Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten - 2004
Where to EatOverall, you will find very good island food with a lot of variety. You will find your typical fast food joints and great local fare with lots of seafood. There are convenience stores where you need them to provision the boat.
You will find scattered thought out the island Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell , Subway, McDonalds and Dominos Pizza. For the three main areas you will be mooring ( Simpson Bay , Marigot and Oyster Point) on the island you will only run into the Burger King,Subway and Domino’s Pizza.
The Burger King is located behind the Atrium Hotel in Simpson bay. The cooking is done in an old Airstream trailer with an awning and you eat outside. It is a great place to be able to get away from all the parties and music. Do not be in a hurry.
We found the Domino’s Pizza at the first night party located at Port de Plaisance. Domino’s was serving slices of pizza or a whole large pie. The large pie was going for 7 tokens ($11.66) and a slice was 2 tokens ($3.33).
Tip – Purchase a lot of tokens at one time. The lines are long and you will go thru the tokens very fast drinking the 10oz Heinekens in the hot weather. If you plan on purchasing food from the local vendors you may spend up to 18-20 tokens per person in your party, per night. Or grouped averaged 16 tokens per person per night.
Now on to the local food: The first warning is be prepared to wait and remember you are on Caribbean time. At all of the parties you will find local food vendors who have set up shop. Besides the Domino’s Pizza at the Port de Plaisance party there was plenty of chicken in all types of sauces – from jerk to honey peanut.
MarigotThe best local food was at the party on the Waterfront in Marigot, on the French side. We had some excellent barbecue ribs and chicken. For $5 you are able to get a full rack of ribs. Also, we had dinner just off the square at a place called Pure. All the food was awesome and reasonable. For seven people including a few bottles of wine the meal was under $400. The atmosphere was amazing and very relaxing. We sat outside and were able to still hear the music at the party.
There is not a lot open on Sunday mornings in Marigot. Most stores are closed. We did find a Superette store that was open for us to provision the boat with beer, water, and chips. You will need to carry the supplies about 5 blocks to the Shell boat services. Remember to bring enough people if you are in need of lots water and beer to carry the goods back to the dock.
We also found a little bistro that was open where we were able to purchase outstanding sandwiches. When we arrived at 9:00am they were out of sandwiches and we had to wait for the sandwiches to be made. Actually, the whole process was very long. There were seven people in front of us and we had to wait 30 minutes to place are order. We ordered six sandwiches (for lunch), four pastries and four café au lait for breakfast. The total cost about $48. It was nice and relaxing sitting outside waiting for our sandwiches (which took about 20 minutes to make) --- we drank our café au laits and ate our pastries. One word of caution is that the Shell boat services last boat was at 10:00am . We just made it back in time to catch the last boat. The Shell boat operators were very serious about ending the service, even leaving some people on the dock waiting for their friends.
Simpson BayFor the days when you are moored in Simpson Bay and need to provision the boat, head to the local convenience store call 7 Alive. It is located on the opposite side of the road from the St. Maarten Yacht Club. If you leave the St. Maarten Yacht Club and head right down the road, over the bridge to the Lagoon it will be about 700 yds on your left. There is also a Subway located just down the road. The 7 Alive will have all the food you need to provision your boat and it is a great place to get a snack after drinking all night. Watch for out-of-date items. We picked up a few products that must have been on the shelf for years. What do you except after picking them up at 2:30am after a few drinks. The 7 Alive took cash and credit cards.
There are other great place to eat around Simpson Bay . One option is at the St. Maarten Yacht Club. Great quick food and reasonably priced at $4-8 and very cold beer. We ate there a couple of times during the regatta. Besides a great open air bar, the people are extremely nice. It is a good place to talk to other competitors and check out the racing results at the near by trailers.
Three of our favorite places on the island are just down the road from the St. Maarten Yacht Club. On the left hand side of the road (same side of the road as the Yacht Club) is the first Absolute Floating Bar. If you want to get away from the Heineken parties and meet others that are visiting the island head to the bar/restaurant. The bar is actually a boat on the water, hence the name theFloating Bar. The place was rocking the night we were there. The dancing was awesome and we meet a lot of fun people. There was food available, but we did not order anything.
Right next door there was a bar (name unknown) that stayed open to at least 3:00 AM. A very small place, but tons of yachties were drinking and having a great time.