We started off our day with a trip to Orient Beach. One thing we’ve noticed in the two times we’ve been to St. Maarten is the traffic is horrendous! If you think St. Thomas traffic is bad a drive around St. Maarten will make you yearn for a trip down waterfront. Traffic is bad until late at night especially in the Simpson Bay area. And they’re not friendly drivers here for sure. No beeping and letting you into traffic like St. Thomas! Although they do like to pass other cars like it’s a sport – much like STT. Another interesting note is that 85% of all rental cars are white in color and mostly Hyundai’s.
There are a lot of scooters and motorcycles here and they drive like complete maniacs. 90% of these morons drive right down the center of the road in heavy traffic:
They come within inches of your car with no fear. I can only imagine how many scooter accidents there are.
We arrived at Orient Beach and decided to lounge at La String Beach Bar. Like St. Thomas the beaches are public so we brought our cooler and a big bottle of Cruzan Dark for the day
Everyone gets a comfy lounge chair, table and umbrella. The cost was $6 each and it came with two free drinks
These little beach bars line Orient Beach which is fun because you can choose a new one everyday if you like.
And they have shops as well. Nicci bought this red paisley wrap:
After a fun day of the beach we came back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for our first upscale dinner at Spiga in Grand Case.
I made reservations at Spiga via email prior to arriving. I let the owner Lara Russo know we run the St. Thomas Blog and that we would be writing a review on all the restaurants we visited. So she was warned
Lara greeted us and sat us at a table for two in the extremely cute Creole House. The restaurant was completely full for our 8:00 reservation. The waitress came over handed us our menu and left. No welcome to Spiga, hi how are you or anything. Then we patiently waited over 10 minutes before she came back. We started joking that maybe she forgot about us. Finally she came back and she said “are you ready to order”? I said could we start with some drinks? She took our drink order and came back within minutes.
We started with the Lobster Ravioli appetizer – for our meals Nicci ordered the Meat Ravioli with a bolognese sauce and I got their house specialty, Tagliatelle with Lobster and Shrimp. Spiga prides itself on their homemade pastas.
Our waitress had the personality of a tomato so we just shrugged her off and enjoyed the dining. The lobster ravioli appetizer was simply amazing. The best I’ve ever had and I’ve eaten to many to count. The freshly made pasta really stood out in this dish. Just scrumptious.
Nicci’s main course was almost as good but she mentioned there was a lot of meat in the dish. I thought it was fantastic.
Here’s my dish:
My dish was very tasty but not as good as the ravioli appetizer or Nicci’s ravioli. But overall it was yummy.
The waitress finally started to warm up to us as the dinner progressed so that was nice.
We ordered the Tiramisu with homemade Espresso ice cream for dessert. The Tiramisu was extremely light, not a traditional type found in a Little Italy (NY) or North End (Boston). I loved it and the ice cream was great as well.
Overall we thought the food was very good. I don’t think the pasta dishes were as good as, say, Romano’s though. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars for food. Service started out rough but got better. It was priced very well with all dishes under $30. Overall I’d recommend Spiga but if we came back I’d probably try another Italian restaurant before I came back for a second visit.
Now for some fun, we headed to Simpson Bay to the Red Piano:
The Red Piano is located at the Pelican Resort. And it’s a piano bar
We got there around 11 ish and Hooker Jones was doling out the cheesy songs you love to hate. When we arrived it was “Dancing Queen”. Do love me some Abba!
Before we had a chance to order our drinks he went into Sweet Caroline – so obviously we were won over (yeah, we know, Red Sox are starting off rough). The bar wasn’t packed, but he plays every night but Monday – so obviously there’s an ebb and flow. He plays until 1am and we stayed until he was through. We had a nice talk with him when he was done. He’s here for 3 or 4 months of the year and then he heads home to London.
It’s a great night out, we’ll be back there a couple of times this week.
Another note on the Red Piano – they have Cruzan rum! Well, it’s single barrel, so fancy (although Nicci had no problem ordering it rum-punch style). Trying to find Cruzan rum on St. Maarten is tough. You’d have better luck scheduling a lunch appointment with Rosemary Sauter.
A great first day on SXM, and Nicci ended it by gulping down her leftover Spiga dish. Yum.