The island is indeed renowned as a major place of gastronomy. Many people of the neighboring territories come to the bistros or restaurants of Saint-Martin, to revel in the unique scents and flavors of the cosmopolitan food of Saint-Martin.
1- French and high-gastronomy in Saint-Martin
In the purest French tradition, great and high-gastronomic restaurants are widely present in Saint-Martin. Chefs combine the French culinary culture with some culinary innovations. But more popular restaurants are not to be outdone. They know how to mix all the components of the local cuisine of Saint Martin. Because of its location, dishes of St. Martin's island are mostly concocted with shellfish or fish. The main recipes are composed of exotic vegetables, fruits, and local spices. Among the culinary specialties of Saint Martin, you can start with a snapper, a fine fish cooked in court bouillon. You also have to taste a thazar, a distant cousin of tuna, that is grilled or smoked before being served. And what about the temptation of tasting the fricasseed mollusks known as lambis?
For meat lovers, you can order the locri, a local festive dish, which is a smoked chicken with spiced rice. Or you can try the oxtailstew, to enjoy a stewed oxtail. The best is to accompany your dish with the Johnnycake, a fried roll that sits enthroned on the tables, especially in the morning. The traditional liqueur called Guavaberry is made from rum aged in oak barrels, supplemented with cane sugar and grape berries.
The latest edition of the "Gault et Millaut", a prestigious French restaurant guide, has distinguished about forty gastronomic restaurants. The culinary capital of the island is Grand Case, and also the place of both Restaurants Le Pressoir and La Barranco. These restaurants have been awarded by two chef's hats in "Gault et Millaut" guide. Other restaurants have been distinguished such as La Cigale in Baie Nettlé, and for the Anse Marcel Beach, which proudly displays a pretty score of 14.5/20.
The traditional restaurant in Saint Martin is called the lolo. You can find a lolo on every street corner and every beach. Lolo is a sort of food truck, where the cooking is prepared on huge barbecues. You can enjoy the inevitable lobsters and shellfish, but also ribs (means pork chops). This succulent specialty is marinated in a barbecue sauce, before being seasoned with garlic and lime. Spicy cod accras, cod chiquetaille with vinegar served on salad leaves, or lamb and vermicelli and pea soups with bacon, are just a few examples of kinds of meals you cand find in a traditional restaurant. The desserts are based on sweet potatoes, that can be served with crème fraîche or a scoop of ice cream. With its wide choice of restaurants, the island makes it possible to eat well, according to all types of budget.
The island has many nice places to party. The most popular bars, clubs, and restaurants are in Simpson Bay, Maho Bay, and Grand Case. The atmosphere is always warm, friendly, and above all, festive! One understands then the name of "Friendly island" given to Saint Martin. Don't miss the Harmony Nights (Les "Mardis de Grand Case"), which takes place every Tuesday night in Grand Case, and last 8 weeks a year. The main street becomes pedestrian for the occasion, and cars giving way to the revelers, who come to dance to the sound of Caribbean rhythms. On other weekdays, the range of nightlife is wide, between beach bars, clubs, and discos.
On the French side of St. Martin's island, you can find some great bars and clubs to enjoy your nightlife. On Orient Bay, the Café La Plantation offers you excellent french and creole meals by the pool, within an elegant atmosphere. If you want to dance all night long, Pool Party at the Loterie Farm is the place to be! Take your car and drive to Marigot. The Loterie Farm is located on Pic Paradis road. The entrance ticket costs USD21 in advance, and USD27 at the entrance. At night, Karakter beach bar on Simpson Bay becomes a cozy restaurant where you can enjoy Caribbean delights in its unique friendly island atmosphere, with live music and beach party. To enjoy tasty cocktails, La Flibuste in Marigot is a nice place with its ti-punches and explosive cocktails. In Saint Martin, you always find Ti-punch with typical rum, fruits, and spices like cinnamon, clove, and ginger.
About fifteen casinos are also open all night long in Sint Maarten. Adjacent to Princess Juliana International Airport, Maho village is a one-of-a-kind mini-Vegas of the Caribbean. On Maho Beach Resort, Tantra Night Club & Sanctuary is famous for its DJs and theme nights.
Wherever you decide to go to Saint Martin and Sint Maarten, your rental car will be of great use. One of the big advantages of the island is its size. It makes it easy to drive from one wonderful place to another, in just a few minutes. You can thus enjoy the nightlife that Saint Martin offers. But always make sure you park in authorized parking areas and never leave valuables things inside your rented car.
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