ARUBA RESTAURANT GUIDE

ONE MAN’S OPINION OF 100 ARUBA RESTAURANTS©

 

Copyright © 2013-2016 by Charles W. Smith.  All rights reserved.  No part of this restaurant Guide may be forwarded, posted, reproduced, or used in any manner whatsoever (other than brief quotes) without written permission.  Aruba Restaurant Guide—One Man’s Opinion of 100 Aruba Restaurants© is written and distributed by Charles W. Smith who is solely responsible for its content.  Photography by Charles W. Smith. 

 

This edition published July 28, 2016

 

NOTE FROM AUTHOR:  THIS JULY 28, 2016 EDITION IS THE LAST EDIT THAT THIS DOCUMENT WILL RECEIVE.  I WILL NOT BE KEEPING IT UP TO DATE IN THE FUTURE.  MUCH OF THE MATERIAL WILL STILL BE CURRENT AND OF VALUE TO THE READER.  BUT SOME WILL AGE AND GROW OLD AND BE OUT OF DATE AND JUST PLAIN WRONG AFTER A WHILE.  I WILL CONTINUE TO WELCOME YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT ARUBA AS I ALWAYS ENJOY HELPING ARUBA NEWBIES FALL IN LOVE WITH THE ISLAND.  CHARLIE SMITH MARCH 20, 2017.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

My name is Charlie, Charlie Smith.  I was born and raised in Aruba (long ago…) when my American parents were expatriates living there.  My dad was on assignment with Lago Oil & Transport Co, “the refinery.”  Aruba--what a place in which to grow up!  Naturally I love Aruba, so now I am trying to pay it back for providing me with a wonderful childhood.  I have written an e-booklet entitled, “How to Enjoy Aruba, One Man’s Opinion,” (mine).  It is free and online at ArubaKid.com 

 

 

And now this restaurant Guide.

 

 

CONTENT

 

My wife (she was also raised in Aruba) and I now spend a lot of time in Aruba, over 10 weeks a year.  Over time we have eaten at well over 100 restaurants on the island.  We have traveled the world a bit, and I can tell you that some of the Aruba restaurants are world class resort establishments!  And others…well…are not.  Anyway, the purpose of this Guide is to describe individual restaurants by giving you, the reader, what I think you want to know about them—information that to my knowledge hasn’t been compiled in just this way before.  I am assuming you are looking for a restaurant to go to and you come to this e-booklet to help you decide where to dine or how to reserve or how to get there.

 

This Guide is meant to be read online; it will not be published on paper.  In this way you can click on various links to gain information about the restaurants:  for example their websites, their menus, and their location on a map.  And by maintaining it online I can update it anytime (even just after I get back to my room after eating at a new restaurant).  If this document were on paper it would be out of date as soon as it was printed.

 

It contains information that I as a potential customer would like to know about a restaurant.  Things like:  its good points (in green), and not so good points (in red), various appropriate websites, a telephone number for reservations, the days of the week it is closed, recommended dishes, and whether or not the restaurant has a service charge.  And pictures.  And even some videos.

 

I have tested each and every website link in this Guide (at least 3 times), to be sure each goes where it was intended to go and to be sure there are no links that contain dangerous files.  No questionable files or situations were found as I compiled and tested this document.  If you do encounter any objectionable material in any of the websites that the links send you to please alert me immediately by emailing me at ArubaSmith@Yahoo.com

 

By way of a disclaimer, I want you to know that I am not an experienced restaurant review person or writer or photographer.  I am simply a tourist and ex-resident who likes to write, take pictures, organize material, and communicate.  Have taste buds/will travel. 

 

And speaking of pictures, I have taken them of restaurants to sort of record the moment, but they are merely family shots taken without the knowledge that I would be publishing this Guide.  So now, as I go forward from this initial release of the Guide (August, 2014), I will be taking pictures with this document in mind.  I hope they will be more meaningful to the reader as a help to choose restaurants.  I do not have any pictures of many of the restaurants, but as I patronize them again I will be clicking away.

 

I know what you are thinking:  What about the many restaurants in Aruba that are not included in this Guide?  I plan to get to them!  I already have a list of the restaurants I will go to on my next trip (January, 2015).  But I would also like to receive your suggestions on which ones to visit.  So please email me with any nominations.  I will be pleased to put them on my list.  The email address is ArubaSmith@Yahoo.com

 

OK.  Let’s get to it!  I have grouped the restaurants into 5 classifications.  They are:

 

EXCELLENT!  WORLD CLASS

STRONG FAVORITES.  GO BACK EVERY TRIP

FAVORITES.  ENJOY GOING BACK

JUST OK

NOT RECOMMENDED:

OVER PRICED,

BAD FOOD,

BAD EXPERIENCE,

NOT UP TO THE COMPETITION

 

Within each category the restaurants are listed alphabetically, to make them easier for you to find.  They are not listed in order of my preferences.

 

I do not include any material on the restaurants that are in the last classification above.  I don’t think it is meaningful to cite for each of them just why they are in that category.  I have revisited some of the restaurants in this group in the past and have reclassified them upward if warranted.

 

 

 

THE PROBLEM WITH OPINIONS

 

But before we go any further please understand one important point:  my reviews are strictly my opinion.  I have eaten at every one of the restaurants reviewed.  I don’t take surveys; other people’s opinions don’t affect mine; I call them the way I see them.  I eat in a restaurant and I tell you what I think.  And I know that that can be unfair.  Mine is only one opinion.  I can have a bad experience in a restaurant that other people like a lot and visa versa.  This is just one man’s opinion, and as such it may not describe a restaurant accurately.  Please bear that in mind when doing your restaurant research. 

 

You might ask:  How can you put the signature restaurant of the Hyatt Regency in the same classification as a local beach bar?  Ruinas del Mar is a posh, sophisticated, expensive restaurant; West Deck is a local fried fish/burger place you could go to in your bathing suit.  How can I rate them the same?  The answer is:  I enjoy them the same.  Of course they are not the same kind of establishment, but I like going to them equally.  That is why they are both in the category “Favorites—Enjoy Going Back.”

 

You also might ask why I have some well known restaurants in the category of “Disappointing.  Not up to the Competition.  Over-rated.”  Restaurants like Pam Pam or The French Steakhouse or Cuba’s Cookin.  It could be that we had a very bad meal there.  It could be that we had a bad experience there.  It could be that the dinner price was way out of line with what we saw or ate.  There are a lot of very good restaurants in Aruba.  If I rated each one “Excellent,” I would not be helping you decide which ones to go to. 

 

Two people can review a restaurant and come up with an entirely different opinion about it.  I saw two reviews of the same restaurant right next to each other on an Aruba restaurant website.  One was headed “Out of this world,” and the very next one was titled “TERRIBLE.”  Same restaurant, same time frame.  And they both could be right!  So I am not pretending that my opinion is any more accurate than anyone else’s.  I’m just say’n…

 

But to help with the “difference of opinion” problem, I am providing you with more opinions than just mine.  I want you to find restaurants that you will like, not necessarily the ones that I like.  So to this end I am including links to Trip Advisor’s coverage of each restaurant.  Trip Advisor provides a more comprehensive look at a restaurant because they include comments and numerical ratings by many of the restaurant’s customers.  I hope that these additional opinions will help give you a better overall view of a restaurant’s capability.  Also, many restaurants have YouTube videos about them which you can click on and view.  Some of them are rather…er…amateurish productions, but they can help you see inside these restaurants and also see some of their food close up. 

 

 

FEEDBACK

 

I encourage you to email me to tell me anything at all you want to about this Guide.  Make suggestions, ask questions, complain, holler, disagree, congratulate, thank…it doesn’t matter.  If I have included any data that you know to be inaccurate—like a wrong telephone number or an incorrect service charge—please tell me, and I will correct the Guide immediately.  I would like to hear from you for any reason.  My email address is ArubaSmith@Yahoo.com  I’m waiting…

 

OK--lick your chops, and let’s get going!

 

 

 

INDEX

EXCELLENT!  WORLD CLASS

TO READ THE REVIEW FOR A RESTAURANT CLICK ON ITS NAME

CARTE BLANCHE

CHALET SUISSE

ELEMENTS

L.G. SMITH’S STEAK & CHOP HOUSE

MADAME JANETTES

SCREAMING EAGLE

SUPER FOOD (DINNER & COOKING CLASS)

TERRAZZA ITALIANA

YEMANJA WOODFIRED GRILL

 

STRONG FAVORITES—GO BACK EVERY TRIP

TO READ THE REVIEW FOR A RESTAURANT CLICK ON ITS NAME

 

BAVARIA

BINGO!

DANIELS STEAK & CHOP

EL GAUCHOS ARGENTINE GRILL

ELLIOTI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

GOSTOSO RESTAURANTE

PAPIAMENTOS

PINCHOS GRILL & BAR

RICARDO’S

SOLE MARE RISTORANTE ITALIANO

TWIST OF FLAVORS

WACKY WAHOO’S

WATER’S EDGE 12° NORTH

WEST DECK

 

FAVORITES—ENJOY GOING BACK

TO READ THE REVIEW FOR A RESTAURANT CLICK ON ITS NAME

ALTAMAR

AZZURRO

BAREFOOT ARUBA

BLOSSOMS

CARAMBOLA

CHEF’S TABLES

DELIMAR

DE SUIKERTUIN

DON JACINTO

FLYING FISHBONE

GIANNI’S

LAGUNA RESTAURANT (SUNDAY BRUNCH)

QUE PASA?

