If you are staying in this area, there really aren't many restaurant options. You really have to go to the French side for good food. But since we were staying in this remote area, we were so relieved to find Canoa. We are spoiled New Yorkers, and tend to be very critical since restaurants are a way of life in NY. We dined at Canoa once just my husband and I, but then brought our 2 kids and babysitter back a second time in our one week stay in St. Maarten. Great salads. Great fish. Everything is prepared beautifully. The chefs pay attention to detail. I had the grilled grouper. Excellent. My husband and I were able to order their tropical salad, greek salad, and wedge salads between the two nights we dined, and they were all amazing. I really wished they were open for lunch for this reason. I wanted great salads with fresh fish for lunch. Could not find it anywhere in this area. It's all chicken and ribs and heavy caesar salads. When I'm on the ocean, I want fresh fish. There is also this other odd thing happening in this part of the island: Italian food everywhere--really really really bad italian food on every menu. Who wants eggplant parm in the Carribean? Canoa sticks to local fare with a NY flair. I tried the plantain appetizer that everyone raves about.
The only negative statement I'll make (because I would eat here every day of my vacation), is that this app tried too hard. There was a lot going on in this dish between sweet plantains, tangy tomato sauce, salty parmasan cheese, and heavy ground beef. It was so heavy, I was glad I was only having a salad with mahi mahi as my main course (which was perfect). We ate at neighboring restaurants which charged the same as Canoa, but were highly disappointing. Service wise--a little slow. This is not coming from people demanding everything in a new york minute either. Both times I ordered Chardonnay, and both times it was forgotten. The wait staff (although lovely and friendly) are not the most organized. In New York, great restaurants are ALWAYS on top of what you are drinking--eager to get you wine/liquor since these are huge money makers for a restaurant. I was begging for a second glass of chardonnay both visits. I guess you just really have to give in to the whole laid back carribean culture. Eat here. You will not be disappointed!
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