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Best Restaurants...

orlando, FL
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Best Restaurants...

I've done some research and of course opinions vary. We are foodies and love to eat! We like everything from upscale to hole-in-the-wall places. We don't mind spending money on food so long as it's worth it. We love al fresco dining also. So after some research, here are some places we are considering:

Dinner: Bleauwater (we are staying at the Ritz so this is also convenient), Old Farm House and Havana Bleu.

Lunch: The Pie Whole, Twisted Cork

What are your thoughts on these? Would you replace or recommend any others? And why.

Hurley, New York
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1. Re: Best Restaurants...

We were in Frenchtown last week, and had lunch at the Twisted Cork. The food is on the imaginative side, and very good. We thought that although the entrees were priced reasonably, the beverages and desserts were overpriced.

A word on Frenchtown: It's a relatively small area with lot's of "charm" in which little effort has been made to accommodate automobiles. The streets are narrow and poorly paved, Parking (although it exists) is scarce. There are far more signs threatening to tow your car if you are parked improperly, than signs naming streets. As you might expect, there are several excellent restaurants in Frenchtown, among them: Fred's, Epernay, Bella Blu, Piewhole and Oceana.

I would not make my first foray into Frenchtown during darkness. The best directions to the Twisted Cork that I can provide is:

After entering FT, continue straight down the "main drag" to the end, then turn right. Continue until you are convinced that you have done something wrong plus another fifty to a hundred feet. The TC will be on your left.

Steve

Edited: 31 July 2013, 04:57
St. Thomas
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2. Re: Best Restaurants...

Since I have been a daily Frenchtown habitue for 4 decades I feel compelled to offer a differing view from the previous opinion.

The main commercial area of restaurants has normal size paved streets - and the only narrow bumpy part is going out to Oceana. There is a pretty good amount of parking, 2 free public lots and a lot of street parking, [4 restaurants have their own parking lots Hook, Line Sinker, Betsys, Twisted Cork and Oceana ] - streets signs are not a stong point anywhere on STT but a nice "Rue st Barthelmy" sign is posted at the entrance - at the stoplight at the Post Office on Veterans Drive. On nights when there is a ballgame at the Aubain Ballfield parking can be tight but still isn't really difficult if you are patronizing one of the places without their own lot. Going there after dark-- it is very well lit and if the ballfield lights are on it is glaringly bright. It is safe and walkable no matter where you are and has a lot of foot traffic and no speeding cars - the tow trucks seem to do their dirty work in Red Hook and I have rarely even seen one in Frenchtown day or night. It is easy to get a taxi and there is an informal taxi stand in the evening.

All the restaurants are owner operated - except McDonalds - and many have employees who have worked there for years - very few are open on Sunday nights. Most are open for lunch and dinner. It is a common experience to walk around and enjoy stopping in a few places, read the menu, have a glass of wine and sample few different cuisines in the evening. The commercial area is surrounded by residences and has a different feel to it than most STT spots.

The food options vary from Deli sandwiches up to fine dining and features something for every purse or palate.

Hook Line Sinker

Frenchtown Deli

Epernay

Bella Blu

Pie Whole

Betsys

Twisted Cork

Oceana

and if you come into the back by the Cancryn School to the Sandfill -- Enkai --[with their own Parking lot]

I have no idea where "FREDS" is - except for the one in Cruz Bay.

During the day the Museum is open and well worth a visit!

Maybe RL can chime in with some additional info, he is a Frenchtown regular.

orlando, FL
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3. Re: Best Restaurants...

We are thinking Pie Whole and Twisted Cork for lunch after exploring the area.

Any MUST go to restaurants? What are your thoughts on nice romantic restaurants with a great view? Is Old Farm House good?

What are your thoughts on Tavern on the Waterfront? A good dinner spot? How is Fri night Jazz there?

Edited: 31 July 2013, 11:23
Hurley, New York
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4. Re: Best Restaurants...