QUINTA DEL CARMAN

RUINAS DEL MAR

SALT & PEPPER

VENTANAS DEL MAR

WILHELMINA

WINDOWS ON ARUBA

 

JUST OK

TO READ THE REVIEW FOR A RESTAURANT CLICK ON ITS NAME

ANNA MARIA’S

B-55

BARNEY’S

CASIBARI CAFÉ

DRIFTWOOD

EL TRATTORIA, IL FARO BLANCO

FISHES & MORE

GASPARITO RESTAURANT ART GALLERY

HOLLYWOOD SMOKEHOUSE

HOSTARIA DA’VITTORIO

IGUANA JOE’S

IKE’S BISTRO

INDO

LAS RAMBLAS

LINDA’S DUTCH PANCAKES & PIZZAS

MANGO’S

MATTHEW’S BEACHSIDE RESTAURANT

MEXICADO

THE OLD CUNUCU HOUSE

THE OLD FISHERMAN

OSTERICH FARM

PASSIONS ON THE BEACH

PEANUTS

PIZZA BOB’S

RED FISH

SEA SALT

SIDEBAR BISTRO

SUNSET GRILL

SULTAN AUTHENTIC ARAB RESTAURANT

TULIPS CARIBBEAN BRASSERIE

2 FOOLS AND A BULL

WAKA WAKA ADVENTURE CAFE

YAMI YAMI

ZEEROVERS

 

NOT RECOMMENDED:

OVER PRICED,

BAD FOOD,

BAD EXPERIENCE,

NOT UP TO THE COMPETITION

 

I don’t think it is productive for you, the reader, if I review the qualities (mostly negative) of the restaurants below.  As I indicated above:  we had a very bad meal at some; we had a bad experience with some (for example food poisoning); some are so overpriced they should be avoided.  So I am calling on a principle I learned at age 5 from Thumper the rabbit in the movie “Bambi:”  “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

 

AQUA GRILL

BALASHI BREWERY

BLT STEAK

BUCKINEER

CAFÉ 080

CAFÉ REMBRANDT

CHARLIE’S BAR

CUBA’S COOKIN

FRENCH STEAKHOUSE

HUNG PARADJIS

LA PLAYA TORCHLIGHT DINNER

LA VISTA

MARINA PIRATA

MOOMBA

MULLIGAN’S

NIKKY

PAM PAM

PAPILLON

QUEENS

SCABECHE

SIMPLY FISH

SMOKY JOES

TAJ MAHAL

TEXAS DE BRAZIL

THE NEW WEI TAI

YANTI

ZUZUROH

 

APPENDIX

ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS

“LOCAL” RESTAURANTS

FEET-IN-THE-SAND RESTAURANTS

SUNDAY BRUNCH RESTAURANTS

FAMILY RESTAURANTS

TO GO TO THE APPENDIX CLICK HERE

 

 


 

EXCELLENT!

  WORLD CLASS

 

CARTE BLANCHE

   

Dinner at Carte Blanche provides a much different dining experience than you might have ever had before!  There is one sitting, for only 14 customers.  No tables.  Everyone sits around the bar.  There is a staff of three:  Dennis the owner and chef, Glen the wine guy, and an invisible dish washer in the back somewhere.  Dennis prepares the food right in front of you, and Glen provides the wine (and a lot of humor).  Carte Blanche (literally:  open menu) is located at the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba.  Dennis does have a menu in mind, but if you have allergies or diet restrictions he is flexible. (Best to call special diets to his attention ahead of time via phone or email.)  Dinner lasts over 4 hours, and it is really a hoot!  You get to know all the customers, milling around talking to everyone as the evening goes by.  Dinner at Carte Blanche is more than dinner; it is a whole evening of good food, good wine, and good fun.

 

In A Nutshell:  Fine setting, very good food quality, gracious staff, fun in addition to food, excellent wine paring with each course, reservations made from their website exclusively (not even by phone), booked up several months in advance, not a wide choice of food, serious diet restrictions should be communicated ahead of time, expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Website:  http://carteblanchearuba.com/

Location:  Go to website (above) then click on “Contact”

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

YouTube Video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Serve Lunch?           Service Charge?

586-3339                 Sunday, Monday    No                               No

 

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CHALET SUISSE

 

Chalet Suisse is arguably Aruba’s best restaurant.  It has consistency down pat.  It is the same, year after year—consistently excellent!  It is well managed and efficient; every staff person knows their job.  Familiar faces means low turnover, so the staff is experienced.  Chalet Suisse is conveniently located in the low rise area of Aruba.  You can walk there on the beach (bring a flashlight).  Indoor setting; private rooms available.  Reservations recommended, especially during high season.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very consistent, experienced staff, well managed, excellent food, pleasant atmosphere, expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Recommended:  Rack of lamb (pictured), chocolate marquise (pictured).

 

Website:  http://www.chaletsuisse-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE, then click on tabs toward the top.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map”

Driving tip:  Chalet Suisse is on a one way road, and you must turn right off of it

            just before the restaurant building itself.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?               Service Charge?

587-5054                 Sundays                    No                                           Yes, 15%

 

RETURN TO INDEX

 


 

 

ELEMENTS

 

Elements is an upscale romantic restaurant on Eagle Beach, close enough to the ocean to hear the waves.  It is located at the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba, an adult only resort/hotel.  It has a high tech frill:  your restaurant menu is an iPad, with all the menu items shown with pictures and a full description.  (I told our waiter I didn’t want to order anything, just play with the iPad.  Does it have Bookworm?)  A special aspect of Elements is its menu choices.  They have a wide variety of healthy dishes—vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.  They advertise as “Natural and Organic Dining by the Sea.”  Healthy though it may be, I quickly lost sight of that aspect as I swiped my way through the iPad menu.  If you are a health nut you have found your dinner-heaven; if you are not a health nut you have many menu choices from the international menu that will tempt you.  Reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Romantic outdoor setting on beautiful Eagle Beach (indoor available if raining), high tech iPad menu with pictures of each dish, healthy dining emphasized (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc), chef Kurt OK with customized entrees, full buffet available too, small portions of many entrees provided for smaller prices, private romantic two person settings near the water available, wait staff not all conversant in English, payment by credit card only, no person under 18 allowed (strictly enforced), prices a little high.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Beef carpaccio appetizer, any of Chef Kurt’s risottos.

 

Website:  http://www.bucuti.com/resort-info/dining

For Menu:  Click HERE

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Same as Carte Blanche restaurant (see above).

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-1100                 None                          Yes & breakfast                   No

 

RETURN TO INDEX

RETURN TO APPENDIX

 

 


L.G. SMITH’S STEAK & CHOP HOUSE

This fine restaurant sits on the second floor near the Crystal Casino above the harbor in Oranjestad—wonderful location.  They have an extensive menu, great steaks, a gracious wait staff, and luxury appointments throughout.  Everything about L.G. Smith’s speaks quality.  Reservations recommended unless arriving early.

 

In A NutshellFine dining at its best, high quality of food, nice atmosphere, pleasant wait staff, great location overlooking Oranjestad harbor, nearby parking.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://lgsmiths.com/index.php?page=default

Location:  Go to website (above) and click on LOCATION.

Menu:  http://lgsmiths.com/pdf/LGSmith-AlaCarte.pdf  (Scroll down.)

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

523-6195                 None                          No                                           Yes, 15%                  

 

RETURN TO INDEX

 

 


MADAME JANETTES

Long considered Aruba’s best restaurant, Madame Janettes has won many awards including the best restaurant in the Caribbean.  Seating is mostly outside in a pleasant garden atmosphere.  It is a very impressive place, especially for first time visitors.  Madame Janettes has lost key staff members to the relatively new Ritz Carlton restaurants, but they have since recovered pretty nicely.

 

In a Nutshell:  Peaceful garden setting, fine reputation, high quality overall, gracious wait staff, large portions, live music, well managed, unique menu, difficult to get to first time, outside seating is a problem during rain showers, bug spray sometimes needed, pricey.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Bang Bang shrimp, almond encrusted grouper, shrimp casserole du chef, the old butcher steak, pork tenderloin schnitzel.

 

Website:  http://www.madamejanette.info/joomla2/

Location:  Go to website (above) and click on LOCATION.

Driving tip:  Turn inland at Super Food and turn right at the sign.

Menu:  http://www.madamejanette.info/joomla2/menu

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-0184                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

RETURN TO INDEX

RETURN TO APPENDIX

 

 

 

SCREAMING EAGLE

 

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Screaming Eagle is owned by the same people that own Flying Fishbone.  It has a very upscale atmosphere.  Richly appointed.  It is very easy to get to from the low rise or high rise areas.  It has improved in the past 2 years.  It now has sound-deadening materials installed; before it was quite noisy.  We had a bad experience there, and the wine steward contacted me by email when he saw a low rating in my e-booklet.  We came back to the restaurant in July, 2014, and had a wonderful dining experience.  I now rate it excellent.  There are several dishes prepared a flambé at your table which is always fun.  I found the prices to be on average below what I had expected walking in.  There were many people on staff, and they all were busy; they seemed to be well trained and organized.  After boycotting Screaming Eagle for 2 years we will now return regularly.  Reservations suggested, especially during high season.

 

Oh and the beds!  Yes, Screaming Eagle has several (maybe 10?) high canopy beds in the restaurant.  Discretely off in one semi-private area where you can be served your dinner or just your desert if you wish.  Very romantic.  Adds to a good time.

 

In A Nutshell:  Posh atmosphere, well managed, very extensive wine and champagne list, fine food, easy to get to, not as expensive as expected, beds add to the fun, good looking and well stocked bar, gracious manager.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://www.screaming-eagle.net/

Menu:  http://www.screaming-eagle.net/menu.php

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

More Pictures:  Click HERE.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?    Service Charge?

587-8021                 None                          No                               No

 

RETURN TO INDEX

RETURN TO APPENDIX

 

 


 

SUPER FOOD (DINNER &

COOKING CLASS) 

In early January, 2014, we had an adventure which I highly recommend:  a dinner and cooking class at—of all places—Super Food!  Nine of us arrived at that grocery store at 5:30pm and left just after 10:00, almost 5 hours of good camaraderie, wide smiles, useful instruction, and fine dining.  Yep, we prepared the dinner ourselves!  

