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10 Best Restaurants near the Cruise Ports in St. Maarten/St. Martin



St. Maarten/St. Martin is often referred to as the "gastronomic capital of the Caribbean," so cruisers are in for a treat. The half French, half Dutch-owned island has heavy influences from both culture, but also offers a number of cuisines from across the globe.

Visitors will find a number of casual cafes and laid-back island bars that serve a combination of Caribbean specialties, American classics, and European cuisine.

Most cruise ship passengers arriving to the island will dock in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the island. This massive port accommodates numerous mega-ships at the same time, and downtown Phillipsburg is an easy walk with loads of shopping opportunities and dining options to choose from.

A handful of vessels opt to dock in Marigot, a quieter side of the island that is owned by the French with several outstanding restaurants that are ideal for a casual breakfast or an elegant and romantic evening out.

The experts at 10Best.com have sorted through the restaurants, cafes, and beach bars on the island and have put together this list of 10 favorites for cruise ship passengers. While most are located near the port in Phillispburg, there are also a couple options in Marigot for passengers arriving on that side of the island.


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10
St. Maarten


Offering incredible views of Great Bay, especially at sunset, this nautical-themed restaurant serves tasty fare all day long. Their breakfast menu is a favorite with locals, and lunch brings on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and a selection of seafood platters. Happy hour offers good deals on drinks, and dinner takes advantage of the ocean's bounty with scallops, shrimp, lobster and fresh fish including grouper, mahi mahi, tuna, and conch fritters. For those who prefer land fishes, there's also steak, chicken sandwiches and roast duck. Meals are well portioned and reasonably priced, and the restaurant is an easy walk from the cruise ships in Phillipsburg.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: The convenience of the cruise port, coupled with great views and solid seafood options make this a great option for cruise passengers.

Amber's expert tip: This makes a great final stop after a day spent on the beach or shore excursions.

Read more about Chesterfields →


9
St. Maarten
Ocean Lounge
Photo courtesy of Holland House


Serving breakfast buffet, a la carte lunch, and two or three-course dinner, the Ocean Lounge at the Holland Hotel has the perfect options for any dining experience. With romantic views overlooking Great Bay Beach, this award-winning restaurant offers European-Caribbean cuisine with appetizers like tiger shrimp and grilled Buffalo mozzarella and mains such as yellowfin tuna with hollandaise sauce, Dover sole with shrimp and mussels, fresh local lobster, or crispy duck served with honey soy sauce. Excellent service, a wide range of cocktails, and a central location near the main cruise port make this an ideal location for an upscale meal.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: While many casual cafes can be found in Phillipsburg, this is perfect for something more refined without sacrificing the view.

Amber's expert tip: Leave room for desserts!

Read more about Ocean Lounge →




This casual place gets rave reviews for its great vibes, atmosphere, and American-Caribbean fare. This hot spot lunch destination caters to tourists with beach chair rentals, hot sauces for purchase, and rums for sale. Top-notch burgers, curry, mojitos, and Johnnycakes, and jerk chicken wings are just a few of the dishes that keep customers coming back. A laid back vibe, friendly staff, and free WiFi make this a great way for cruise ship passengers to spend the afternoon on the boardwalk. The owner can usually be found mingling with customers and making sure that everyone is satisfied with their experience.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Laid back atmosphere and great food make this an easy choice.

Amber's expert tip: They do have a vegetarian menu if you ask.

Read more about Lazy Lizard Beach Bar and Grill →


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7
St. Maarten


Au Petit Cafe in the heart of Old Street (a secluded street of the bustling Front Street) near Beatrix's Belgian Chocolate Shop and is ideal for lights snacks, smoothies, fresh juices or coffee. Baguettes, salads, pizza, Paninis, omelets, cheese plates, and both sweet and savory crepes are some of the items on the light menu. Indoor and outdoor seating is available with charming French decor and a comfortable setting that beckons guest to enjoy the moment and let time slip past. The staff goes out of their way to make customers feel welcome, and the frozen lattes and pina coladas are out of this world.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: This quaint little cafe feels like it was moved from France and placed in Phillipsburg.

Amber's expert tip: It is a little difficult to find, but worth the persistence!

