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Thread: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

  1. #1
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Hello from Texas everyone!

    I have been reading this forum religiously since we booked our upcoming trip (June 21-28) back in January. Thank you all for the great advice, tips, and updates - they have been very useful! My wife and I are in our 30s and we will be returning for our 2nd trip to SBH after 6 long years away. We have been to many great places in between, but when my wife said she wanted to spend our anniversary 1) on an island, 2) in a villa, 3) eating great food, and 4) shopping, I knew we would wind up here even after considering many other options. We are so excited!

    Since I have been eagerly counting down the days until we leave, I've come up with 10 questions for all you experts to help pass the time. I would love your input if you can spare a moment!

    1) We are staying at Villa Nita in Lorient, and I've been reading about construction issues in that area over the past couple weeks. Does anyone know if that is still a problem, and if so, for how long? Any advice on how to best avoid it or at least set our expectations?

    2) I have been anxiously following the drought situation on the island this spring. When we were there in 2013 everything was so lush and green, so I'm trying not to get bummed out about the brittle browns. It seems from weather reports that there have been regular, albeit light, showers over the past couple weeks. Is that helping to green up the vegetation at all? Praying for more rain between now and the 21st (hopefully at night for all those currently on-island!). I'm trying to temper my expectations, so how has the brownness affected your time on/enjoyment of the island, if at all? Are there at least less mosquitoes (my wife seems to be a magnet for them)? Looking for some positive spin here lol

    3) Where is my best bet to find one of those coveted VC arrow tins?? That would be a great souvenir to take home. Thanks to your advice I'm planning on grabbing a case at Segeco the first day... is that the best option or might Marche U have some?

    4) How are current sargassum conditions? Looks like most frequently effected are Saline and Gouverneur... can anyone give a recent report on frequency, severity, locations, etc?

    5) Which has better burgers - JoJo or Le Select?

    6) What is the best pizza that can be delivered to our villa? I was disappointed to see Les Bananiers summer closing announcement after reading all the endorsements from the regulars since it seemed to be the consensus favorite.

    7) Does anyone have an absolute favorite dish or cocktail? As of right now we are planning on Tamarin, Bonito (for our anniversary), Orega, Eddy's, and Black Ginger. That leaves two nights for pizza or whatever else sounds good.

    8) Has anyone tried Le Papillon Ivre? We were thinking of going there the first night to settle in with some wine and small plates.

    9) Sereno or Le Barthelemy for lunch on Grand Cul de Sac? Thinking of trying some paddleboarding there one day... the one major beach we didn't visit on our last trip. Is it worth the splurge to have lunch at either of those places?

    10) Has anyone been to the Rhum Room at Quarter Kitchen? Sounds interesting, but when I asked about reservations they said they give preference to dinner guests at the restaurant and I'm wondering if that is worth a meal there.

    Ok, I cheated... 11) Thoughts on Nikki Beach vs Shellona vs Pearl Beach vs Lil Rock? We're not much for the loud party scene. This trip is to celebrate our anniversary and spend some quality time together away from our (wonderful, but exhausting) 2 year old, so I'm more concerned with food, drinks, environment, service, etc.

    Thank you all in advance for indulging me. Two more weeks!

  2. #2
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 734

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Welcome back 'Lurker' ! You've done your homework, there is no other island that would meet those qualifications other than SBH !

    I did notice 1 VC at the U, price...trying to remember...E 55 maybe more. Was looking for Prosecco at the time for our Aperol spritzes on Mother's Day..the French date.

    Burgers..haven't been to JoJo in years, the Select was pretty good. If you ever go to Hilton Head Island, the CharBar has the best burgers.

    Eddy's starter of cold langouste salad was superb both times there & plenty for being my main, followed by the chocolate nems which get my YUM award !

    IF Santa Fe is open, but think not while you're there...the mahi with the virgin sauce on side was my best main anywhere other than the pork belly at Tamarin.

    The browning of the island was sad to see after so many years of seeing green each of our 20+ visits, we only remember one other time of drought, don't let it dampen your joy at being back on the island...speaking of joy, you didn't ask about shopping !

    Enjoy your 2nd trip to paradise & keep counting !

  3. #3
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,457

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    1) When doing road construction, they usually work on one side at a time, and regulate the flow of traffic with signal lights. I think they'll be working on sections of the Lorient road for months to come, but the impact to you will depend on the location of your villa, and where they're working at the moment.

    2) The drops of rain help, but the island needs a good, long soaking. My guess would be that there would be fewer mosquitoes as the drought continues.

    3) Segeco is the distributor for VC, and will always have the best price, both on a case of Champagne and on a single VC Arrow tin. Do you know where Segeco is located? They're now one building back from their former Irma-damaged location on La Pointe, up a spiral staircase between the two buildings.