 

We arrived upstairs to meet the 2 chefs, Bos and Bram, and a waitress/wine stewardess.  They had already purchased the food and had it ready for us to prepare.  After wine and some already prepared appetizers we donned our aprons and got down to business.  We split up into 4 groups.  Each group was responsible for preparing one course:  salad, appetizer, entrée, and dessert.  Each group had extensive written instructions to follow. 

 

Bos and Bram coached us as we went about preparing our courses.  They were charming hosts; their personality and culinary skills were on display.  We peppered them with cooking questions all evening (LOL), and they willingly shared their extensive knowledge of the culinary arts.  Preparing the meal took a couple of hours, but with more glasses of wine here and there throughout the evening no one was in a hurry. 

 

 

When everything was prepared we got seated, and the staff of three served the entire meal…and it was great!  In case you are curious, here was our menu:

 o)  Salad of roasted pumpkin, poached eggs and marinated Feta cheese,

 o)  Homemade spinach and mascarpone raviolis served with a white onion marmalade, “beurre noisette” and seared tuna,

 o)  Roasted Certified Angus striploin served with a red wine jus, a classic potato au gratin and braised green French beans, and

 o)  New York cheese cake with blackberry marmalade and vanilla ice cream.  The cost is so much per person plus service charge plus any alcohol you order.  And it’s not too much if you think of it as dinner AND entertainment.

 

 I highly recommend that you organize a party of 8-10 and take this dinner/class.  It is a hoot!  Call Super Food and make reservations.  Their number is 522-2000.  Ask for Bos or Bram.  “Tell them Charlie sent you.” 

 

For more pictures click HERE.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

 

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TERRAZZA ITALIANA

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Mimma owns this new (November, 2015 opening) restaurant located on the third floor terrace of Paradise Beach Villas (just on the Costa Linda side of La Cabana).  She is owner, waitress and chef (although she does have staff to help).  The Italian food is authentic, let me tell you.  Mostly classic Italian dishes, but with steak, fish, and chicken involved.  The terrace overlooks the beach and ocean.  Very romantic.  You should call for reservations because the seating is limited for now.  I hope there will be more tables when Mima is able to expand her kitchen help.

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful authentic food, very nice location, romantic setting, gracious service, limited seating, limited menu.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Pumpkin soup, eggplant parm.

 

Website and Menu:  Menu available on Trip Advisor.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Get directions.”

Driving Tip:  You can park along the side road or in the La Cabana parking lot across the street.

More pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

561-1699                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

RETURN TO INDEX

 

 

 

YEMANJA WOODFIRED GRILL

 

 

Yemanja (Goddess of the Sea) is our favorite restaurant on Aruba.  It is wonderfully consistent—their great potato soup is exactly the same visit after visit, and so are our favorite entrees.  Their staff is cheerful, service is fine, and the food is outstanding including deserts.  They have private rooms for big groups; ask for outside if you can.  They are conveniently located in Oranjestad right behind the Parliament building and very near the Renaissance Hotel.  The owner can often be found preparing food in the kitchen--Executive Chef, Joyce.  Sides of rice, beans, veggies, and mashed potatoes are served family style on the side (see pictures below).  If you plan to return to Aruba (duh…) eat at Yemanja and you will have a wonderful restaurant to return to every visit.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful food, extensive menu, convenient location, very consistent, extensive wine list.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Potato truffle soup, grouper filet, beef tenderloin with truffle butter.

 

Website and Menu:  http://www.yemanja-aruba.com/hidden-menu.html

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

Driving Tip:  You can park between Yemanja and the Parliament building.

More pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-4711                 Sunday                      No                                           Groups of 6+ only

 

RETURN TO INDEX

 

 


STRONG FAVORITES

GO BACK EVERY TRIP

 

AZZURRO

 

Azzurro’s is the resident restaurant at Playa Linda.  Definitely Italian, and definitely on the way up in popularity.  We ate there several years ago and rated it very poor.  This last trip we ate there 3 times and enjoyed each dinner very much.  Classic Italian menu, definitely healthy portions, attentive service, and a nice setting through the palm trees and palapas to the ocean.  The various servers are trying their best to make sure you are satisfied.  I witnessed a problem customer at the table next to ours, and the staff handled it very well.  Give Azzurro’s a try; I think you will enjoy it.

 

In a Nutshell:  Nice setting, big portions, classic Italian food, attentive service, sometimes noisy.

 

Recommended:  Pappardelle alle Vodka

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then see map and “Get directions.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-4123                 None                          Yes                                                      No

 

RETURN TO INDEX

 

 

 

BAVARIA

 

The Bavaria restaurant has 2 things going for it:  Food and Beer!  German food.  And German beer.  The food is authentic, and there are many, many German beers.  Conveniently located near Wendys in Noord, Bavaria is within walking distance from the high rise area.  Sit inside or outside.  Reservations not needed. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Authentic German dishes, many German beers, pleasant owner/waiter, low prices, very good reviews, sometimes out of many German beers.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Creamy Bavarian Potato Soup, Allgauer cheese soup, Potato pancake, Rinderroulade, Wiener Schnitzel, Chicken Schnitzel, and German beer!

 

Website:  http://bavaria-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Beer Menu:  Click HERE, then click on the menu.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

Location:  Go to the Bavaria website (above) and click on “Map.”

Driving Tip:  Coming from the low rise area or Oranjestad, take the right to Noord and be prepared to take an immediate and hard left next.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

736-4007                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

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BINGO!

Bingo is a fun restaurant located in Noord.  It is owned by 2 Dutch guys, and they care about the setting and the food quality.  The waitresses are cheerful and helpful.  They have daily specials on blackboards--daily special for appetizer, soup, salad, fish entrée, pasta entrée, vegetarian entrée, and dessert.  Their hamburgers are always voted best on Aruba (even with the fried egg on top).  After 10 years in business Bingo is going great guns.  Reservations not needed if you arrive early. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Consistently good food, cheerful wait staff, prompt service, noteworthy daily specials, Dutch owned and managed, casual setting, need car or taxi to get there, they don’t take AmEx credit card.

 

Prices:  Moderate

Recommended:  Bingo burgers, Bingo brochette.

 

Website:  http://www.bingoaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

For pictures:  (at Bingo during Holland’s World Cup games)  Click HERE.

Driving Tip:  Enter Bingo’s parking lot from Valero gasoline station.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-2818                 None                          Yes                                          No

 

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DANIEL’S STEAK & CHOP

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Daniel’s is a well-established steak house with a fine location in the high rise area.  The steaks are great, but there are a lot of restaurants in Aruba that serve great steak.  Daniel’s has a unique menu overall, yes many things that you never see anywhere which are quite good.  Like their artichoke appetizer, and their cheesy app dip sauce.  The setting is nice; the service is fine; the prices are a little high (but what can you do…).  The quality of the steak may be slightly higher at El Gauchos, but I’d rather go to Daniel’s.

In A Nutshell:  Good steak but good menu selections for non-steak dishes too, convenient location, attentive service.

 

Prices:  Reasonable

 

Recommended:   Artichoke appetizer, side of risotto.

 

Website:  http://www.giannisgroup.com/#!daniels/c309

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Get directions.”

More Pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-1144                 (?)                               (?)                                           No

 

 

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EL GAUCHOS ARGENTINE GRILL

El Gauchos used to be the top 1 or 2 restaurants in Aruba.  It has gone a little downhill recently, but its best feature—the quality of the beef—is still top notch.  New management has increased prices, but their bread and butter entrée (so to speak), the “Gaucho Steak,” hasn’t changed.  It is still excellent.  You have to pay your dues to get to love El Gauchos (see Nutshell below), but you will not find a restaurant quite like it in the States.  (Well, I can’t be sure of that, of course, not having been to all the restaurants in the States.) 

 

However El Gauchos is an institution in Aruba since 1977, and I recommend you put aside some pesky negatives and partake of this great restaurant.  It has 2 big things going for it:  (1) Great charcoal grilled Argentine beef, and (2) consistent presentation.  Argentine beef is the best in the western hemisphere.  Wonderful flavor!  And El Gaucho prepares it and serves it the same excellent way year after year.  Go for it…and I think that you too will call it a strong favorite.

 

In A Nutshell:  Excellent Argentine beef, consistency of preparation and presentation, nice décor, strolling guitarists/singers, difficult to get to first time, high prices, noisy.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:   The El Gaucho Steak (medium rare), Argentine grill (pictured).

 

Website:  http://www.elgaucho-aruba.com/

Menu:  http://www.elgaucho-aruba.com/menu/

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

582-3677                 None                          Yes                                          Yes, 15%

 

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ELLIOTI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

 

Ellioti’s is in the low rise area of Aruba next to Costa Linda Beach Resort.  It IS an Italian restaurant, but it offers many entrees that are prepared in an Italian way but aren’t classic Italian dishes.  Many of these are fish dishes, using very tender grouper fillets, for example the Filetto Di Pesce Alla Puttanesca.  Yum!  I don’t know if you have noticed that breast of chicken in Aruba is generally not very tender.  Ellioti’s chicken somehow beats this wrap.  Their Pollo All Limon is excellent. 

 

Elliots’s is run by the same owners as next door Pizza Bob’s.  In fact if your crowd goes to Pizza Bob’s for dinner you can order off the Ellioti’s menu.  I do it all the time.  Pizza is…well, pizza.  But dinner prepared by Ellioti’s is special.

 

In A Nutshell:  Excellent Italian food, excellent fish preparations, pleasant atmosphere inside, relatively inexpensive, requires a drive to get there (except from low rise area), outside seating is next to parking lot.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Pasta E Fagioli alla Paesana, Filetto Di Pesce Alla Puttanesca, Penne All Arabbiatta, Pollo All Limon.

