Those of us who have been coming to St. Barth for years and years (I am celebrating 30 years since I first discovered this island in 1986) remember the little quaint “case” in the heart of Gustavia where owner Adam Rajner had his expensive, but excellent Le Sapotillier restaurant. It was so named because those of us who dined in the garden sat under a huge Sapotillier tree that towered up into the moonlit sky. During that period of time, there were no retractable roofs and I don’t remember it ever raining while we were there; besides, Steve and I chose to dine on the porch/mezzanine of the “case”, anyway.
The sommelier at the time was one of our very favorite people, Manu, who now owns the Santa Fe restaurant in Lurin. The only thing that bugged me about dining at Le Sapotillier was when we asked for “l’addition”, the bill only said “drinks”. They were never itemized and therefore, our check was always much higher than we had anticipated. We kept going back anyway because the food and ambiance made for a lovely evening out.
Eventually, Adam decided to sell the restaurant. A young couple took over but were unsuccessful. Several other people gave it a shot, namely B-4, Océan and Avventura. None survived for very long. Well, I am pleased to let you know that Orega restaurant is knocking everyone’s socks off with its outstanding cuisine, attentive staff and an upgraded décor. The Sapotillier tree is long gone, but the garden tables are open to the sky and there is a retractable roof, just in case.
Greg Ortega and his wife Kate Kova are co-owners of both Orega restaurant where Greg is hands-on and Ortega Art Gallery which is across the street and is where you will find artist Kate. The restaurant explains the concept as, “The OREGA Team has come together to create an exceptional dining experience, which combines authentic, quality ingredients with impeccable service in a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. OREGA creates a fusion experience with Japanese and French cuisine that offers both classic and unique dishes exquisitely prepared and presented for your dining pleasure. Our team is passionate about cooking artistry and will assuredly make you fall in love with OREGA.”
I have already dined there a half dozen times and have never been disappointed. We always start with Edamame while we decide which appetizer to share and what each of our main courses will be. I have a tendency to order something, fall in love with it and keep ordering it again. So much so that our waiter Max (formerly at Le Carré) correctly guesses that it will be the Caribbean Treasure, Orega’s version of Spiny Lobster Ravioli with mushrooms and bisque and has already chilled a bottle of Sancerre Blanc, my favorite wine.
Steve, on the other hand, loves to try different things and raved about their Wagyu Gyoza, a Japanese ravioli with braised beef, mushrooms and katsuboshi. The lamb chops were delicious as well.
We always share an appetizer and the Orega variety of Tuna Tataki is outstanding. Steve is a chocoholic as well as a lover of lemon flavors. Their Chocolate Bomb dessert with vanilla ice cream, angel cake and berries (with two spoons, of course) satisfied his chocolate craving one evening and the Tarte Yuzu Meringuée (a Japanese lemon tart topped with Italian meringue) was savored on another evening. Both are out of this world.
Open for dinner 6:30-10:30 (Closed Tuesdays). Reservations are a must. We are happy to make them for you, our St. Barth Properties’ clients.