Sint Maarten is known to many as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”. This small island within the Caribbean Sea is home to a plethora of delicious cuisine coming from different cultures such as French, Creole, Asian, Latin, Caribbean, and more. There are over 300 restaurants on the island of St. Maarten, these restaurants range from gourmet restaurants to lolo’s which are open-air food shacks found alongside the road featuring local Caribbean dishes.
With so many amazing restaurants to choose from in St. Maarten, some could wonder where they should go for the best food on the island. The top 10 restaurants on the island of St. Maarten are listed below.
- Bamboo House
- Big Fish
- Cynthia’s Talk of the Town
- Hidden Forest Cafe
- La Cigale
- Friar’s Bay Beach Café
- Pineapple Pete’s
- Mario’s Bistro
- Le Marocain
Table of Contents
- 1. Bacchus
- 2. Bamboo House
- 3. Big Fish
- 4. Cynthia’s Talk of the Town
- 5. Hidden Forest Café
- 6. La Cigale
- 7. Friar’s Bay Beach Café
- 8. Pineapple Pete’s
- 9. Mario’s Bistro
- 10. Le Marocain
- Where are the best restaurants located in St. Martin?
Located in Grand Case in northern French St. Martin, Bacchus is a restaurant that is known for its fine cuisine, classy surroundings, and excellent waitstaff and service. This restaurant is popular among tourists and locals who are looking to expose themselves to the finer things in life. Many of the appetizers and entrees at this restaurant you might only expect to see in upscale restaurants in France. Bacchus first opened its doors in December of 2007 and has recently renovated and reopened on March 2, 2020. Bacchus now has a modern and sleek design that is an artful blend of metal and wood giving a superb ambiance that enhances the dining experience.
The head chef and owner of Bacchus is Arnaud Angeli. He has curated the menu to provide one of the finest dining experiences on the island of St. Maarten. The menu features a variety of classic French-style dishes such as smoked fish, foie gras ravioli, duck confit, and the famous beef of fish tartars. There is also an extensive wine list with wines from all over the world to pair with your meal. The average prices of food range from $24 to $41 USD (€21 to €36 Euros), which many find worth the price for the high-quality gourmet food you experience at Bacchus.
Bacchus not only has an exquisite dining experience but there is a store located near the restaurant where you can purchase champagnes, wines, and rums. There is a deli area that offers premade dishes that have been prepared by the chef such as caviar and other gourmet items. There is a sommelier and a coffee specialist on-site at the restaurant’s Nespresso corner, where you can experience some of the finest coffee in St. Maarten. Bacchus is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm.
2. Bamboo House
Bamboo House is located in Simpson Bay in Dutch Sint Maarten at The Shops at Puerto Del Sol. Bamboo House has been elevating and redefining sushi in St. Maarten for over 15 years. Bamboo House is an award-winning restaurant and is known for having the best sushi on the island of St. Maarten. All of the sushi at Bamboo House is prepared by expertly trained chefs from famous restaurants such as Nobu and Morimoto. Some of the famous sushi rolls that are on the menu are the kuta roll, the angry dragon roll, and the Maui roll. Other dishes are featured on the menu such as the aged 16 oz ribeye, bamboo filet mignon. miso-glazed short rib bao buns and Salmon tacos. These dishes are often combined with delicious hand-crafted cocktails and wines from their extensive collection.
Bamboo House is known for its stylish indoor and outdoor seating. The neon signs and sleek design of the restaurant make for a contemporary feel that excite the senses. Bamboo House is open for lunch and dinner from 6 pm to 12 am. The price of each entree can vary from $15 to $28 (€12 to €28). Located right next to Bamboo House is “Bar Bamboo” which is a popular lounge in St. Maarten that has live music or a DJ playing music from 6 pm to 2 am. This is a popular spot for those looking to experience the vibrant nightlife in St. Maarten.
3. Big Fish
Big Fish is located in Oyster Pond on the eastern side of St. Maarten near the French and Dutch border. Big Fish is a modern and upscale dining experience that reflects the atmosphere of Miami beach. This restaurant is so popular because it is unlike anything else you will experience in St. Maarten. There is an outdoor patio with a beautiful waterfall right outside the restaurant that makes for amazing views while eating one of the delicious signature dishes.
Leslie Martina who is the chef and owner of bamboo has created a menu featuring a wide array of seafood, local Caribbean dishes, and even vegetarian and gluten-free options. Some of the famous dishes are hurricane shrimp, crab cakes, Kobe beef burger, short ribs, chicken, pasta, and steak. There is also a kids menu available which makes this restaurant a family-friendly location. Each entree varies from $10 to $25 each. The restaurant is open concept and there is live music and entertainment available on most nights and an open bar. The staff is known for being very attentive and helpful.