    4)

    5) Are you trying to start an argument, LOL? Le Select is your basic burger. Jojo has a bit more in the way of choices.

    6) Pizza delivery? Papa's Pizza in St Jean delivers. No others who deliver come to mind.

    7) My favorite is usually what's on/in the plate/glass in front of me.

    8) I haven't been there, but every report that I've heard is good.

    9) I've only been to Le Bartolomeo. I thought that the current lunch menu is OK, nothing that I would absolutely have to go back for, and is overpriced as expected. I prefer Mango at the Hotel Christopher, but you won't find any paddleboarding there.

    10) Friends who have been to Rhum Room speak well of it. I have not been. If the admission ticket is to dine at Quarter Kitchen then I would consider it.

    11) Nikki and Shellona are not my style. Pearl Beach I can tolerate. Lil'Rock is where I prefer.

  4. #4
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 602

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Also consider Toiny Beach club for a beach lunch if you don’t want a party scene. Although the food at Nikki is really good.

    If you’re in Lorient, the pizza and burgers at Bouchon are good. I prefer their burger over Select and Jojo.

    I would try try to fit in a lunch at Santa Fe too.

    Have a a great trip!

  5. #5
    PeterLynn is online now
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2014 Houston Posts: 291

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Hello back from Houston. What part of Texas are you from? We just got back after two weeks, mostly on Flamands, but also four nights in Lorient.

    1) We were in Villa Bikini, just a bit west of where you are staying. There was construction in a couple of places along the road through Lorient. Some delays and a bit of a pain, but nothing major. The day we switched villas, the road was closed and had to go the long way via Saline, but was open the next day. The work seems to be moving along, so can't say what it will be like when you arrive.

    2) Kind of shocking how brown everything is, but it's still St Barth. Hopefully for the island the recent rains have greened things up a bit. Did notice more mosquitos in Lorient than Flamands.

    3) Segeco has a great price (225 euros) on a case of VC (6 bottles). Saw "arrows" all over the island, including Segeco. Can't remember the price, but at the Marché U they were 65 euros. Almost bought one, but we don't really need a second, so the wife said no.

    4) Sargassum wasn't a problem our first week, but was the second. Stopped at Gouverneurs last week and they had the heavy equipment out. Assume they got it cleaned up, but day to day, who knows.

    5) Had them both. Was convinced to have the "Marius Special" (two patties and bacon) at Le Select. So much better than several years ago. JoJo was equally as good as close to your villa, but Le Select has much better people watching. Just make sure to bring Euros (cash only).

    6) Only had Les Bananiers, which was very good.

    7) Dinner at Orega. Absolutely love it. Had drinks at Bonito prior. Beautiful restaurant. Might want to consider L'Esprit. Garden setting and amazing creations.

    8) Never been

    9) Not big on hanging out at the hotels

    10) Never been

    11) Went to Nikki the first time. Were hanging out on the "pelican" side and just strolled over for lunch. Fairly low-key (mid week), good food and service. Had drinks at Pearl Beach on (Bikini?) Saturday. Similar vibe. Did go to Lil Rock and loved it. More laid back than the other two. We shared a "Trilogie de la mer", which was half a grilled lobster, mahi-mahi and shrimp. Haven't been to shell beach for food, since Do Brazil.

  6. #6
    chiz is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 38

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    some info:
    5) JoJo has a better burger than Le Select....but the Le Select "atmosphere" is a must see experience..
    Overall....I think the best burger is at Le Piment
    7) the Beef tartare at Quartier General and L'Isola is delicious....and the fries at QC are the best! La Langouste is a great dinner setting around the pool...plus the food is exceptional
    8) we've been to the Rhum Room several times....the first time we were admitted without having dinner....then we decided to have dinner on subsequent visits and thus we able to enjoy some unique rums (I never knew that Peru made rum!!!). The Rhum Room experience was a real treat and an education. Ref dinner...food was very good ….waiter was very good...just a very nice meal and experience. We will return in March 2020 and will once again have dinner and a rum nightcap...

  7. #7
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,067

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Nice commentary, chiz, on dinner at Quarter Kitchen and your appreciation of the Rhum Room.

  8. #8
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Thank you all for the great replies!

    If pizza delivery disqualifies most places, then who has the best pizza, period? Keeping in mind that Les Bananiers is apparently going to be closed during our stay.

    Any other votes for Mango at Christopher over Le Barthelemy or Sereno for lunch/drinks?

    Sounds like Rhum Room and Lil Rock are both worth visiting.

    Any other votes for Bouchon or Le Piment burgers?

    What about best dessert?

  9. #9
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 16,970

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Quote Originally Posted by dwtx View Post
    Thank you all for the great replies!

    If pizza delivery disqualifies most places, then who has the best pizza, period? Keeping in mind that Les Bananiers is apparently going to be closed during our stay.

