Nowhere has the St. Martin benefited from its European heritage than in its lovely patisseries. Throughout the island, little French-style boulangeries and patisseries dot the landscape, offering crusty baguettes and flaky croissants for a pittance. Especially on the French half of the island, where it is not unusual to see several of these oases on a single street. It was truly an interesting global experience, to see a little bake shop overflowing nearly onto a tropical beach! Below I talk about some of our favorite bakery experiences on the island.
Sarafina’s was far and away our favorite Patisserie on the Island. It looked like it could have been teleported right off of the streets of Paris to Marigot. Sarafina’s is an open-air cafe, with a long glass pastry case along one side and a gelato case to the right side. And who could ask for more? While Sarafina’s boasted a nice variety of savory items, including a quite good chicken Panini and adorable little quiches, the pasties took the cake (no pun intended). We dropped by several times throughout our trip to sample their wares.
The tarts were to die for. For only a couple of euros (thankfully, especially with the weak dollar) you got a perfect custard filled tartlet topped with fresh strawbeeries or raspberries with a sugar glaze that managed to be perfectly sweet but not cloying. Also of note was the chocolate mille feuille. ‘Mille feuille’ means “thousand sheets” in French and this nice dessert was indeed countless sheets of pastry layered with rich chocolate cream. Despite it being upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside, we truly could not get enough of these decadent treats. The Baguettes and croissants were ludicrously cheap and delicious, at less than one euro a pop.
Piece of Cake
Plaza Del Lago, Simpson Bay
PoC is a tiny, cute sandwich shop/patisserie and gelateria in Simpson Bay. Located in an unassuming shopping mall, the little shop is unassuming by day, however, at night, the gelateria is lit by some pretty crazy Vegas-style neon signs. Taking cues from the nearby casinos (which are somewhat common on the Ducth side), PoC lights up with tons of signage including a huge ice cream cone and a gingerbread man (the logo of the store). Though they have a small selection of pastries and sandwich menu, what people come to Piece of Cake for is the gelato. They had a wide variety of Ciao Bella flavors, from Cassis to Mango to Cookies and Cream, all delicious. Even better, the shop is also open until 11 PM, making it a great post-dinner stop.
Plaza Del Lago, Simpson Bay
When you arrive at Zee Best in St. Martin, your table is given a basket of pastries. They don’t tell you then but A. It’s not free, and you are going to get charged for any piece you eat, and B. Everything in the basket is going to look really good, so chances are you will eat it. Not just pastries though, Zee Best offers a full breakfast menu including a plethora of choices. The omelets are tasty and generously portioned, as were the crepes. For the sweet tooths, Zee Best offers a variety of Nutella-based crepes, for those who would prefer something heartier, a basil, mozzarella and tomato crepe fits the bill.
Au Pain de Sucre
Pelican Resort Club, Simpson Bay
Off a winding road deep into resort territory – Au Pain de Sucre did a respectable job of providing a mostly-tourist crowd with solid pastries and continental breakfasts. Not much else to report, since we just popped in for a bite.