The cuisine on Martinique can be both satisfyingly traditional, with herb seasoned French foods, and also compellingly innovative, with inventive chefs blending European, Asian, and African influences into mouth watering Creole creations.
Long a part of France, Martinique has inherited many things from the nation, including culture and fashion. Perhaps the most notable influence, however, is the love of food and cooking. Traditional French delicacies such as caviar and foie gras are prepared along with steak with a bordelaise sauce (a beef or veal and red wine sauce) and fine French wine. Chef's also get inventive on the island, serving specialties such as octopus and a terrine of boiled calf's head, but there are also a few staples that apeal to a broader audience such as accras de morue, which are deep-fried codfish fritters. This dish is so popular, in fact, that nearly every meal at island restaurants begins with them on your plate. Simultaneously, Creole specialties such as boudin (blood sausage) and calaloo soup, with dasheen leaves, spices, pepper, and crab or chicken enliven the island's refined cooking with a sense of spice and zest.
...Grilled Snapper with Sauce au Chien is the island's national dish.
The island's visitors can find many types of fare, from the prevalent French and Creole, to Chinese, Asian, Moroccan, pizza, and other types of international cuisine prepared by chefs who have come to ply their trade next to some of the best in the world. With lunch and dinner involving such invention and extravagance, most Martiniquais elect to dine simply for breakfast, with normal selections including boiled green bananas, cucumber salad or herring salad, and avocado. Fruit is as popular and as prevalent here as it is on any of the Caribbean islands, and guava, soursop, and passion fruit should all be sampled.
Local and fresh seafood dominates the carte at lunch and dinner, with the popular red snapper a widely used choice. In fact, Grilled Snapper with Sauce au Chien is the island's national dish. The sauce is made of chiva, peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley, and other spices, and served alongside the fish. Other seafood items used include lambi (conch), langouste (lobster), oursin (urchin), blaff (boiled fresh fish), clams, and freshwater crayfish. Among the other popular French dishes that you can sample at local restaurants are escargot and lamb.
Creole cooking has a huge part in the Martinique kitchen, as well. Creole dishes find their influences from African, French, and Indian foods, and can have a kick to them. Some popular Creole dishes include accras, which are fried fish or vegetables; different types of colombo (curried dishes); blaff, which is seafood prepared in seasoned soups; calalloo, an herb porrige; Sauce au chien (dog sauce), is a popular, and hot, island sauce to add to dishes. Chili is an ever present creole favorite, and each meal begins with ti-punch, infused with a good variety of fruits.
The island's latest influx of young chefs has resulted in a whole new spin on Martinique cuisine. These fresh faces work towards creating less-caloric menu options that still offer the same flare and flavor of their heartier cousins. Additionally, locally grown produce is really emphasized in this new style of cooking. Now, visitors can dine on the island, and enjoy food that borders on traditional, without worrying about packing on those extra vacation pounds.
Rum, wine, and champagne are all highly popular on the island. To accompany the refined cuisine, fine French wines can be found at many of the island's haute restaurants. Rum, like in much of the Caribbean, is the drink of choice on the island, and it is enjoyed in many forms; from aged and white, to flavored liqueurs. Ti-punch is a popular drink made of sugarcane syrup and rum, while shrubb is a Christmas drink done with orange rinds, sugarcane, and rum.The locally brewed beer is Lorraine.
The food on Martinique cannot be overlooked. If there is a particular dish or specific type of cuisine you're interested in trying, don't waste any time. By visiting our Restaurant Directory, you can make search restaurants by type of cuisine, to ensure you get exactly what you want. To search restaurants by name, click here.
One of the ways many people choose the restaurants they dine at is by finding locations nearest their hotel. Take a look at any of the island's hotels that interest you at our extensive list (A to Z: Hotels in Detail), and read about the restaurants located within each hotel, as well as other dining options in the surrounding area within a detailed discussion of all that each hotel has to offer. For an overview of Martinique hotels with restaurants on-site, consider visiting the Best Hotels for Dining Options page.
Travelers to Martinique should take time on their travels to sample the variety of culinary styles that present themselves. Whether you relax with a French delicacy, or spice your mouth up with Creole spices and flavors; you are not likely to find yourself disappointed when dining on the island.
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