The majority of the numerous restaurants in St Barth offer an updated take on traditional French cuisine using the best possible ingredients they can find. Quite often the beef is imported from Argentina, France, or Canada, guaranteeing tender, delicious cuts of meat. Most of the fish, from succulent red tuna to mahi-mahi, red snapper, and wahoo, is local and bought from the island’s fishermen the same day it is caught, ensuring freshness.
Fixed-price meals are often available and combine an appetizer, main course and dessert, while all of the island’s restaurants offer a multitude of fish and meat courses as well as a large choice of delicious desserts.
Popular appetizers range from classic French snails to “mi-cuit foie gras” served with a sweet and sour compote and toast. Those who savor red meat will be happy to try beef tartar or sirloin steak with peppercorns, as well as rack of lamb, while those who prefer fish or fowl can enjoy rare duck breast, seared tuna, or grilled mahi-mahi, often served with an assortment of vegetables or homemade mashed potatoes.
As is the custom in France, meals are served with crusty bread baked the same day, from a traditional baguette to homemade rolls, a must to accompany the cheese platter that is so often a part of every great French meal.
Desserts are also popular, ranging from French classics such as crème brûlée to chocolate fondant or lemon tart. And a French meal is not complete without a good cup of coffee or espresso, often served with a small square of dark chocolate, or in four-star restaurants a plate of petit fours made by the pastry chef adds a special touch to top off your meal. As a final gesture of their hospitality, many restaurants offer a post-dinner drink, a small glass of rum perfumed with vanilla or various flavors such as ginger or banana.
It is fairly easy to find most of the products used in the restaurants at the various food purveyors on the island. Each of the restaurants works with various suppliers so it is not unusual to have to visit several stores before you find all the ingredients you might need to prepare a meal yourself. The same is true for wines and liquors, as there are many specialty shops that offer an excellent choice of wines and champagne from the best French chateaux as well as Argentina and Chile.