Continued (page 3 of 12)
What a karmically cool—not to mention romantic—perch. This covered deck with richly worked tables and chairs has gorgeous, sweeping views over Gustavia and the sea, especially at sunset. It’s just the spot if you’re a fan of light, stylishly executed Pacific Rim modern or simply want a change of pace from French, creole or beach-bar fare. Apart from the excellent sushi bar, the influences lean toward Thai, with subtle hints from the New World surfacing in the likes of the coconut-milk wahoo ceviche with mango and coriander. It’s closed in September and October.
One of the island’s earliest gastronomic successes remains a perennial best bet, thanks to the changing menu of fresh, uncomplicated cooking by Martinique-born and Guadeloupe-raised Maya Gurley. She runs the place with her husband, Randy (you know, darling, of the Nantucket Gurleys). In an unremarkable house located on a sweet spot at the edge of Gustavia, the place is a top haunt of St. Bart’s regulars, famous ones included. Come for cocktails at sunset. Stay for a dinner of veal chops, curry shrimp and so forth. And save room for the gâteau à l’orange (West Indian orange cake). It’s closed Sundays.
Tom Beach Hotel
Thierry de Badereau is master of the scene at his hip little hotel’s colorful, Moroccan-style beach resto. It has tables out on the sand and a casual, seasonally changing menu heavy on fresh seafood, both grilled and otherwise. (The gingered wahoo tartare is a standout). By day it’s all about lazy lunches, but evenings can get raucous, especially on theme nights. At other times you’ll find DJs, live bands, Sunday-night barbecues. The service is good and the vibe surprisingly unpretentious—just be sure you’re in the mood for letting loose rather than quiet canoodling.
LA ROUTE DES BOUCANIERS
Rue de Bord de Mer at Rue du Centenaire
Modern-day pirates and other seagoing types can steer their boats right up to "Buccaneers’ Road," the blue-and-yellow Gustavia wharfside spot owned by chef Francis Delage and his wife, Christiane. With its blue-and-white shutters, bare wooden tables and stone floor, the joint has a very unpretentious West Indian feel a notch up from a beach shack. (Check out the weathered boat turned bar.) But Delage knows what he’s doing—he’s run restaurants in Paris and Guadeloupe, hosted a French TV show on creole cookery and even written the bible on the subject, the six-volume encyclopedia Les Délices de la Cuisine Créole. The menu changes regularly, but it could include lobster roasted in passion-fruit butter, smoked chicken salad or a creole platter with cod fritters, blood sausage (an acquired taste), conch gratin, stuffed crab and more.