The hype surrounding our visit to Bonito was palpable. We had been hearing about this restaurant for days leading to our first visit and dinner with good friends. The general feeling from people we talked to leading up to our reservation was that Bonito was not to be missed on a first trip to St. Barths. We were excited, to say the least.
The entrance to the restaurant is on the side of a steep hill on Rue Lubin Brin. There is valet, however, we parked down the hill and walked up. The sense of arrival is memorable. You get the feeling that something amazing is just behind the reception desk and around the corner. And oh my, the restaurant is stunning when you see it for the first time. From the panoramic view of Gustavia harbor, to the white furniture throughout, to the over sized wicker chandelier shades, it's really one of kind in it's lay out and decor. We were seated at a table with views of the harbor. We got there early so as not miss the daytime views of the harbor, and that was a good idea.
We ordered four unique cocktails from their extensive list. We heard about the inventive bar tending at Bonito and the expensive drinks, so our expectations were high. My friend and I had the Smoky Mule with mezcal and orange bitters, which was fantastic. My wife had the Sex in the Bath which comes in a mini bathtub with a small plastic yellow duck and bubbles. A fun drink to no doubt. My friends wife had the La Chicachaca and loved it as it came with a large piece of watermelon in it. All around a good start to dinner. We also ordered a bottle of sancerre, which turned out to be very good.
Dinner for me began with the "minute" smoked scallops which comes out slightly smoked with a lid encasing the smoke that is removed table side. Impressive presentation. The scallops were excellent and not overdone. For my entree I had the spiny lobster risotto which also was very good. Nice amount of lobster and the risotto wasn't too creamy or heavy. Great dish and the portion was just right.
My wife had the Bonito Tacos, which were very good but also a bit spice for her. I believe the pico de gallo had some kick to it, which she was unaware of when ordering.
My friend had the octopus tiradito which was just fantastic. Little potatoes and black olives came with the charred octopus. So good! His wife had the Lomo Saltado which is the Peruvian sliced tenderloin with red onion, potatoe cake and quail egg on top. What a flavorful steak dish! Amazing. This was the star of the dinner.
For dessert we had a trip of sorbets, which all were good. We also had the tres leches cake which was so good. It had meringue and dulce de leche ice cream on it.
Our server was good, if a bit harried. She seemed to be busy and frantic, even though the restaurant wasn't yet that busy. Overall she was good, however and the night went really well.
The restaurant is stylish and casually elegant. The views from the circular area tables in front of the bar are of Gustavia harbor and are just stunning. The bar area sits in the middle of the restaurant and provides a good vantage point for people watching.
The lighting is low in the space and the large wicker chandelier covers create a romantic mood.
We loved Bonito, even if the prices are high. The cocktails are inventive, the food is excellent and nicely presented, and the service is good. Bonito does live up to it's hype for the most part. I would highly recommend at least stopping in for a drink and possibly dinner.
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