This was our 9th visit to St. Barths, and we have sampled most of the better restaurants that have come and gone over the years. This one is a stand-out that we've visited every year since it opened, it's still our very favorite, and it is clearly here to stay.
The cuisine is authentic Italian, expertly prepared and served by Italians living on this French island, and it is better than a lot of the restaurants we've dined in in Italy.
The menu is an extensive list of classic Italian dishes that cannot be called "the usual fare" because of the original take the chef has on so many of the recipes.
You can tell these chefs love to cook and that their sauces must have simmered for hours to have such depth of flavor.
The food is amazingly fresh with high-quality ingredients, well-flavored, but never over-the-top.
The pasta is homemade, and the raviolis are stuffed with exquisite fillings, topped with outstanding sauces. This time I had the veal-stuffed raviolis (so tender and delicious) in a sublime mushroom sauce (see photo).
The beef tartar (see photo) is the best I've ever had, freshly hand chopped and infused with amazing flavor from high-quality olive oil, herbs and seasonings.
I went for the Vitello Tonnato appetizer (see photo) instead of an entree this time, and it was plenty to eat and the best version of this recipe I've ever had - thinly sliced cold veal lightly dressed in the creamy-textured tuna sauce - so so good!
My husband this time had the grilled vegetables (see photo) and the Chicken Romano, which was a special, (see photo) and he loved both.
The fish is always fresh and prepared in styles ranging from classic to inventive.
The veal dishes are outstandingly done.
The sides are simple but excellent.
The wine list is full of delicious selections, and the cocktails are done just right.
This time we even indulged in dessert, a trio of excellent gelatos (lemon, mango, and passionfruit) with a delicious dipping sauce (see photo)- outstanding, as expected.
We love L'Isola for the food as well as the excellent, friendly waiters that give the place such panache. Their English is fluent, they patiently explain the menu selections, they keep an eye on your water and wine glasses, and they bring everything out hot and fast.
Some reviewers complain that L'Isola is too expensive. Well, it is expensive, but not too expensive by St. Barths standards, especially because of the high-quality and generous portions of food and drink.
I think this place tops them all on St. Barths, and it is really worth the indulgence.
(If you need to counter balance your budget to indulge at L'Isola, try having an inexpensive dinner another night at Les Bananiers over near Flammands. It's terrific and cheap!)
My only complaint about L'Isola is that despite air conditioning, it tends to be quite warm in the dining room, whether in summer or winter, so dress lightly.
From the first bite of the fried polenta sticks they bring for an amuse-bouche, to the tiny shot glasses of sambuca or flavored rum they bring with your check, you'll savor every moment!
It says something that every Frenchman on this island we ask for a restaurant recommendation says "L'Isola", doesn't it? ; )
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.