The island of St. Martin has over four hundred restaurants ranging from local roadside restaurants to luxurious gourmet restaurants. St. Martin is known throughout the Caribbean for having some of the best and most diverse cuisines. The French side of the island of St. Martin has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean and is considered the culinary capital of St. Martin.
Due to the division of territory in St. Maarten between the French and the Dutch side, the food in St. Maarten is influenced by many cultures such as the French, Dutch, Latin-American, African, East Indian, Creole, and British cultures. The national dish of the French side of Saint Martin is Callaloo soup and the national dish of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten is Conch and Dumplings.
Many of the local dishes in Saint Martin are often made with products such as eggplants, potatoes, pumpkins, passionfruit, mangos, guava berries, onions, celery, callaloo, and pineapples, coconut, carrots, plantains, cassava, and guavas. Saint Martin’s cuisine features a variety of different meats and seafood, including chicken, beef, pork, duck, goat, octopus, shrimp, lobster, red snapper, and saltfish. Saint Martin’s local dishes are most commonly seasoned with curry, thyme, paprika, cloves, allspice, red pepper, black pepper, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon. Some of the things to eat in St. Maarten are listed below.
- Conch and Dumplings
- Johnny Cakes
- Codfish Fritters
- Spare Ribs
- Whelk Soup
- Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells (Crab Backs)
- Guavaberry Liqueur
Table of Contents
- 1. Conch and Dumplings
- 2. Callaloo Soup
- 3. Johnny Cakes
- 4. Codfish Fritters
- 5. Spare Ribs
- 6. Locri
- 7. Whelk Soup
- 8. Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells (Crab Backs)
- 9. Guavaberry Liqueur
- Which region has the best things to eat?
1. Conch and Dumplings
Conch and Dumplings is a hot and spicy soup made with a large sea snail, also known by locals as conch. The conch is seasoned with spices and herbs and cooked until is soft. The conch is often accompanied by fluffy dumplings and also topped with savory gravy. Some food options that can be eaten with conch and dumplings are rice, Johnnycakes, and vegetables.
Tourists say that the conch and dumplings are full of flavor and it is an extremely delicious dish that captures the flavors of the Caribbean. In many online ratings, tourists rave about the conch and dumplings dish. Some of the restaurants where visitors can try the conch and dumplings are Yvette’s Restaurant in the French Quarter and a restaurant called “Nowhere Special” in Simpson Bay.
2. Callaloo Soup
Callaloo soup is made with a wide variety of fresh greens such as spinach, kale, and, callaloo which is a spinach-like vegetable. The spices used in Callaloo soup include thyme, pepper, and hot peppers. Callaloo soup is not a vegetarian dish since one of its usual ingredients is chicken stock. Some people like to include okra, onions, and pork in their Callaloo soup.
Callaloo soup is the national dish of French St. Martin. Tourists can try Callaloo soup at Captain D’s Roadside Grill in Simpson Bay, and at Ital Shack in Philipsburg. Tourists describe Callaloo soup as a unique and delicious dish that everyone should try during their trip to St. Martin.
3. Johnny Cakes
Johnny Cakes are little cornmeal fry pancakes. Jhonny Cakes are commonly served with butter, honey, syrup, or jam. Locals of St. Maarten eat Johnny Cakes frequently with breakfast, brunch, and sometimes also as a side dish during dinner. Johnny Cakes are also well known as “journey cakes”.
Although Johnny Cakes are similar to American pancakes, Johnny Cakes are made with cornmeal and fried in corn oil. Tourists who visit St. Maarten love Johnny Cakes and give these fried balls of dough raving reviews online. Some places where tourists can try Johnny Cakes are at “The Original Fat Boy BBQ Jimmy’s” in Philipsburg and at “Enoch’s Place” in Marigot.
4. Codfish Fritters
Codfish Fritters are a popular Caribbean dish that is made in a variety of ways depending on which island is serving it. On St. Martin, Codfish Fritters are made with sautéed vegetables such as chopped onion, tomato, celery, thyme, green pepper, and hot sauce. The sauteed vegetables are blended with a mixture of flour, milk, and egg yolk and then deep-fried in hot corn oil.
Tourists of all ages love the codfish fritters served in St. Martin. The price for a small or large plate of homemade codfish fritters in St. Martin ranges from $8 to $15 (€7 to €14). Some restaurants where tourists can try codfish fritters are the “Sunset Café” in Grand Case, “La Main à la Pâte” in Marigot, and “Yellow Beach Restaurant” on Pinel Island.
5. Spare Ribs
In St. Maarten, spare ribs are cooked on the grill until the meat is tender, and then they are slathered with a deliciously sweet, spicy, and savory barbecue sauce. The sauce may vary slightly between restaurants because they often use their own traditional family recipes. St. Maarten-style spare ribs can be found at some of the local restaurants called “Lolos”. Lolos are open-air food stands that are usually located next to the roadside.