 

Website:  http://www.costalinda-aruba.com/elliotis.asp

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?    Service Charge?

588-7339                 Sunday                      No                               No

 

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GOSTOSO RESTAURANTE

 

Gostoso’s is one of the best 1 or 2 “local” restaurants on the island.  It serves Portuguese, Aruban, and international food.  Jose, the owner, is an interesting guy—very proud of his restaurant and rightfully so.  He reviews the menu in detail with customers, even reciting all the ingredients.  He comes from Madiera, Portugal.   His menu is extensive and unique.  Gostoso’s is in Oranjestad.  It is hard to find first time by car, but it is well known by taxi drivers.  I would make a reservation in the high season. 

 

Gostoso’s is the kind of small, neighborhood restaurant you wish you had around the corner from your home.  We have taken many people there over the years, and everyone loves it and want to go back.  Oh--best flan we ever had anywhere!

 

In A Nutshell:  Congenial host, excellent food, cozy setting, interesting menu, hard to find first time.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Beef carpaccio, hot sauce (also bottled for sale), FLAN!

 

Website:  http://www.gostosoaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

More pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-0053                 Sunday                      Yes                                          Groups of 6+ only

 

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PAPIAMENTO

Papiamento is a well established restaurant—in business since 1983.  Still family owned and operated today (by the Ellis family), it is located in a 100 year old house, although most of the tables are outside around its beautiful pool and surrounding grounds.  Very romantic garden atmosphere!  Larger groups can find themselves inside in private rooms that make you think you are in a museum.  (If you are seated outside be sure you go inside and check out the house.  You will be impressed.)  Live music also adds to the atmosphere.  The food is top quality and beautifully presented.  Local dishes are featured, some served with a “hot stone” so you can cook it yourself.  If you like wine, the wine cellar contains almost 1,800 bottles!  And if you like cigars, well come to Papiamento.  Reservations required.

 

Several unfortunate experiences prevent Papiamento from obtaining a higher rating in this Guide.  They shouldn’t repeat themselves for you, so please go to Papiamento with optimistic expectations, and you will have a great dinner.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful romantic setting outside, museum quality private rooms inside, beautiful presentation of dishes, extensive wine list, inconsistent service.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://papiamentoaruba.com/

Menu:  If you find this link please email it to me to include in this Guide.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE, and HERE.

Driving Tip:  When driving away from the high rise area into Noord on the main road turn right just after the CMB Bank.  Parking is in the rear in addition to the street.

 

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-4544 or                        Sunday                      No                                           Yes, 5%

 

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PINCHO’S GRILL AND BAR

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Pinchos offers a romantic setting—out on a pier over the water.  All their food is grilled.  Food quality is pretty good; service is pretty good.  Fun place to go to now and then.  You should make reservations, especially in the high season.

 

In A Nutshell:  Romantic setting, food quality is good, good service, sometimes small portions.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://www.pinchosaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.  Then click on pictures.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-2666                 None                          No                                           15%

 

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RICARDO’S

 

Ricardo’s is a relatively new restaurant located at the Aruba Beach Club on Eagle Beach in the low rise area of Aruba.  Ricardo Chirino has had 25 years in the restaurant business, most recently managing Matthews.  The restaurant is making a name for itself quickly; tourists are raving about it on various websites.  (Ricardo’s own website is being developed.)

All dishes that we and others with us ordered certainly got rave reviews.  I ordered the goat cheese appetizer 4 times, and the best dish by popular acclaim was the lobster pasta.  The restaurant itself is right on the beach; sand comes right up to the steps.  Easy to get to from the low rise area with a short beach walk (bring a flashlight).  Romantic setting; great sunsets!  Reservations not necessary in low season.

 

In A Nutshell:  Across the board high quality food, gracious owner/host, well trained staff, excellent for take-out orders, reasonable prices, accessible by beach walk, romantic setting, great sunsets, difficult parking.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Goat cheese appetizer, lobster pasta, Argentinian churrasco.

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

For more pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-0760                 None                          Yes & Breakfast                   ********

 

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SOLE MARE RISTORANTE ITALIANO

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Sole Mare is an authentic Italian restaurant in Noord.  It is the best classic Italian restaurant on Aruba.  The menu is very extensive, and it contains all the usual Italian dishes.  Service is fine.  Good veal is available in Aruba, and Sole Mare has excellent veal dishes…although the portions could be a bit bigger.  They provide $25 early bird specials from 5:30 – 7:00.

 

In A NutshellClassic Italian cuisine, pleasant atmosphere, extensive menu, good wines, nice dessert cart.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Eggplant appetizer, spaghetti formaggio parmigiano, veal entrees.

 

Website:  http://www.solemarearuba.com/

Location:  Click on website (above) then click on “Location.”

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-0077                 None                          No                                           No

 

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TWIST OF FLAVORS

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“Twist” is a fun, casual, family style restaurant to have a quick supper.  It is located in the Alhambra Casino Mall near the Aruba Beach Club.  The service is very good; the Dutch staff is friendly and efficient.  The food is surprisingly good.  The menu is not extensive, but what they do have they do well.  You can be in and out in 45 minutes if you want to be, or you can linger and enjoy wine and people watching.  Twist of Flavors is a good find.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good food, efficient wait staff, pleasant atmosphere, low prices, menu is not extensive, lousy website.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Vegetarian mushroom dish.

 

Website:  http://twistofflavorsaruba.weebly.com/

Menu:   Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Get directions.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

280-2518                 Sunday                                  (?)                                           No

 

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WACKY WAHOO’S

 

Wacky Wahoo is located in Noord and is within walking distance of the high rise area of Aruba.  It is the best “local” restaurant on Aruba.  It is very popular with tourists and residents as well.  As the name indicates they specialize in fish—Caribbean fish that is--usually caught the day it is served.  The restaurant is small and somewhat noisy, but the staff is gracious and helpful.  But the attraction of Wacky Wahoo is the food!  Very generous portions of fish are served over rice, with vegetables, plantain, funghi, and fresh salsa.  Some are also served with lobster, shrimp or scallops on top:  those signature dishes define Wacky Wahoo.  Take a look at the customer pictures on the Trip Advisor website and you will see what I mean.  These dishes have remained consistent since the restaurant was opened in 2006 or so.  Early in 2014 Wacky Wahoo acquired the clothing establishment next door and that is where the entrance and the bar are now.  Tables in the main dining room have been moved apart, and it is now less crowded there.  Closed the month of August.

 

Reservations are absolutely necessary unless you want to take your chances by going very early or very late.  However reservations are taken only by phone, and then only from 3:00 – 5:00pm (and then only when they decide to answer the phone).  Of course you can make reservations in person as you return from other fine restaurants in Noord.

 

In A Nutshell:  Absolutely excellent fresh fish dishes, pleasant service, reasonable prices, annoying  reservation process, noisy and crowded dining room.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Black bean soup, catch of the day dishes.

 

Website:  http://www.wackywahoo.com/index.html

Menu:  Click HERE, then on each menu page.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-7333                 Sunday                      No                                           ???

 

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WATER’S EDGE 12° NORTH

Water’s Edge is a very good restaurant because of very good ownership (Roy), management (Edwin), Executive Chef (Angelo), and a very good wait staff.  This team has been in place for several years.  Costa Linda guests and many “outsiders” have their favorite dishes and order them visit after visit.  The location is ideal—Water’s Edge sits just above the beach and looks out over shade huts to the ocean and to wonderful sunsets.  The restaurant is more than a restaurant—it is open all day and night, it has 3 happy hours, it serves food and drink to the pool and beach crowd, and it has a popular beach bar. 

 

In the evening Water’s Edge is subdued and takes on a peaceful, romantic atmosphere.  It has many seating possibilities.  You can be seated:

 

  o In the restaurant building,

  o Around the bar and watch sporting events on TV,

  o At tables around the beach bar,

  o Feet in the sand just above the beach, and

  o Right on the beach itself (see picture, $50 surcharge).

 

Most romantic is the beach, followed by the restaurant itself.  And the sunsets play out right in front of you in all locations.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good food, easy to get to location, cheerful service, flexible seating, romantic setting, reasonable prices, breakfast specials.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Lobster bisque, Ahi Tuna, hamburgers, salads.

 

Website:  http://www.costalinda-aruba.com/waters-edge.asp

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  At Costa Linda Beach Resort in the low rise area.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-8000                 None                          Yes, Breakfast too              Yes, 15%

 

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WEST DECK

 

West Deck?  Like the sign says:  typical island grill/typical beach bar.  It has a great location, right on the beach in Oranjestad.  Beautiful view of the water.  Nice carefree-beach atmosphere.  It is operated by the owner of Pinchos, but I think it is more popular.  It features “small plates,” tapas size dishes just like Pinchos.  Or you can order regular sized entrees if you want.  West Deck serves fresh seafood, and Caribbean/local food, cooked just right.  As you can see from the picture, it is not an elegant place.  Come in your bathing suit lunch or dinner and you’ll fit right in.  Not expensive.  Reservations will be necessary in the high season.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good location on the water, relaxed atmosphere, fresh seafood, inconsistent service.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Website:  http://www.thewestdeck.com/

Menu:  http://www.thewestdeck.com/menu.php

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Directions:  Across the park from the movie theater in Oranjestad.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-2667                 None                          Yes                                          Yes, 15%

 

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FAVORITES ENJOY GOING BACK

 

ALTAMAR

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Opened in May, 2015, Altamar is the high-end Italian restaurant in Aruba.  The food is authentic:  delicious, nicely presented and large portions.  Gracious service, nice setting, extensive menu, convenient location.  Very little to be critical about.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful Italian food, fine service, large portions, pricy.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:   Ossobuco, calamari, risotto dishes.

