The island of St. Martin is our absolute favorite island. It has a little bit of everything. You can snorkel with turtles, hike to the tallest mountains, hang out at nude beaches, or hang out at clothed beaches (see everything!)! They have casinos, airplanes that get right up in your face, the unique guavaberry liquor, and an excellent shopping district particularly for jewelry.
There’s really no way to go wrong with St. Martin, except if you stay at an All-Inclusive Resort and eat resort food your entire trip. I cannot stress this more, Grand Case, St. Martin is home to some of the most amazing restaurants in the world with some calling it the “gourmet capital of the Caribbean”! Below are our recommendations for some amazing restaurants to visit on your trip to St. Martin!
- 1 L’Auberge Gourmande – Gourmet French Cuisine
- 2 Sunset Cafe – Amazing, Affordable French Breakfast with a Beautiful View
- 3 Yellow Beach on Pinel Island
- 4 La Crepe en Rose – Delicious Stand for Sweet or Savory Crepes
- 5 Il Nettuno – Oceanside Italian in Grand Case
- 6 Saraphina’s – Sweet Shop in Marigot
- 7 Sunset Cafe on Maho Beach
- 8 Bistrot Caribes – Award Winning French Gourmet
- 9 Lolo’s/ Sky’s the Limit – Informal Road-side Dining that will fill you up!
- 10 Spiga – Gourmet Italian
L’Auberge Gourmande – Gourmet French Cuisine
When we visited St. Martin/ St. Maarten in 2015, one of the restaurants that I had read a lot about but was unsure about trying was L’Auberge Gourmande (Translation: “The Gourmet Inn”). I grew up in the Midwest where just about every meal consisted of meat and potatoes, and therefore I happily existed on chicken fingers and cheeseburgers when going out for dinner for the first 25 years of my life. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve started to get more adventurous. So keeping that in mind, I was a bit unsure about the gourmet French menu of L’Auberge Gourmande, so much so that I didn’t even make a reservation for the place before visiting. If you are visiting, I recommend making a reservation before your trip, we just happened to go in May which is the off-season and didn’t need one.
But, after several nights of us walking down the main road in Grand Case, seeing the restaurant each night, the people waiting outside to make reservations with the hostess, and remembering the amazing reviews that I had read on the internet, I finally decided it was an opportunity that I shouldn’t miss. We also skimmed the menu before ultimately making the decision, so I was assured that it wasn’t all escargot and frog legs and that there were dishes that would work for the sophisticated Mid-western palate that I possess. Ultimately, it ended up being the most memorable meal of our trip and that’s why it’s number one on our list!
So for Brian’s 29th birthday, we decided to get dressed up and treat ourselves to our fanciest dinner of the week before heading out for a night at the casino. Even though Brian and I didn’t have a reservation, we showed up really early –right when they open for dinner – and were able to get a table on the front porch.
It sounds silly that it was the porch, but it was so quaint, I loved it. With the warm Caribbean temperatures, it was the perfect place to enjoy dinner and for entertainment you could see everything going on in the streets of Grand Case. If you are planning to visit the restaurant and want to eat during peak dining time, I highly recommend getting a reservation. It’s a tiny restaurant with probably less than 15 tables of all different sizes. If you aren’t able to make a reservation before you leave home, you can stop by on one of your first nights in Grand Case and should be able to get in for a later day. And ask for a seat on the porch – not kidding.
For an appetizer, Brian ordered a bowl of french onion soup. I’m not a huge onion fan, but the crusty cheese on top was so good. For dinner we decided to order two different entrees and try them both. Brian ordered the beef filet with black pepper and gratin dauphinois – so yea, a fancy version of steak and potatoes, just perfect for my Texan. I was only slightly more adventurous and ordered the pork filet mignon for my main course. The presentation of the plates was so neat and something that I hadn’t been exposed too much. Both meals were excellent and to this day Brian still says his beef filet is the best one he has ever had. And of course, the birthday boy got to pick dessert and selected a lemon tart that was almost too cute to eat.
Overall, our meal was excellent and it wasn’t too expensive either with the entrees running about $30 each. The only thing that surprised us on our bill was that we were charged for each refill of our glasses of iced tea. I did some research after our trip and learned that free refills are mostly an American thing and it’s typical for foreign countries to charge for refills. Oh well, lesson learned!
All in all, our experience at L’Auberge Gourmande was everything we expected and more. I am so glad that I was willing to broaden my horizons and try something new. From the beautiful little restaurant to their lovely food, it’s the absolute highest on my recommendation list for anyone visiting the island of St. Martin.
