Martinican cuisine is a vibrant blend of the cultures that make up the island—African, French, South Asian, and Creole. As such, the food culture in Martinique combines numerous spices and distinct flavors that make it stand out. Creole cuisine is what locals eat daily and their delicacies contain elements of several different cultural influences to create unique, flavorful dishes that stand out during a French West Indies trip. Here are some must-have bites to try on your next trip.
Boudin—a traditional blood sausage—is a part of Martinique's classic cuisine and is commonly served as an appetizer. You will see two versions: boudin blanc and boudin creole. Boudin blanc is made from seafood like prawns, sea conch, and fish while boudin creole is typically made with pork, pig's blood, along with various spices. You can expect even more of the sausages during the winter as a popular Christmas food item.
Le Barracuda is a beachside restaurant known for its down-home style, traditional dishes in Martinican cuisine. They are known for their fresh boudin creole served on a baguette.
Chatrou (octopus) is an everyday treat you will see on restaurant menus across Martinique that tastes best served in two types of dishes. The first way is fricassée de chatrou, a traditional octopus stew made with a blend of spices in addition to lemon, onions, and tomatoes. The second way is served as ragout de chatrou, a rice dish with lentils, chopped yams, and a side of beans that is a popular option for takeout for a quick meal on the go.
La Luciole is a casual eatery located in Fort-de-France that is a great option where you can also get some of the best fricassée de chatrou around.
Accras de Moure
When in Martinique, it is impossible to go anywhere and not see someone selling these fritters for a quick bite. This appetizer is commonplace in most Caribbean countries with their recipe. In Martinique, they are called accras de moure, usually filled with salt fish fried in batter. You can find them everywhere around the island, from restaurants and street vendors in the streets of Fort-de-France, but Mama's Snack in the Fort-de-France spice market sells delicious fritters for around 5 euros to enjoy for lunch or a quick appetizer.
Lambis, also known as conch or sea snail, is a seafood delicacy known around the island and seen throughout Caribbean cuisine. Conch can be enjoyed in several ways, but one of the most frequent dishes you will see is conch stew.
Le Bambou is a popular restaurant by the botanical gardens that attracts its fair share of tourists. It's also one of the best places to try the conch stew before you go back on your tour.
Blanc Manger Au Coco
Blanc manger au coco is a popular Martinican dessert that you will frequently see in restaurants and small bakeries. Similar to the French dish of blancmange, the sweet creation is made from a thick paste of honey, coconut milk, and vanilla powder that is served cold with a side of fruits or almonds.
Chez Tante Arlette is a small traditional Creole restaurant inside a family-run hotel. Their meals offer the best look of true Martinican cuisine and their blanc manger au coco is the perfect end to your meal.
Seafood is prevalent around the island, and one of those delicacies that are famous among locals is the stuffed crab. Stuffed crabs (crabe farci) are a popular carry-out dish that can be enjoyed on the go or in a casual restaurant served as an appetizer. The plate is usually served in a plastic shell with a mixture of flavors that will warm your tastebuds without overwhelming. Zanzibar Restaurant is a trendy restaurant and bar that served great cocktails alongside tasty appetizers. Their stuffed crabs are one of the best items to start your meal
Grilled Sea Bream (Doradé Grille)
Sea bream (doradé) is very common throughout Martinique, so you can expect to see it on the menu in most restaurants. Typically the fish is grilled on a charcoal grill and is served with rice, potatoes, or salad marinated in basic seasonings with lime juice. Ti Sable has some of the best seafood on the island and is one of the premier dining establishments situated on the beach, so it's no surprise that it would also be one of the best places to enjoy the grilled fish in true style.
Colombo is an iconic Martinican dish and is a must-have to try while on your vacation. The curry-based delicacy is rooted in the island's strong Indian and Hindu community. The dish can be made with different meats, with chicken or lamb Colombo being the most common. The meat is typically served with rice, stewed beans, lentils, plantains, and vegetables in a curry sauce. For an excellent meal of chicken colombo, head to L'embarcadère by the marina. It's one of the best spots on the island to try the traditional meal with views of the water.
Barbecue specialties are in abundance throughout the Caribbean and you'll often encounter scenes of small clouds of smoke from a charcoal grill with an assortment of vegetables and meats. A staple on Martinican menus, smoked chicken (poulet boucané) is grilled chicken with sugarcane syrup to create a tasty combination of savory and sweet. Pam Snack is a well-known outdoor vendor where people come from all around the island to grab some takeout.
Homemade Sorbets & Ice Creams
There's nothing better than a cold refreshment on a hot, sunny day, and while in Martinique, you have to sample a homemade sorbet and ice creams. While you can get ice cream almost anywhere, Martinique is known for its local makers and delicious creations. You can expect to see flavors like sugar cane, cassava, lychee, rum banana, and passion fruit. Ziouka Glaces in Sainte-Pierre is known for homemade sorbets and ice creams sourced locally by the chef and owner.