Maya’s Restaurant, in St. Barths, overlooking Gustavia Harbour, is an iconic restaurant that has been open for 33 years and is still one of the islands most popular restaurants. Chef Jean George Vongerichten has called her “the best cook on the island” and I couldn’t agree more. But what makes your dining experience even more special is the warm welcome and graciousness from everyone we encountered there. Soft background music, peaceful, casual, off the beaten path, and home-style, simply prepared, excellent food are some of the reasons people continue to flock here year after year.
Located on a cheerful dock, this open-air beachfront restaurant is decorated with round tables and brightly colored deck chairs, palm-fringed, and island breezes surround you. Although dishes may sound unfussy on this small, constantly changing menu, everything we ordered was cooked to perfection. I just may have had the best Dover sole of my life. The tomato salad was topped with perfectly ripe and fragrant mango. Also the best I’ve ever had. The shrimp, the crab salad, and every other dish was the freshest. They pride themselves on getting market produce shipped in daily.
Maya is the chef, she was born in Martinique, grew up in Guadeloupe and was schooled in France. Her husband Randy was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Massachusetts. He runs the front of the house. They keep things simple and clean. There are five or six appetizers, three salads, a ceviche, a daily soup, the mains have some fresh fish, seafood a chicken, beef or lamb. All the mains come with rice and vegetables. That is something that you don’t see much of anymore and it is surely welcomed. The desserts are chocolate cake, orange cake and coconut tart, as well as homemade sorbets and ice cream. We had one of everything and we enjoyed each glorious bite.
Creole style food made with fresh ingredients and cooked simply. It is always a highlight of our visit to St. Barth’s. Open only for dinner, Maya’s continues to remain an institution.