 

Website:   http://altamararuba.com/

Menu:  http://altamararuba.com/main-menu/

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Get directions.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

280-0080                 None                          No                                           (?)

 

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BAREFOOT ARUBA

Barefoot is a good restaurant in a great location--easy to get to and it has a romantic feet-in-the-sand setting. You can watch the cruise ships go out and the planes come in and have the sunsets and the sleepy local harbor to look at in between.  The menu contains lots of entrees you don’t see everywhere.  Open 7 days a week.  Reservations suggested if you want seating on the beach.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful setting, interesting menu, good service, portion size could be bigger.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  http://barefootaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-9824                 None                          No                                           Groups of 8+ only

 

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BLOSSOMS

 

Blossoms is two restaurants in one.  It is divided into 2 sections inside—one Japanese and one Chinese.  We ate on the Chinese side, and it was very good.  We heard the activity in the Japanese side with all the traditional fancy food preparation going on, and that sounded like fun too.  The décor is elegant, the service is polite, and the food is very good.  Big portions.  We have eaten in about 4 Chinese restaurants in Aruba, and Blossoms is by far the best.  They have a unique menu of unusual dishes.  Each sounds wonderful, but they do not offer many of the traditional Chinese entrees, for example fried rice!  Go figure.  But there are many great dishes to make up for it.  No reservations necessary.  Next visit to Aruba we’ll try the Japanese side. 

In A Nutshell:  Elegant décor, fine service, large portions, lacking many traditional Chinese dishes.

 

Prices:  Reasonable.

 

Website:  (If you find it please let me know.)

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Get directions.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3388                             None                          Yes                                          15%

 

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CARAMBOLA

Carambola Seafood and International Cuisine is a nice restaurant located at Paradise Beach Villas on Eagle Beach in the low rise area of Aruba.  It has a great menu; when you first see it you want to order everything on it.  You will probably come back several times to do just that.  The atmosphere is partly romantic/partly beachy.  The staff is friendly.  I think you will enjoy it.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful menu, good food presentation.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Triple “C” chowder.

 

Website:  http://carambola-aruba.com/index.php/en/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  Turn right just before La Cabana.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-6695                 Monday                    No                                           No

 

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CHEF’S TABLES

Chef’s Tables is an impressive restaurant, with smallish rooms and also seating outdoors (where smoking is allowed).  One room has a window right into the kitchen.  The wine list contains many moderately priced wines.  They have 10 different “two bite” deserts for $2.00 each.  Reservations are recommended.

 

In A Nutshell:  Interesting atmosphere, a bit pricy.

 

Prices:  High

 

Web site:  http://www.chefstablesaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  It is on the other side of the street from the huge tooth (advertising a dentist).

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-8140                 Wednesday              No                                           No

 

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DELIMAR

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Delimar is a pleasant, authentic Peruvian restaurant with a clean atmosphere about it.  The outside looks clean and inviting.  The tables and the décor on the inside give the impression that the owner cared about appearances and prepared the whole restaurant with pride.  The food is not gourmet.  Mostly seafood, it is simple and wholesome.  Entrees are served with the usual rice, a spot of salad, fungi, and plantain.  First impressions of cleanliness and care are never lost throughout the meal.  Prices are modest.  Unless you are expecting elegant fine dining you will enjoy the environment and the food.

 

In A Nutshell:  Clean, fresh atmosphere, low prices, attentive service, almost exclusively seafood.

 

Prices:  Low

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note reviews.

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Get directions.”

Driving Tip:  Park in the large parking lot in the Oranjestad harbor and walk inland 1 block behind the “I [Heart] Aruba” sign and look to your right on Wilhelmina Street.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

582-6139                

 

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DE SUIKERTUIN

 

 

De Suikertuin is Dutch for “Sweet Garden.”  Nestled in a quaint house, this quiet little restaurant serves breakfast and lunch—and is available for private parties and private dinners.  The atmosphere inside is clean and refreshing; the garden setting in the back is pleasant and peaceful.  The menu is interesting; the food is very good; the portions are large.  But the service is very slow.  Five of us were in and out in one hour and 35 minutes, and that was too long.  Nevertheless, the restaurant is well done, and if you are in Oranjestad at lunchtime give the sweet garden a try.  It is located on Wilhelminastratt very near El Gauchos.

 

In A Nutshell:  Pleasant setting, nice atmosphere, good food, large portions, very slow service.

 

Recommended:  Nasi goring with chicken sate, a fried egg, shrimp crackers and atjar tjampoer.

Prices:  Low

 

Website:  http://desuikertuin.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then see map and “Get directions.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

582-6322                 Sunday                      Breakfast & lunch                          No

 

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DON JACINTO

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Don Jacintos used to be a Brazilian restaurant, but a few years ago converted to Columbian.  I have never heard of it until I discovered it on the back road around Oranjestad.  A very nice find!  It has the biggest portions of food I think I have seen in Aruba.  Entries served with rice, cole slaw, corn, potatoes, and other unidentified good stuff.  The restaurant is bright and clean; the wait staff is in costume, and the food is very good.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner: give Don Jacintos a try!

 

In A Nutshell:  Large portions, Columbian food prepared very well, friendly service, clean restaurant, not expensive, a little hard to find first time.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  (Please email me if you find it.) 

Trip Advisor website:  HERE.

Location:  Click HERE.

Driving Tip:  Driving into Oranjestad turn left at the Valero station, right at the first light and watch for it on the right.  Slightly back from the road.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

585-8769                 Sunday                      Yes, breakfast too                          (?)

 

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FLYING FISHBONE

Flying Fishbone is right on the beach even right down to (and sometimes INTO) the calm water, and it has a very nice location for viewing sunsets.  So:  romantic setting.  It used to be mentioned as one of the best 3 or 4 restaurants in Aruba.  However, it has lost much of its popularity in recent years mostly because tables are placed too close together.  Also, it is located miles from where most of the tourists are:  Oranjestad, the low rise area and the high rise area.  The food there is still very good.  Yummy desserts.

 

In A Nutshell:  Romantic feet-in-the-sand and sunset setting, very good food, located miles away from tourist locations, tables too close together, pricey.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://flyingfishbone.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  Go to Flying Fishbone’s website (above) and click on “About Us” to see a video with driving directions.

YouTube video:  Click HERE, and HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

584-2506                 None                          No                                           No

 

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GIANNI’S

 

Gianni’s Italian restaurant is located in the high rise area of Aruba.  It is very visible when walking “the strip” there.  It is very large with indoor and outdoor seating.  The menu is filled with many, many classical Italian choices.  We thought the best was the Spaghetti Formaggio (pictured), prepared in the huge cheese wheel right at your table.  The staff and general atmosphere is somewhat institutionalized, with cool, impersonal service.  Compared to your neighborhood red checked table cloth Italian restaurant in your hometown, Gianni’s is a factory.  The food is just OK.  The prices are high; the portions are medium sized.  It is very popular, mostly because of its location.  Reservations are necessary; we have seen people being turned away without them.

 

In A Nutshell:  Classical Italian menu, good location, impersonal service, high prices.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Spaghetti Formaggio.

 

Website:  If you find this website please email me with the link.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-7794                 None                          Yes                                          No

 

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LAGUNA RESTAURANT (SUNDAY BRUNCH)

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Sunday brunch at the Hilton (formerly the Radisson) is a very pleasant affair.  They serve a buffet brunch with a lot of fine choices.  They have tables inside and outside.  They have a made to order omelet station, two meats are carved, they have a good selections for desserts, and there is as much as you want of champagne  and mimosas.  The tables are not jam packed together; the food is good, the price is low, and it is not crowded.  Live entertainment too. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Nice relaxed atmosphere, not expensive.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Buffet.   

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-6555                                                     Sunday brunch                   (?)

 

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QUE PASA?

Que Pasa has a pleasant atmosphere.  It is located in downtown Oranjestad.  Their menu is not extensive, but what they have is prepared well.  Specials are usually good.  Service is fine.  Indoor and outdoor seating.  Reservations not needed usually. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Nice atmosphere, pleasant wait staff, not expensive.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  http://quepasaaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.   

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-4888                 None                          No                                           Groups of 8+ only

 

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QUINTA DEL CARMAN

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Quinta del Carman is a high end restaurant located just down the road from the Super Food grocery store.  It has an absolutely beautiful garden setting, similar to Madame Janettes except smaller.  It is owned and managed by Luc, the same guy who owns Barefoot Aruba. Unfortunately, the food is mediocre.  Many people enter the restaurant, see the wonderful setting, and then take the rest of the restaurant (food quality, service, price) for granted.

 

In A Nutshell:  Beautiful garden setting, experienced management, mediocre food quality, so-so service.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://www.quintadelcarmen.com/main/

Menu:  Click HERE.   

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Get Directions.”

For More Pictures Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-7200                 None                          No                                           (?)

 

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RUINAS DEL MAR

Ruinas del Mar is located at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the high rise area of Aruba.  The atmosphere is very posh; the service is very good; the prices are very high.  They serve international cuisine, and the food is well prepared and presented.  Inside and outside seating is available.  Live music.  Reservations recommended during high season.

 

Ruinas is open for dinner every evening except Sunday, but on Sundays they have a Sunday brunch.  The brunch is buffet style, not ordering from a menu.  Fixed price; a lot of choices; all you can eat, of course; and all the champagne or mimosas you can consume as well.

 

In A Nutshell:  First class setting, good food and service, very expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Recommended:  Sunday brunch.

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Click on website (above) then click on “dinner.”

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-1234                 See above                 No                                           Yes, 15%

 

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SALT & PEPPER

Salt & Pepper is a nice little restaurant within walking distance of all of the high rise hotels and timeshares.  It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The food is good, although not gourmet.  Tapas portions are small and inexpensively priced by definition.  Nice place for lunch inside or outside.  Nothing fancy but a peaceful place to have a beer, eat a meal, and get back to the beach.