Note: L’Auberge Gourmande reopened in May 2018 following Hurricane Irma.
Sunset Cafe – Amazing, Affordable French Breakfast with a Beautiful View
However, Grand Case is a dead zone during the day and really only comes alive in the evening. leaving a void for people, like me, who love a good
breakfast. Luckily, we were staying at the Grand Case Beach Club (I highly recommend!) and were introduced to the Sunset Cafe, a very good, inexpensive restaurant with a beautiful ocean view. During our 5-day stay in St. Martin, we ate breakfast at the Sunset Cafe for every day except one (the day we went to Marigot in search of a real French bakery). Hotel customers receive a complimentary basket of pastries which is considered a continental breakfast. That’s how they lured us in. Once you get there and look at their menu and the ridiculously inexpensive prices, you have to order more, which is what we did. Every single day.
We fell in love with their adorable french toast plate – which we decided we had to order since we were in France. Seriously though, I’d never even thought about french toasting baguettes. It was so good – I still need to try that at home – or I could just go back for another visit….. We also loved the french open-faced version of the Egg McMuffin – fancy, right?. And for even more adventurous people, they also offer several other choices including omelettes, eggs Benedict, and a salmon dish.
To top things off, the Sunset Cafe has an amazing ocean view. The restaurant is situated on a point overlooking the beach with Creole Rock in the distance. It’s a view that none of the restaurants in Grand Case can compete with.
Note: The Grand Case Beach Club just reopened in 2019 after Hurricane Irma and the Sunset Cafe opened as well!
Yellow Beach on Pinel Island
We’ve been able to eat at the Yellow Beach on Pinel Island Restaurant and Beach Bar twice because it’s the designated lunch spot for Robinson’s Speed Boat tour/ shore excursion. Both times we had a good meal and enjoyed the island setting. Pinel Island is only accessible by boat which is part of the fun about it. You can also get there by renting a kayak from Orient Beach, taking a ferry, or by boat tour. Our boat pulls right up to the island and you hop out in the shallow water and wade to shore.
Once we arrived at the Yellow Beach restaurant we were seated in a small tiki-hut with a wooden table and benches underneath. Meals were included in our tour so we each got to pick one meat and one side. The choices were chicken or ribs. For a side we had a choice between french fries and ratatouille. Of course we ordered one of each. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of our meal, just my lovely tan lines. Both the chicken and ribs were good. The french fries were pretty basic. But the ratatouille was excellent. And Brian is now so obsessed with ratatouille after eating there that he orders it anywhere he can get it. Overall, the food was good, but it wasn’t anything fancy. But I’ve eaten a lot of food provided on excursions and have to say that the Yellow Beach ranks near the top comparatively.
Drinks weren’t included with our meal, but we went to the bar and tried both a pina colada and St. Martin’s signature cocktail, a guavaberry sunrise (made with St. Martin guavaberry liquor), which we sipped while relaxing on the beach.
The most unique part about Pinel Island, St. Martin is the giant iguanas. There are lots of iguanas that mostly hang out near these rocks by the restaurant. However, while you are eating they will wander right up around your tables. They are not scared of people at all. The good news is that they respect your personal space. But at the same time it’s a bit unnerving to see them wandering around so close to people. If you are an iguana fan, I’ve seen them climb right onto the lap of people who are feeding them!
La Crepe en Rose – Delicious Stand for Sweet or Savory Crepes
Regardless of what you do for dinner in St. Martin, I have to insist that you stop at least once (or once a day) at La Crepe en Rose, an adorable little crepe stand in Grand Case. It’s located in the corner of the parking lot just across from Calmos Cafe. For as little as $3 you can enjoy a delicious dessert crepe or for a couple dollars more you can get a fancier version. Each crepe is freshly made right in front of you, so feel free to come up with any combination of filling you desire. They also had savory crepes which make a yummy, inexpensive dinner substitute with their choices of fillings including tomato, ham and cheese! I remember we tried a few different versions of the dessert crepes (spread out over the week, we’re not crazy!) including a nutella crepe, a salted carmel crepe, and Brian loved the raspberry one. And then I also remember getting a savory tomato and cheese crepe one night as well! Yum!
Il Nettuno – Oceanside Italian in Grand Case
Il Nettuno (translation: The Neptune, Roman God of the Sea) was my second favorite restaurant in St. Martin and the rankings were very close. Il Nettuno is an Italian restaurant serving all the classic pasta dishes. The restaurant is also one of the larger ones in Grand Case so we had no trouble walking up and getting an immediate table (note, we were there in the off-season, May). The back of the restaurant is along Grand Case Beach and an entire row of tables sits right on the water (see picture at right). It was a beautiful setting for us celebrating our anniversary.
