the beach.

Catch the ferry over to Pinel Islet for the day, it’s just off the north east side of St. Martin. Think you have to pack a lunch? Think again…there are two amazing beach bars here…the Karibuni was named the best beach bar by Caribbean Journal who described it as “a wonderful meeting point between the hip beach hangouts of Europe and the laid-back vibes of the Caribbean”. You won’t go wrong with Yellow Beach either – cozy, casual and with amazing cocktails.

Planning a day at the Loterie Farm? It’s an amazing adventure park, perfect for hikers and zipliners with beautiful pools to enjoy for relaxation. And for lunch? A must visit is The Tree House – the setting is beautiful and the food is so well prepared and delicious.

Here are a couple of recipes you can try while dreaming of your future trip to St. Martin…

“Soup de pois D’Angole” (Pigeon Pea Soup)
Pigeon peas are a vivid maroon or brown colour with a black dot on the edge, and they are available at any local grocery store. These large peas are also known as “pois cajan”, “pois-congo” or “d’ambrevade”.

This recipe counts for 6 people:"Soup de pois D'Angole" (Pigeon Pea Soup)
–       450g of dry pigeon peas
–       120g of salted bacon, hashed
–       1.5L of water
–       One medium onion, chopped
–       One garlic clove, chopped
–       One celery branch with the leaves, diced
–       One carrot, diced
–       A pinch of thyme
–       A pinch of oregano
–       Two cubes of chicken bouillon
–       A pinch of freshly crushed black pepper
–       Some salt to taste
–       A bay leaf

Soak the peas in 3 to 4 cups of cold water overnight. Drain the peas and rinse them.

Blanch the salted bacon in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
In a pot, cook salted pork over low heat for 5 minutes.
Add peas, water, and all other ingredients.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 2 to 3 hours, or until the peas are tender.
Remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasoning.
Note: The salted bacon can be replaced with ham hocks.

“Les Journey Cakes” (Johnny Cakes)
Journey cakes can be eaten hot or cold, with butter, jam, syrup, or honey. Legend has it that the journey cake is prepared by women before their husbands leave for work in the morning. It could be taken quickly and provide enough energy for a meal in the middle of the day. Now Journey Cakes are served for breakfast or brunch, or as an addition to a dish.

To make at least 12 pieces you’ll need:"Les Journey Cakes" (Johnny Cakes)
–       300g of flour
–       Two teaspoons of yeast
–       A pinch of salt
–       A teaspoon of sugar
–       A teaspoon of vegetable shortening or butter
–       Eight cl to 15 cl of water
–       A drizzle of oil for garnishing

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Add water, a little at a time. The mixture begins to become sticky.
Knead the dough with your hands until the flour is incorporated, but the dough does not stick to your fingers. If the dough starts to stick, add more flour.
Continue kneading until smooth.
Sprinkle a cutting board with flour and gently roll the dough into a long roll 3 to 5 centimeters wide.
Cut 3 cm pieces.
Roll each piece into a lime-sized ball. Flatten the balls with your palm or with a floured roller.
Heat a little oil in a pan.
Let the Pancakes brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Serve hot.

About St. Martin
St. Martin is a charming, scenically beautiful island. It’s the smallest territory to be shared between two nations (France and The Netherlands), and home to over a hundred different nationalities and cultures. Surrounded by both the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, this small 88 square kilometre island is a paradise for beach lovers. Being the undisputed capital of gastronomy, St. Martin not only offers a blend of traditional French cuisine, but as well innovative gourmet cuisine from around the world. With its lavish, unspoiled landscapes and idyllic beaches, St. Martin embodies the true spirit of vacation. This “Friendly Island”, as it’s often referred to, is bursting with treasures for gourmets, hikers, adventurers and dreamers alike.

From hotels to resorts to boutique properties to beautiful villas, St. Martin’s hilly topography ensures beautiful views from the hills as well as on its beautiful shores.

It’s vibrant setting and tropical climate pleasantly cooled by trade winds year-round makes this island your ideal destination, whether you wish to relax, explore or get active, alone, with a loved one, family or friends. Here, you’ll find all the right ingredients for an unforgettable stay on one of the most enchanting islands of the Caribbean.

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