 

In A Nutshell:  Convenient location, relaxing atmosphere, inexpensive.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Sangria.

 

Website:  http://saltandpepperaruba.com/

Menu:  Click on website (above), then on “Menu.”

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3280                 None                          Yes, breakfast too              Groups of 7+ only 

 

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VENTANAS DEL MAR

 

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Ventanas del Mar is a high class, sophisticated restaurant located in the Tierra del Sol community.  Although it has a fine menu and good food, its best feature is a stunning view from its outside tables.  It overlooks gardens, pools, the golf course, and the north coast.  The food is international/Caribbean cuisine, and it is prepared and presented elegantly.  It has a well stocked bar, and tables are available inside and outside.  It has an upscale country club environment.  Ventanas serves a nice Sunday brunch (one plate per order).  Live entertainment.  Reservations are usually not needed.

 

In A Nutshell:  Upscale setting, glorious views, fine menu, cheerful service, expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  Drive to Tierra del Sol gate and proceed straight.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-7800                 None                          Yes                                          No

 

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WILHELMINA

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Chef Dennis, the owner of Carte Blanche, has opened another restaurant in October, 2015, Wilhelmina—very upscale, very expensive.  Very spacious inside, good food, but very pricy.  Extensive menu, hard to make a choice.  International cuisine, a little bit of everything.  Wilhelmina receives very good reviews on Trip Advisor.  A deposit is required for reservations for groups of 8 or more.  Children age 11 or less are excluded. The staff had a very hard time with separate checks for each of 4 couples the night we were there, and also for friends a few nights later.  This experienced staff should know better.

 

In A Nutshell:  Nice menu, good food, spacious dining room,  expensive, staff needs more training.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Website:  Click HERE.

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Right around the corner from El Gaucho.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-0445                 None                          No                                           (?)

 

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WINDOWS ON ARUBA

Windows is the Divi complex’s signature restaurant.  It has fine food and a beautiful view out over the golf course and out to the ocean.  Very sophisticated ambiance, live music, and attentive staff.  The restaurant has an extensive menu with classic entrees of seafood, beef, veal, duck, lamb, and vegetarian.  It is expensive.

 

They serve a very nice Sunday brunch.  All you can eat, of course, with unlimited mimosas too.  It is not buffet; guests order off the ever-present menu (one plate per order).  Spend a couple of hours with the peaceful ambiance, the beautiful view, and the plentiful food and drink.  I think you’ll agree:  life is good.

 

In A Nutshell:  Wonderful view, posh atmosphere, extensive menu, good Sunday brunch, expensive.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Sunday Brunch!

 

Website:  http://www.windowsonaruba.com/

Location:  Click on website (above) then click on “Location.”

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

730-5017                 None                          Yes                                          Groups of 6+ only

 

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JUST OK

 

ANNA MARIA’S

In my opinion Anna Maria’s has the best indoor atmosphere of any restaurant in Aruba.  Tables are located on the back patio of a house, and it looks like you are in the middle of a small town in Italy.  Not a very big area, with a small pond and faux brick walls and bright colors.  You will start speaking Italian even though you don’t know any. 

 

The chef, Anna Maria (duh), is the wife of the personable greeter/waiter.  She cooks Italian, of course, in her own kitchen.  However the food quality is inconsistent.  Sometimes the food can come out any old way—from bottles and boxes, some guests claim. 

 

They have no website and no signs on the house.  You have to have very specific directions to get there.  It is difficult to find first time…and the next time too.  The restaurant is very expensive, especially for pasta dishes (which should not be over $30).  Reservations are necessary; after all you coming to these folks’ house.  I hope you enjoy it, but after you get over the wonderful atmosphere the rest is downhill, especially when the bill comes.

 

In A Nutshell:  Beautiful setting, hard to find, inconsistent food quality, expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-2833                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

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B-55

B-55 serves Dutch and local dishes.  It is located a bit remote from Oranjestad, out by the Balashi brewery and the power plant.  Small with a nice local setting on a deck.  Your plate is full, the food is wholesome but not gourmet.  Nice place to have lunch after a morning of snorkeling at Baby Beach.  No reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Inexpensive, remote location, inconsistent service.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE. Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  A few hundred yards on the inland road from the power plant.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

585-2111                 None                          Yes                                          No

 

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BARNEY’S

Barney’s is a Dutch restaurant located in Noord, convenient to the high rise area in Aruba.  Barney’s is popular because of their large portions, inexpensive prices and cheerful service.  They are known for their special nights:

            Tuesdays                   Schnitzel

            Wednesday              Endless grouper

            Thursday                  Endless ribs

            Friday                        Karaoke

            Saturday                   Endless steak

 

In A Nutshell:  Large portions, pleasant service, inexpensive prices, smoking is allowed.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Grouper night (Wednesdays)!

 

Website:  http://barneysaruba.aw/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-5420                 Monday                    No                                           No

 

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CASIBARI CAFÉ

 

The Casibari Cafe is a new restaurant (July, 2014), so it has not yet accumulated the usual reviews, website, TripAdvisor coverage, etc.  It is a local place located at the Casibari rock formations on the 4A/4B highway.  Look for the Casiberi sign on your left as you travel east.  A large wood fired grill is set up outside, and all the meat preparation is done there.  Normal beef and chicken dishes.  We were there in July, 2014, and took the above pictures.  I am pretty sure they are open for lunch.  Stop in and have a nice wood fired grilled burger or a few ribs.  No reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good grilled food, inexpensive, courteous service, a little hard to find first time.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Anything prepared on the grill.

 

Location:  At the Casibari rock formation.

More pictures click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

???                             ???                             Probably                               ???

 

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DRIFTWOOD

Driftwood has been a popular restaurant for a long time.  We have not found much to like about it.  Yes, the fish is fresh, but the portions are small, the prices are high for such small portions, and the presentation is just…OK.  Many of the waiters are big guys without much to say.  Ours came back to confirm our order and still got it wrong.  If you like fresh fish and the rest so-so, that’s Driftwood.  Reservations suggested.

 

Driftwood has a fishing boat that you can charter.  They bring back what you catch and you can have them prepare it for your dinner.  Nice touch.

 

It is a little difficult to find because it is on an internal street, and you cannot see it when you park.  Be sure to get good walking directions from someone before you go there for the first time.

 

In A Nutshell:  Fresh fish and not much else going for it.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Fresh fish.

 

Website:  http://driftwoodaruba.com/index_restaurant.php

Menu:  Click HERE, then click on menu pages.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-2515                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

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EL TRATTORIA, IL FARO BLANCO

This restaurant has one of the very best locations on the island!  Beautiful view out over the ocean.  The sunsets from there are magnificent.  Wish the quality of the food and service were up to the view.  The food is just OK, and the service is inconsistent.  Service staffers walk with their heads down; it seems like they are purposely ignoring customers.

 

The menu has many many dishes to offer.  It takes a while to look them all over.  El Trattoria has many risotto entrees, and the risotto is quite good.  Reservations are recommended.

 

In A Nutshell:  Great location, complete menu, so-so food quality, slow service.

 

Recommended:  Risotto dishes.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://www.aruba-latrattoria.com/

Menu:  Click HERE, then click on the tabs toward the top.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  Its right up at the California lighthouse.  Can’t miss it.

YouTube video:  Click HERE, and HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-0786                 None                          Yes, breakfast too              No

 

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FISHES & MORE

Fishes and More

Fishes & More is a conveniently located restaurant specializing in fresh fish and seafood.  It is on the main drag in the high rise area.  Fish dishes are OK, but nothing special.  The service is fine.  Everything about Fishes & More is OK, but only OK.  There are a lot of seafood restaurants in Aruba, and F&M doesn’t stand out in any in comparison.  Prices are a little high for the quality and quantity of food you are served.  If you go to F&M expecting an outstanding dining experience you will be disappointed; if you go there expecting a standard fresh seafood dinner with no frills at a fairly reasonable price you will be pleased.

 

In A Nutshell:  The seafood is fresh, service is friendly, nothing to rave about.

 

Prices:  A little high.

 

Website:  http://www.fishesandmore.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Get directions.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3659                 None                          No                                           (?)

 

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GASPARITO RESTAURANT ART GALLERY

Gasparitos is a small, quaint restaurant located in Noord.  Indoor and outdoor seatings are at 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00.  The indoor walls are covered with Caribbean and Aruban art, and the guests are invited to walk around and check out the pictures.  Kind of different and fun.  I can’t remember if the pictures are for sale or not.  Gasparitos serves typical Aruban dishes:  lots of seafood, goat stew, and Keshi Yena (recommended).  Presentation and the quality of the food are fine, but nothing special.  Portion size is average.  Prices are not unexpectedly high or low.  Reservations are recommended.

 

In A Nutshell:  Quaint Aruba house setting, interesting artwork, food quality so-so.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Keshi Yena dishes.

 

Website:  http://www.gasparito-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  While driving away from high rise area in Noord watch for a sign indicating a right turn to Gasparitos.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

594-2550                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

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HOLLYWOOD SMOKEHOUSE

 

Hollywood Smokehouse used to be located in San Nicholas.  Then it moved to the low rise area on weekends only, selling takeout only.  Now I hope they will be successful in their new location at the low rise Alhambra Casino.  However they have a ways to go.  The 2 families I took to the smokehouse were disappointed across the board (except for the price, which was very low).  The portions were small and poorly presented (e.g. beans in a small paper cup and pulled pork just plopped on a plate nothing with it).  The quality of the smoked meat was OK, but I remember it was much better in San Nicholas.  One very good entre was the smoked grouper:  great taste, but, again, the portion was too small (see picture).  I tried to get the owner’s attention from the kitchen for my feedback, but she was too busy to talk to me.  No problem; they were busy.  One way to go might be to pick up the smoked meat by the pound, take it back to our timeshare, and eat it there with our own sides.  We will try them again.  I do hope they will be successful at the Alhambra. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Very inexpensive, portions too small, poor presentation, wise-guy bartender.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Smoked grouper.

