St. Barth’s Best Restaurants

St. Barths squeezes a lot of fine dining into an 8.1 square-mile squiggle of wind-swept beaches and high-fashion boutiques. While you’ll find formal spots with flown-in luxury morsels — foie gras, steak, even lobster from Maine — the island’s true barefoot spirit is reflected in its laid-back sand-between-your-toes places to dine and recline.

061128_LaPlage_TomBeachF.jpgLa Plage, Tom Beach Hotel
The most festive place on the island for a long languid lunch, the beachfront restaurant at the boutique Tom Beach Hotel features a DJ-spun soundtrack and plush pillow seating. Wood tables stretch onto the sand under a sultan’s tent of silk scarves in bright Caribbean hues. The food is as upbeat as the scene, featuring simply grilled local seafood like aioli-dressed spiny lobster and whole herb-stuffed daurade. Plage St-Jean, St. Barthélemy, 0590/27-53-13. $$$ (photo, right)

Restaurant des Pecheurs, Le Sereno
The whitewashed luxury that suffuses this hotel extends to its waterside restaurant. With a focus on local seafood, the Restaurant des Pecheurs is a laid back scene by day that morphs into an A-list hotpot come nightfall. Chef Jean-Luc Grabowski uses local seafood for his saffron-enriched bouillabaisse, a big Friday night draw. Grand Cul-de-Sac, St. Barthélemy, 0590/29-83-00. www.mjlselect.com/contactus.html. $$$$

On the Rocks, Eden Rock
The hotel that helped put St. Barths on the jet-set map is still the island’s most exclusive. It’s recently refurbished restaurant is, as its name suggests, literally built on the rocks, offering great sunset views from tables set on a wraparound wooden balcony. From the open kitchen, chef Jean-Claude Dufour delivers ambitious globetrotting fare like soy-glazed sea bass with leek parmentier and seafood soup with lemongrass and squid ravioli. Baie de St-Jean, St. Barthélemy, 0590/29-79-99. wwwldpr.com. $$$$

Do Brazil
Co-owned by French tennis-ace turned pop-star Yannick Noah, this chic beach shack perched above a tiny stretch of seashell strewn sand offers an eclectic menu and a castaway vibe. Fresh fruit juices are dispensed from an all-day window opening onto the beach, while big plates of boldly flavored foods are offered for lunch and dinner up a short flight of stairs. With the exception of a few specialties, including a fine coconut-infused seafood stew, the restaurant is only nominally Brazilian — sweet, sticky barbecued ribs are among the best dishes. Shell Beach, Gustavia, St. Barthélemy, 0590/29-06-66. $$$

Andy’s Hideaway
Follow the flow of off-duty waiters and bellhops to this open-air pizza parlor across the street from the beach. Come here for the island’s best cheap eats — there are few competitors at this price point — including French-style one-person pizzas, chilled wine in carafes, and a convivial, pretense-free scene. The Emmental-cheese topped pies are thin, crisp, and delicious. St. Jean, St. Barthélemy, 0590/27-63-62. $$

Maya’s
Maya’s gets so jammed in high-season that many regulars opt to get their dinners to go (the restaurant is one of the few on the island offering a full takeout menu). Still, the relaxed setting is as easy to swallow as chef-owner Maya Gurley’s homey, locally sourced food. The nightly offerings change frequently, and may feature velvety avocado soup studded with crab, fiery yellow curry-doused shrimp, or grilled daurade slathered in tart Creole spices. Public, Gustavia, St. Barthélemy, 0590/27-75-73. $$$$

Jay Cheshes

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