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“Best restaurant on St. Barths”
Review of L'Isola

L'Isola
Ranked #3 of 71 Restaurants in Gustavia
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed July 11, 2013

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? ; )

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1  Thank Cindy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 24, 2013

Italian food done right, with very fresh ingredients and culinary precision. I went here twice during my visit to St. Barths. I had a lobster pasta the first time and the rack of lamb the 2nd. The lamb was great and the only way to make it better is to source it from New Zeland. The highlight of the meal was the panna cotta with berries, which blew me away. I made sure I ordered it again on the second meal.

Once inside this restaurant, you could be anywhere in the world which could be a good thing if you've been in St Barts many days or a bad thing if you wish to dine looking at the sea. I enjoyed it.

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Thank LRG_br
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2013

Everything about this place was special. We didnt have reservations but the staff welcomed us and we were seated within minutes. The service was perfect and the food is legit some of the best Italian we have had. During busy season, I am sure it is very hard to book so plan ahead and get a reservation on the books.

Thank wendiNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of dining at L'isola in St. Barths. In an old interesting building on the edge of town, one walks up a flight of stairs to find a dark, candlelit and romantic restaurant. Even though we were there off season, we were lucky to have a reservation as we watched others being turned away. It didn't take long to understand the crowds. The food was divine. Each dish was simply prepared but from the finest ingredients. The pasta was cooked to perfection. The artichokes fried lightly. I savored every bite. The sommelier helped us choose a delicious and moderately priced wine. If we could have gotten reservations we certainly would have gone back for a second meal during our vacation. Don't miss it but make your reservations far in advance.

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Thank GuiniK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013 via mobile

So dissatisfied - everything was rushed - no working toilets. The food was sub par at best. We spent over $ 350 Euros for 4. We will never get that rushed hour and a half back - don't go.

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Thank KO2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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