Read more about Au Petit Cafe →


6
St. Maarten


This contemporary restaurant recently opened on the beach boardwalk and is already becoming a hit among visitors and locals alike. An winning combination of tapas-style appetizers, fresh smoothies, granitas (shaved ice with syrup), Italian sandwiches and homemade bread, and outstanding frozen yogurt make this a real treat. Excellent views of the beach make this a great lunch spot for cruise ship passengers. Espressos and frozen coffees are ideal for breakfast or the afternoon-pick me ups. For main courses, there are A number of traditional pasta dishes such as rigatoni, lasagna, and spaghetti as well as some with a Caribbean twist.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: This new restaurant has outstanding Italian sandwiches and beverages combined with friendly service and great views.

Amber's expert tip: Be sure to check the daily specials!

Read more about Gusto →


5
St. Maarten
Barefoot Terrace
Photo courtesy of Barefoot Terrace


This colorful, Caribbean restaurant and bar on the boardwalk in Phillipsburg is most definitely a tourist trap (with gratuity included): but a good one! The casual ambiance makes for excellent people watching or a nice break after enjoying the shops. Snack on coconut shrimp conch fritters, smoothies, jerk wings, chicken roti and ice cold cocktails in an open air atmosphere overlooking the beach. They also serve breakfast favorites like scrambled eggs, Johnnycakes, omelets, fresh squeezed juice, French toast, and home fries. The waitstaff is friendly and helpful, prices are reasonable and there is often live music, drink specials and events.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Excellent beach views, strong drinks, and snacks and breakfast make this a no-brainer.

Amber's expert tip: Friday nights they have karaoke and happy hour from 5pm to 7pm.

Read more about Barefoot Terrace →


For a true taste of the Rastafarian culture on the island, the Ital Shack serves organic homegrown vegetarian food with plenty of herbs and spices and fresh local juices such as tamarind, oats and lime, ice tea, passion fruit, beets, pineapple, carrot and celery. Located in St. Maarten, the Ital shack is part of the Freedom Fighters Foundation, which was first established to increase Rastafarian musical presence and reggae. They also focus on agricultural awareness and natural ingredients that are grown on the island (instead of imported). Dishes change daily and are vegan/vegetarian and may include roti with vegetable stew, plantains, lentils, or whatever is ready from the garden.

Read more about Freedom Fighters Ital Shack →


3
St. Maarten


Located on the boardwalk with excellent views and beach chairs for great people watching, Burger Madness serves up some of the best burgers – anywhere. The owners are extremely outgoing and friendly and the burgers - which include more than 15 options - are handmade and perfectly grilled. Try the "Jack Daniels" topped with spiked barbecue, bacon, and pepperjack, or the "SoCal" with avocados and Swiss cheese. There are also seafood options (fried cod or clams with French fries) and fresh salads (Asian chicken, barbecue ranch, and more). There's also a huge variety of milkshakes and plenty of vegetarian options.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: A casual experience on the beach boardwalk with excellent service and outstanding food make this a winning combination.

Amber's expert tip: They also have great tropical cocktails.

Read more about Burger Madness →




This cafe is another excellent choice for cruisers coming into port in Marigot, on the French side of Saint Maarten/Saint Martin. Breakfast will start your day off right with flaky croissants, fresh squeezed juices, hot coffee and chocolate, and warm crepe that melt in your mouth. A cool breeze flows past the sidewalk dining area and the setting is perfect for letting time slip by as you look out in the marina. Prices are reasonable and the setting is calmer than most places on the Dutch side of the island. American style breakfasts are also available with scrambled eggs, home fries, and other traditional items.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: A peaceful setting and outstanding pastries make this a must when in port in Marigot.

Amber's expert tip: To really spoil yourself, order the croissant French toast.

Read more about La Croissanterie →


1
St. Martin


After having trained in Quebec City, Chef Mario Tardif came to St. Martin and opened Mario's Bistro in 1995. The restaurant is still a favorite among travelers, and has informal yet elegant decor and fabulous European fusion cuisine. Mains range from traditional veal scaloppini with lemon butter caper sauce, to honey glazed half duck with mashed potatoes and bouillabaisse with green curry and lemongrass. Located in Marigot (near where the ships dock that call on the French side), the peaceful setting allows patrons to watch the boats float by, however the restaurant can get busy - a testament to the quality of the menu.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: In business for more than 20 years, Mario's continues to fill up with locals and visitors who return year after year.

Amber's expert tip: Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

Read more about Mario's Bistro →


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Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber

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