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.
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.
Note: L’Auberge Gourmande reopened in May 2018 following Hurricane Irma.
Reservation May or May Not Be Needed – L’Auberge Gourmande
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.
The Dining Experience – L’Auberge Gourmande
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 Impression – L’Auberge Gourmande
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.
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