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The combination of St. Martin’s French and St. Maarten's Dutch cultures added to the West Indies’ love of food makes for a vibrant and eclectic dining scene on this Caribbean island. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best five places to eat:
1. L’Estaminet. St. Martin’s Grand Case — sometimes referred to as the culinary capital of the Caribbean — is home to this French restaurant. The flavorful and creative cuisine includes fare such as duck breast served with purple potatoes cooked in duck fat. Chocoholics never miss the chocolate dessert sampler.
2. La Villa Restaurant. Melding French cuisine and the flavors of the Caribbean, La Villa serves dishes like upside-down sweet potato pie under red snapper with sweet pepper sauce and coconut milk.
3. Le Ti Bouchon. In the Cul de Sac area of St. Martin, this restaurant is modeled after French bouchons — intimate restaurants that serve Lyonnaise dishes generous in both flavor and portion size. The menu changes often based on what ingredients are available fresh and locally.
4. Mario’s Bistro. Led by the Quebec-trained chef Mario, this restaurant serves contemporary French food, including standbys such as caramelized onion soup and beef carpaccio, plus only-in-the-Caribbean dishes such as conch cake with mango chutney.
5. Le Tastevin. This local favorite lets you take advantage of St. Martin’s natural beauty with dinner on the water. Ask for a seat along the edge of the deck overlooking the ocean, and order a la carte French dishes or the tasting menu—expect dishes such as tempura of snails with garlic and parsley butter.