4. Cynthia’s Talk of the Town
Located in Grand Case Saint Martin on the northern side of the island situated along the famous Boulevard de Grand Case “Cythnia’s Talk of the Town” definitely lives up to its name. This is a popular dining location for locals and tourists in St. Maarten, that has been in business for over 25 years. Although Grand Case is known for upscale restaurants and fine dining culture, the true culture of St. Maarten is reflected in the lolo’s or open-air food stands such as Cynthia’s Talk of the Town. Lolo’s are popular and integral to the culture of St. Maarten and are definitely something to be experienced while visiting St. Maarten.
Cynthia’s Talk of the Town is the perfect place for a delicious and cheap meal. The menu has dishes such as stewed conch, lobster, grilled ribs, fresh snapper, curried rice, beans, plantains, johnny cakes, and coleslaw. A meal will usually cost around $11 USD (€10 Euros) and only cash is accepted. The service is known to be very friendly. This is a great place to stop for a lunch or early evening meal and on weekends there is often live music.
5. Hidden Forest Café
The Hidden Forest Cafe is located near Pic Du Paradis within Loterie Farms, which is a resort on the island of Saint Martin. The Hidden Forest Cafe has a beautiful safari-like ambiance and is surrounded by treehouse pavilions, swaying palm trees, and turquoise blue pools. The food is known for being delicious, innovative, and locally sourced. Some of the dishes include curried-spinach chicken, banana fritters, black Angus tenderloin steak, and cumin lentil balls. There are also amazing cocktails that are designed to be paired with your meal. The price of each meal ranges from $8 to $27 (€6 to €23 Euros).
The Hidden Forest Cafe is known for having stunning views of Paradise Peak, which is the highest point in St. Martin. The cafe has excellent service, often has live music and dancing, and is open from Monday through Saturday.
6. La Cigale
Located in Baie Nettle in the northwestern French part of Saint Martin is La Cigale. La Cigale is an elegant french bistro that is located directly on Laguna Beach that has been in business for over 15 years. La Cigale is known for its stunning views, beautiful swaying palm trees, and terrace overlooking the Nettle Bay Lagoon.
La Cigale specializes in classic French cuisine and is a family-owned restaurant that is open for dinner only. The food is expertly prepared and the menu features dishes such as duck foie gras, goat cheese puff pastries, salmon with garlic cream sauce, seabass with tomatoes and olive tapenade, lobster ravioli, lobster bisque, ginger ice-cream, and flambeed pineapple. La Cigale is open between the hours of 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The prices of each entree range from $33 to $56 USD (€34 to €49 Euros). This restaurant is no doubt an unforgettable culinary experience.
7. Friar’s Bay Beach Café
Located north of Marigot in Northern French Saint Martin is Friar’s Bay Beach Café. This beachfront bistro is located directly on Friar’s Bay Beach and is a popular destination among tourists. Friar’s Bay Beach Café is known for its excellent service, family-friendly environment, delicious cuisine, and laid-back island atmosphere.
This elegant beachfront bistro has chairs and umbrellas that are available to rent so you can enjoy your delicious meal while taking in the gorgeous views of Friar’s Bay Beach. The menu features dishes such as flank steak with shallots, lobster and citrus salad, grilled mussels, grilled snapper, and Mahi burgers. The dishes are often paired with fruity and delicious cocktails. A meal will usually cost $18 to $34 (€16 to €30). Friar’s Bay Beach Café from 9 am to 10 pm and often has live music and entertainment on the weekends.
8. Pineapple Pete’s
Pineapple Pete’s is located in Simpson Bay in Dutch Sint Maarten. Pineapple Pete’s has been extremely popular with tourists for decades and is famous for its great food and exciting live music and entertainment. Pineapple Pete’s offers a superb yet casual dining experience for all looking for a fun night out on the town.
At Pineapple Pete’s the menu is mainly American and Caribbean food and features dishes such as burgers, seafood, ribs and so much more. The restaurant is particularly known for its delicious barbeque. There is an entertainment area on the premises with three pool tables, arcade games, and dartboards. There is also a shop next door where you can buy items such as handcrafted jewelry, local rum, t-shirts, hats, and souvenirs to remember your trip to St. Maarten. Pineapple Pete’s is open from 11 am to 10 pm and meals can cost from $10 to $30 (€8 to €25).
9. Mario’s Bistro
Mario’s Bistro is located near Cupecoy beach on the western shore of Dutch Sint Maarten. This restaurant is a favorite among travelers throughout the world and is definitely a must-see during your trip to St. Maarten. Mario’s Bistro was opened by Chef Mario Tardif, a chef who was trained in Quebec City. Chef Mario Tardif opened Mario’s Bistro upon his arrival to St. Maarten in 1995. Mario’s Bistro provides an extraordinary dining experience for all who visit to this day.
This charming bistro features delicious upscale European fusion cuisine such as veal scallopini with lemon butter caper sauce, New York strip steak with truffle oil, lamb shank, sea scallops, bouillabaisse with green curry and lemongrass, and honey glazed duck with mashed potatoes. There is also an extensive wine list that features international wines to enjoy with your meal. Mario’s Bistro has a very informal yet elegant atmosphere that is very peaceful, the restaurant overlooks a shipping dock so you can watch the boats pass by as you indulge in your delicious entree. The staff at Mario’s Bistro is known for being very friendly and helpful, Chef Mario is even known to come to your table at times. The meals usually cost from $15 to $38 USD (€12 to €32 Euros), and the restaurant is open from 12 pm to 2:30 pm for lunch and 6 pm to 10 pm for dinner.
