Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts as everyone calls it, is a magical island in the West Indies where my husband and I have been going for almost seven years now. With its French roots and panache, renowned restaurants, gorgeous beaches and luxury shopping, St. Barts is the embodiment of an exotic getaway that has it all, especially for a Gourmand. This island has the largest selection of incredible, Michelin-star quality restaurants in all of the Caribbean. But it is not in any way stuffy or formal. The French “ laisser-fair” attitude is alive and well on this island even in the best restaurants where de riguer attire is stylish, casual chic and atmosphere is convivial.
La Plage Restaurant is situated on Saint Jean beach, between the airport and Eden Rock. To enter the restaurant you have to walk through a lush jungle of Le Tom Beach, a boutique hotel. Linger over your lunch, while soaking up the azure-blue views of the Caribbean and enjoy people-watching La Plage’s chic clientele of both locals and in-the-know guests. At times you will see boats drop anchor for lunch with beautiful people on board whisked to the shore to enjoy one of the most famous beach restaurant on the island. There is no better feeling then having lunch with your feet buried in the warm sand, it’s absolutely the best stress reduction therapy. Arrive in style – heels, gladiators, wedgies, or flip-flops but take off your shoes as you sit down, feel that sand and lose the track of time. Our famous lunches with friends occasionally lasted well into dinner!
The French Chef David Sendron, whom I met on the day of the shoot, is artfully combining local ingredients with the traditional to showcase his mastery of French culinary art intertwined with latin seasoning in an exciting way.
I like to play dress up when dining at La Plage. In the height of the season, the place is full of people dressed in island-chic attire, with beautiful cover-ups, sun dresses and gorgeous hats. My look was graciously provided by one of my favorite brands in St. Barth, Lolita Jaca. It really captures the essence of this island in the most quintessential way; it is sexy, flowing and the same time shapely, with French esthetics of understated elegance and chic.
Come in the late morning and take a day bed to lounge and gaze at the sea. Saint Jean beach is always calm and pleasant to swim. Work up some appetite for the restaurant later. Our kids come with us to La Plage pretty often and play in a sand next to the table after having had their lunch .
Mommy needs a cocktail! The place has an amazing selection of signature cocktails- Frozen Rose must be the most popular! La Plage is a fun place to visit while vacationing on the island, it has a cool vibe especially on certain days of the week. Saturdays for instance, have a “flamingo pink party” with a DJ spinning the latest in music trends to get you in the mood for a dance!
Like in a scene from the movies, a fisherman’s boat comes in early in the morning to deliver fresh caught tuna off the coast of Saint Martin which will be later served on top of this impeccable Nicoise Salad, one of my favorite summer treats of all times.
Tuna gets its perfect sear and served thinly sliced over succulent greens with a traditional selection of garnishes – slices of young boiled potato, an egg, cucumber wedges, cherry tomatoes, thin slices of onion, briny Nicoise olives and one of my favorite ingredients on the plate- salty anchovies.
My perfect bite of freshness.
My husband ordered a lighter version of the same tuna (delivered that morning) but as a tartar. Simple, yet elegant presentation delivers exceptional quality fish that was chopped somewhat roughly right before serving. And our daughter is of course, reaching for the bread.
The main course version of this tartar comes with a side of rice mixed with oyster and soy sauces and sesame oil. My local friend Max, who dines there at least few times a week, claims it is his favorite.
When in St. Barts eat like the locals do- simply grilled spiny lobster served with, of course- melted butter, side of sautéed vegetables and rice.
Lobster is sweet, fresh and incredibly soft.
Sweet concoction of miniature desserts- sorbets, gelato, mousse and pastry.
A really cool place to spend your day, or at least part of it. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, enticing food, music and beach! La PLage is a winning pick.
Photographed by Max VanderNoot.