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LA CASE DE L’ISLE
Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France
Baie des Flamands
During the day at this sleek, family-owned inn on the northwestern coast (see Sleep), you’ll want to nab a canvas director’s chair overlooking the Baie des Flamands. Come evening, the beachside deck, with armchairs, tablecloths and the floodlit waters below, serves as a très romantique backdrop to dinner. La cuisine? Mostly classic French (duck confit, terrine de foie gras) but leavened with un po’ Italian (gnocchi with cured Parma prosciutto in a mushroom sauce), a nip of North African (rack of lamb with dates, prunes and couscous) and, of course, a soupçon of Caribbean (mahimahi en papillote with wine and citrus sauce). Keep in mind that it’s closed in September and half of October.
Hôtel le Toiny
Anse de Toiny
Does Le Toiny’s tony open-air dining room, with its white-cushioned banquettes and panoramic bay views, deserve its rep? Certainly the portions are small and the checks are large—but then again, anyone who’s dined at one of the mother country’s temples of gastronomy shouldn’t be fazed. (The hair-raising drive to get here, though, is another story.) At this major restaurant named after an iconic local tree, Stéphane Mazières of course serves French classics (duck foie gras; veal chops with black truffles and artichokes), along with more creative bits of kitchen wizardry, such as eggshells filled with egg yolks, whites, bacon mousse and black truffle. Then there’s the occasional Asian touch (rack of lamb with shredded coconut and exotic spices). Add superb service and a 300-label wine list and this is one tree you might want to climb.
THE HIDEAWAY, CHEZ ANDY
If you’re convinced that all popular restaurants on this island are impossibly pricey, this place will happily prove you wrong. And how could anyone resist Brit comedian-manqué Andy Hall’s pledge of "corked wine, warm beer, lousy food, view of the car park"? Everyone on the island sooner or later makes it to this bamboo-sided barefoot joint with plastic chairs and tables, drawn by its great thin-crust wood-oven pizza, pastas and a good variety of main dishes both plain and somewhat fancy. And you get to end your lunch or dinner with a famous bottomless carafe of rhum vanille—vanilla rum.
Right next to La Banane hotel (see Sleep) stands this chic African-tiki hideout named after Kenya’s Masai tribe. It’s a woody sponge-painted room with modern and tribal art on the walls, and it’s been a prime see-and-be-seen scene since it opened in 2003. While the mostly Provençal fare (rack of lamb, foie gras–stuffed roast pigeon) may seems a little out of context amid all this exoticism, the incongruity only heightens the hip postmod vibe. Order à la carte or from a set menu, and don’t forget the vanilla rum at the end. It’s open for dinner only, and there’s a buzzy post-dinner lounge scene too.