LS,

I don't know how I included "Fred's". The devil must have been in control of my keyboard!

Thinking about the streets and parking. You are right that the streets are not objectively narrow, but they are narrow for what they attempt to accommodate: generally parked cars on both sides plus a lane of traffic in each direction. I'm not suggesting that it would be practical, but in most places, streets of that width would be either on-way, or at most, parking would be on one side only. We are not strangers to driving on the narrowest streets of lower Manhattan, in a vehicle considerably larger than what we had in FT, and Manhattan's narrow streets are much easier to drive.

As for the pavement, I guess that to both you and I it depends on what we are accustomed to, but I do not consider it up to twentieth century standards.

Concerning the parking, if there is room in the restaurants parking lot, there would be no problem--and I guess that most tourists would be in FT to visit a restaurant. Last week, however, we were there to pick something up at an office, which did not have a parking lot, and had to rely on street parking. which was scarce. Ultimately, we did find a spot s few blocks from our destination. After picking up what we had to, we walked to the TC, and after lunch back to the car. The walk confirmed our opinion of the condition of the paving.

Your directions to the public parking lot represent another problem encountered by tourists: the manner in which the directions are expressed. Here's an example that I encountered:

"Go past where there used to be a big tree, turn right at Mr. ******s' house, and look for the ****** ****** sign.

This, however, is another matter.

Your observation that except for McD's all the restaurants are owner operated is understated . This seems to be true for the entire island. Except for a few fast-food places, there are no "chains". Whether or not this will change, and if it does, whether or not it will prove beneficial, only the future will tell.

Lastly, your comments in general are another example of the problem of postings by experts: because you are so familiar with the area, some of what you posted, although correct in every way, is not extremely useful to a first-time, or infrequent visitor. OK," I would like to have dinner at Enkia, how do I get there?" Just come into the back of FT by the Cancryn School to the Sandfill"

Steve

St Thomas
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5. Re: Best Restaurants...

1ton: If you're a sush fan, Katie at Enkai is wonderfully creative. Everything is so incredibly good that making a choice can be very difficult!

http://www.enkaisushi.com/

It's waterfront with a delightful ambiance and, if you go there for dinner, it's quite a sight to watch the lazily swimming tarpon lit up by the underwater lighting (no, they're not on the menu!).

orlando, FL
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6. Re: Best Restaurants...

We LOVE sushi!!! Thanks for the recommendation. I will check out the website.

St. Thomas
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7. Re: Best Restaurants...

Simple directions to Frenchtown:

From the East -- drive through Charlotte Amalie along the waterfront highway [route 30] and take the 1st possible LEFT - there is a stoplight there.

From the West -- after you pass under the walking bridge over the highway [route 30] headed towards town take a RIGHT at the next stoplight.

Edited: 31 July 2013, 16:19
Hurley, New York
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8. Re: Best Restaurants...

Great, but then what?

Steve

St Thomas
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9. Re: Best Restaurants...

Then you simply continue on that road and you're slap bang in Frenchtown.

Charlotte Amalie...
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10. Re: Best Restaurants...

OT You sure Katie still has Enkai? Lat night I dined at Beni Iguana's,my sushi preference, and my dining companion told me she was gone. There is also sushi at Fish Tails in Red Hook which I haven't tried.

As Local Sailor says, I am a Frenchtown regular. I favor Bella Blu over most. I have reviewed most restaurants there. My guests like Hook, Line, and Sinker, Bella Blu and Oceana. Betsy's works for hole in the wall with good food. The Twisted Cork gets some good reviews but from time to time I hear mixed ones. This is from regulars to me. Bella Blu gets some now as well as they have changed chefs twice but the current one is getting settled in and seems pretty good so far. Epernay always has a decent following and if you can find a seat at Pie Hole, good luck!!

Have also had nice dinners at Old Stone Farmhouse. Mafolie is always good for dinner with a view. Havana Blue, Room With a View, and Banana Tree to name a few others!

RL