LA CALIFORNIA ★★★★☆
CA FO SU R AL LU C RE RES IND VI TA A’S EW U RA NT
Casual Restaurant Review, Grand Case, St. Martin
Just the Facts Price Level: $$$ Restaurant Category: Casual Meals Served: Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner Location: 134 Grand Case Boulevard Phone: 0590 87 55 57
Website: La California Credit Cards: Visa Currency: 1 Euro = 1 Dollar Outdoor seating: Overlooking beach Parking: Nearby lot Good for: Kids, Groups Other info: Open 365 days a year
Pros Delicious, local French mussels with island zest, or try their thin crust pizzas Beautiful, mellow place overlooking the beach and sunset 1 Dollar = 1 Euro! Tasty ice cream drink concoctions
Cons Service attentiveness only so-so
Overall Rating ★★★★☆ After hearing rave reviews from other travelers for their mussels and pizzas, we hit La California for lunch to check what all the fuss was about. Having spent the late morning lounging on the beach in front of Le Petit Hotel, we simply walked down the beach and up the stairs to La California’s open patio. We dipped our sandy feet in their handy little tub of rinse water, and sat down for a lovely meal. Lured back with the promise of tasty thin crust pizzas on our second trip, we dipped our entire bodies in the warm Caribbean waters before we wandered up for a light lunch.
Food at La California Open continuously from lunch thru dinner, which is hard to find outside the lolos, so if you're looking for food at 3 or 4pm, this is a great place to head
La California ! Best moules frites in Grand Case Turns out the rumors are true: La California is the place to go for mussels in Grand Case. Their menu listed at least a dozen different enticing preparations, but in the end, I decided to go with the traditional moules provencale. They were excellent, as were the requisite frites, a critical component of French mussels in my experience. With a light white wine sauce, replete with garlic and other goodies, the mussels were a perfect light meal on a hot day, especially when paired with a crisp, chilled glass of sauvignon blanc. Steve went the other route: pizza and Carib beer. When asked to describe his pizza, he replied “same.” In other words, exactly up to par with the the other tasty thin crust delicacies we had been experiencing for six weeks. Nothing to sniff at.
Relaxation ★★★★★ Fun
Innovation ★★★☆☆ Display
When my mom and I returned to partake in the Atmosphere thin crust pizzas after a morning of running Views ★★★★★ around the island, we were relieved to find they were just as tasty as ever. The crust is paper-thin. Decor ★★★☆☆ Ingredients fresh. Sauce piquant (hot pepper oil) Comfort ★★★★☆ added a splash of spice. My “Reine” pizza was decorated with small strips of ham, chopped Noise ★★★★☆ mushrooms and olives. They could have left the pizza in for one more minute, just enough to brown the cheese, but then it would have risked the perfect golden doneness of the crust. My mom’s “Antillaise” pizza had some of the freshest, tastiest pepperoni I’ve had in a long time, complete with that zing of spice. Looking at their menu, they also have an extensive offering of crepes. I’m bummed I didn’t try them while I was there – love me some crepes! – but the pizzas were so filling we couldn’t eat another bite. We definitely could have split one for a light lunch. !The pizzas ran around 14 euros each, and with a 1:1 Euro to Dollar exchange, you cannot complain.
Thin crust pizzas: You can’t go wrong with the thin crust pizzas - they are amazing. Try it with the spicy oil...
While Steve and I were leisurely sipping our standard white wine and Carib on our first visit, we observed a crazy concoction of ice cream and alcohol walk by to another table. Chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and obviously some tasty rum were involved. When we inquired of our waiter about this magical tasty treat, he brought us over a small glass to sample. It was the leftover bit, and I suspect he had his own eye on it, so I give him props for sharing. It was phenomenal. Not what you would go for if you wanted to get drunk – it was as filling as an ice cream sundae – but perfect as a little dessert to finish up our meal.