    Any other votes for Mango at Christopher over Le Barthelemy or Sereno for lunch/drinks?

    Sounds like Rhum Room and Lil Rock are both worth visiting.

    Any other votes for Bouchon or Le Piment burgers?

    What about best dessert?
    I'll chime in with my vote for Le Barthelemy or Sereno over Christopher simply for the beach access factor.

    Dessert...moelleux au chocolat at La Repaire made my eyes roll back in my head.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  10. #10
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    PeterLynn, we live north of Dallas in Sherman. Originally from Boerne, outside of San Antonio.

  11. #11
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 16,970

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Quote Originally Posted by dwtx View Post
    PeterLynn, we live north of Dallas in Sherman. Originally from Boerne, outside of San Antonio.
    I'm representing the ATX! Welcome to the forum, fellow Texan.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  12. #12
    LMAC is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2003 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,534

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    #11 ..... Shellona is the best bet for an anniversary lunch. We've appreciated the fact that the music is not blaring, there is a nice view,
    good food and excellent service. Enjoy your stay ....

    BUT ..... do not wish for rain on our parade ..... just before you get there!

    Happy Anniversary and have a great trip.
    Libby

  13. #13
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,067

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    1. Don't worry about Lorient road construction. I don't recall that it's notably loud, and the inconvenience is relatively minor.
    2. "Brownness" won't materially affect your enjoyment of the island. (I say "materially" because unless you / wife are highly "visual," such that the sight of distressed terrain would be extraordinarily upsetting to you, other aspects of your visit will determine your enjoyment.)
    3. Segeco.
    4. "Current" sargassum conditions vary from day to day.
    5. Jojo = better burgers. Le Select = more interesting ambient activity.
    6. Can't speak to pizza, apart from Les Bananiers (which, it seems, will be closed).
    7. I love the foie gras at L'Esprit. Everything there is excellent. You mention Eddy's . . . if you like chocolate, the nems at dessert are divine.
    8. Have not tried Le Papillon Ivre. I get mixed reviews. Everyone seems to think that the food is very good, but some people say that they don't like the many small plates that it takes -- in their opinions -- to make a meal. Some friends also complained of cigarette smoke.
    9. Food at Le Sereno is excellent . . . food at Le Barthelemy, IMO, runs between very good & excellent. Sereno is gracious and serene . . . Le Barthelemy more lively. Both are worth the splurge.
    10. Have not been to the Rhum Room.
    11. Shellona has very good food, and a table at edge of the dining room, overlooking the beach, is very pleasant and relaxing (unless you wind-up next to a speaker, in which case you have to ask to be moved to another table). Pearl Beach . . . fun and decent-to-good food. Planes landing & taking off are great local "color." Fashion show of models is among best on the island at lunch. Nikki Beach has excellent food and a stimulating, though not crazy, vibe during the week. Prices are a bit high, but there's a memorable entertainment factor in the tableau that unfolds on the beach in front of you. Lil' Rock . . . decent food, terrible service, relaxed ambiance -- closest thing that you'll find today to "old St. Barths" lunch-time dining. For a lovely venue, with very good food, I would recommend that you check-out the beach restaurant at Le Toiny . . . even if you simply go there for a drink and assess whether you'd enjoy eating there.

    Have a great time!

  14. #14
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 734

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Chocolate nems at Eddy's Ghetto, didn't have the lemon pie at Fish Corner, but people rave about it. Fish Corner only open for lunch, was great. Near Bar d' Oubli & if you go to the Bar d...cash only.

  15. #15
    ccg is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2009 Durham, NC Posts: 645

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Welcome dwtx - have a great vacation. You sound very well prepared.

    We had a great lunch at Le Barthelemy and at Le Toiny. You will be happy at either location. For water sports then Le Barthelemy is the place.

    Shellona for late afternoon cocktails and a sunset. I highly recommend the feta wrapped in phyllo dough if it’s on the menu. So yummy!

    My favorite drink on the island, is the whiskey sour at 25 Quarter. I love it so much I only order it when I’m on SBH. We have great bars and restaurants in Durham and Chapel Hill but they don’t compare to 25 Quarter. Looking forward to December for my next one. Great place for cocktails before dinner.

    Look forward to your trip report.

    Charlotte
    "There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign" Robert Louis Stevenson
    House Divided - Roll Tide War Eagle

  16. #16
    noel is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2003 St. Louis, MO & Washington, DC Posts: 2,291

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Agree with all responses but also encourage you not to overthink things.
    After all, it's St. Barts!

  17. #17
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Thank you to everyone for the feedback! Noel, we will definitely take your advice and not overthink things. I just enjoy hearing all the opinions!