The restaurant wasn’t very crowded when we visited and the wait staff was very polite and attentive. But best of all, the food at Il Nettuno was excellent. There’s still a lot of restaurants that I would like to try in St. Martin, but I would save a date to return to Il Nettuno. For starters we skipped the salads and had a tomato soup, bruschetta, and an order of fried mozzarella to share. All of them were delicious.
For our main course, we ordered two dishes, a beef bolognaise and another pasta with a spicy sausage so that we could share and try both. Both were very good, but there was so many other items on the menu, I would probably order something else the next time I visit, just to try them all. The portions were huge so we ended up taking half of the pasta back to our resort in to-go boxes. If you have children or weren’t that hungry, you could easily share your meals.
We were so full that night, that we actually skipped on dessert. However, Brian had his eye on the lemon tart so we came back later in the week. The staff didn’t mind at all when we asked if we could have a table just for dessert! And it was delicious!
Cost-wise, the restaurant runs somewhere in the middle for Grand Case. It’s not as expensive at L’Auberge Gourmande. But it’s probably on the higher end compared to other places on the island, but in my opinion, it’s one of the better restaurants and one of the best settings, so the restaurant deserves to charge a bit more. We’re not wine drinkers, but I think I remember our bill being under $100 for the two of us, even with a couple of starters and the dessert.
Saraphina’s – Sweet Shop in Marigot
Saraphina’s is an adorable little french bakery. We had planned a trip to Marigot to visit the market and then climb to the top of Fort Louis. (Note – in 2015 the Marigot market was only open on Wednesdays). So we planned ahead of time to grab breakfast from Saraphina’s on the way. It’s a very short walk from the market and there was plenty of parking right out front so that we could hit all 3 stops without having to move the car (See map below).
Once we stepped into Saraphina’s, I felt immediately transported to France. I have never actually been to France, but the bakery is everything I imagined. Right in the middle of the Caribbean, this little shop had a long case packed full of colorful pastries with fancy names. It was difficult to choose!
I ended up settling on a coffee-flavored eclair and Brian picked chocolate. And then we split a pineapple pastry. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the breeze. I’m an American, so I might slightly prefer donuts to eclairs (sorry!), but all in all it was a great breakfast and one I highly recommend to anyone with a Wednesday morning to spare in St. Martin!
Sunset Cafe on Maho Beach
The hamburgers at the Sunset Café in Maho Beach were fine, but nothing special – but the location is spectacular. We had so much fun watching the planes land over Maho Beach. It’s also a great place to try the Guavaberry Sunrise, St. Martin’s signature cocktail! Before I went to St. Martin all of my research told me that the drink to try is the Guavaberry Sunrise made with the guavaberry liquor from the island. So, when we were at the Sunset Café on Maho Beach – we decided to see what it was all about. And now I know that I personally am not a big fan of guavaberry liquor. I think it tastes kind of medicine-y – like one of those liquid antibiotics that they give you when you are a kid. But mixed into a cocktail, it’s much better! Anyways, give me a pina colada over the guavaberry sunrise anyday!
Bistrot Caribes – Award Winning French Gourmet
Ok, there are two restaurants on this list that I haven’t actually been to. Bistrot Caribes is one of them. Bistrot Caribes is another french gourmet restaurant. It wasn’t on my radar at all when we visited St. Martin, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning because it was voted the 2nd Best Restaurant in the entire Caribbean last year and continued to rank in the Top 10 in 2019. I’d love to hear about your experiences at Bistrot Caribes in the comments!
Lolo’s/ Sky’s the Limit – Informal Road-side Dining that will fill you up!
For a less expensive option in Grand Case for dinner, I recommend Lolo’s. There are actually many Lolo’s all around the island of St. Martin. They are small, informal eateries with heaping plates. We ended up trying the Sky’s the Limit in Grand Case. They give you a plate heaping with chicken, rice, and other sides that you choose. The food wasn’t quite the high quality of the other restaurants, but it was good. Plus there was something fun about the setting, where you eat dinner right along the side of the street. I can’t believe that I forgot to take pictures at this one!
Spiga – Gourmet Italian
Spiga is the other restaurant that I wanted to try and we just ran out of days. I just love good italian food and I’ve heard that Spiga has it! Next time I visit St. Martin, it’s on my list! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Thank you so much for reading our post about restaurants on the Island of St. Martin. We loved our trip and enjoyed many memorable meals. We hope you find this helpful when planning your own trip!