Sampling the French and Créole cuisine is one of the great pleasures of visiting Martinique. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafés, and snack bars to be found everywhere. The quality is generally very high so it is worth being adventurous and trying the various dishes and eating places. The main meal of the day is at midday and many restaurants and cafés offer very reasonable fixed price menus du jour ranging from 30-60F. Here are some worth seeking out. They are as follows:
Le Blenac, 3 rue Blenac, T701841. Closed Sun evening. King Creole, 56 Av des Caraïbes, T701917. Closed Sat midday and Sun. For crêpes and salads try La Crêperie, 4 rue Garnier Pagès, T606209. Closed Sat midday, Sun. Espace Créole, 8 rue Voltaire, T700595. Open Mon-Sat 1100-2200. Le Victor Hugo, 69 rue V Hugo, T636108. Closed Sun midday.
Marie Sainte, 160 rue V Hugo, T700030. Open daily except Sun. In the market at Fort-de-France are small kiosks selling créole menu du jour for 50F including dessert and drink, other meals also served, with tablecloths and flowers on table, Miriam enthusiastically greets customers at Chez Louise and explains menu in English. For an Italian atmosphere try Le Vieux Milan, 60 Av des Caraïbes, T603531. Excellent pizza for US$7-11, closed Sat, Sun. There are several restaurants serving Vietnamese and Chinese food, including Le Cantonnais, Marina Pointe du Bout, T660233. Open daily. Le Chinatown, 20 rue Victor Hugo, T718262. Mon-Fri lunch. Indo, 105 route de la Folie, T716325. Vietnamese, closed Sun evening and Mon.
Le Jardin de Jade, Anse Colas, T611550. Closed Sun evening. Le Kiwany’s, 2 rue Kernay, Trinité, T584244. Closed Sun evening, Mon. Le Xuandre, Vietnamese, Voie No 2 Pointe des Nègres, T615470. Evenings only, closed Mon. Other nationalities are also well represented: Le Couscousser, 1 rue Perrinon, looking out on to Bibliothèque Schoelcher. Excellent with choice of sauces and meats to accompany couscous, reasonably priced, interesting, rather young Algerian red wine goes well with the food, open Mon-Fri 1200-1500, 1900-2300, Sat 1900-2300, T600642. Les Cèdres, Lebanese, in rue Redoute de Matouba. Excellent humous, kebabs and other Lebanese meze, owner speaks English, all major credit cards accepted. Le Salambo, Tunisian, Patio de Cluny, T704778. Closed Sun, Mon, Tue. Le Beyrouth, Lebanese, 9 rue Redoute de Matouba, T606745. Lunch menu from 80F. Le Méchoui, Moroccan, Pte Simon, behind Bricogite. Reservations preferred, takeaway service, T715812, open 1200-1600, 1900-2400, closed Sun. Las Tapas de Sevillas, Spanish, 7 rue Garnier Pagès, T637123.
For travellers on a smaller budget wishing to eat out in the capital there are plenty of good snackbars and cafés serving various substantial sandwiches and menus du jour. The area around Place Clemenceau has lots of scope; Le Clemenceau is very good value and extremely friendly – try the accras or a fresh crudité salad. Le Lem on Boulevard Général-de-Gaulle has superior fast food at low prices and a young crowd. It also stays open later than many restaurants that close in the evenings and on Sun. Behind the Parc Floral on rue de Royan is the Kowossol, a tiny vegetarian café which serves a cheap and healthy menu du jour. The pizzas are recommended and the fruit juice is especially delicious – try gingembre (ginger) or ananas (pineapple). On François Arago Los Amigos and Le Coq d’Or are particularly good for substantial sandwiches for around 12F. Try poisson (steak fish) or poulet (chicken). Le Renouveau on Boulevard Allègre offers delicious, filling menus du jour for 40F, again with a warm welcome. As in France, there are Traiteurs opening up, offering stylish takeaway meals which you select at the shop, helpful to vegetarians. Ask for the latest list at the tourist office.
