Welcome to Restaurant Reviews!

With it’s Dutch, French, African, and West Indian heritage, St. Maarten is well known in the Caribbean for its food. From fine French dining in Grand Case  to traditional roadside barbecues known as lolos, there’s tons of great eateries to choose from, representing culinary traditions from around the world. Let me share with you some of the dining experiences on the island.


Johnny B Under The Tree: Good Old Island Hospitality and Food

By Benji Ho - August 23, 2011
Lobster!!!

Atmosphere: Johnny B Under the Tree is literally under the tree. There are picnic tables around and Johnny cooks on the grill right on the side of the road. It’s a very modest place, but Johnny’s cooking is world-class.

Service: Johnny B and his wife are a cute old couple, with a charming island hospitality. My friends and I got the VIP treatment when we were there.

Food: Johnny B probably has the most famous lolo (roadside grill) on the island among locals and visitors in-the-know, and for good reason. His lobster is the best we’ve had on the island.

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Skip Jack’s: You Choose It From The Tank

By Benji Ho - August 18, 2011
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Atmosphere: Skip Jack’s is right on the water of Simpson Bay Lagoon, very fitting for a seafood restaurant.

Service: The service was really good when we went. The guy grabbing our lobster for us was really cool in letting us hold them to pose to take pics.

Food: Lobster, fish, seafood.. a great place to go for seafood on the island. The lobster is so fresh that you choose it yourself live from a pool.

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Bamboo Bernie’s: Sushi in the Caribbean

By Benji Ho - August 17, 2011
Dunno which roll this is but it looks good!

Atmosphere: Bamboo Bernie’s atmosphere is ultra-modern, exotic, and trendy. With its outdoor elevator leading to the restaurant, leading to the giant Buddha and tiki torches greeting you in the front, and illuminated interior, everything about the way there is well designed.

Service: Most of the time, our service has been good, especially during the times we came for Happy Hour. There have been other times though when our service hasn’t been that great, but that’s more specific to this one waiter that works there at night.

Food: Their specialty sushi selection is really good and they get really creative in them, including Caribbean-themed sushi w/ mango in them. Their sashimi is also very good, as well as their Sake Hour selections.

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The Taste Factory: Art Pieces They Call Pastries

By Benji Ho - August 13, 2011
Coffee and Chocolate layered pastry

Atmosphere: The Taste Factory has a clean, coffee-shop type of indoor environment. It’s a great place to go for a small get together with friends, or just by yourself to read a book, although it’d be hard not to take a peek at the beautiful pastries displayed.

Service: Like Sarafina’s, The Taste Factory has good service.

Food: The pictures speak for themselves.

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Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Westin

By Benji Ho - August 11, 2011
The Westin Resort at Dawn Beach

Atmosphere: There are both indoor and outdoor seating at the Brunch, located right by the beautiful tree-lined pool of the Westin. While the indoor seating is nice, I prefer the outdoor seating because of the view you get of the hotel. The place is shaded and the carving station, Indian, Indonesian/Thai, and Pasta stations are outside as well. The other stations are inside.

Service: The service was good when we went.

Food: Awesome. More than enough to choose from. I personally love the fresh seafood as well as the pasta station. And of course, you can’t go wrong with dessert.

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Zee Best: Popular Local Breakfast and Bakery Establishment

By Benji Ho - July 15, 2011
Yummy

Atmosphere: Zee Best has the feeling of an outdoor European cafe, with both seating outside under the shade on the patio and indoors as well. The restaurant is located away from the main street, but not completely hidden from it either, giving it an open, yet private relaxed atmosphere.

Service: The service was great when we went.

Food: Zee Best lives up to its name. Specializing in breakfast and baked goods, it’s hard to pass up on Eggs Benedict, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, sweet crepes, and almond croissants, especially when you can get it after noon.

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Aldywan: Casual Lebanese Eatery A Student Favorite

By Benji Ho - July 8, 2011
Shish kabob platter -- with lamb, beef, and chicken on skewers. It comes with a few sides you can choose from.