10. Le Marocain
Located in Marigot in French St. Martin is Le Marocain. Formerly known as Le Marrakech, Le Marocain has been recently renovated and reopened and the decor, service, and experience is truly spectacular. Le Marocain features delicious and authentic Moroccan cuisine in a gorgeously romantic space with an open garden that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Morroco.
The menu at Le Marocain has been prepared by chef Rachid Agouray which features deliciously fragrant dishes using ingredients from the restaurant’s local garden such as couscous and tangine, Lamb tangine, lobster tangine, and chicken chorba. The restaurant is also known for its extensive collection of delicious teas. Le Marocain has been one of the top restaurants in Saint Martin for over 20 years and is known for its gorgeous atmosphere, amazing service, and live entertainment. Le Marocain is open from 6 pm to 11 pm. The food is moderately priced being from $15 to $30 (€12 to €25) per entree.
Where are the best restaurants located in St. Martin?
The best restaurants in St. Martin are located in Grand Case on the northern French side of the island. Grand Case is known for being the “Culinary Capital of St. Maarten”. This area of St. Maarten is known for its culinary prowess and artful fusion of European and Caribbean cuisine, most of the island’s finest restaurants are located in Grand Case.
Grand Case is famous for “Boulevard de Grand Case” which is a street in the center of the town that has dozens of gourmet restaurants and cafes that can be found along the street. Boulevard de Grand Case features a variety of food from some of the over 120 different nationalities that exist on the island. This is a spot that many tourists come from all over the world to experience.
Are the restaurants in St. Martin and Sint Maarten different?
Yes, the restaurants in St. Martin and St. Maarten can be considered different in the sense that their unique blend of cultural influences has affected the cuisine on each side of the border of St. Maarten. Northern Saint Martin has more of a French influence, and this can be seen by the vast array of French restaurants and cafes on this side of the island. There are many pastry shops that sell artisan baguettes and croissants on this side of the island. In Dutch Sint Maarten there is much more of a Caribbean influence, there are many more Lolo’s or open food stands serving local Caribbean dishes and barbeque on this side of the island. The atmosphere of the restaurants in Sint Maarten focuses less on refined French customs and more on tropical Caribbean dishes and festivities.
Are restaurants in St. Martin crowded?
Yes, the restaurants in Saint Martin can at times be crowded. Depending on the time of year it is and on what side of the island you are on the crowds for restaurants can vary. In French St. Martin, there are much fewer crowds and people than in Dutch Sint Maarten, so the restaurants are often not crowded on that side of the island. Dutch Sint Maarten is known to have more crowds, especially from December to the end of April. This is the high season in St. Maarten when there are more tourists visiting the island. It is recommended to make reservations for most of the restaurants during this time.
When should you go to restaurants in St. Martin?
The best time to visit restaurants in St. Martin is between 6 pm to 11 pm. Many of the restaurants in Saint Martin open around 5 or 6 pm and close at either 10 or 11 pm. Many of the restaurants in St. Maarten have live music and entertainment at night and you will get an amazing experience when you go to restaurants during these times.
How is the food culture in St. Martin?
There are so many different local foods that represent the rich culture of St. Maarten, food is one of the main parts of the culture on this small island in the Caribbean Sea. There are many festivals on the island that are devoted to food on the island of Saint Martin, such as the Food and Wine Festival that is usually hosted in the fall on the island. Some of the foods that contribute to the rich food culture in Sint Maarten are listed and described below.
- Johnny Cakes: Small slow-fried cornmeal balls served with jam or butter.
- Locri: A rice and chicken dish that is similar to risotto.
- Codfish fritters: Saltfish that is sautéed and mixed with green pepper, chopped onion, thyme, tomato, celery, and hot sauce then blended with milk, flour, egg yolk, and then deep-fried in oil.
- Callaloo soup: A thick spinach-like soup made with pork and seasonings.
- Conch and dumplings: A large sea snail that is seasoned with herbs and spices and pressure cooked until it is the consistency of a gravy. The conch is served with dumplings made from cornmeal.
- St. Maarten spare ribs: Grilled spare ribs tossed in spicy and savory barbecue sauce, often available at local barbecue shacks called lolos.
- Crabmeat stuffed shells: Freshly cooked blue crab meat mixed with tomato, sautéed onion, various herbs and seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce. The mixture is then placed back into the original crab shells, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and broiled before being served.
What are the best foods in Sint Maarten?
There are so many delicious foods available in St. Maarten. The best foods in Sint Maarten are listed below.
- Johnny cakes
- Codfish Fritters
- Callaloo Soup
- Conch and Dumplings
- St. Maarten spare ribs
- Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells