Dining on Dutch St. Maarten
On the Dutch side of the island, a wide variety of restaurants provide culinary treats to delight your taste buds. Drawing influences from virtually every region of the world, this island's cuisine has become increasingly intriguing, exciting and adventurous whilst remaining faithful to national traditions.
Entering the Dutch side by coming from the French side capital of Marigot, the large Princess Port de Plaisance compound is a location with several great restaurants. For formal Italian dining, La Dolce Vita offers air-conditioned comfort with an open view of the casino's grand room. On the terrace, with a view over Simpson Bay Lagoon, Esco Pazzo is serving delicious pizza baked in a stone-oven and other Italian dishes in a casual setting.
Philipsburg's charming beach-front offers a collection of romantic rendezvous spots. Take an intimate table on one of the many ocean-view terraces whilst the sun sets and enjoy spectacular views of Great Bay while experiencing mouthwatering delicacies.
Whether your taste is for local Creole dishes, Asian-European fusion, original French cuisine, fine Italian cooking or a BBQ on the beach, fresh is the islands' most important ingredient. Sweat your way through a spicy Indian curry or experience a true cabaret dining show and discover some great culinary surprises hidden down the little 'Steegjes' (Dutch for alleys) in between Philipsburg's historical, beautifully restored houses.
The Boardwalk runs along Great Bay Beach, lined with restaurants and beach bars. Relax on a lounge in the sun and have drinks and lunch served right on the beach at Big Wood Grill and Pirates in Paradise. For a refined experience with a distinct “South Beach” feel to it, try the Oceans Lounge at the Holland House Beach Resort.
With more than 50 dining establishments, Simpson Bay is not to be missed. This former fishing village has developed into the leading entertainment district of the island. The area occupies the narrow land between the Simpson Bay Lagoon with its marinas and the Caribbean Sea. Pelican Key with its timeshare resorts is adjacent, the Maho district only one mile away.
Leading the fine-dining scene for many years is Saratoga, right on the waterfront of the Simpson Bay Yacht Club Marina. At the Simpson Bay Fish Market, you find a group of small eateries offering delicious local cuisine. Check out Jimbo's Rock & Blues Cafe with its active bar and great tex-mex food or cross the street for a European flavor, the Bavaria serves authentic German food and carefully drafted beers and is a popular hangout for expatriates from Europe and the States. Another popular stop for visitors and residents alike is Topper's for great lunch and dinner. The White Flag Restaurant and Bar is located on the rooftop above the Garden Market supermarket – an unusual setting, with a wonderful lunch menu and later a choice of Tappas deep into the night. Pineapple Pete is one of the landmark restaurants in Simpson Bay, having now grown into an entertainment center named Pete's Village, with nightclub and the ESPN Cafe as an active sports-bar with a large menu of comfort food. Vesna's Taverna and Bagelhouse is the preferred eatery for breakfast and lunch, and recently they also opened for dinner.
In Maho, you can enjoy a memorable evening of casual or elegant dining in one of its many fine restaurants. Only a 2-minute's walk away is the legendary Sunset Bar and Grill is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; nowhere in the world can you eat your burger with the landing gear of a jumbo jet almost touching your bun! Enter the adjacent premises of the Caravanserai Resort and find Taco Macho, a wonderful Mexican/Colombian restaurant with authentic food and drinks – all at a most reasonable price.
Close to the French side border, before the posh residential district of Terres Basses, Atlantis World in Cupecoy has been developed as a true gourmet destination. Several first rate restaurant are right on premises, offering excellent choices for every taste and budget.