Atmosphere:
Aldywan has a casual dining atmosphere on a deck, under a canopy by the roadside. Their kitchen and cashier are inside. The tables are clean.

Service:
The service is good, and the family that owns the restaurant are really nice people.

Food:
Aldywan serves some good Lebanese favorites. My personal favorites are the Shish kabob platter, which would more than fill you up. The shwarmas are also very good. Try it with a side of home-made hummus or baba ganoush. The prices are very reasonable for this island, and the proportions are generous.

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Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: Friends, Fun, and College Football

By Benji Ho - June 8, 2011
Pulled Pork, Collard Greens, and Corn Bread

Atmosphere: Brother Jimmy’s BBQ has a fun, college-town atmosphere. Brings you back to the days…

Service: Fast service.

Food: Any Southerner can probably tell you Brother Jimmy’s is not really all that Southern, but some items are good nevertheless, like their Northern Ribs, Black-eyed Peas, and Brunswick Stew.

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Drive-In Pizza: The Biggest Pizzas on the Island

By Benji Ho - June 5, 2011
Salmon, Olive, Creme, and Basil.. I think this one's called the Norwegian.

Atmosphere: Delivery. But in the presence of study buddies, and lecture notes spread out on tables, it’s great.

Service: After ordering your pizza, they usually have the pizza delivered between 20-40 minutes, depending on how busy they are. I’m not sure if the French are used to getting tips for pizza delivery, as the delivery boy gave us confusing looks the last two times we gave him tip. But they were nice anyway. Not everyone there speaks fluent English, so be prepared to meet some language barriers.

Food: Great if thin-crust is your style. Pizzas are definitely the biggest I’ve seen on the island, as they have claimed.

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Sunset Bar and Grill: Beach, Airplanes, and Good Times

By Benji Ho - April 30, 2011
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Atmosphere:
Right on the famous Maho Beach, the Sunset Bar and Grill is the best place to have a drink, eat some food, and enjoy watching the planes come in and take off right over the beach. They have a surfboard where they list all the flights and their arrival times for that day.

Service:
Despite being a busy restaurant, service was good when we were there.

Food:
Sunset has a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. I had the Sate Chicken, which was very good. Coconut shrimp was also very good. The food and drinks are a little pricier than normal, but you pay for the awesome location and good times.

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Bavaria: A Taste of Germany in St. Maarten

By Benji Ho - April 20, 2011
Bavaria German Restaurant

Atmosphere:
Small, simple, and cozy indoor seating, with nice outdoor covered seating.

Service:
The service was good when we were there.

Food:
Bavaria serves authentic German food (confirmed by Gundi!), from schnitzels to rolled-beef to sauerkraut. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but I found their Erdinger Dunkel beer (German beer) delicious.

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Hard Rock Cafe St. Maarten: Good Times with Friends

By Benji Ho - April 17, 2011
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Atmosphere:
Like all Hard Rock Cafes around the world, Hard Rock Cafe St. Maarten is trendy, fun, and a great place to go with groups. The location of this Hard Rock Cafe is especially cool, being by the beach, on the boardwalk of one of the most popular travel destinations in the Caribbean.

Service:
I have nothing bad to say about the service.

Food:
While the focus of the restaurant may not be the food, but the rock theme, Hard Rock Cafe does have pretty good food: BBQ, steak, pasta, fajitas.. pretty typical American, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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L’Oizeau Rare: Rare Selections from a French Steak House

By Benji Ho - April 16, 2011
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Atmosphere:
L’Oizeau Rare is a super-cute little restaurant, set in a colorfully restored creole house, overlooking Marigot harbor. The restaurant is outdoors and there is a little waterfall fountain that trickles by the restaurant.

Service:
The waitstaff and owner were all very personable. The waiter that served us had a great sense of humor and was more than happy in giving recommendations. They even gave us complimentary after-dinner wine on the house!

Food:
L’Oizeau Rare serves steaks, duck, kangaroo, lobster, grouper, and more. I ordered the Kangaroo steak with black-peppercorn sauce. I was quite surprised how tender and good it was. The main entrees are served elegantly, in the French style, with ratatouille, scalloped potatoes, and other small side dishes.

