La Villa Hibiscus in St. Martin: Review of the Caribbean’s Ultimate Gourmet Experience
You go to the Caribbean for the gorgeous beach and warmer weather but not really for the food. Or so I thought. That was until I discovered the French side of St. Martin. Exotic cheeses, charcuterie, incredible high-quality wines at affordable prices, and amazing French cuisine? Yes, please! If you only have time for one amazing gourmet experience on this island, book a table at La Villa Hibiscus. You will be convinced St. Martin is the Caribbean’s best foodie destination.
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Backstory of La Villa Hibiscus
La Villa Hibiscus is run by the charming husband and wife team, Chef Bastian and Sabine.
Chef Bastian was born in Belgium but moved to France and trained at two of Joêl Robuchon’s renowned restaurants and the Michelin three-starred restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic. That is quite the culinary resume!
Sabine grew up on St. Martin and met Bastian while in France. They decided to purchase her childhood home from her parents and fulfill their dream of running a gourmet restaurant and guest house. La Villa Hibiscus was born.
Some of our favorite restaurants have been run by husband and wife duos such as Hisa Franko in Slovenia and Sawada in Japan.
Open dining room at La Villa Hibiscus in St. Martin
La Villa Hibiscus is located on Pic Paradis, the island’s highest peak. The views are breathtaking!
The drive up to the restaurant is not for the faint of heart.
We initially were going to drive but were so glad we decided to go with Sabine’s recommendation of hiring a taxi. Then both my husband and I could truly enjoy the fantastic wine pairing and not have to worry about navigating the hilly roads.
We used the recommended services of Jean Philippe, who was excellent. I always appreciate a safe and professional driver.
Don’t want to worry about driving? We stayed at the lovely Karibuni Boutique Hotel, but I found out later La Villa Hibiscus also has a beautiful cottage to rent right on the property.
After your Michelin-star-worthy meal, you could roll right into bed.
There are only a handful of outdoor tables at the restaurant (book well in advance!). All offer stunning views of the island below. The kitchen is open, and you are encouraged to walk around and watch Chef Bastian in action.
NOTE: Since we dined there, La Villa Hibiscus has changed locations. They are now located in Orient Bay.
The atmosphere is very intimate and relaxed. Sabine’s incredibly warm hospitality makes you feel like you are dining with friends.
Before our lovely multi-course dinner, we relaxed poolside sipping on one of their excellent cocktails and playing with their dog.
I highly recommend the Original Hibiscus, which is made with vodka-infused hibiscus, St. Germain, tonic water, and sparkling water with mandarine and lemongrass.
Original Hibiscus cocktail at La Villa Hibiscus in St. Martin
There is no set dress code.
I dressed up in what I would call “island chic” and wore a long flowy dress.
My husband went more “business casual” and wore a collared button-down shirt and dress pants.
La Villa Hibiscus Prestige Menu
La Villa Hibiscus offers lunch, dinner, and a pig roast known as “La Rôtissoire” on select Sundays. We chose a dinner reservation, but I would love to come back for their lunch menu to soak in their incredible views during daylight hours.
You have three menus to choose from: Découverte, Gourmet, and Prestige.
There is no set menu!
You let the Chef know if you have any allergies or foods you do not eat, and then they create a customized menu based on what is in season.
Every dish is a surprise, which really is a fun way to do it.
We chose to not eat all day, so we could truly enjoy all the courses on the Prestige menu. We have done some tasting menus, where I have to roll myself away from the table.
However, the Prestige Menu was just right. I felt satisfied but not overly stuffed.
Here is what you can expect from this fine-dining French menu with Caribbean flair:
Smoked and marinated tuna in olive oil paired with fennel cream and lemon jelly with Madagascar vanilla and pearled dill milk
Lobster roasted on the plancha with black pepper, cauliflower and coconut emulsion, and cabbage
THE JOHN DORY
John Dory fish roasted in butter and paired with a parsnip puree, sumac fish broth, and confit salsify
Slowly poached confit thigh with hedgehog mushroom and Ivoire sauce
DID YOU KNOW? I first learned that chicken breeds are a big deal when we dined at the 3-star Michelin restaurant The Inn at Little Washington. They house their Red Star chickens in a fancy chicken coop.
Bresse chickens are also kind of a big deal. They are known as the “Queen of Chickens” and are considered the most flavorful, tastiest chickens in the world. It can only be called a Bresse Chicken if it comes from the province of Bresse in France. They command a $50 price tag per chicken. I can vouch they are delicious!
VISIT TO THE KITCHEN
In between the savory and sweet courses, we had a nice “pause” where we were invited to check out the open kitchen. Sabine and Bastian truly have created a beautiful space.
BRIE DE MEAUX
Brie de Meaux served in a warm mousse and walnut chutney
Guavaberry paired with seasonal berries and a crystal consommé flavored with hibiscus and blueberry vinegar
By the way, you will find guavaberry all over the island in the local cuisine (jams, BBQ sauces, etc) and in cocktails. Guavaberry rum is the national liqueur of Sint Maarten. The famous Guavaberry Colada is on a lot of the drink menus.
Carmalized hazelnut and stracciatella
I can assure you this tasting menu tastes just as amazing as it looks.
Even though La Villa Hibiscus is only a few years old, it has already won the Festival de la Gastronomie Saint Martin’s Best Restaurant and Best Hospitality Award for 2021-2022 and the Gourmet Stars category in 2022-2023. Well deserved!
La Villa Hibiscus won the Festival Gastronomie Saint Martin’s Best Restaurant and Best Hospitality Award for 2021-2022
My husband and I are guilty of building a vacation around a foodie experience such as Hisa Franko in Slovenia, The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, and Maido in Peru. If you appreciate amazing food and love your toes in the sand, start planning that vacation around a reservation to La Villa Hibiscus in St. Martin.
Not only will you taste some incredible food, but you will also receive the most genuine, warmest hospitality. That, my friends, elevates a great dining experience to an exceptional one.
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Have you dined at La Villa Hibiscus? Any other favorite St. Martin restaurants?
Let me know in the comments below!