Creole cooking is the result of a fusion of influences: African, European, Indian, and Caribbean. It's colorful, spicy, and made up primarily of local seafood and vegetables (including squash-like christophines), root vegetables, and plantains, always with a healthy dose of pepper sauce. Favorite appetizers include accras (salted codfish fritters), boudin (highly seasoned blood sausage),
and crabes farcis (stuffed land crabs). Langouste (lobster), lambi (conch), chatrou (octopus), and ouassous (crayfish) are considered delicacies. Souchy (Tahitian-style ceviche), raw fish that is "cooked" when marinated in lime juice or similar marinades, is best at seafront restaurants. Moules et frites (mussels in broth served with fries) can be found at cafés, both in the Marina in St-François and Bas du Fort Marina. Also in the marina is Rótisseur des Isles, with aromatic roasted meats, a salad bar, and classic French desserts. The chef/owner, Gerard Lopinto has received awards for his cooking skills. Many of the most contemporary, gastronomic restaurants are in Jarry, a commercial area near Pointe-à-Pitre. All restaurants and bars are smoke-free, as decreed by French law.
Diverse culinary options range from pizza and crepes to Indian cuisine. For a quick and inexpensive meal, visit a boulangerie, where you can buy luscious French pastries and simple baguette sandwiches. Look for the recommendable chain Baguet. Good news: menu prices seem high but include tax and service (which is split among the entire staff). If service is to your liking, be generous and leave some extra euros, and they will think of Americans as "the good guys." In most restaurants in Guadeloupe (as throughout the Caribbean), lobster is the most expensive item on the menu. It can easily top €40 and often comes as part of a prix-fixe menu.
What to Wear: Dining is casual at lunch, but beach attire is a "not" except at the more laid-back marina and beach eateries. Dinner is slightly more formal. Long pants, collared shirts, and skirts or dresses are appreciated, although not required. Guadeloupean ladies like to "dress," particularly on weekends, so don't arrive in flip-flops—they'll be in heels.