Irie Gardens – Simpson Bay
The Irie Gardens is a Cafe located in the Walter Plantz Square on Front street in Phillipsburg. The restaurants and shops are in little kiosks along the square surrounding the in ground fountain. The food is prepared by the owner and chef, Rosendo who is a long-time vegan. It’s a real family affair as the assistant cook is his brother and their mother is the friendly hostess. Rosendo’s meals express his culinary passion and desire to give his guests a home cooked vegan version of local favorites. The menu is extensive, offering many breakfast, lunch, and dinner standards. We will never turn down anything buffalo style and the Soy Buffalo wing sandwich exceeded our expectations, in fact, we ordered another to take back to the house. Crispy soy chick-un thinly sliced with chili sauce and a mild slaw salad atop. The savory chili sauce tickled my taste buds with delight! It is served on a soft sandwich bun. A favorite for sure!
Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iriegardens/
Little Beirut – 2 locations, main location in Simpson Bay, another smaller location at CupeCoy.
We didn’t come all the way to the Caribbean to eat Lebanese food but since Caribbean fare is primarily meat and shellfish we were very thankful to find this local gem. We ordered the vegan platter of hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, and a side of stuffed grape leaves. My husband Alan, the tabouleh connoisseur especially liked that their tabouleh is prepared with more parsley than bulgur wheat. There is a modest balance of tangy citrus from the juiced lemon, herbs compliments of the parsley, and ripe, sweet tomatoes brought it home! My favorite is the Lebanese lentil soup that was included with our meal. It contains just the right amount of authentic Lebanese spices and is topped with crumbled pita chips. The pita chips are probably lightly seasoned so if your palate is overwhelmed by ethnic spices, you may want to ask for the chips on the side. Seriously, I’d return just for the soup…and I did! And of course the platter is served with plenty of pita bread. The service was friendly and the meal was served in a timely manner. Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Little-Beirut-SXM-587341028122073/
The Natural Cafe – French side of the island but close to Dutch side.
It’s not easy to find good, clean food anywhere on the Island of Saint Maarten/Sint Marten and now your search is over! The Natural Cafe serves up organic, locally sourced wholesome food and fresh pressed juices. Even the indoor/outdoor seating is natural and “zen like.” We ordered sandwiches and wraps which were served with fresh fruit, in our case it was a slice of cantaloupe, and their signature lentil salad. The tofu in the Le tomato tofu Sandwich, I ordered it as a wrap, is pared with a vegan pesto that will have you craving more long after you’ve left the Island. Moist, firm tofu sautéed in pesto with a hint of basil made my first bite feel like the skies opened and welcomed me to Heaven! Absolutely delicious. We returned the following day…more please! We also ordered the Green Juice which was light and refreshing during the humid Summer climate.
Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Natural-Café-1703332453241437/