SMALL BITE: Ocean Lounge Bar & Restaurant is one of the great secrets in Philipsburg on the island of St. Maarten. This open-air restaurant, literally steps from the beach, serves up some of the freshest seafood in town, wrapped around European and Caribbean flavors. It’s as if the fish jumped out of the adjoining ocean and right onto your plate — it’s THAT fresh! The restaurant is located inside Holland House Beach Hotel, a welcome respite from the busy shops and bustle of tourists. Duck in for a bite. You may never want to leave. Unless, of course, you have to get back on the cruise ship, parked in the distance, in perfect sight right from your table.
SIGNATURE DISH: Anything that comes from the ocean is a good bet. Start with Tuna Sashimi, King Crab Legs or Smoked Salmon Gravlax (below). The Lobster Soup Royale is a must-try. And for dinner, the Seared Salmon in a Chorizo Crust or the Char-Grilled Mahi-Mahi is off the hook — literally!
DISH FROM DINERS: “We had a great dinner at Ocean Lounge. We enjoyed the specials menu with shrimp and seafood risotto. Loved the open-plan lobby, bar, lounge and restaurant. Definitely worth a return visit.” AND: “SO very good for lunch and dinner. Beautiful setting away from maddening crowds of day-trippers. Reminds me a bit of South Beach in Miami.” AND:“The service was excellent and the menu had plenty of options. I had the Cuban sandwich which was really good. The view was so lovely and breezy I ordered another glass of wine and relaxed.” FOOD FOR THOUGHT: After lunch or dinner, rent some beach chairs at the beach bar and get a front-row seat to the beautiful Caribbean. For just $20, you’ll get three chair rentals for the day and three sodas in an ice bucket. The view of turquoise-dense water is definitely worth the price of admission!
HOURS: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week
For reservations, call: 721-542-2572
ABOUT HOLLAND HOUSE BEACH HOTEL: This boutique hotel is the closest you can get to the Caribbean without being in it — just a one-minute walk from the beach. It has earned Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence four years in a row! The hotel offers spacious rooms with 30-inch flat-screen cable TVs, and Captain Hodge Pier is a seven-minute drive away. Rooms feature Caribbean décor, a refrigerator and air-conditioning. Ocean view rooms available and guests can listen to Caribbean reggae or European music at the Lounge.