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  1. #1
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    7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    My husband and I will be first time visitors to St Barts, arriving Sunday, January 15th. This forum has been most helpful in planning our trip. As many of you have said, "too many restaurants, too little time". Dining is an important element in our travels and we enjoy a leisurely experience. Based on KevinS' overview as well as posts by others, here is our choice of restaurants for our 7 night stay. We will be staying at Cheval Blanc, so will certainly dine there.

    Lunches(6): Cabane de L'Isle, Sandbar, Gloriette, Shelloma, Nikki, La Plage (We also considered Toiny, Le Sereno, Taiwana)
    Dinners(7): La Casa de L'Isle, Bagatelle, On the Rocks, Bonito, Aux Amis, Santa Fe, Francois Plantation (We also considered Toiny & Le Sereno)

    We will be traveling & dining with our small (2kg) dog, so it's important that she will be welcome wherever we dine. She has
    traveled with us extensively in Europe and US and is very mannerly in restaurants.

    Any comments or advice on our restaurant selections would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Here are my edits:

    Lunch -
    Cabane de L'Isle - only do this one if you plan to use their beach lounges after lunch. With the chairs, the lunch is probably worth it, but without, it's well overpriced for what you get. (disclaimer - it's been a couple years since I've eaten here, but we took it off our last based on our last very expensive and unremarkable meal)

    Sandbar - great view, but you don't get to use their beach chairs unless you pony up an extra 70(?) euro each. The food is sort of ordinary and certainly not worth the price, but you're paying for the view.

    Gloriette - a keeper for sure. Mellow, local vibe. Good food, great prices.

    Shelloma - brand new. You may be the first to eat there. I'd skip it in favor of something else. (I'm not really a huge fan of Shell Beach - - very small and not as pretty as three places above, or the ones below)

    Nikki - beautiful view and very good food (better than you'd expect). It's a very similar view to what you get at the Sandbar. If I had to do one or the other, I'd do Nikki...........better food.

    La Plage - Never eaten there. I've always been a little turned off by the look of the dining room. Maybe the view is great looking out from the tables, but when I look in from the beach, it doesn't look inviting. Lots of people love this place so take my semi-uninformed opinion with a grain of salt.

    Consider adding:

    Santa Fe - Great food, fantastic view, just up the road from the beach. (we went twice for lunch in Dec)

    Tamarin - beautiful garden (of Eden) setting. Truly a tropical oasis. A favorite of many on the forum.


    Dinner (a lot of my commentary may sound harsh, so apply grains of salt as needed).

    La Casa de L'Isle - Skip it. Too expensive for unremarkable food and no view at night

    Bagatelle - I've never been and have little desire to go. It turns into a dance/party place at night which is not my scene at all. I'm not looking to see and be seen.

    On the Rocks - Skip it. Way too expensive for way too unremarkable food and no view at night. My wife and I have been wanting and trying to go here for years, but every time we look at the menu, we get bored at the options and outraged at the prices. Half the time, we can't even find anything we really want to order! They have a cocktail hour starting at 5 pm. That might be worth doing as it will still be light out at 5.

    Bonito - never been, so no comment

    Aux Amis - Skip it. Too expensive for unremarkable food and no view at night. That's a little unfair on my part as I've never been at night (!), but we had a lunch there that was fine although unremarkable and certainly not rave-worthy. It's a beautiful place and the staff is great, but the food is the weak link. It's a better lunchtime option as you can use their chairs and pool after you eat.

    Santa Fe - Definitely, although if you only have one meal to devote to Santa Fe, I'd do lunch

    Francois Plantation - you may be the first to dine here. Very expensive. I'm turned off to the place based on their prices.

    Consider adding:

    Cote Port - my new favorite place
    Eddys - unique setting and loved by many
    Orega - a new place that is loved by nearly everyone (except me.........but it was a fluke of bad service not a systemic problem)
    L'Esprit - very gourmet, but very worth it. They charge prices similar to some of the places you list (on the rocks) but, here, the food lives up to the price.
    Gloriette - a different menu at night. Great pizzas

  3. #3
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Good suggestions Bart and I agree about Francois Plantation- I would wait for some reviews. Eddy's and Le Repaire are favorites here.
    If you're going through hell, keep going- Winston Churchill

    Andy

  4. #4
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart -my real name- View Post
    Here are my edits:

    Lunch -
    Cabane de L'Isle - only do this one if you plan to use their beach lounges after lunch. With the chairs, the lunch is probably worth it, but without, it's well overpriced for what you get. (disclaimer - it's been a couple years since I've eaten here, but we took it off our last based on our last very expensive and unremarkable meal)
    The OP is staying there, so lounges will not be an issue . . .
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  5. #5
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    I would add Maya's for the unique, no-fills, old time Saint-Barth vibe. Probably the best views of any restaurant.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  6. #6
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Add Maya's for dinner. Bananiers is quite good and close to your hotel. Add L'Isola for a
    fabulous Italian dinner. These are some of my favorites that were not mentioned.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  7. #7
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    others that many here enjoy which are not on your list (in no particular order) : maya's, l'esprit de j-cd, l'isola, le grain de sel.
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  8. #8
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    BJR- welcome to the forum. We have stayed at Isle de France (now called Cheval Blanc) many times and also at the adjacent Hotel Taiwana. If you are staying a week and have these lunch/dinners in mind, you will be spending your entire vacation eating. The breakfasts at Isle de France were quite large and we found that we usually didn't need another large lunch. Consider take out at Maya's to Go, le Jardin, or the nearby bakery and have lunch at the beach - usually Goveneurs or Saline. Grain de Sol next to Saline is a favorite for a sit down lunch (plus they have bathroom whereas the beaches don't). When you want to stay at Checal Blanc for the day have lunch there.
    For dinners, we enjoy Eddys, Tamarin, Esprit de Saline, Ortega and did like Aux Amis. If you have a hotel package that includes dinner at Cheval Blanc then take advantage of it. The dinner is fine there and easy if you don't feel like driving that night. Enjoy your first trip to paradise.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJR View Post
    My husband and I will be first time visitors to St Barts, arriving Sunday, January 15th. This forum has been most helpful in planning our trip. As many of you have said, "too many restaurants, too little time". Dining is an important element in our travels and we enjoy a leisurely experience. Based on KevinS' overview as well as posts by others, here is our choice of restaurants for our 7 night stay. We will be staying at Cheval Blanc, so will certainly dine there.

    Lunches(6): Cabane de L'Isle, Sandbar, Gloriette, Shelloma, Nikki, La Plage (We also considered Toiny, Le Sereno, Taiwana)
    Dinners(7): La Casa de L'Isle, Bagatelle, On the Rocks, Bonito, Aux Amis, Santa Fe, Francois Plantation (We also considered Toiny & Le Sereno)

    We will be traveling & dining with our small (2kg) dog, so it's important that she will be welcome wherever we dine. She has
    traveled with us extensively in Europe and US and is very mannerly in restaurants.

    Any comments or advice on our restaurant selections would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Really, you can't go to dinner without your dog? There are many of us who love dogs, but do not allow them any where near the table. In fact, I will not again eat at Toiny because of a dog getting it's own chair at a nearby table.

    That being said, how is your dog around cats? There are a lot of outdoor restaurants in St. Barth with cats nearby, so if your dog has a problem with cats, please be aware.

    We love Tamarin (but they have a cat), and L'Esprit (outdoor). Ortega is another great choice (indoor). For less expensive dinners, we like L'Isoleta (pizza), Les Bananniers (sp?) (pizza and seafood), and Carpe Diem (Italian and fish). We have not been to the new Santa Fe, but we loved the old owner, and the new owners seem to have a good reputation on this website.

    Your lunch choices look okay, although I was nonplussed about the Sandbar for lunch when we went there a couple of years ago. Go to Nikki on a Sunday (it's wild), and we like LaPlage so much, we go a couple of times per trip (although our service was a bit lacking last year). I'm not sure the restaurant at Tiawana is open (you might want to check with Kevin about that). La Gloriette is always good.

    Have a great trip!
    "When you lose yourself, you find the key to paradise."
    Zac Brown Band

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Bart -my real name-;967235]Here are my edits:

    Lunch -
    Cabane de L'Isle - only do this one if you plan to use their beach lounges after lunch. With the chairs, the lunch is probably worth it, but without, it's well overpriced for what you get. (disclaimer - it's been a couple years since I've eaten here, but we took it off our last based on our last very expensive and unremarkable meal)

    Sandbar - great view, but you don't get to use their beach chairs unless you pony up an extra 70(?) euro each. The food is sort of ordinary and certainly not worth the price, but you're paying for the view.

    Gloriette - a keeper for sure. Mellow, local vibe. Good food, great prices.

    Shelloma - brand new. You may be the first to eat there. I'd skip it in favor of something else. (I'm not really a huge fan of Shell Beach - - very small and not as pretty as three places above, or the ones below)

    Nikki - beautiful view and very good food (better than you'd expect). It's a very similar view to what you get at the Sandbar. If I had to do one or the other, I'd do Nikki...........better food.

    La Plage - Never eaten there. I've always been a little turned off by the look of the dining room. Maybe the view is great looking out from the tables, but when I look in from the beach, it doesn't look inviting. Lots of people love this place so take my semi-uninformed opinion with a grain of salt.

