St. Martin and St. Maarten Restaurants

Although most people come to St. Maarten/St. Martin for sun and fun, they leave praising the cuisine. On an island that covers only 37 square miles (96 square km), there are more than 400 restaurants from which to choose. You can sample the best dishes from France, Thailand, Italy, Vietnam, India, Japan, and, of course, the Caribbean.

Many of the best restaurants are in Grand Case (on the French side), but you should not limit your culinary adventures to that village. Great dining thrives throughout the island, from the bistros of Marigot to the hopping restaurants of Cupecoy to the low-key eateries of Simpson Bay. Whether you enjoy dining on fine china in one of the upscale restaurants or off a paper plate at the island's many lolos (roadside barbecue stands), St. Maarten/St. Martin's culinary options are sure to appeal to every palate. Loyalists on both "sides" will cheerfully try to steer you to their own favorites, and it’s common to cite high euro prices to deter exploration, but quite a few restaurants still offer a one-to-one exchange rate between dollars and euros if you use cash, and main-course portions are often large enough to be shared.

During high season, it's essential to make reservations, and making them a month in advance is advisable for some of the best places. Dutch-side restaurants sometimes include a 15% service charge, so check your bill before tipping. On the French side, service is always included, but it is customary to leave 5% to 10% extra in cash for the server. Don’t count on leaving tips on your credit card—it's customary to tip in cash. A taxi is probably the easiest solution to the parking problems in Grand Case, Marigot, and Philipsburg. Grand Case has two lots—each costs $4—at each end of the main boulevard, but they're often packed by 8 pm.

What to Wear: Although appropriate dining attire ranges from swimsuits to sport jackets, casual dress is usually appropriate throughout restaurants on the island. For men, a jacket and khakis or jeans will take you anywhere; for women, dressy pants, a skirt, or even fancy shorts are usually acceptable. Jeans are fine in the less formal eateries.

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  • 1. Bamboo

    $$$ | Asian

    This hip mainstay on the top level of the Maho central shopping area features red lacquer walls, lounging tables, Indonesian art, a first-rate...Read More

  • 2. Big Fish

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Big Fish offers big portions of fresh-caught fish, sushi, and upscale steaks served in a modern, Miami Beach atmosphere. The service is friendly...Read More

  • 3. Karakter Beach Lounge

    $$ | Eclectic

    This funky and charming modern beach bar, right behind the airport, serves up fun, great music, relaxation, and a lot of style. The vibe is...Read More

  • 4. Temptation

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Temptation's Chef Dino Jagtiani trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and his dishes combine spices and ingredients that provide a full...Read More

  • 5. Top Carrot

    $ | Vegetarian

    Open from 7:30 am to 6 pm, this friendly café and juice bar is a popular healthy breakfast and lunch stop. It features fresh and tasty vegetarian...Read More

  • 6. Antoine by the Sea

    $$$$ | French

    Owner Jean Pierre Pomarico greets guests and ushers them into this comfy seaside restaurant. Low-key, blue-accented decor, white bamboo chairs...Read More

  • 7. Au Petit Café

    $ | Café

    There are only a small number of tables (both indoor and out) at this tiny bistro in the quaint shopping arcade just off Front Street. Stop...Read More

  • 8. Chesterfield's

    $$ | Caribbean

    Both locals and tourists seem to love this restaurant at Great Bay Marina. Seafood is the main focus, but steaks, burgers, pasta, and poultry...Read More

  • 9. Izi Ristorante Italiano

    $$$ | Italian

    The former chef of La Gondola serves up huge, sharable portions of more than 400 dishes in this popular, cheerful, centrally located space....Read More

  • 10. L'Escargot

    $$$ | French

    The wraparound veranda, the bunches of grapes hanging from the chandeliers, and the Toulouse Lautrec–style murals add to the colorful atmosphere...Read More

  • 11. Le Bateau Ivre

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    In the middle of the plaza in the newish Porto Cupecoy Marina complex, this place is a good choice for an easy lunch thanks to big salads, American...Read More

  • 12. Ocean Lounge

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    An airy modern veranda perched on the Philipsburg boardwalk gives a distinct South Beach vibe. You'll want to linger over fresh fish and steaks...Read More

  • 13. Pineapple Pete

    $$ | Seafood

    This popular, casual, and fun (if touristy) place is well located and has a game room with seven pool tables, four dart boards, an arcade, and...Read More

  • 14. Taloula Mango's

    $$ | Eclectic

    Ribs and burgers are the specialty at this casual beachfront restaurant, but the jerk chicken and thin-crust pizza, not to mention a few vegetarian...Read More

  • 15. Trattoria Italiana

    $$ | Italian

    Tucked behind Casino Royale, this no-frills Italian eatery is extremely popular with locals. The menu includes favorites like penne Bolognese...Read More

  • 16. Vesna Taverna and Bagel House

    $ | Sandwiches

    Centrally located near the Simpson Bay Bridge, this casual eatery is open all day long, with tasty but healthy options like smoothies, bagel...Read More

  • 17. Zee Best

    $ | Café

    This friendly bistro serves one of the best breakfasts on the island. There's a huge selection of fresh-baked pastries—try the almond croissants...Read More

  • 18. Bliss

    $$$ | Wine Bar

    Bliss is one of the most popular nightspots in St. Maarten. Dance, drink, and listen to the DJ (or occasional live band) and dance under the...Read More

  • 19. Ciao

    $ | Italian

    The former Los Gauchos has received an extreme menu makeover, even though the decor is pretty much the same. Instead of Argentine steaks, expect...Read More

  • 20. La Gondola

    $$$ | Italian

    Under new management, but still in the hands of chef Matteo Puccini, the kitchen rolls out the dough for the dozens of pasta dishes on the...Read More

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