Ah, fine dining: the joys and the frustrations. Sumptuous bites and novel entrées. Navigating the process of getting the table you want with the maître d’hotel.
Wine pairings and specialty cocktails de la maison. St-Barths is a haven for all of the above, and with a few perennial favorites and fresh, can’t-miss hot spots, you definitely won’t go hungry or dissatisfied.
Armed with our knowledgeable and connected WIMCO concierge Jules, we planned out our dining reservations daily based on Jules’ insider information as well as holiday schedules (we visited St-Barths over Mardi Gras). From fresh and light beach-front service at Shellona to unexpected Thai fusion food at Black Ginger and late-night sliders at La Cantina, here’s what we ate and where.
Located in the heart of Gustavia, Black Ginger serves authentic and refined Thai fusion cuisine. The interior’s courtyard opens to the moon and sky. Contemporary design mixes with minimalistic furniture with a palette of red and black colors in a softly lit atmosphere. Signature dishes include the Crying Tiger (grilled beef fillet) and the Massaman curry-coconut milk.
L’Esprit’s completely renovated location in La Saline delivers a modern eclectic cuisine that blends traditional cooking with innovative techniques. Chef Jean-Claude, formerly of Eden Rock, oversaw the complete rebuild of L’Esprit. He constantly changes his menu to offer the seasons freshest ingredients. We loved the rotisserie pigeon.
Shellona may be known as a party spot in the evenings, but we went there for lunch. The service and presentation is perfectly curated and executed – from the perfectly grilled calamari to drinks served in polished half-coconut husks. The atmosphere is created by celebrity sightings, upbeat music, beach-side dining, and breathtaking views of yachts on the sea scape.
Nestled in the harbor of Gustavia, La Guerite is another excellent choice for Mediterranean cuisine. With entrées to share for two, three, or four people, this was a perfect restaurant for our group of 11. The service was excellent and appropriately friendly. The restaurant organized a cake for dessert for the birthday boy in our group. We ended the meal with their traditional spiced rhum made in-house. Our only complaint is that they don’t sell the rhum.
Ociela serves up a Mediterranean culinary journey in a chic dining room perched on a hillside of Gustavia with views over the port. At night, the yachts twinkle in the distance.
Ociela’s secluded off-the-beaten-path location ensures a private dining experience. No one on foot is going to walk by and snap your photo here. Enjoy the set menu that includes Foie Gras and Tuna Mille Feuille.
This restaurant situated on Saint-Jean beach is a stone’s throw away from your beach chairs. After indulging in a delicious lunch here, you can take a long walk on the beach, crossing near where planes land and take off at the SBH airport every 20-30 minutes during peak season. Playing the shallow waters in front of Pearl Beach is another great way to work up an appetite or burn off the calories you consumed at lunch, either way you look at it!
Bar de L’Oubli
This establishment at the intersection of Rue de la Republique and Rue de la France dominates the daily social scene. The menu is simple and the food arrives quickly.
The drinks are cold and strong. We parked ourselves here for the Mardi Gras parade and enjoyed the sights from the shade. Bar de L’Oubli may not be fancy, but it’s a must-have for lunch while you’re in St-Barths.
Another pleasant surprise! We found La Cantina on Ash Wednesday after most of the other restaurants and bars had closed. La Cantina is a dancing-on-the-tables, swinging-from-the-chandeliers kind of place where you also can bring your kids. Enthusiastic servers, a straight-forward menu of sliders, charcuterie and cheeses; along with their location right on the Bord de Mer create an atmosphere that’s fun – whether you dance on the tables or watch from your seat on the patio.
More All-Star Dining Experiences
AUX AMIS: Light and casual fair served beach-front at the newly renovated Le Barthelemy
BONITO: Serving sophisticated Peruvian-style dishes with French accents
LE TOINY: One of the best in St-Barths with award-winning chef Jarad McCarroll
MANGO: Beach-side cocktails paired with light choices of grilled seafood and salads
MAYAS: Since 1984, the daily market menu is built around fresh local ingredients
NIKKI BEACH: The island’s best known place for sushi, enjoyed in their famed party atmosphere
OREGA: Featuring elaborate dishes driven by the fusion of French and Japanese ingredients
QUARTER: Winner of the 2018 St-Barths Gourmet Festival Cocktail Concours: the Zion cocktail
SERENO: Flavors of the Mediterranean seamlessly mix with local specialties
TAMARIN: An exquisite setting and impeccable service with an unexpected menu