Many tourists appreciate the beautifully balanced sweet and spicy flavor of St. Maarten-style spare ribs. Some restaurants where tourists can try the St. Maarten-style spare ribs are “The Original Fat Boy BBQ Jimmy’s Kitchen & Grill” in Pond Fill, at “Captain’s Rib Shack” in Simpson Bay, and at “Johnny B’s Under the Tree” in Simpson Bay. The common price for a spare rib dish with a side in St. Maarten is approximately $15 (€13.99).
Locri is a traditional and simple Caribbean food that is very common on the island of St. Maarten. Locri is a dish composed of rice, vegetables, and chicken that is cooked together like a Spanish paella. Locri is made with spices such as oregano, paprika, turmeric, and garlic. When making Locri, all the ingredients are cooked together in one pot, the flavors combine in a delicious way, resulting in a truly memorable and enjoyable experience of the traditional St. Maarten cuisine.
It is also possible to make Locri from beef or pork instead of chicken. Tourists like Locri because of the tenderness that is bathed in Caribbean flavors. Some local restaurants where tourists can try Locri are “Chamoz Bar & Roadside Grill” in Phillipsburg and at “Aunty Sally’s Kitchen” which is also in Phillipsburg.
7. Whelk Soup
In St. Maarten, a very common dish is whelk soup. Whelks are saltwater mollusks that can be used to make many different dishes. Whelk soup recipes can vary, but in St. Maarten, the whelks are commonly stewed in coconut milk or mixed with a stew of vegetables and seasonings. Other ingredients that the whelk soup has are celery, sweet pepper, onion, potatoes, and noodles.
Many who try whelk soup enjoy the plethora of flavors and find it delicious. The price for a whelk soup portion in St. Maarten is usually around $12.80 (€11.94). Some restaurants where tourists can try the Whelk Soup are at “Skip Jack’s” in Simpson Bay, at “Pineapple Pete’s” a restaurant in Cole Bay, and at “Big Fish Seafood and Grill” in Oyster Bay.
8. Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells (Crab Backs)
Crabmeat-stuffed shells are a mouth-watering treat made with freshly cooked blue crab meat in a delicious blend of sautéed onions, tomatoes, seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce. To serve the crabmeat-stuffed shells (also known as crab backs), the crab mixture is refilled back into the crab shells, sprinkled with bread crumbs, and then roasted under the broiler.
Crabmeat-stuffed shells are an extravagant and delicious dish available in St. Maarten. Some restaurants where tourists can enjoy crabmeat-stuffed shells (Crab Backs) are at “Yvette’s Restaurant” in Quartier d’ Orleans, at “Emilio’s” in Dutch Cul de Sac, and at “Astrolabe” in Orient Bay. The price for a service of crabmeat-stuffed Shells (Crab Backs) in St. Martin can cost around $29.95 (€27.93).
9. Guavaberry Liqueur
Guavaberry Liqueur is made from the small guavaberry fruits that grow in St. Maarten. The local producers harvest, wash, and combine the organic guava berries with oak-aged rum and sugar. Guavaberry is used in a variety of cocktails, mixed drinks, and food recipes. This refreshing beverage is the national liqueur of both the Dutch and the French sides of Sint Maarten.
Tourists enjoy drinking the Guavaberry Liqueur because of its refreshing and spectacular flavor. Locals and tourists describe the Guavaberry Liqueur flavor as fruity, sweet, tart, and fresh with some spicy notes. Guavaberry Liqueur is available at local stores, souvenir shops, supermarkets, and liquor stores. The cost of a 20ml (0.68oz) bottle of Guavaberry Rum is about $16.95 to $29 (€14.79 to €25) with a minimum alcohol content of 35%.
Which region has the best things to eat?
The region with the best things to eat in Saint Martin are on the French side of the island, specifically the town of Grand Case. The town of Grand Case is known as the culinary capital of Saint Martin. In Grand Case, tourists will find a street called “Boulevard de Grand Case,” which is surrounded by dozens of gourmet restaurants and cafes.
When deciding where to eat in St. Maarten, tourists might wonder what the difference in cuisine is in French Saint Martin vs Dutch Sint Maarten. St. Martin’s northern part has more of a French influence with its food, and Dutch Sint Maarten has a more prevalent Caribbean influence on the cuisine. Some wonderful places to eat in St. Martin are listed below.
- Big Fish
- La Cigale
- Le Marocain
- Mario’s Bistro
- Bamboo House
- Pineapple Pete’s
- Hidden Forest Cafe
- Friar’s Bay Beach Café
- Cynthia’s Talk of the Town
Is the food in St. Maarten budget-friendly?