    Consider adding:

    Santa Fe - Great food, fantastic view, just up the road from the beach. (we went twice for lunch in Dec)

    Tamarin - beautiful garden (of Eden) setting. Truly a tropical oasis. A favorite of many on the forum.


    Dinner (a lot of my commentary may sound harsh, so apply grains of salt as needed).

    La Casa de L'Isle - Skip it. Too expensive for unremarkable food and no view at night

    Bagatelle - I've never been and have little desire to go. It turns into a dance/party place at night which is not my scene at all. I'm not looking to see and be seen.

    On the Rocks - Skip it. Way too expensive for way too unremarkable food and no view at night. My wife and I have been wanting and trying to go here for years, but every time we look at the menu, we get bored at the options and outraged at the prices. Half the time, we can't even find anything we really want to order! They have a cocktail hour starting at 5 pm. That might be worth doing as it will still be light out at 5.

    Bonito - never been, so no comment

    Aux Amis - Skip it. Too expensive for unremarkable food and no view at night. That's a little unfair on my part as I've never been at night (!), but we had a lunch there that was fine although unremarkable and certainly not rave-worthy. It's a beautiful place and the staff is great, but the food is the weak link. It's a better lunchtime option as you can use their chairs and pool after you eat.

    Santa Fe - Definitely, although if you only have one meal to devote to Santa Fe, I'd do lunch

    Francois Plantation - you may be the first to dine here. Very expensive. I'm turned off to the place based on their prices.

    Consider adding:

    Cote Port - my new favorite place
    Eddys - unique setting and loved by many
    Orega - a new place that is loved by nearly everyone (except me.........but it was a fluke of bad service not a systemic problem)
    L'Esprit - very gourmet, but very worth it. They charge prices similar to some of the places you list (on the rocks) but, here, the food lives up to the price.

    Gloriette - a different menu at night. Great pizzas[/QUOTE

    We've never been to Shelloma, because it is new this year. It has nice sunset views, but I can't comment on the new food.

    I love Grain de Sel (only been there for lunch) I think they have the best frites on the island. The salads are really good too. And a decent wine list at decent prices.

    Since you are staying at Cheval Blanc, you may not need the advantage of the beach chairs at lunch, but I like eating lunch with my feet in the sand, so I like lunch there. I agree that there is no view at night, so I don't know about dinner there (I think you can get drinks and appetizers during the weekly fashion show).

    I am plus/minus about Bonito. When we tried to go for sunset drinks a year ago, they weren't open. Another time, we had awesome sushi from a guest chef.

    Never been to Bagatelle because of its reputation as a party place (which we go next door to Baz Bar for, eating some place else beforehand, because they mostly have sushi for food. I know, I just commented about the guest chef sushi at Bonito, but generally speaking, sushi is not my go to food).

    We have never been to Cote Port, but might consider it next visit because of Pascal.

    Hope you have safe travels!
    "When you lose yourself, you find the key to paradise."
    Zac Brown Band

  11. #11
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Santa Fe' for lunch instead of dinner; no view at night, spectacular view at lunch. Always see dogs at Les Bananiers and Carpe Diem. Consider adding Eddy's and Le Repaire to dinner instead of Bagatelle (rudest service we ever received on the island). Price does not equate quality in St Barts. Bananiers is at the top of the hill from you, so easy to get to. La Langouste is also on Flamands Beach and has very good food. Have a great trip.

  12. #12
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    While I am a dog lover and have had many in my lifetime, I do not wish to dine next to one or fly with one (as an animal asthma person). Having said that, your restaurant ideas and all suggestions are spot on. Have a great trip!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JEK View Post
    The OP is staying there, so lounges will not be an issue . . .
    In that case, don't bother eating there at all.............<wink>

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart -my real name- View Post
    In that case, don't bother eating there at all.............<wink>
    My rule is don't eat in the hotel. If nothing more than it forces us to explore.

    I would second La Langouste. We've stayed on Flamands twice and love the stroll down the beach. Will do it again this year. Eddy's dinner is a staple as is Santa Fe Lunch (looking forward to the new owner). La Gloriette is great for either lunch or dinner (pizza) - Make sure to pick up some rhums. Grain de Sel was hit and miss both times, so the Saline trip now means Tamarin lunch (Dinner was a wonderful experience, but not the trek back to the villa at night). Loved Orega (they were out of Sea Bass, but the Yuzu tarte made up for it). Finally, we always end the trip with dinner at Maya's.

