Required Eating: 7 Dishes Not to Miss in Martinique

From salted cod fritters and spicy avocado salad to langoustines and lamb curry, here’s the food and drink to try for the full island experience.

Required Eating: 7 Dishes Not to Miss in Martinique

Le Petitbonum may be famous for its views, but come here for the langoustines in vanilla sauce.

Courtesy of Le Petitbonum

The eastern Caribbean island of Martinique boasts decidedly unique cuisine. Food here features a blend of Caribbean, African, and French ingredients, plus South Asian spices for even more global impact. European cooking techniques add extra flair to local dishes, with the result being an unexpected—yet delicious—take on Caribbean staples.

The dining scene is equally exciting, with everything from beach shacks and roadside stands to cafés and gourmet restaurants serving an adventurous range of flavors and preparations. Whether you’re in the mood for a simple snack or a fancy meal, you can expect to be wowed by Martinique’s one-of-a-kind fare.

Read on for seven must-try dishes in Martinique and where to find them next time you’re on the island.

Accras at Chez Carole

Full of vibrant colors and scents, the Grand Marché Couvert in Fort-de-France provides a true taste of Martinique. When you visit, walk past dazzling displays of local ingredients like colombo curry powder and long cassava tubers to the back of the market for the most delicious offering. Here, you’ll find an open kitchen and a smattering of small, cloth-covered tables and plastic chairs. Don’t be fooled by the simple setup, however, as Chez Carole serves some of the best Creole food in Martinique. Everything on the menu is great, but the standout item is the accras, or salted cod fritters, which arrive at your table in a stack of golden-brown goodness, with toothpicks for easy eating. Flavored with onions and Caribbean spices, they’re the perfect appetizer or snack with a cold bottle of the local beer, Biere Lorraine.

Grilled octopus at Galanga Fish Bar

Octopus (or chatrou) is a popular dish in Martinique, most often served in a hearty fricassee of tomatoes, onions, and spices. But at Galanga Fish Bar in Fort-de-France, it typically comes grilled to perfection and plated with a medley of local vegetables such as sweet potatoes for an explosively fresh flavor. Galanga’s menu changes weekly but there’s usually some version of octopus available—and you won’t want to miss it, whatever it is.

Spicy avocado salad at Ti Sable

Located on the south coast of Martinique, Ti Sable sits on the pristine strip of pearly sand known as Grand Anse d’Arlet and attracts a stylish local crowd that loves to lounge on the breezy terrace. Beyond gorgeous views, the waterfront restaurant also offers a sublime version of the traditional Martinican dish fe’roce d’avocat (spicy avocado salad), which involves an avocado shell stuffed with a creamy mixture of salted cod, cassava, avocado, and chile peppers. The spice cuts the richness of the avocado, making for the perfect snack while relaxing on the beach.

Langoustines in vanilla sauce at Le Petitbonum

Seafood and beautiful vistas are mainstays at restaurants across Martinique, but few are quite as remarkable as those at Le Petitbonum, run by the charming chef Guy Ferdinand. The French Caribbean spot, located on a small beach on Martinique’s northern coast, serves gourmet fare and scenic views of Mount Pelée, but you’re coming here specifically for the grilled langoustines in delicate vanilla sauce. The dish, made with local ingredients, features a surprising combination of savory, salty, and sweet that’s as singular as the restaurant itself.

Colombo at Carte Blanche

A traditional spice blend found at markets all over Martinique, colombo is a fragrant mixture of turmeric, brown mustard seed, coriander, thyme, bay leaf, chile peppers, and black peppercorn. Colombo can also refer to a classic Martinican curry made with lamb, coconut milk, ginger, and those same spices—a delicious representation of Caribbean, French, and Eastern flavors. Find an inventive take made with lots of fresh vegetables at Carte Blanche in the seaside resort town of Trois-Îlets (noted as the birthplace of Josephine Bonaparte). If you can, get a table on the leafy terrace.

Foie gras with caramelized bananas at Brédas

Take a trip into the lush landscape of Martinique’s interior for dinner at Brédas, an acclaimed restaurant in Saint-Joseph featuring Creole and French classics with a modern twist, plus a lovely, foliage-covered terrace. The signature dish here is the foie gras, which chef Brédas accents with caramelized green bananas, pineapple, and rum. The rich, sweet flavors will haunt your dreams long after you’ve returned home.

Ti punch at Chill

In Martinique, no cocktail is as essential to the cultural fabric of the island as Ti punch, a simple combination of rhum agricole, lime, and sugarcane syrup. It’s the national drink, and practically everyone has their own recipe for the ultimate version. Indeed, many Martinican bars provide their customers with the raw ingredients so they can mix the cocktail to their personal tastes. At Chill, a chic bar and restaurant located on Plage Diamant (Martinique’s longest beach), Ti punch isn’t even on the extensive specialty cocktail menu, but that doesn’t matter. Ask for it and you’ll be presented with an expertly blended rum libation that tastes as smooth as the waves gently lapping at the sand.

>>Next: The AFAR Guide to Martinique

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