The Heart of Aruba is in the Food
Where soothing trade winds, tropical temperatures, soft white-sand beaches, divi-divi trees, and world-class resorts dot the sand, Aruba makes for the ideal island getaway. Easy for a casual stroll, the bustling, unique, and quaint downtown area also means lots of hungry people and lots of competition between restaurants. Luckily for the consumer – in this case, paradise-seeker – you get to simply choose which restaurant is most up your alley. If you want a place to start, here are six of our Aruban favorites.
Quinta Del Carmen – Going Dutch
Aruba is Dutch after all, so make sure you get to this spot serving an eclectic blend of dishes and some Dutch classics. You’ll also get to enjoy a meal in this “cunucu” style house that was originally built as early as 1916. It was many things over the years, including a hospital and a clubhouse, but is now a must-visit Dutch restaurant when on the island.
Some menu highlights:
- Sucade Lappen (Draadjesvlees), a traditional Dutch dish, similar to an iron steak, stewed for hours in a red wine and herbs and spices, served in its own gravy
- Scallops “Au Gratin,” scallops under a crust of Béchamel sauce and Old Amsterdam cheese
- Cheese Croquettes, mixed cheese croquettes, served with a raspberry coulis and a summer salad with grapes and nuts
Romance Deserves a Sunset – Amuse Sunset Restaurant
Set your sights on the perfect Aruban sunset. This French-inspired, seaside haven is a family-run restaurant that is nothing less than exquisite – mostly because of the perfect pairing of Chef Patrick and sommelier, cocktail whiz Ivette. The married couple runs this impeccable restaurant with ideal views to match cuisine that’s just as incredible. “Chef’s surprise” menus are very popular, daily 3 to 5 course carte blanche options, though you’ll always find these staples as well:
- Foie Gras, pan seared goose liver with green apple braised in port
- 10 oz. Rock Lobster Thermidor, lobster cooked in thermidor sauce, gratinated in oven with parmigiano
- Baked Shrimp Mac & Cheese Casserole, shrimp and cheese au gratin with macaroni, gruyere, mozzarella, cheddar
- Herb Crusted Lamb Rack, mustard, thyme, parsley and parmesan cheese crust
Sitting on the Dock of Paradise – Zeerovers Restaurant
Grab a bucket of beers and your basket of fish – this is an authentic seafood oasis and shrimp extravaganza. Authentic to the point where you can actually watch the fishermen come in with the catch of the day and start preparing it for the fish fryer, Zeerovers is that dockside casual eatery in paradise you’ve always dreamed of. The opposite of stuffy, this fun-filled restaurant & bar encourages you to wear your sandals and kick back, relax, and enjoy your (nicely sized portioned!) meal as you look out over the endless ocean. Digging in with just your hands is also encouraged.
This is as fresh as it gets. Enjoy a meal that you can track yourself from sea to fryer (or grill) and onto your plate. The simple menu includes the catch of the day and:
- Pan bati, local version of corn bread
- Onion in vinegar
- Tartar sauce
The Neighborhood Bar – Charlie’s
An island staple since 1941, Charlie’s Bar & Restaurant is the local spot you want to come to for camaraderie, fun, and an extremely unique ambiance. Absolutely covered in memorabilia, you’ll find just about everything on the walls – from pictures, souvenirs, miscellany, tchotchkes, and signs, including street signs for the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, and even the New Jersey Turnpike. A classic place to pull up a chair for a drink, this now iconic hangout is a must-visit when in Aruba.
Repeat customers don’t only come for the buzz and friendliness, however – the international cuisine also always hits the spot. The menu focuses on:
- Surf ‘n Turf combos
- Jumbo shrimp
- Tenderloin steaks
- Local catch of the day
Always with the option of dousing your grub in the famous Honeymoon Sauce (note: it will be spicy!)
Culinary Euphoria at The Flying Fishbone
A wild name for a wildly delicious experience, this is your on-the-beach dining and seafood must-stop – a full culinary journey right on Aruba’s soft sands. Enjoy a meal lit by tiki torches, lanterns, or the sunset. This European-influenced restaurant gives everything a Caribbean flair, and how can you not when situated right on the very definition of paradise itself? The menu is almost overflowing with fresh seafood, so it’s also a seafood-lover’s paradise.
Some menu highlights:
- Savaneta Seafood History, a rich variety of seafood acquired daily from the local fish market down the road, with rice, vegetables, and curry sauce
- Shrimp Shiitake & Bleu Cheese Casserole, shrimp in a rich bleu cheese shiitake sauce served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables
- Seafood Pasta, scallop, shrimp, mussels, daily catch, calamari, and pasta with marinara sauce
Pancakes with a Twist – Diana’s Pancakes Place
For an unforgettably delicious breakfast, enter into this one-of-a-kind Dutch pancake house. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, mimosa, or Bloody Mary and pair it with a crepe-like Dutch pancake that is sure to hit the spot. The friendly staff, soothing atmosphere, and Dutch décor add to the experience, but it’s those pancakes that you come for. Some cool pancake concoctions include:
- Chocolate, caramel, honey
- Apple, bacon
- Banana, caramel sauce
- Bacon & cheese
- The Dutch, rum raisins and whipped cream
- The Picasso, fresh fruit, powdered sugar
- The Hawaiian, ham, cheese, pineapple
- Strawberry, chocolate sauce, whipped cream
Always with the freshest ingredients, these pancakes are to travel for. Plus, there’s always a special pancake of the day. What will it be when you show up?
So, put a fork in it. Your next island getaway is all set. Talk to a travel consultant today to ask about your next getaway to Aruba as well as exclusive Escapes packages, which let you soak up more than sunshine with sightseeing experiences in the world’s best beach destinations. Enjoy exclusive perks and special sightseeing options, like our unique Insider Experiences that immerse you deeper into a destination than ever before.