St-Barth-Direct / the leading resource for travelers
st barthelemy, lunch, Le Tom Beach Hôtel

Lobster specialties at Le Tom Beach Hôtel in St. Barthélemy

ST. BARTH / Local Cuisine

Dining in St. Barth

Fine dining has become one of the stellar attractions of St. Barthélemy. Renowned chefs from Europe and the U.S. frequently visit the island, many open restaurants and some even teach classes. Season after season, young chefs who have trained in France's greatest restaurants choose to work in St. Barthélemy. Combining local ingredients with French technique, they have made the island a gastronomic showcase. To honor their culinary wizards, the entire island celebrates with a Festival Gastronomique each spring.

Most restaurants are small but each offers something special in food, setting or ambiance. Some are beach cafés featuring lobster and grilled steaks, some specialize in seafood or spicy Créole cuisine, and others, particularly in the elegant hotels, present French cuisine of the highest order. Of course, for those looking for more casual fare, there are still classic spots like Cheeseburger in Paradise and JoJo Burger.

Because more and more visitors to St. Barth are choosing to stay in private villas, a growing number of traiteurs (caterers) offer their services to those who wish to enjoy fine dining at home without preparing the meal themselves.

Please click
here for a directory of St. Barth restaurants and caterers.

Things to Remember

Dining in the French Caribbean is always a memorable event. Cooking in France is an art form to be savored and St. Barth continues this delicious tradition. Le déjeuner, or lunch, is often the main meal of the day and usually served from 12:00 noon to 14:00.

Although not necessary at lunch, it's generally a good idea to call ahead for dinner reservations. The pace of service in many Caribbean restaurants may surprise first-time visitors. It is wise to remember that standards are different in the West Indies. If you demand fast food and brisk service, perhaps the Caribbean is not for you. However, if you can downshift and relax into a tropical mode, your patience will be richly rewarded. Experienced travelers always arrive at restaurants before they are really hungry and allow extra time for their meals to be prepared and served.

A 15% fee is often included in restaurant bills (service compris) and additional tips are optional. Budget-conscious travelers with kitchenette facilities have learned to avoid the costs of dining out by preparing many of their own meals. Be sure to get a copy of the Ti Gourmet for each island you visit. It is available in hotels, tour offices and restaurants free of charge. This handy little guide offers invaluable, detailed information on local restaurants in English and French.

Please click
here for a directory of St. Barth restaurants and caterers.

Créole Cooking Terms

Créole cuisine is a delicious mélange of French, African and Indian influences. Exotic seasonings ignite fresh seafood and poultry in prized recipes handed down from generation to generation. If you overindulge and burn your mouth on the hot seasonings, bread (pain) and butter (buerre) will help put out the fire. Local fruits, vegetables and beverages add to the wonderful flavors. Here are some basic terms. Bon appétit!

ACCRAS: fritters, an appetizer
ANANAS: pineapple
BALAOU: small local fish
BELANGERE: eggplant
BLAFF: seafood cooked in seasoned soup
BOUDIN: spicy blood sausage
CABRI: goat
CARAMBOLE: star-shaped fruit
CALALOU/CALLALOO: herb porridge
CHADRON: sea urchin
CHATROU: small octopus
CHIQUETAILLE: shredded, spicy codfish
CHRISTOPHINE: potato-like vegetable
COLUMBO: prepared with curry
COURT-BOUILLON: steamed fish specialty
CRABE FARCI: spicy stuffed crab
CREVETTE: shrimp
CRUDITE: mixed vegetable salad
DASHENE/DACHINE: a nutritional root
ECREVISSE: freshwater crayfish
FEROCE: fiery avocado w/chiquetaille
GAMBAS: prawns
GIRAUMON: local pumpkin or squash
LAMBI: conch
LANGOUSTE: lobster
MALANGA: another nutritional root
MARACUDJA: passion fruit
MORUE: codfish
MOULES: mussels
OUASSOUS: freshwater crayfish
OURSIN: sea urchin
PIMENTS: super hot scotch bonnet peppers
PLANTEUR: rum with tropical juices
POULET: chicken
SAUCE CHIEN: spicy sauce for fish
TI-PUNCH: potent rum w/cane syrup, lime
VIVANEAU: snapper
Z'HABITANTS: crayfish in Martinique

Please click
here for a directory of St. Barth restaurants and caterers.

Back to St. Barth Restaurants / Main Page

Caribbean-Direct Home Page
Home Page About Us Advertising Contact Us Policies / Privacy

© 2001 Caribbean-Direct / All Rights Reserved

Unauthorized Reproduction of Images, Text, Audio, Video or Other Content Prohibited