2020 Changing Food Scene

Starting afresh in 2020

3 years after the mother of all hurricanes, Hurricane Irma, devastated St. Maarten/St. Martin the world and the island has had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The world is suffering and so is the island and its people, but resilience is high on the scale and having being told to “eat crackers and sardines” and follow the guidelines that are being suggested (even though they have been changed constantly) the people are doing what they have to do to get the numbers down on island.

Thank goodness we live here on this lovely island in the Caribbean! For the people are wonderful and thoughtful towards one another, for the most part.

The last few months – many months – have been stretched out for far too long. Travel, Eating out, enjoying some Watering Holes almost seemed it would became a thing of the past…..

But finally……

Things seem to be looking up a little in this neck of the woods in more ways than one – long may this last.

The Food Scene …….has certainly improved as far as opening of restaurants go, many are starting afresh in 2020.

Shelves in the bigger supermarkets seem a little sparse when shopping for some of the wonderful imported products – however it is “low season” so things will improve, no doubt the shelves will be filled by the time high season starts.

As we went into the start of the Covid-19 lockdown some groups rallied round and came out tops with deliveries to homes. We tried a few different organizations including our favourite Carrefour and every one of them went overboard in trying to accommodate. It was so gratifying to know that fellow citizens on this wee rock were/are as caring and kind as can be.

The Food Home Deliveries …….. have all but stopped as the island moves forward after the months of lockdown but now there are a few food delivery organizations who are coming out tops for those in need.

One delivery group that has been there for the islanders is Domino’s Pizza – they have made many happy tummies, as always. They deliver, of course, their brand of ready made food.

Shop and Drop (here) has not stopped. This is a wonderful service that has been on the scene for over 10 years. Through thick and thin this service gives the best that can be found anywhere on the island. Check out online what you can have ready and waiting in your hotel, time share or villa as soon as you have stepped off the plane and arrived at your home away from home.

Restaurant Deliveries

There are other delivery services making themselves known for their good service – one can order food from different restaurants; the order is picked up and delivered right to one’s door. One suggested delivery service is Orders.sx, they are getting rave reviews. The listing of restaurants on the Dutch side is growing.

For those of us who like to cook and entertain things have changed somewhat too. Entertaining dropped away, we kept to ourselves trying to keep away from getting the dreaded virus. Gradually as things have improved, we are having select folk over. That sounds so un-neighborly, how sad! Life has to go on and so many of us are opening up to going out more and definitely have more folk over for the shared meal.

First to take place was family group gatherings – our hope is that this will be the normal happening as Christmas comes around.

We gradually started meeting up at beaches, bars and restaurants where, with the protocols in place (even though some of us love a hug in greeting,) we have stood back to say hello – how very un…… it all is. Most of the places we go to are outdoor places and we can only be grateful that we live in a warm (oh, say “flipping hot these days”) climate. This heat is getting too much, will our “winter” be lovely and cool? We hope so!

Cooking ……. has become a past time for many who have not really cooked before. It is so much better than housework and gives much satisfaction. There are many cooking programs that have appeared on social media and the web from all over the world – It feels as if this has all brought the world closer together.

Some of us have bought more cookbooks, both hard copies and online, than we ever thought we could own. Some of us have joined online cookbook clubs too – as we pour over all the dishes others are cooking and are encouraged to try the unusual out on family. Luckily here on SXM we can get most of the ingredients for these unusual recipes.

St. Maarten is a great place to live in these times.

It is welcoming to see so many restaurants opening up with the Covid-19 protocols in place. As it is low season so some restaurants have opened for lunch or dinner and some only open over the weekend. If you want to see if a restaurant is open look up online – don’t do what we have done and drive there only to find it is closed. Yes, I know, stupid is as stupid does. (I do have an excuse though, I had run out of data!!!!)

Starting afresh in 2020 we are eating out once more.

Here is a list of the restaurants we have been to, as we slowly start heading out again.

Palapa Grill & Lounge – Top of the list for wonderful vibe, good food and excellent service. (here)

La Select/La Champagne – Top of the list for excellence wine, food, service and superb wine tasting events! (here)

St. Maarten Yacht Club – A wonderful watering hole, great service, lovely setting for family times. (here)

Sale & Pepe – Our all-time favourite Sicilian restaurant with great food, great service, fantastic setting – who can ask for anything more. (here)

Lal’s – “Curry in a Hurry” – Always great food and Lal is part of the scene. (here)

Pizza & CO – Philipsburg – This new place is a great outdoor restaurant. (here)

Dinghy Dock – Never changes, always a must go to for Yappy Hour or just any time. (here)

The Pub – A wonderful, warm place with good service, some delicious pub food and everything else one wants at a sports bar. (here)

Lagoonies – Here one finds a great dockside atmosphere and great food. The place to be for lunch or dinner. (here)

La Bodega – This new restaurant is fun with great service, wonderful food and great entertainment on some nights. (here)

Le Piment – One of the great establishments in the square at Orient Village. Consistently good all round. (here)

Movida – New on the Simpson Bay strip serving pub type grub with, at the moment, a small menu that includes tender spit roast duck and chicken. Locals love it, you will too. (here)

Avantika – An institution, consistently good Thai menu – great for lunch, happy hour and dinner. (here)

Orange Fever – Casual on the beach at Orient. Food menu is small and most appealing to one’s pocket. (here)

Kontiki – Nothing much has changed here. Lovely location, great food and beautiful setting. (here)

Captain Frenchy – Lunch on the beach in Grand Case, a favourite spot for many. (here)

Mati Beach – Nettle Bay

Soon, soon we will head to:

Emilio’s – Philipsburg

Vesna’s – Simpson Bay

Holland House – Philipsburg

The Palms – Simpson Bay

Balls & Wine – Simpson Bay

Ginger – Simpson Bay

Coffee Lounge – Philipsburg / Simpson Bay

Mama – Porto Cupecoy

Isola – Simpson Bay

La Plage – Orient Beach

Karibuni – Isle Pinel

Wai Plage – Orient Beach

Rainbow – Grand Case

Le Cottage – Grand Case

Kalua – On the Boardwalk

Telegraph – Orient Bay Village

Sun Beach Clubber – Orient Bay

Top Carrot – Simpson Bay

Sunset Cafe – Grand Case

Hon Hon Hon Bar – Boardwalk

Anse Marcel Beach – Anse Marcel

Yellow Sub – Orient Beach Village

Creperie Cape Cafe – Maho

And many more……can’t wait!