By: Louise Fayet
Sint Maarten's Simpson Bay is a destination in and of itself. The largest inland lagoon in the West Indies, Simpson Bay is known for its grand marina and the plethora of gourmet restaurants that line it.
One of our favorites? The elegant Sale & Pepe!
Welcome to Sale & Pepe
A few steps further inside the restaurant, and its view mesmerizes you.
Sale & Pepe is located on the Skyport marina, perched right over the water. What's also by the water? Simpson Bay's grand mega yachts that line the lagoon.
The main dining room is wrapped with glass doors, allowing for a panoramic view of the dazzling lights in Simpson Bay. Gazing through the windows, it feels like you are dining aboard a luxurious yacht.
With a stunning scene set, let's get to the cuisine!
Meet Chef Davide
Owner and Chef Davide Zagami was born in Catania, Sicily.
From a young age, Chef Davide has lived and breathed everything "culinary."
His parents owned a restaurant in Taormina, Sicily for almost half a decade.
Cuisine is in Chef Davide's roots!
After chatting with Chef about his culinary journey, we were eager to taste his cuisine.
First things first, our cocktails. Our waitress, Scarlet (Chef Davide's wife), brought us our drinks for the night.
Espresso Martinis & Mojito
Along with cocktails, Scarlet placed a basket of sliced baguette and an herb infused olive oil and chili dip on the table.
Toasted Baguette & Dip
This dip was so tasty that I had to ask Chef how he makes it. A secret recipe from his grandmother, this chili sauce takes over 3 hours to produce! Chef Davide proves the old adage, "great things take time." :-)
Appetites whetted, we were ready for starters!From the "Salads" section of the appetizer menu, Sale & Pepe features vegetarian plates, lobster salad with fresh fruit, chicken or prawn caesar salads and...
Toasted baguette is topped with a refreshing diced tomato salsa. FOOD TIP: Scoop a spoonful of chili dip onto your bruschetta. It gives an addictive kick!
Next, options of soups, carpaccio, tartare and a favorite of ours...
A generous serving of the BEST eggplant parmigiana I have ever had! Thinly sliced eggplant is layered with cheese and tomato sauce, and then baked to perfection. Every bite is savory, cheesy delight.
In addition to their regular menu, Sale & Pepe features nightly appetizer specials. Here are two from the evening...
Octopus in Tomato Sauce
Steamed chunks of tender octopus are served in Chef's famous Sicilian red sauce. A true slice of Sicilian cuisine!
Caribbean Crab Cakes
No tinned crab meat here! Local Caribbean crab is minced, packed into palm-sized cakes and pan-fried. Chef serves them on a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes and citrus. Crispy and loaded with fresh flavor, this crab cake is 10/10.
The next section of the menu is the one that is closest to my heart, "The Pastas". Nori and I are huge fans of pasta and Sale & Pepe's selection is seemingly endless!
Options of red prawns in pink sauce, fettuccine carbonara, smoked salmon in cream sauce, lasagna, mixed vegetable pasta, Sicilian sausage with brocoli and...
A heaping serving of mussels, scallops and squid are tossed in your choice of red or cream sauce with spaghetti.
Another favorite from the pastas...
Spaghetti in Ragu Sauce
This is my favorite by far! Chef's homemade ragu is full of authentic flavor. The cherry on top? The large shavings of parmesan. I could not stop eating this dish!
Now, a pasta from the specials for the day.
Chef Davide is skilled in finding the perfect textures and flavors to accompany his seafood. And, he never skimps on the seafood either! For this dish, a large serving of tiny clams is served with linguine and lathered in a rich cream sauce.
Sale & Pepe's pasta options don't end there. Other menu choices include cheese and spinach ravioli, lobster ravioli and mushroom ravioli, gnocchi, risottos and classic pastas of garlic and oil, basil sauce, butter and cheese, and tomato sauce.
Next up? "The Meat" section of the menu.
Chef serves up veal chops, chicken parmigiana, chicken breast in mushroom gorgonzola cheese sauce, rack of lamb, beef tenderloin in peppercorn sauce and...
This steak is a customer favorite, and it is not hard to taste why. A hearty, sumptuous rib-eye cut is served with your choice of peppercorn and mushroom sauce or gorgonzola cheese sauce. Sides include options of fries, baked potatoes, pasta, polenta or vegetables.
Chef's rib-eye is flawless. Cooked to your ideal temperature, the meat simply melts in your mouth. The French fries are the perfect accompaniment to the peppercorn and mushroom sauce. Another 10/10 dish!
Sale & Pepe's menu also features a number of seafood options, including local mahi-mahi, grilled squid, Mediterranean red prawns, salmon, sea-bass, grilled tuna steak, red snapper, grilled seafood "mix" and grilled losbter.
Note: All seafood options can be steamed and served in Chef's Sicilian red sauce, too!
Last but not least? Something sweet. Choose from cannoli, tiramisu, panna cotta, apple pie, baba rum gelato, almond semifreddo, creme brûlée and...
New York-style cheese cake is drizzled with a wild berry sauce and topped with whipped cream.
If you are a chocolate lover, do not miss the...
Mousse al Cioccolato
Oh-so-creamy chocolate mousse comes with a dollop of whipped cream. Chef pairs the chocolate mousse with a berry compote, bringing even more flavor to the dessert. A stroke of genius! Chocolate and berries are a match made in heaven. This dessert is Chef's speciality.
Time and time again, Sale & Pepe always amazes. Its exceptional views of Simpson Bay, its phenomenal Italian cuisine and warm and swift service... Chef Davide and his wife Scarlet make you feel right at home. Sale & Pepe is easily in my top 3 favorite dining spots in all of Sint Maarten. If you are traveling to Sint Maarten, Sale & Pepe should always be on your "to do" list!
See You Soon, Sale & Pepe
Open hours: Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Tel: +(721) 5275019 or (721) 545-0021