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St. Barths

Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

A dependency of France, this neat, eight-square-mile island has a population of around 9,000, mostly of Breton descent. The terrain is hilly, but dazzling white beaches skirt the perimeter. The island’s capital, Gustavia, is generally considered to be the prettiest town in the ...

A dependency of France, this neat, eight-square-mile island has a population of around 9,000, mostly of Breton descent. The terrain is hilly, but dazzling white beaches skirt the perimeter. The island’s capital, Gustavia, is generally considered to be the prettiest town in the entire Caribbean. Owing to the large number of American visitors, St. Barths has a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than other French islands such as Martinique and Guadeloupe. Thanks to the enduring French influence, however, its restaurants are excellent and the seafood invariably delicious.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Passport (valid for six months beyond end of stay). Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.

WHEN TO VISIT

The climate is warm and sunny with little variation in the year-round temperature. The best months to visit are December-June, when low humidity is the norm and daytime temperatures average in the low 80s.

bird icon Recommended Luxury Hotels in St. Barths

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.
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Best Restaurants in St. Barths

This open-air terrace restaurant, with panoramas of the neighboring islands of St. Kitts and Sint Eustatius, has long been regarded as one of the finest kitchens in the Caribbean. The innovative menu combines French and Caribbean traditions. Starters, for example, might include ceviche of mahi-mahi with coriander and lemongrass, lobster linguini, or beef tataki with arugula and mint with a Thai sauce. Look for main courses such as tuna steak with roasted carrots and a mango-ginger compote, or a veal chop with sage and glazed vegetables.

Hôtel Le Toiny Anse de Toiny Saint Barthélemy US$115 http://www.letoiny.com/st-barth-restaurant-le-toiny/

With minimalist interiors designed by Christian Liaigre, Le Sereno hotel does not greatly appeal to me. However, I have always enjoyed its restaurant. It remains airy and tranquil, with lovely views of the Grand Cul-de-Sac Bay, and the menu is seafood-centric. Look for starters such as a refreshing crab cake with cayenne mayo and carrot salad. Among the mains, try the grilled tuna steak nicoise style.

Le Sereno Hotel Grand Cul de Sac BP 19 Saint Barthélemy US$70 http://www.lesereno.com/dining/restaurant-le-sereno.htm

Jean-Claude Dufour brings his experience as chef at Eden Rock to this informal open-air establishment beside the road leading to popular Saline Beach. Some of the most delicious, eclectic dishes on the island appear on the constantly changing menu and might include mushroom ravioli with roasted shrimp, mahi-mahi with crispy polenta and an artichoke salad, and an Angus tenderloin with potatoes and Parmesan. Reservations are a must. Closed Wednesday.

Anse de Grande Saline Saint Barthélemy US$85 https://www.facebook.com/Restaurant-LEsprit-Jean-Claude-Dufour-256169217773722/

This stylish spot enjoys a prime location on a craggy outcrop overlooking the turquoise waters of St. Jean Bay. The inventive menu takes inspiration from cuisines the world over and is under the direction of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Starters might include mahi-mahi crusted with spices with a sweet-and-sour jus, and a main course could be roasted local lobster tail, smoked potato mousseline and king oyster mushrooms. The view is one of the island’s best, and the bar is a fine place for sunset cocktails.

Eden Rock St. Jean Bay Saint Barthélemy US$115 http://www.edenrockhotel.com/cuisine/on-the-rocks/

Opened in December 2015 by a French architect with a passion for Japanese food, this intimate Gustavia restaurant has quickly become one of the most popular on the island. A Japanese master produces outstanding sushi and sashimi from impeccably fresh fish. Look for worldly Franco-Japanese dishes like roasted mahi-mahi fillet with mashed parsnips, or lobster ravioli with roasted wild mushrooms in a rich bisque. Closed Tuesday.

Gustavia Saint Barthélemy US$100 https://www.oregarestaurant.com/

There comes a time when all visitors to St. Barths just do not want another grilled fillet of snapper/dorado/fish du jour. This charming spot replaced PaCrí as the most popular Italian restaurant on the island when it opened in 2008. The whitewashed cottage in Gustavia is fully enclosed and air-conditioned, perfect for a humid evening. The menu features the traditional dishes of an Italian trattoria, with pastas like the delicious house-made spaghetti with mixed seafood in a white-wine sauce, and meat dishes such as veal scaloppini in a bracing lemon sauce.

33 rue du Roi Oscar II Gustavia Saint Barthélemy US$75 http://www.lisolastbarth.com/en/main.html
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