  18. #18

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    You will love villa Nita! Stayed for 10 days! Perfect location..just got back a week ago

  19. #19
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Nanette - that’s great to hear! We can’t wait

  20. #20

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Rum room should not be missed in my opinion. My husband and I more than enjoyed our time there in May.
    Tip- If you want to try something different while there, ask Christopher to make you his rum cocktail with fresh basil and also try his homemade banana rum served over a coconut ice cube

  21. #21

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    The most sublime, relaxed, luscious meal we had on our recent trip was the lunch at Le Toiny beach...having been going to the island for many years this was our new discovery...3 1/2 hour lunch...for you celebrating an anniversary it is a lovely peaceful setting to spend time with your spouse...having just celebrated our 40th recently it really was a nice place for us to just chill....
    Steve and Aimee

  22. #22
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,089

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Congrats on your 40th wedding anniversary.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  23. #23
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,762

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Our favorite table we call Table #1. I go early to the bakery each morning for warm croissants ��, glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and bring them back each morning to enjoy at Table #1. Maybe a western omelette or pan perdu- Nespresso coffee. Sometimes for lunch, we create a fresh salad, enjoy pates and a baguette and maybe a little Deauville. Some dinners - maybe Meat My Fish- their giant crayfish and fresh fish on the ‘barbie.’ Of course all of this is accompanied with Ott, or Clos Beylesse, maybe a Bloody at brunch, VC all at Table #1. In between courses, a dip in the pool and a hug or two, pinching our selves about how lucky we are to enjoy the wonderful island.
    In summary, we love the restaurants, the shopping, the beaches and the people on the island but best of all is Table #1 with your companion, friends and family.

  24. #24
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 592

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    dwtx, congratulations. We will be overlapping with your trip. This will be our first trip in June in many years. I'm wondering if there will be a Junies get together as we've never had the opportunity to go to one before.

    If you want a good burger with some interesting people watching go to Le Piment. Though you should go to Jojo for lunch as you're staying in Lorient as it so convenient especially if you go to the beach there and also go to Le Select for a drink and people watching. I would also suggest picking up a lunch to go from Cre'age if you're interested in creole food. It's quite tasty and close by.

    We enjoy the Sunday party at Nikki. The atmosphere is fun. We are planning to be there at 3:30 on the 23rd.

  25. #25
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    SZ484 I think you just convinced me to give Rhum Room a try.

    Hopper, great point about Table #1. Where is the best place to get fresh seafood and other fresh ingredients? I'd love to cook one night.

  26. #26
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,457

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    The Halle Aux Poissons in Gustavia, at the entrance to town when coming from Public, is open from 06:00 until the fish and rock lobsters are sold. Earlier is better. Stick with Mahi, Tuna, or Wahoo. There’s a butcher who also sells fish, Meat My Fish, just over the Camaruche hill from Lorient.

  27. #27
    dwtx is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Posts: 16

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Perfect Kevin. Thank you!

    Another question/debate for you all... who has the best cocktails?

  28. #28

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    In my opinion, Bonito and Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab make the best cocktails on the island. There are some fantastic mixologists there and all are extremely talented! If you like mezcal, try the mezcal cocktail at Quarter. They use a dropper to add sesame oil to the finished cocktail, and while it seems like an odd pairing, it’s absolutely amazing!
    As stated above, Rum Room can make a delicious cocktail as well.
    For a more toes in the sand atmosphere, Jackson at The Christopher makes our favorite rum punch.

  29. #29

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    Sounds like you've gotten all your questions answered by now, but echo what others have said about Le Toiny Beach Club, Nikki Beach and Le Barthelemy as gorgeous lunch settings with fabulous food (and if you want great music and action, Sundays at Nikki Beach are hard to beat---the first seating if you prefer more mellow and the second seating for a big party). And it really is all ages there, which I love.

  30. #30
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 4,657

    Re: 1st time poster, frequent lurker - June trip questions

    I went to Le Toiny for the french mother's day lunch. I was really looking forward to this day as was Didier's mother. We had the safari ride down from the hotel to the beach area where they serve lunch. we were met by a staff member as we disembarked from the ride. She was very nice and sat us at a nice table with an unobstructed view of the ocean. we were very relaxed. We all ordered cocktails first, 3 planteur punches and one frozen pina colada. the punches had so much alcohol, the alcohol overpowered any taste at all. the pina colada had no taste whatsoever. We let the ice melt in the planteur punches hoping it would improve the taste, it did not.

    We ordered lunch, no appetizers, the ribs, lobster salad was just okay, nothing exceptional. the buttermilk chicken was not even edible, I sent this back and replaced it with something I knew they could not mess up, a tossed salad. it was okay, the french fries were good. the desserts, cheesecake, mango dessert and a chocolate dish, barely ok, but edible. with drinks, food, & dessert for 4 people with 2 bottles of water, 320 euros. should we not expect good food ( not just ambiance) for this price, its lunch, not dinner. I won't be back.

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