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Hidden Forest Cafe: A Hidden Culinary Secret

By Benji Ho - April 11, 2011
St. Maarten 4 021

Atmosphere:
Hidden Forest Cafe is all about being eco-friendly. Expect outdoor seating (under a roof), but also expect flying bugs and an outhouse to wash your hands. Other than this, the forest surroundings are beautiful and the food is presented nicely.

Service:
Service was good when we were there.

Food:
The food was delicious, and garnished beautifully with vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown on the farm. The taste is eclectic and represent a fusion of culinary traditions from around the world.

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White Swan: Bringing Dim Sum and Chinese Favorites to St. Maarten

By Benji Ho - April 5, 2011
Bean curd rolls during White Swan's Sunday Dim Sum.

Atmosphere:
The family-owned restaurant is small and simple, but nevertheless they keep the place nice and tidy. They have a cute little koi pool outside.

Service:
The waitstaff is nice in giving recommendations, and bring food promptly.

Food:
The food is good, and some of the best Chinese I’ve had on the island. I love the beef Ho-fen and the Peking duck, and the dim sum is pretty good too. The prices at White Swan are a little higher than some of the other Chinese restaurants around St. Maarten I’ve been to, but the food is enjoyable nevertheless. Expect dishes to be around $10-$12, and dim sum items to be $3-$4 per dish.

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Le Cool Heure: Fine Dining By The Roadside

By Benji Ho - March 28, 2011
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Atmosphere:
Le Cool Heure has a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Their menu is written on a chalkboard and you dine on picnic tables. Despite being outside, the owners keep the place tidy and beautiful.

Service:
The owners, a cute French couple, are really nice and try to use the little English they know and hand gestures to give their best recommendations.

Food:
For an atmosphere as casual and laid back as it is, Le Cool Heure’s food is actually quite fancy. The plates are all aesthetically prepared in the typical French manner and the food is high quality.

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Deep Bleu: Burger Joint with a View

By Benji Ho - March 25, 2011
St. Maarten 6 055

Atmosphere:
Deep Bleu is a small place, hidden within the Summit Resort, but has a magnificent view of the Lagoon from above. The restaurant is clean and comfortable.

Service:
As a small restaurant, there’s usually 2 or at most 3 people working at Deep Bleu. The waiters or waitresses are usually spouses of AUC students, and they are always friendly and personable.

Food:
The tuna fillet burgers are really good and seared however way you want it. My personal favorite is the Southwestern Bacon Cheeseburger, with their fried onion ring and barbecue sauce on the burger. When given a choice between regular, curly, and sweet potato fries, I always go for the sweet potato fries.

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Carousel Gelateria: Bringing Back Old Memories, and Adding New Ones

By Benji Ho - March 25, 2011
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Atmosphere:
Clean, fun, elegant, friendly, and all the extra goodies that make this place more than just an ice cream parlor.

Service:
The service is very friendly, and they let me sample all sorts of flavors before deciding.

Food:
Some of the best ice cream I’ve had.

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Lolos in Grand Case: Barbecue by the Beach

By Benji Ho - March 24, 2011
St. Marten 7 001

Atmosphere:
With picnic tables and grills by the beach, lolos offer a relaxed setting to go with friends and family.

Service:
The service is hit-or-miss. Sometimes when I have gone, the waiters and cooks were very nice in recommending their specialties, and fast in serving the food. Other times, I’ve had to wait a long time and felt the waiters have forgotten about us.

Food:
There was quite a variety of choices, and a $10 meat plate (called “chicken food” or “ribs food”) can get you a good number of them to try. Food was good and simple, and reminds me of good ole backyard picnic food. The Christophine was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it as a side dish to your main BBQ plate.

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Sarafina’s: Going to France for Lunch

By Benji Ho - March 8, 2011
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Atmosphere:
The setting is casual and a great place to go and bond with friends. I especially like dining on their sofa chairs.

Service:
The people there have always been very nice in my experience. They often start speaking to you in French, but are happy to switch to English when you give them a blank look.

Food:
Always fresh and always a pleasure to look at.

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