Lolo's: Locally Owned, Locally Operated
One of the things that we love about St Martin/St Maarten is the wide variety this island offers. Not only is the island shared between two countries, divided roughly 60/40 between France and Netherlands, but it is also home to more than 140 different nationalities. Being such a small island, only 34 sq miles (87 km), the island boasts with an utterly interesting mixture to say the least. You'll hear anything from English, Dutch, French, Spanish to Creole and Papiamento being spoken daily around you and if there was a capital island being voted in the Caribbean, St Martin/St Maarten would probably be it. Some of the, for us at least, most interesting things that such an international mixture brings in, is the great variety of food here is to be found.
If you want French gourmet food, you got it. If you feel like a New York city steak and a well mixed cosmopolitan in a bustling international environment you'll find it. If it's a spicy Mexican night you're after, there are tons of options. You got Spanish tapas places, Dutch restaurants, amazing Indians, Italians at every corner.. basically whatever you're after, you will find a way to get it. St Martin/St Maarten is actually very often called the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. While you might have hard to convince that to the posh people of St Barts, we are ready to throw in our votes. Cause yes it is posh at its parts as well, but not only. It can be modest, but not only that. It is very international yet totally local. It is the mixture that is so unique to this island and you'll find nothing like it anywhere around the Caribbean.
Great local Caribbean restaurants can be found all across the island, but one location that is a true must (if there are any such things) are the Lolo's restaurants on the French Grand Case. Grand Case is a boulevard on the North Eastern side of the island, right by the beach, where you'll find both the low key tapas restaurants as well as a few fine dining options, smaller nightclubs and bars. Right in the middle of that boulevard is Lolo's located, a collection of a few very simple barbecue restaurants. You sit down by a picnic table, get served the most delicious Caribbean food on plastic plates and eat your meal with plastic cutlery. It's inexpensive and the plates they serve you are always very generous. Grilled chicken, ribs, crab cakes, boudin's, johnny cakes, rice and beans, fried fish, macaroni puddings and all those other typical Caribbean treats. If we'd live here, this is the one place we'd always make sure to bring our visitors. To get a genuine taste of real Caribbean food in a, yes very barbecue smoky, but authentic environment where tables are filled with both international guests as well as the locals. I'm sure we'll find another opportunity to visit before we leave this island..