No, the food in St. Maarten is not considered budget-friendly. This is because the food in St. Maarten is generally imported from other countries. The price for some specific meals are listed below.
- Breakfast can be up to $3 to $9 (€2.81 to €8.42)
- Lunch can be up to $11 to $16 (€10.29 to €14.97)
- Dining on a budget can be up to $12 to $20 (€11.22 to €18.71)
- An expensive dinner can be up to $50 to $75 (€46.77 to €70.15)
Is the food in St. Maarten expensive?
Yes, the food in St. Maarten can be considered expensive compared to other countries since they import most of their foods from other countries. However, like many other Caribbean islands, the culture is to share, this also happens with the food. It is important to know that in some cases tourists find that the portions are big enough for two people, even when they are made for one.
What are the best places to eat?
The majority of the best places to eat are located on the French side of Saint Martin. The neighborhood of Grand Case is home to dozens of gourmet restaurants and cafes along with the Boulevard de Grand Case. Some of the best places to eat are located nearby the best places to see in Sint Maarten. The best places to eat in St. Maarten are listed below.
- L’Auberge Gourmande is located in Grand Case, the culinary capital of the Caribbean, and is 7.1 miles (11.5 km) away from Princess Juliana International Airport. L’Auberge Gourmande combines classic French food with well-chosen wine to make the perfect dining experience. At L’Auberge Gourmande there are also vegetarian options available.
- Emilio’s is located in Dutch Cul de Sac and is 5.2 miles (8.4 km) away from Princess Juliana International Airport. Emilio’s offers a fusion of Caribbean and international cuisine. Emilio’s offers traditional breakfasts such as scrambled eggs, waffles, fruits, Johnny cakes, and other local favorites.
- L’Astrolabe is located in Orient Bay and is 9.4 miles (15.1 km) away from Princess Juliana International Airport. L’Astrolabe offers modern French cuisine with some Mediterranean flair. It is possible to dine by the pool or in the lovely garden. L’Astrolabe also offers a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.
- Rainbow Café is located in Grand Case, the culinary capital of the Caribbean just 7.4 miles (11.9 km) from Princess Juliana International Airport. The Rainbow Café offers Caribbean, French, and Asian cuisine and its desserts have been awarded for their excellence.
- Sunset Café is located in Grand Case, the culinary capital of the Caribbean just 7.7 miles (12.3 km) from Princess Juliana International Airport. Sunset Café specializes in seafood with the Caribbean and French influences. Sunset Café is open from 8 AM to 9 PM every day.
- Le Marocain is located in Marigot and is 3.5 miles (5.7 km) away from Princess Juliana International Airport. Le Marocain is a restaurant with delicious and authentic Moroccan food and a beautiful setting to soak in the moment. Le Marocain is open from 6 PM to 11 PM. The food prices at Le Marocain range from $15 to $30 (€12 to €25) per entree.
Is the food in St. Maarten safe?
Yes, the food in St. Maarten is safe to eat. Much of the food on the island is imported from other countries. Although the food in St. Maarten is not spicy, it has a lot of flavors because the people of St. Martin cook with different spices and seasonings. Some of the spices and seasonings that are commonly used in Sint Maarten are garlic, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, curry, paprika, red pepper, black pepper, ginger, and others.
What are the best foods in St. Maarten?
St. Martin has an amazing food culture. The food in Saint Martin has French, Dutch, and Caribbean influences that make the dishes irresistible. The best food in St. Maarten is listed and explained below.
- Guavaberry Liqueur: Guavaberry is a local plant that is used to make different plates such as rum, juice, jam, desserts, and liqueur. Guavaberry Liqueur has a flavor that can be described as fruity, tart, fresh, sweet, and a little spicy. Tourists enjoy all the different foods that are made with Guavaberry. The price can vary because of the type of product.
- Johnny cakes: Small fried cornmeal fried balls with jam or butter. Some tourists think that the Johnny cakes are outstanding. The majority of the tourists love Johnny cakes. Although the price can vary depending on where they are purchased, Johnny cakes are a very cheap dish.
- Locri: A dish where the rice and the chicken are cooked together, similar to a Spanish paella. The Locri is a traditional Caribbean dish made with spices like paprika, oregano, turmeric, and garlic. It is also possible to make Locri with beef or pork instead of chicken. Tourists like how the rice takes the flavor of the meat when combined.
- Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells: Shells stuffed with blue crab meat sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and broiled. The Crabmeat-Stuffed Shells can be considered a gourmet dish.
- Conch and Dumplings: a gravy soup made with a large sea snail and accompanied with cornmeal dumplings. In the Dutch part of the island, the Conch and Dumplings dish is closely associated with Carnival celebrations. Tourists mention that this is a delicious and memorable dish.