Iguane Cafe

(St. Francois)


Date of Review: March 1999
Reviewer: Turek

Having just returned from a two-week trip to Guadeloupe, I feel it's very
important to update your review of The Iguane Cafe in St. Francois. We had
what we thought was one of the best, if not the best meal of our trip there
(and we did eat at such stellar places as Chateau de Feuilles -- which was
marvelous -- and the restaurant at Plantation Ste-Marthe -- where the service
was truly awful, and the food just so-so.)

The service at Iguane was excellent -- it was very crowded and we had no
reservations, but they found a delightful table for us anyway. We were
obviously American, and speak very little French, but no one seemed to mind.
In fact, everywhere in Guadeloupe, including Marie-Galante and Les Saintes, we
found people friendly, and very accommodating to our French-speaking
limitation. (I would note, though, that we did try very hard to communicate
with the little French we know.)

The food at Iguane was exceptional, arrived in a very reasonable amount of
time, and we did not find the prices out of line with any of the other
restaurants we tried. (La Louisiane was another fine dining experience, with
similar service and prices.)

We also thought the ambiance at Iguane was, except for Ch. de Feuilles, the
most pleasant of all the places in Grande-Terre that we tried.
They are trying very hard -- and succeeding!

Date of Review: May 1998
Reviewer: Zebulon

We planned to eat at the Auberge de Saint Francois on our first evening in Guadeloupe, but it had closed in the past year. It was a short drive from our hotel, with a terrace and a view of Marie Galante and Petite Terre. As the Auberge was closed, the receptionist at our hotel recommended the Iguane Cafe as an alternative.

The Cafe was a short taxi ride from our hotel. It is on the road which connects St. Francois with the Pointe du Chateaux. The Cafe itself is charming. It is well decorated, has a colorful decor and an open air kitchen.

We were seated, given menus in English, and that was the last we saw of host or waitress for twenty minutes. I could understand a slow paced meal, as the Cafe was mildly busy for a Thursday night, but would have preferred the wait with a drink in front of me, or at least some water. We did not become upset until two seperate tables who had arrived after us recieved their drinks and had their order taken by our waitress long before she returned to our table. The crowning blow was when our waitress took two of our menus (without taking an order) to give to another couple. That couple (with our menus) also had their order taken before ours.

At this point, I went up to the small bar at the entrance to order some Planter's Punches ("Punch Planteur"). The bar had a variety of at least twenty different rum infusions. Although I was tempted by the cinnamon, the owner (who had joined the bartender in our rum discussion) was proudest of the hibiscus. The bartender pulled down a large jar of rum which had several whole hibiscus flowers floating in it, and made our punches. The owner insisted that our waitress carry the drinks to our table, which is how we were able to corner her to place our dinner order.

While at the bar, I perused a French language menu. I noted that the prices were the same as on the English language menu, which pleased me. However, I also noted that the "Lamb" Curry was listed as "Cabri" on the French menu, which is definitely not lamb. Two people in our group ordered the lamb curry, and it was cabri, not lamb.

The menu was creative and varied. Of special note was the goat's cheese appetiser. The cheese was very flavorful, and was battered in a crust that was seasoned with caribbean spices. The crust was not greasy at all. The goose liver pate was good as well. The fish main courses (such as snapper in pastry) were good but not great. The lamb eaters were disappointed at the quality of their lamb (I didn't tell them it was goat until the next day). My rabbit (laupin) was overcooked and a bit tough as a result.

The wine list was fair for Guadeloupe in that it listed the producers (but not the vintages) and had more selections than most. The restaurant was open air, and right next to the roadside. Motorcycles and mopeds would commonly ride by at high speeds, apparently without mufflers, creating a cacaphony during dinner.

The prices were high for Guadeloupe (about $50 a person, with drinks, tax and tip included). I do not mind high prices if the quality of the meal justifies them. Here, it did not. Despite the charming decor and creative menu, I can not recommend the Iguane Cafe due to its poor service, location by the roadway, and prices which were high for the quality of its food.