On our first night out in St. Maarten, we asked our hotel concierge where to go for a lively night scene for a Saturday night. Simpson Bay was the answer, which we had heard a lot about. We jumped in a taxi and made our way down to the area and stopped at our drivers suggestion, Rancho Steak & Lobster restaurant. Who wouldn’t want an Argentinian restaurant with some of the best steak on the island!!
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
Backing onto Simpson Bay with a stunning view of the lagoon, the interior space is a Caribbean style fit out. High wood beam ceilings draped in white cloth, large light sculptures hanging down and a large open concept dining room area. The space is divided into a few different sections starting with a small lounge area when you first walk in with comfortable lounge furniture for those looking for just a drink or to sit while waiting for their table. The bar area is a more contemporary concept to the rest of the space with a large chic white feature bar.
The main area is the dining room, with generous spacing between the oversized wooden tables and large comfortable chairs. Banquette seating along the walls is also available for a more laid back and romantic setting. We were seated near the front, which was perfect for an unobstructed view of the live band playing. Throughout the night couples went up and danced to the Latin music, creating a fun and active atmosphere.
Service was on the slow side throughout the night with both of us constantly trying to get any of the waiters attention for either a top up of drinks, to order our food or for the bill. Everyone was quite friendly and accommodating, which helped make up for the slow service.
It’s all in the name, steak and lobster, and they do both exceptionally. This Argentinian restaurant focuses on fresh seafood and large cuts of perfectly cooked meats. Not knowing what to expecting terms of portion sizes, we decided to share an appetizer plate of a few of their most common dishes, a main each and see how we went from there.
We started with the ‘Rancho Sample Platter’, which included buffalo wings, calamari, chips, salsa & guacamole. I was not expected such a huge platter of food to com out for the two of us to share. I could of easily just had this and nothing else for the night. Everything was delicious, the wings were perfectly coated and juicy on the inside, the calamari was perfectly seasoned and the guacamole was addicting. At some point we had to stop or we wouldn’t eat the mains that weren’t too far behind.
I ordered a beautiful ‘Grilled Chicken Breast’ served with a small salad and wedges. The chicken was grilled perfectly with a hint of herb seasoning. Presentation was nice with a little pico di gallo salad to enjoy with the chicken.
MC ordered the ‘Ribs & Chicken Combo’ served with wedges and a small salad as well. The dish was served with a small order of BBQ ribs as well as a small piece of chicken breast with the same BBQ sauce. Both were very juicy and enjoyable.
Dessert consisted of something over the top with chocolate as MC loves. A generous portion brownie came to the table with a vanilla bean ice cream and small snoop of whip cream on the top.
Food portions were quite generous and the quality of ingredients and produce were excellent. The only down fall was the slow service, however made up for this with their friendliness. There are a few different Rancho Restaurants on the island and have found that quite a few locals head here for a meal, which is what we love to see.