  15. #15
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    Lots of great great restaurant suggestions in addition to your original choices, but the best advice may be coming from abc:

    Quote Originally Posted by abc View Post
    If you are staying a week and have these lunch/dinners in mind, you will be spending your entire vacation eating.
    We also enjoy leisurely dining but two major meals a day, even without a big breakfast, it's way too much food for us. We typically pair our "long, boozy lunches" with a light dinner, maybe even take out, and on alternate days have a beach picnic or Creperie salad when planning a high end dinner. As always, YMMV, but worth thinking about whether you'll really enjoy a full dinner after a 2 hour lunch night after night. Especially when you're wearing a bathing suit every day...

  16. #16
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    the new le sereno resto has garnered more attention lately paired with positive reviews. and without question a chic ambiance.

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    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    the new le sereno resto has garnered more attention lately paired with positive reviews. and without question a chic ambiance.

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    This is about as crowded as I have seen it
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marybeth View Post
    . . . but worth thinking about whether you'll really enjoy a full dinner after a 2 hour lunch night after night.
    the best dinner in saint-barth is lunch at . . . ©
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

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    Quote Originally Posted by JEK View Post
    This is about as crowded as I have seen it
    well, could be a nice change of pace for an italian lunch after an italian dinner in the always packed l'isola
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    the best dinner in saint-barth is lunch at . . . ©
    Agree! And not just Sandbar...we love those "long boozy lunches" at many spots. But I think if we were staying in a hotel, I'd feel differently. One thing that makes the LBL work is being able to enjoy a light dinner poolside at the villa or a casual meal at one of the low key spots.

  21. #21
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    Welcome to the forum. Great to have new insights. Hope you will post about your experiences. For dinner, I would certainly endorse the recommendation to add Tamarin and Maya's to your list for consideration. As you finalize your choices, think about location as well as food and ambiance. It is fun to dine in different areas of the island! We always make sure to include at least one evening in the "country" (which is what we fondly term the places on the road to Saline.)

  22. #22
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    Re: 7 Dinners & 6 Lunches

    Thank you all for the kind welcome and for taking the time to comment on our dining plans...so many good suggestions!

    Yes, two major meals a day are more than we can handle. We are not breakfast eaters. When on holiday, we typically have a very light "long boozy lunch" (often more booze than food), relax in the afternoon, take a nap, and have dinner around 21:00. I agree that staying in a hotel is quite different than in a villa. Not as easy to do "take-away". For us, it is more fun to go to a restaurant in the evening even if we just have a light meal and nice wine. We enjoy people-watching.

    Mosquitos are a concern for us, so Tamarin, Eddy's, and L'Esprit were not included in our itinerary. We thought they may be more prevalent in a tropical garden setting than near the sea? Also, my husband is an ex-competitive sailor and loves being near or seeing the water which is not possible where we live. Le Sereno looks glorious, but is it usually empty? Is Maya's as enjoyable for newbies as it is for local/return guests who know the owners? Based on your comments, we will eliminate Shelloma & Francois Plantation and perhaps a few more so that we can add in some of your recommendations. Great idea to dine in different areas of the island. Time to get the map out.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJR View Post

    Mosquitos are a concern for us, so Tamarin, Eddy's, and L'Esprit were not included in our itinerary. We thought they may be more prevalent in a tropical garden setting than near the sea?
    Do not live in fear of the lowly mosquito! With adequate protection I go the entire stay without a bite. Also the "bad guy" skeeter -- Aedes Aegypti - is a daytime biter - early mornings and late afternoons and more likely in your villa than in the weeds of Saline. Also, Maya's is welcoming to all new and old. Enjoy!
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJR View Post
    We enjoy people-watching.
    other, more experienced visitors please chime in, but for people watching and buzz we've found l'isola to be the tops. no mosquitos either. outstanding italian cuisine and wine list. and cocktails.
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    other, more experienced visitors please chime in, but for people watching and buzz we've found l'isola to be the tops. no mosquitos either. outstanding italian cuisine and wine list. and cocktails.
    L'isola is near the top of our list.

  26. #26
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    Looking forward to getting back to these favorite restaurants soon .
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kent1994 View Post
    L'isola is near the top of our list.

    Ditto. Best enjoyed in the company of A & P, IMO.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  28. #28
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    A&P... We are counting on you, hopefully with some food porn for those of us with empty pantries riding out the latest snow storm...

  29. #29
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    L'Isola is one of the few that justifies the price. Paying for real estate at a lot of the lunch spots. We tend to get better tasting meals and service at the more moderately-priced restaurants. Also, you don't hear much about Le Ti's food, but it is really good, especially the steaks; nice prelude to the evening festivities, which are quite fun and entertaining.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
    Also, you don't hear much about Le Ti's food, but it is really good, especially the steaks; nice prelude to the evening festivities, which are quite fun and entertaining.
    If I'm craving a medium rare steak, baked potato and sour cream Le Ti is always in my sights!
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

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