Irie Gardens St Martin is a vegetarian restaurant in the popular Caribbean town of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. I’ve spent a long time on this island and still don’t fully understand the differences between St/Sint/Saint Martin/Maarten. So please bare with me. Philipsburg is located on the Dutch side of this dual-country island. If you are arriving to St. Martin by cruise ship, you will be let out into Philipsburg. There are countless bars and restaurants lining the streets of this historic town. Irie Gardens is located directly downtown Philipsburg. This was one of the only vegetarian specific restaurants I could find on the island. Enjoy this Irie Gardens St Martin vegan review!
Irie Gardens is a 100% authentic Caribbean experience. The cuisine at Irie Gardens is classic Caribbean dishes with Cajun spices and Creole influences. I found the menu to be somewhat confusing, if I’m being honest. They advertise themselves as a vegan/vegetarian restaurant but the menu doesn’t really specify which is which. But there certainly was plenty of great food to choose from.
The restaurant itself is very cute, sitting along an outdoor shopping venue. Depending on whether you come to the restaurant on a cruise day, you might have the place all to yourself or it’ll be very crowded. I recommend walking around Philipsburg and seeing all the sights, then coming to Irie Gardens for lunch. The location is very convenient downtown.
Like I said earlier, I found the menu at Irie Gardens to be very confusing. So, they are advertised as a vegan/vegetarian restaurant but there are many seafood items on the menu. When our server introduced herself, she told us that Irie Gardens is a vegetarian restaurant. So I’m assuming the seafood dishes were vegetarian versions of seafood. I still found it to be confusing overall though. Also the dishes were not labeled for what was vegan vs. vegetarian. So we just ordered and this what we ended up with, although I couldn’t tell you on the menu what we ordered.
This appetizer was a fake meat chicken tender styled dish. Again, I couldn’t tell you where on the menu I ordered it from. I just ordered something and it showed up lol. Whatever this was made of, it was absolutely delicious. I’m assuming this is some form of soy protein that was breaded and fried. The fake tenders were served with a barbeque sauce. Highly recommend this appetizer!
For one of the main dishes, we ordered this vegan lentil paella. A paella is a traditional spiced Spanish rice. This particular dish was delicious, albeit very simple. The lentils were cooked in some local Caribbean spices. The paella had a very local flair to it as well. All this was served with a small side salad. The prices here are very reasonable, around $8-12 USD for an entree.
For the second and best entree, we ordered this roasted plantain stuffed with spiced lentils and cheese. This is definitely the best thing we ordered at Irie Gardens. Nothing says Caribbean more than some plantains. For those not familiar, plantains are in the same family as bananas with a firmer texture. I believe the spice on the lentils was the same as the previous dish. I loved this dish even as simple as it was.
Overall, I really liked Irie Gardens St Martin. I really felt like I was getting an authentic Caribbean experience. The flavors and local ingredients used at this restaurant made for a wonderful meal served by lovely people. My partner enjoyed his meal as well, but thought it was slightly underwhelming. Of course, we could have simply ordered more simple dishes, but the rest of the menu is super exciting. Sometimes you don’t need to have an impossible burger or anything fancy. Just some good local styled food. Either way I loved the Caribbean flavors and highly recommend Irie Gardens to anyone visiting the area!
Thank you all for checking out this Irie Gardens St Martin vegan review. Also, if you enjoyed the content, be sure to follow me on social media to stay updated on all of my latest content and travels!