What We Ate
We ate a lot of seafood. It was plentiful and delicious. But be forewarned, the prices are steep almost everywhere you go. We ate out for nearly every meal except a few breakfasts, and rarely revisited a restaurant. I'll share my top picks, because some of the places we went to weren't like amazing. And I must admit that service was lacking. Maybe we just weren't used to the European style of dining, but it seemed like asking for our check was rude, or even getting the waiter to attend to us was silly.
Mr. Busby's Beach Bar, Canoa, Big Fish at Dawn Beach. All right next to each other, very good, similarly priced. I'd recommend Mr. Busby's for a regular dinner, Canoa for a nice dinner, and Big fish for dessert and drinks.
Lazy Lizard Beach Bar and Grill in Phillipsburg. One of our favorite meals of the trip. The boardwalk area was very quiet and very dark, few places were open. Some locals were hanging at the bar here having a good time. And we had a very delicious meal.
Karakter on Simpson Bay. We parked here, ate a tasty lunch, and rented two lawn chairs on one of the finest beaches with the prettiest water I've ever seen. This is right next to the landing runway of the airport, so you can watch planes come in, but it is a little noisy. Great pina coladas.
Sunset Beach Bar. This is overlooking Maho Bay where you can watch the planes come in, but we just had burgers, and most of the places around there will be similar.
Quai Ouest in Oyster Pond. The best. Ambience was divine, the server was perfectly French, and the food was great. I had the special which was stingray, and it was wonderful. Must try. I would go back to the island just for this restaurant.
Paradise View in Quartier D'Orleans. We had a late lunch here, which wasn't very satisfactory (probably better for someone without a gluten problem), but their breakfast is supposed to be great. And they really did have an amazing view. It was breezy and relaxing.
Some tips for comfortable dining: Make sure you tip 15-20%. Most places close at about 2, so don't wait to have lunch if you feel you might be getting hungry, or plan ahead and bring snacks. Try to relax and go with the leisurely pace of the servers, but don't be afraid to hurry them along if you need to. Try some new dishes, and if you're gluten free, don't be afraid to ask, they pretty much know what that means and how to help you out. Dining here is expensive, budget accordingly, I was very surprised. We had terrible service aka no one even bothered to get us menus or take our drink orders at Captain Oliver's and Dinghy Dock Bar. There are a ton of restaurants on the island. There are some are great beachside lunch spots in Orient Bay and I think Grand Case would have been a great place to try some restaurants and even stay.
What We Did
We mostly just beach hopped. We went towards the end of the busy season so we did have a little difficulty finding things that were open.
We hiked to the highest point on St. Martin, Pic Paradis, from Loterie Farms. This was a strenuous 2 hr hike that led to some good views. It was a little confusing at the end, but a great physical diversion. Loterie Farms looked like a ton of fun, and I would recommend spending some time there as well.