Atmosphere at La California All day dining tip: Very few restaurants in GC are open continuously from lunch thru dinner. If you find yourself on the beach, having snoozed right thru the lunch hour, La California is your place for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
La California is one of those fortunate Grand Case restaurants located directly above the beach. As I said, we walked straight up the beach stairs, directly onto their spacious balcony overlooking, well, everything. They don’t bother with windows or doors, just put up a railing and a roof to provide some shade, and Bob’s your uncle. The wicker chairs may not look comfortable, but they were actually OK. Though La California didn’t actually remind
Scent of the Isles: Don’t forget your bug spray, ever! Luckily most restaurants will “loan” you some.
me of California – I’m unclear as to why that is the name, and the irony is that they write “French and Italian Cuisine” directly on the sign – it was certainly a perfect example of island decor. Bright red, with zen accents. Embrace the beauty all around you, and the colors of the tropics, and you can’t go wrong. At least not too wrong. When my mom and I went there for a pre-dinner drink one evening, we were fortunate to get there right at golden hour, as the sun was preparing to set. Leisurely sipping our sauvignon blanc, we were able to capture stunning sunset photos as some kids eked out the last of the daylight frolicking on the beach. Spectacular. So if you arrive early in Grand Case for your gourmet meal, stop by La California to get your aperitif and sunset fix. They’ve also got free Wifi, and a cute little Zen boutique shop.
Service at La California As I mentioned, I give the waiter major props for bringing us the ice cream cocktail leftovers. Tasty. Definitely got him a big tip. Beyond that, the service was
La California !
California pizzas? Random California naming convention aside, this extensive menu of tasty thin crust pizzas hits about twelve spots.
fine, nothing more, nothing less. They didn’t neglect us per se, but we had more than enough time to casually linger with our drinks, watching the shadows get long on the beach. We haven’t been there when it’s been crowded, but during a slow time, they were similarly paced. I will say during prime lunch time, they were speedier and more on the ball. When we had our aperitif, they were kind enough to provide “Off” spray to my mom who hadn’t yet grown accustomed to dousing herself before every outing... a necessity I recommend regardless of your destination, especially if you are like my mom, a particularly tasty morsel for the Industrial Strength Mosquitos.
Bottom Line Casual aperitif or dinner watching the sunset... midafternoon snacks... delicious mussels... or just craving those tasty thin crust pizzas, La California is a great bet. I have already made plans to try those ice cream drink concoctions on my next trip, along with their extensive crepe menu.
ABOUT LUCINDA’S LIST In Fall 2009, my husband Steve and I thought we had it all figured out. Beautiful house in Berkeley, CA, the requisite yellow lab, great technology careers... and I was pregnant. But when the fourth miscarriage hit in December, we were heartbroken. We needed time to heal. A break. From everything. We decided to go to St. Martin, and after an incredible six weeks, it inspired us to change our lives. The people we met, the experiences we had, the living in the moment, the food we ate... we were forever changed. And we wanted to share what we found with others. So instead of returning home to our old lives, we decided to take our Silicon Valley knowledge to help create a community of people who love the Caribbean. We figured something special was bound to come out of bringing together
people who shared this special experience.
Two months later, we’re already the largest St. Martin fan page on Facebook - 25,000+ fans and growing! - and already we’re discovering the value of bringing people together. We’re not only working on GUIDEBOOK COMPANY
publishing the kind of in-depth reviews of our favorite destinations that we wish we’d found when we were researching, we’re hoping the size of our fan base will attract group discounts for all of us. Stick around, there’s so much goodness for St. Martin - and other islands yet to come! The result? beautiful property, immaculately maintained andbecome managed...one and if Ayou aren’t already a fan, click here to
Oh, and one last note... we need to o!er up a brief legal disclaimer. Although all details in this document are based on information supplied to us or gathered by us at press time, changes occur all the time in the travel world, and Lucinda’s List cannot accept responsibility for facts or circumstances that become outdated or for inadvertent errors or omissions. So always confirm information when it matters. If we have missed anything, please let us know on our fan page!
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Best thin crust pizza in St. Martin, and that is saying something! They also have fabulous mussels w/ french fries. If you're looking for a...