The place to head for in the evening when these eateries close (except Le Lem which stays open until 2100), is the Boulevard Chevalier de Ste-Marthe next to the Savane. Here, every evening until late, vans and caravans serve delicious meals to take away, or to eat at tables under canvas awnings accompanied by loud Zouk music. The scene is bustling and lively, in contrast to the rest of the city at night-time and the air is filled with wonderful aromas. Try lambis (conch) in a sandwich (15F) or on a brochette (like a kebab) with rice and salad (30F). Paella and Colombo are good buys (40F) and the crêpes whether sweet or savoury are delicious.
Amongst the many restaurants across the Baie des Flamands is the charming L’Amphore where the fresh lobster is delicious, T660309, closed Mon-Tue, lunchtime, open every evening 1900-0300. Bambou is a little further along the beach, specializes in fresh fish and offers an excellent menu du jour. Chez Jojo on the beach at Anse à l’Ane, T683743, has a varied seafood menu. Two-star restaurants include Auberge de I’Anse Mitan, T660112. Open every evening, reservations required. Hemingway’s off Anse Mitan beach. Flat fee for créole buffet, small or large plate, opens 1900, arrive early for first sitting, soon fills up. La Bonne Auberge, Chez André, T660155. La Langouste, T660499. Open daily. La Villa Créole, T660553. Closed Sun-Mon lunch. At Diamant, La Case Créole, Place de I’Église, T660000. French and Créole, seafood and other specialities, open daily 1100-1600, 1900-2330. Hôtel Diamant Les Bains has a reasonable and well-situated restaurant specializing in seafood, T764014. Shut Wed. There are several other restaurants in the town which front directly on to the beach, mostly offering créole cooking and seafood. In Pointe du Bout marina, La Marine Bar and Restaurant, good pizza, drink wine, not beer, good seafood platter. l’Embarquerie snack bar by ferry dock has happy hour 3 times a day, 1030-1130, 1430-1530, 1700-1800, buy a local Corsaire beer, get one free. Pizzeria and snack bar at innermost corner of Pointe du Bout marina sells beer for 10F. Reasonably priced salads and menu du jour at Hibiscus Restaurant with use of hotel pool for the afternoon. Bakou Hotel dock bar is a great place to meet yachties and watch the sunset.
At Carbet the Grain d’Or, a spacious airy restaurant, is another good spot to sample Martinique’s seafood specialities, T780691, open daily. Le Trou Crabe, at Le Coin, at beginning of village, T780434, F780514. Open daily except Sun evenings, beach restaurant, rather smart, French and créole cuisine, offers Lyonnais specialities. Directly on the beach, L’Imprévu, T780102, F780866. Open daily except Sun and Mon evenings, créole musical entertainment Fri evening except during Lent, very local, créole specialities including shark, lobster, three courses and house wine from US$22. On the coast, north of St-Pierre is Chez Ginette, good food but overpriced, T529028, closed Thu.
The restaurant at Plantation Leyritz near Basse Pointe is in the restored plantation house and has waterfalls trickling down the walls giving a cool, peaceful feel to the place, elegant dining, good food and service, open daily, T785392. At Grand’ Rivière, Chez Tante Arlette serves excellent créole food in cool, pleasant surroundings, finished off with home made liqueurs, rue Louis de Lucy de Fossarieu, T557575.
At Ste-Anne, dine in style at the Manoir de Beauregard or at Les Filets Bleus, on the beach and lighter on the pocket, T767342, closed Sun evening, Mon. Anthor on front street and L’Ouire Mer serve reasonable créole meals and pizza. Les Tamariniers chef decorates expensive dishes with flowers, closed Tue evenings, Wed. Poi et Virginie, overlooks bay with good seafood, closed Mon. At Cap Chevalier, Chez Gracieuse is a good, moderate-price créole restaurant, choose the terrace and order the catch of the day, T767231, open daily.