 

Menu:  Click HERE and scroll down.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Now at the Alhambra Casino in the low rise area of Aruba.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

280-9989                 Tuesday                    Saturday, Sunday              No

 

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HOSTARIA DA’VITTORIO

Hostaria Da’Vittorio has old world authentic Italian atmosphere, but the consistency of the food and service don’t look as good.  Some entrees just don’t have the good Italian taste; some waiters are abrupt and pushy.  All added up the restaurant is just OK.  Seating inside and outside.  Reservations not needed; they used to be.

 

In A Nutshell:  Nice setting, food mediocre, service sometimes pushy.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://hostariavittorio.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

Driving Tip:  Across the parking lot from the Hyatt.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3838                 None                          Yes                                          Yes, 15%

 

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IGUANA JOE’S

Iguana Joe’s a fun place to stop for lunch or dinner after walking around Oranjestad.  It is on the second floor overlooking the harbor.  You can sit on the outside tables and watch the world go by.  The local and Caribbean food is OK, but it’s the carefree island atmosphere that makes it a hoot—the music, the big drinks, the happy customers.  It is inexpensive.  No reservations taken.  Just do it!

 

In A Nutshell:  Big drinks, happy atmosphere, good location, inexpensive, no reservations.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Any cocktail.

 

Website:  http://www.iguanajoesaruba.com/ 

Menu:  Click HERE.  Click on tabs across the top.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-9373                 Sunday                      Yes                                          17% Groups of 7+

 

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IKE’S BISTRO

Ike’s is located at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa on Eagle Beach in the low rise area of Aruba.  Easy to get there, but parking is a problem.  My wife and I ate there shortly after it opened, and we thought it was OK, but not spectacular.  Since then it has got very fine reviews from tourists, so we will try Ike’s in January, 2015, and see if it has improved.  The poolside setting was fine, but the food was only mediocre.  Small portions for the price.  The service could have been improved too, and maybe it has by now. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Very nice poolside atmosphere, hard to find parking.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Have a massage at the spa, change, and go right to Ike’s for lunch.

 

Website:  http://www.manchebo.com/ikesbistro/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

582-3444                 None                          Yes, breakfast too              Yes, 15%

 

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INDO

Indo is Aruba’s only Indonesian restaurant I know of in Aruba, with a little Surinamese thrown in.  It isn’t much to look at from the outside (or the inside either, for that matter), but it has a variety of Indonesian and “that kind” of cuisine.  Indo does a lot of take out dinners, and it is very inexpensive.  If you know this kind of cooking and like it by all means try it.  If you aren’t familiar with Indonesian cuisine don’t start here.  People who know it and like it rate it pretty high.  Others don’t go there often I suspect.

 

In A Nutshell:  Extensive menu, specialized taste, very inexpensive, no atmosphere.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  On the main drag through Noord on the right after CMB bank (if you are driving away from the high rise area).

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3611                 Monday                    No                                           No

 

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LAS RAMBLAS

Las Ramblas is located at the La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino in the low rise area of Aruba.  Very easy to get to from all 3 tourist locations (Oranjestad, high rise and low rise).  It seats guests outside, and an active grill is nearby.  Is the cuisine Spanish?  Caribbean?  Mediterranean?  You decide.  Reservations are recommended in the high season.  

 

In A Nutshell:  Great outdoor setting, tasty grilling, not expensive, limited menu.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Sangria, paella.

 

Website:  http://www.lacabanabrc.com/food-beverage

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-3840                 Sunday                      No                                           No

 

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LINDA’S DUTCH PANCAKES & PIZZAS

Linda’s is a good little place to have breakfast and lunch, and now they serve dinner.  From their name you know they specialize in the huge Dutch pancakes…and pizza, but they now also serve soups, sandwiches, and salads plus desserts.  The pancakes are as large as pizzas, and they can be served with any fruit, cheese, nuts, or liqueur you can imagine.  No reservations needed usually.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very popular—the pancakes, inexpensive, gluten free conscious, limited dinner menu.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  The Dutch pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

 

Website:  http://www.lindas-aruba.com/menu/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  You must turn in at the Valero service station, and this will lead you into the strip mall next door where Linda’s sits next to the station.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-3378                 Sunday                      Yes, breakfast too              No

 

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MANGO’S

Mango’s is located at the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba, across the street from Eagle Beach.  This Dutch restaurant is a pleasant place to dine.  It is outdoors with beautiful sunsets seen right through the palm trees.  They have specialty nights:  Italian on Sundays, French on Mondays, and Mexican BBQ on Tuesdays.  The service staff is pleasant.  The food quality is OK; it is not expensive.  Reservations usually not needed.

 

In A Nutshell:  Pleasant place to eat, inexpensive.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Tuesday night BBQ buffet.

 

Website:  http://www.mangos-restaurant-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

527-1125                 None              No just breakfast and dinner      Yes, 15%

 

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MATTHEW’S BEACHSIDE RESTAURANT

Matthew’s is located in the Casa del Mar Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba, right on the beach.  Very nice location.  Great sunsets.  This restaurant has lost some popularity in recent years; they were riding high when they first opened.  They have good selections on the menu, and their prices are reasonable.  OK on quality of food, but not outstanding.  Portion size is not what it used to be.  Reservations not needed.  Leave early because parking is tough at Casa del Mar.

 

In A Nutshell:  Nice location, great sunsets, reasonable prices, hardly any parking.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Goat cheese appetizer, tuna steak.

 

Website:  http://www.matthews-aruba.com/home/index.html

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

Driving Tip:  Leave early, parking is tough.

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-7300                 None                          Yes, breakfast too              Yes, 15%

 

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MEXICADO

Mexicado rides high on the reputation of the hotel which houses it, Hyatt Regency.  However it does not deliver the overall quality that Hyatt itself provides in other restaurant and hotel services.  Mexicado is not a typical Mexican restaurant.  It has a Mexican/Caribbean menu with a lot more fish and seafood dishes than a “standared” Mexican restaurant has.  It makes this restaurant unique.  However, after all this, the quality is not much more than average.  The setting is very nice, as you would expect at a Hyatt.  The cocktails are huge; the service is polite.  The prices are high.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very nice setting, interesting Mexican/Caribbean menu, mediocre food quality, high prices.

 

Prices:  High

 

Recommended:  Empanadas (pictured).

 

Website:  http://www.aruba.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/mexicado.html

Menu:  Click on the website (above), then click on “Dinner Menu.”

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  At the Hyatt Regency Aruba in the high rise area of Aruba.

More Pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-1234                 Monday                    No                                           Yes, 15%

 

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THE OLD CUNUCU HOUSE

The Old Cunucu House restaurant advertises “Authentic Aruban Cuisine,” and that is accurate.  The problems are that the quality is not better than dozens of Aruban restaurants across the island, and the prices are a bit higher.  Nice setting in an old cunucu (country) house, polite but slow service we found, but nothing special about it to set it off from the crowd of “local” restaurants.  No reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Typical Aruban restaurant, nice setting, prices higher than other local restaurants.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Keeshi yena.

 

Website:  http://www.theoldcunucuhouse.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-1666                 None                          Yes                                          No

 

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THE OLD FISHERMAN

The Old Fisherman is located conveniently near the bus station in Oranjestad.  Its fresh fish portions are large.  The atmosphere is crowded.  Lousy website!  Inspect your bill closely.

 

In A Nutshell:  Large portions, good location, so-so food, so-so service.

 

Website:  http://oldfishermanaruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE then click on tabs toward the top.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-3648                 None                          Yes, Breakfast too              No

 

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OSTRICH FARM

I am suggesting the ostrich farm as a lunch spot, not necessarily as an activity (although as an activity it is a hoot!).  You wouldn’t go out of your way to go to the ostrich farm just to have lunch.  But if you were going anyway—to see the ostriches, of course--then by all means have lunch there…AND have ostrich burgers by all means.

 

In A Nutshell:  Fun place for lunch, gracious staff, food pretty good, hard to get to first time.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Ostrich burgers, duh (not always available).

 

Website:  http://www.arubaostrichfarm.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

585-9630                 ???                 Yes, dinner no.                                ???

 

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PASSIONS ON THE BEACH

Passions for dinner is on the beach (Eagle Beach, Aruba’s best) across the street from Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba.  Feet-in-the-sand, beautiful sunsets, romantic as can be.  Wish the consistency of the service and food were as highly ranked.  Both can be good; both can slide sometimes.  However it remains popular.

 

In A NutshellBeautiful romantic setting, spotty service, food just OK, expensive.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  http://passions-restaurant-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

YouTube video:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

527-1129                 None                          No                                           Yes, 15%

 

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PEANUTS

Peanuts is a coffee shop-like restaurant in Oranjestad.  A good place to have lunch if you have a big family with a lot of kids.  Otherwise, it really isn’t a tourist hot spot.  It is popular with residents.  They advertise, “Best peanut sauce on the island,” and it is good.  But otherwise the food is like diner food:  OK, but not outstanding.  No reservations needed. 

 

In A Nutshell:  Convenient location for lunch, good peanut sauce dishes, very inexpensive, food quality so-so.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Orders that come with their peanut sauce.

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

583-4343                 None                          Yes, breakfast too                          10%

 

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PIZZA BOB’S

Pizza Bob’s has great pizza, a nice outdoor atmosphere, and competitive prices.  It is located at Costa Linda Beach Resort in the low rise area of Aruba.  Live entertainment in the evenings.  What can you say about pizza—its pizza!  They will deliver. 

