The single most common type of restaurant on St. Maarten is Italian, which are everywhere. Often they're owned and operated by native Italians, giving you individual interpretations of many traditional family recipes. What follows are a few of our favorites, in no special order — very different restaurants but all Italian:
Spiga: also described as Ciro's Italian kitchen in Grand Case, Spiga has been around for years and is under the very able ownership/management of chef Ciro Russo and Lara Russo, whose dad is Livio Bergamasco of the former Da Livio Restaurant in Philipsburg; see story #25 . Spiga has a huge new menu and enough variety to suit every taste, from the devout carnivore to devout vegetarian and fishmongers. Ambience, service, creativity, and taste are all top rate; highly recommended.
Daniel's by the Sea: located on Dawn beach in gazebos under palm trees, Daniel's is headed by Daniel Jurczenko — see the story about Da Livio, story 25 . Using family recipes, Daniel's kitchen offers great consistency, homemade pasta, fresh lobster from their own lobster tank, nightly specials, and unmatched Caribbean ambience. Delicious, truly memorable dining by the sea.
Trattoria Pizza Pasta: one of SXM's oldest restaurants, Pizza Pasta was founded more than 20 years ago by Ilde and Dario Figarolo and is now operated by their daughter Selena who hasn't lost a beat in perfectly executing those great recipes that have long made Pizza Pasta one of the island's most popular restaurants. Pizza Pasta is small, so reservations in season are a very good idea. Definitely give it a try. Maho, between Casino Royale and Cheri's.
IZI Ristorante Italiano: In Simpson Bay opposite Pineapple Pete, IZI is a legend operated by the island's most beloved fanatical perfectionist, Davide Foini. The recipes are all his; he overseas everything including the source of all raw materials, sourced internationally; and he makes sure that his standards are met every night. The restaurant serves some of the best food on the island using those unique recipes. The atmosphere is upbeat, bright, and cheery, and the food is outstanding. It's also a great place for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. His brand-new, big 2017 menu is now out — make sure you try one of everything during your next trip. If you're not here long enough to do that, stay longer.