One of our first dinners in St. Maarten was at the award winning French restaurant, Le Santal. With almost 30 years under their belt, the team have perfected each aspect of the restaurant. Being one of the islands only 5 star restaurant, in 2007 they were awarded the AAA Four Diamond award based on their superb cuisine, impeccable service and breathtaking views. It’s no wonder celebrities and the like flock here when visiting the island.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
The restaurant is located down a small residential road, which would be difficult for anyone to find who is not familiar with the area. We pulled up to the restaurant and were greeted by the friendly valet staff who also escorted us to our table.
We sat down at our white linen table with beautiful fresh local flowers, located on a small private balcony with a stunning unobstructed view of the ocean and sunset. The atmosphere of the space is elegance meets beach. Warm colours fill the room with hints of coral decor throughout and a fully open concept dining room.
When asking our concierge to make a recommendation on where to dine for the best views of the sunset, Le Santal was the number one choice. Small candles throughout the restaurant enhanced the beautiful colours from the sun setting, making it by far the best view on the island. The slight sound of the small waves breaking over the reef below creates a relaxing and calming atmosphere.
The service throughout the night was absolutely exceptional, a true 5 star experience. Our waiter made recommendations and explained the menu in great detail before ordering.
The style of food is a fusion of French and Asian cuisines, which the chef has truly mastered. We both went with an appetizer and main and shared a beautiful dessert to finish. To really kick off the honeymoon we started with an 04′ Vintage Dom Perignon to toast to the amazing adventure we were about to embark on.
I ordered the ‘Caesar Salad’ served with croutons, beef tenderloin carpaccio, olive and Parmesan curls. Any time I see carpaccio on the menu it’s almost a must to order. I flavours from the traditional salad worked beautifully with the impeccable flavours from the beef.
MC ordered the ‘Pan fried Duck Foie Gras’, served with pears & raspberry and a stunning port reduction. I had never tried a foie gras so wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I must admit I’m not a fan of the texture, however MC absolutely loved it.
His main course was the ‘Santal’s Grilled Whole Red Snapper Flambeed’ served with potatoes and fennel in a white butter sauce and star anise. This was definitely a show stopper as it arrived to the table on an open flame and was deboned right in front of us before being placed down on the table. The deboning was perfect and our waiter didn’t miss a bone.
I ordered the ‘Beef Tenderloin Flambeed’ and served with bearnaise sauce. The beef was cooked to absolutely perfection and was melt in your mouth amazing. There was a choice between the bearnaise sauce or a pepper sauce, however I did make the best decision.
For dessert we had asked our amazing waiter what he would recommend that wasn’t overly filling and a great way to end the night. He had recommended the ‘Souffle’ made with Grand Mariner. It was by far the best way to finish as it was light and creamy with just a hit of the Grand Mariner flavour.
Overall we had a lovely meal at La Santal. It’s no wonder high clientele head here for an amazing meal and flawless service. I must admit it isn’t the cheapest meal on the island, but you get what you pay for!