 

Pizza Bob’s is owned by the same people who own Ellioti’s next door.  Those restaurants share the same kitchen, I’m told.  And you can order anything from the Ellioti’s menu while seated at Pizza Bob’s (and visa versa).  Just ask for an Ellioti’s menu.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very good pizza.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  http://www.costalinda-aruba.com/pizza-bobs.asp

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-9040 Ext 790  None                          Yes                                          No

 

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RED FISH

 

Red Fish is a popular local restaurant close to the Alhambra Casino in the low rise area of Aruba.  It is operated by the same people who own the Driftwood restaurant in Oranjestad.  They have a limited menu--mostly seafood--with the traditional local sides of french fries, rice, plantain, funghi, and coleslaw.  You can be sure the fish is fresh.  Not fancy, but you certainly get a big platefull.  Tricky to get to:  turn inland at the Alhambra Casino, go straight until you must turn left on a 1 way street, then turn into the parking lot at Pizza Hut and take an immediate dirt road to your right.  Watch for Red Fish on your left a few hundred yards down.  Beer and wine available.  Reservations usually not needed, but it does fill up…

 

In A Nutshell:  Fresh seafood, great shrimp, typical “local” restaurant, very inexpensive, hard to get to first time, not luxurious.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Fried and grilled shrimp.

 

Website:  If you find this link please email it to me to include in this Guide.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

More pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

593-0368                 Monday                    Yes                                          No

 

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SEA SALT

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Sea Salt is a nice cozy little restaurant located at the Seaport Mall across from the Renaissance Resort in Oranjestad.  It doesn’t look like much, but the food is much better than the restaurant looks.  Yes, it is a “local” restaurant; the food is better than you would expect looking in.  It is owned by the same people who own The Old Fisherman.  If you are in O’Stad and looking for a quick, well-prepared dinner try Sea Salt.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good food, friendly service, low prices, extensive menu, not an inviting appearance.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Recommended:  Entrees on skewers.

 

Website:  http://seasaltaruba.com/about.html

 

Menu:   Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Browse Nearby.”

Driving Tip:  Park on the ocean side of the mall in Oranjestad and walk toward the main road.  You will see Sea Salt.

More Pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

280-0029                 Sunday                      No                                           (?)

 

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SIDEBAR BISTRO

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Sidebar Bistro is located in the Renaissance Seaport Marketplace mall, around the back (i.e. ocean) side.  It opened in 2014, and from the outside it doesn’t look like much—lots of empty tables early on in the evening.  And the menu doesn’t look like much either—this is just a burger place? you think.  But as you get used to Sidebar it grows on you.  The wait staff is Dutch, and that means the service personal are gracious and cheerful.  The food is much better than you expect, with interesting presentations.  The food is good; it is plentiful; and it is presented in a unique way (see the pictures).  The prices are reasonable.  All in all it is a good find.

 

In A Nutshell:  Good food uniquely presented, good service reasonable prices, backyard location, not an inviting appearance, limited menu.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Recommended:  Burgers, onion soup.

 

Website:  http://www.sidebararuba.com/contact

Menu:   Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Get directions.”

Driving Tip:  Park on the ocean side of the mall in Oranjestad and walk toward the main road.  You will see Sidebar.

More Pictures:  Click HERE.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-5511                 None                          Yes, breakfast too                          No

 

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SUNSET GRILL

The Sunset Grill is located in the Hilton (formerly the Radisson) in the high rise area of Aruba.  It is very expensive dining, but the quality of the food and service doesn’t measure up to the price.  The atmosphere is very nice, looking over the grounds of the Radison toward the beach.  Reservations are necessary; ask for an outside table.

 

 

In A Nutshell:  Very nice setting, very expensive.

 

Prices:  Very high

 

Website:  http://sunsetgrillearuba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  In the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa in the high rise area of Aruba.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

526-6612                 None                          No                                           Yes, 15%

 

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SULTAN AUTHENTIC ARAB RESTAURANT

Call the cuisine Arab, Mediterranean, Middle East, Eastern, whatever:  it is authentic and fun to partake.  Have some babaghanoush or some falafel, or some stuffed vine leaves.  Maybe a little machboos?  Formerly “The Sultan,” this restaurant is off the beaten path a bit.  The portions are big; the quality is just OK, but maybe that’s because I am not familiar with that type of cuisine.  So give it a try, and you might be surprised.  No reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Authentic Middle Eastern food, large portions, very inexpensive, hard to find first time.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Website:  (Under development)

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

588-2598                 Sunday                      Yes                                          ???

 

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TULIPS CARIBBEAN BRASSERIE

Tulips is located at the MVC Eagle Beach resort/hotel on Eagle Beach in the low rise area of Aruba.  It is a pleasant little place with tables outside but with a roof.  Good service, fair prices.  Relatively new menu.  No downside really, just a pleasant dinner out for Dutch and Caribbean cuisine.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very pleasant atmosphere, good service, not too expensive.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  http://www.tulip-restaurant-aruba.com/

Menu:  Click HERE.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  At MVC Eagle Beach in the low rise area of Aruba.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-0110                 Tuesday                    Yes, breakfast too              No

 

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2 FOOLS AND A BULL

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This is an interesting and different restaurant.  It seats a maximum of 15 customers and has 1 sitting starting at 7:00.  The “2 Fools” cook and entertain you for the next 3+ hours with course after course (5 of them) and joke after joke.  There is “meet and greet” time where you chat with your fellow guests, but most of the time is spent listening to stories and watching the chef prepare the dinner.  Wine is served and priced by the glass and is optional for each course.  You have to consider this not only a gourmet dinner but an evening of entertainment too.  It is so special an occasion and the evening lasts so long that you wouldn’t go there frequently…but when you do go you will enjoy it.  You must reserve several months ahead on their website.

 

In A Nutshell:  Great fun, good food, very different, expensive, lasts a long time, must reserve far in advance.

 

Prices:  High

 

Website:  Click HERE. 

Menu:  Set by the chef.

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.

Location:  See Trip Advisor website (above), see map and “Get directions.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

586-7177                 Sat & Sun                              No                                           No

 

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WAKA WAKA ADVENTURE CAFE

Small family restaurant with an African motif.  Fun place to take kids.  Aruban/Caribbean food is only so-so; service is OK.  Overall nothing  special, but just OK all around.

 

In A Nutshell:  Interesting African atmosphere, inexpensive, hard to get to first time.

 

Prices:  Moderate

 

Website:  (Under development.)

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

582-5600                 Monday                    Saturday & Sunday                       No

 

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YAMI YAMI

Yami Yami is basically Korean but also everything Asian.  They have a huge menu, chock full of entries from all over.  No overwhelming atmosphere, just standard Asian cuisine.  Food quality not so good.  No reservations necessary.

 

In A Nutshell:  Many, many menu selections, food quality lacking.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Across the street from Chef’s Tables and further away from Super Food.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

587-0062                 Monday                    Yes                                          No

 

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ZEEROVERS

Zeerovers is a fish/shrimp only restaurant right on the water.  It is located in Savaneta, a healthy drive from Oranjestad toward San Nicholas.  It has only 2 dishes:  fresh fish and shrimp.  It has only one way of preparing them:  frying.  The kind of fish depends on what the fishermen bring back that day.  You also get sides like french fries, plainten, etc.  You order and pay at a window as you approach the restaurant building, and they give you a number block.  You place the block on your table, and when your dinner is ready they bring it to you.  The food is very inexpensive.

 

You can also buy fresh fish to take out and prepare yourself.  Again:  very fresh and very inexpensive.  Zeerovers sells fish and shrimp on Mondays, but it is closed that day for lunch and dinner.

 

It is a fun place.  Obviously not gormet.  I end up eating everything with my fingers, although paper plates and plastic utensils are provided.  And lots of napkins!  Give it a try.  Unless you are expecting a five star experience you will enjoy yourself.

 

In A Nutshell:  Very fresh fish and shrimp, fun experience, inexpensive, fried food only, difficult to find first time, remote from tourist locations.

 

Prices:  Low

 

Trip Advisor website:  Click HERE.  Note “reviews from our community.”

Location:  Go to Trip Advisor website (above) then click on “Interactive map.”

More pictures:  Click HERE.

Driving Tip:  Zeerovers is located just a few doors away from Flying Fishbone and The Old Man and the Sea.

 

Local Phone             Days Closed             Open for Lunch?                Service Charge?

584-8401                 Monday                    Yes                                          No

 

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APPENDIX

ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS

ELEMENTS

BAREFOOT ARUBA

MADAME JANETTES

PAPIAMENTO

WATER’S EDGE 12° NORTH

FLYING FISHBONE

PASSIONS ON THE BEACH

QUINTA DEL CARMAN

VENTANAS DEL MAR

WINDOWS ON ARUBA

SCREAMING EAGLE

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“LOCAL” RESTAURANTS

WACKY WAHOO’S

GOSTOSO RESTAURANTE

SEA SALT

RED FISH

GASPARITO RESTAURANT ART GALLERY

THE OLD CUNUCU HOUSE

FISHES AND MORE

ZEEROVERS

PEANUTS

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FEET-IN-THE-SAND RESTAURANTS

BAREFOOT ARUBA

WATER’S EDGE 12° NORTH

RICARDO’S

FLYING FISHBONE

PASSIONS ON THE BEACH

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SUNDAY BRUNCH RESTAURANTS

LAGUNA RESTAURANT (SUNDAY BRUNCH)

RUINAS DEL MAR

VENTANAS DEL MAR

WINDOWS ON ARUBA

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FAMILY RESTAURANTS

OSTERICH FARM

WAKA WAKA ADVENTURE CAFE

BINGO!

PIZZA BOB’S

BAREFOOT ARUBA

WATER’S EDGE 12° NORTH

WEST DECK

SIDEBAR BISTRO

CASIBARI CAFÉ

ZEEROVERS

DON JACINTO

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