Amis St. Barth's
Yellow fin tartare, smoked wahoo, Burgundy escargots, mahi mahi and the daily local catch may be on the menu at this sophisticated restaurant at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, with comfortably chic banquette seating, open walls and pretty views of the cove. The crisp white color scheme and high beamed ceiling are punctuated with an enormous handblown blue glass sculpture from France that hangs over the room, echoing the surrounding sea (and pieces throughout the property). When we were there last, the soundtrack at dinner was a little aggressive (who knew there was a dance mix version of Michael McDonald’s “Ride like the wind?”), but a new chef—Vincent Gomis and his wife, sous chef Marie Cécile Gomis-Alexandre—have introduced a Chef's Table and Experience Tables for those looking for something extra special. For lunch, on-trend salads with quinoa and kale, poke bowls and sandwiches can be ordered at Amis Plage. The kids’ menu includes Nuggets Poulet, Poisson du jour, steak haché and a scoop of glacé or sorbet. The staff is attentive and friendly, though things can get busy quickly, so order early to avoid a rush.
Manhattan’s Bagatelle landed in Gustavia harbor in 2011 and has since become a mainstay of the St. Barth’s nightlife scene. Surprising critics, the food is downright good, while the crowd is exactly what you’d expect – good looking, fun loving and definitely not price sensitive. There are a few outdoor tables on the small terrace overlooking the harbor, which are ideal for couples in search of a quieter evening. To be a part of the DJ-fueled revelry, however, come with a group and sit indoors. Get friendly enough with your neighbors, and you may even score an invite back to the yacht afterwards. Note: Most diners can be found wearing white.
Cocktails. Sushi. Tapas. Music. That’s what you will get at this unassuming hot spot by the harbor in Gustavia. Settle in at the bar or at a table for a cocktail (an Aperol Spritz or a Zombie made with Goslings), sample the delicious ceviches and catch the scene—and the live music on Saturdays. Baz Bar is a great place to go for lunch and/or dinner before the scene at Bagatelle next door gets going.
You may not have come to St. Barth’s expecting to eat Thai food, but you won’t be disappointed here. The vibe is chic and sleek with minimalist black and red furniture and accents and a tropical outdoor courtyard. On the menu, to eat in or take out (next door): dishes like papaya and mango salad, marinated fresh fish with lemongrass, Massaman curry with coconut milk, and an array of stir fry and vegetarian options.
Locals and regular visitors alike agree that Bonito has become one of the island’s best dinner destinations, so book your reservation in advance. It may be a little hard to find, but the open-air restaurant, tucked into the hillside overlooking the twinkling lights and red rooftops of Gustavia harbor, can’t be beat, and the Peruvian-inspired French food is also excellent. Reserve a table on the balcony and be sure to try the ceviche and tiradito menus—the options for seafood here are extensive. Conveniently, there's also a Lolita Jaca outpost for a quick pre- or post-dinner shopping fix.
Gyp Sea Beach Club
Indigo on the Beach
As part of its renovation, Le Guanahani has added a new casual restaurant on the beach just beyond the terrace of its L'Indigo restaurant. Step into the sand and under the palms and you have entered a laid-back lunch zone. The menu includes delicious light fare such as Thai chicken salad, thin crust pizzas and sushi.
When you pass by this unassuming local hangout every time you drive through Lorient on the way to somewhere else, the tables are, more often than not, full. The reason: some of the most reasonable prices on the island for a burger and a Caribbean beer. It may not be fancy, but if you’re traveling with kids or want a low-key alternative to Le Select for a burger or quick french fry fix, it’s not a bad pitstop. There are also vegetarian options.
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, St. Barth
There’s no missing the fire engine-red shutters outside this two-story restaurant overlooking the harbor in buzzy Gustavia.
Two famous glassmakers from Murano, Carlo and Giovanni Moretti, founded their company in 1958 and are still considered among the best in the region. Their showroom near the Campo Santo Stefano showcases their range of artistry, including colorful contemporary designs that can be mixed and matched. Indagare Tip: They ship to the U.S., and if doing so, can deduct the VAT, which makes all the prices 20% less.
L’Esprit itself has been a St. Barth’s mainstay for years. But ever since Chef Jean-Claude Dufour took over following his 2011 departure from Eden Rock, it has become a true culinary hot spot as well. The romantic garden setting makes for an excellent lunch following a morning at Saline beach (just down the road), but it’s equally charming for a candlelit evening dinner. Expect a sophisticated menu, excellent wines and warm, unpretentious service.
Villa renters and locals buzz about L’Isoletta, the casual pizzeria opened by Italian favorite L’Isola. Gourmet pizzas can be eaten in, on the low tables set on a covered terrace, but equally popular is take-out for dining on the terrace of your villa. It's a delicious and easy first-day dinner or the perfect place to kick back on a Sunday night with a glass of red wine or Prosecco and a pannacotta or Nutella pizza for dessert.
La Case de L'Isle
The premiere restaurant at Cheval Blanc, just steps from Flamands Beach, was completely redone in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, with a new look by designer Jacques Grange and a brand-new menu from chef Jean Imbert, who also oversees La Cabane, the more casual option on-property. Nonetheless, it still epitomizes the easy, breezy sexiness and sophistication that St. Barth’s is famous for. The menu highlights fresh fish cooked with regional spices and local produce from nearby islands. Long a favorite island watering hole, the restaurant is always busy at lunch and dinner, so it is best to make reservations in advance.
A few blocks from the harbor in Gustavia, this little crèpe restaurant is great for breakfast, kids’ lunch or dinner or a light snack during a shopping trip, or for take-out.
This popular hot spot on St. Barth’s sits on the harbor in Gustavia next to the history museum. The restaurant/club opened in late 2015 and quickly became one of the hottest places to see and be seen. It is an offshoot of the popular restaurant of the same name on Sainte Marguerite island (near Cannes) and draws a similarly chic crowd for delicious Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
La Petite Colombe
Everyone, from handymen to celebrities, comes to this roadside bakery for fresh-baked croissants and pastries for breakfast. They provide picnic options such as prepared salads, quiches and croque monsieur Savoyard (bread, bacon and cheese) and sandwiches like crab or ham and Gruyère, on your way to the beach, as well as an array of hors d’oeuvres for cocktails in your villa.
La Petite Plage, St. Barth
La Petite Plage is a popular Gustavia hot spot on the waterfront, with a beach-chic vibe and a menu with fine fresh seafood dishes.
Le Grain de Sel
This bohemian beach restaurant, located just down the road from Saline Beach, is another good option for a long lunch not far from the sand and sea. It serves world cuisine by day and Creole at night.
Le Petit Deauville
The island’s top ice cream shop, where the all-natural flavors are hand-made.
The inspiration behind Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise, this Gustavia main-stay is a classic dive that’s perfect for a casual lunch or post-shopping beer and burger.
Le Sereno Al Mare
Even if you are not staying at the Christian Liaigre hideaway on Grand Cul de Sac, you should make a point of coming for a meal to enjoy delicious seafood and the serene scene. Under a giant tent-like roof, you can sit in director’s chairs, eat fresh grilled fish and watch the spectacle of kite surfers. With gentle breezes blowing and attractive couples lounging on the beach, you feel like you’ve slipped into a friendly house party.
Don’t let the overpriced food deter you. Le Ti has rightfully earned a place in the St. Barth’s legend for its hedonistic nights of cabaret shows, table dancing and champagne spraying. Plan for a late dinner and request a table in the main room, where a Johnny Depp look-a-like (from his younger years) plays host as a gorgeous parade of women sing and dance their way through a cabaret routine. The attention then turns to the diners, so don’t be surprised if your date ends up on stage in a pirate costume as the quiet well-bred socialite from the next table shimmies her way down a makeshift runway with a feather boa. Le Ti has a way of loosening inhibitions and turning even a quiet night in the restaurant into a full-fledged party.
Le Toiny Beach Club
The secluded beach below Le Toiny has been turned into one of the nicest spots on the island for a relaxed lunch—thanks to Mandie and Charles Vere Nicoll who were the founders of Isle de France (a.k.a. Cheval Blanc) and now own Le Toiny. They brought the same elegance and simplicity that made Isle de France famous to this side of the island, so it’s no surprise that reservations are a must.
Visitors can park at the hotel, at which point the careful attendants will shuttle you down the cliffside restaurant by the beach. A sign that says “If you are not barefoot or in flip flops you are too formal,” greets you. Leave your shoes in the bins and pass the sunbathers on loungers to find tables set underneath a grove of palm trees. The chalkboard menu features simple fresh fare. Lunches with rosé last for hours here, but don’t miss the little boutique in the small stone cottage. Le Toiny’s owner has been setting the beach style on St. Barth’s for decades and the tiny shop features a fabulous selection of her finds. Open only for lunch and private events.
Le Toiny Restaurant
Overlooking the rugged Anse de Toiny, this top-rated establishment has helped earn Le Toiny a spot in the prestigious Relais & Châteaux portfolio. Now helmed by executive chef Jarad McCarroll, the restaurant, in its post-Hurricane Irma incarnation, serves sophisticated French cuisine with appealing local influences. Dishes include foie gras, octopus, local fish tartare, Mahi Mahi with toasted sesame seeds, beef filet with smoked beetroot, onion and chive or truffle pasta. The restaurant, which has been completely rebuilt, maintains its open-air look, which showcases the view of Anse de Toiny and incorporates a white-on-white color scheme and an installation of antique glass turtles covering a wall at one end. The bar, made from oyster shells and mother of pearl, has been recreated as well, and is an appealing spot to take in the view with a signature cocktail or a glass of champagne. The staff is young, friendly and attentive. This is an ideal spot for couples looking for a five-star meal in a romantic setting. Indagare tip: If you're not staying at Le Toiny, take a taxi and come before sunset for the views along the narrow, rugged road that winds along the Cote Sauvage and the Grand Fond.
Nikki Beach St. Barth's
Clearly inspired by St.-Tropez’s Club 55, Nikki Beach has become synonymous with daytime beach partying on St. Barth's. The crowd is fun-loving and gregarious, from older couples to the young and beautiful who come to pop Champagne bottles, lounge on the white mattresses and dance on the tables. The food is surprisingly good (especially the local fish sashimi and the offerings from the new sushi menu) and prices unsurprisingly high. Come with a bikini (or buy one at the boutique) for a post-lunch swim in St. Jean bay. Prime people-watching is guaranteed.
Pearl Beach St. Barth's
Situated in a prime spot right next to Nikki Beach, in St. Jean, this beach club and restaurant, formerly Tom Beach and La Plage, have become one. The best dishes on the menu at Pearl Beach are a light and flavorful tuna sashimi, a Thai salad with shrimp, and grilled lobster; the prosecco, rosé, and rum punch flows all day long and then some. The crowd spills over from next door at Nikki Beach, but the scene is just as young and hip, like the tiny beach boutique called Pop, which is tucked into a corner by the bar and features a healthy dose of crochet and slinky see-through caftans.