On our third day in Aruba, our 2nd day of diving was cancelled so Elisabeth and I decided to have a big breakfast instead. We had seen 't Pannekoekhuis the night before and so we decided to go try their Dutch pancakes (crèpes really). The menu had all sorts of varieties of crèpes from sweet to savoury. Unfortunately, one wasn't enough for me, so I had to buy two. Fortunately, they weren't terribly expensive. The crèpes were delicious but the restaurant wasn't as remarkable and the service was friendly and adequate. I would certainly recommend this place for breakfast. The do offer lunch and dinner, but we only had breakfast there. This restaurant belongs to a chain from the Netherlands, but the chain has only 4 locations in the Netherlands and this one in Aruba.
Favorite Dish: My favorite crèpe was called "The Dutch". It was ham, with gouda cheese, and leeks. Yummy! My other crèpe was apple with currants and that was also fantastic. Elisabeth had the "Fruits of the Forest" crèpe that was also delicious. But the Fruits of the Forest were blended into a jam which wasn't what she had expected. Still tasty though.
We stopped at Turtle Cove and their menu looked wonderful, however we were on a hunt for local foods. The staff at Turtle Cove was very nice and directed us to a little place right behind them so that we could try a pastechi.
To get to this restaurant, go right underneath the Turtle Cove restaurant. You will see the bus stop directly in front of you and this little place is just to the right.
There was no name on the restaurant and when I asked the woman behind the counter, she said that its name is "Bus Stop". I'm still not sure if that is a real name or whether it is just known by that because it is located by the bus stop!?!?
Favorite Dish: We got a chicken pastechi and a croquette. The pastechi was delicious--in fact, even knowing that we were still going to go find some more local food to try--I had to get a 2nd pastechi to take with me!!
The croquette was good and very different texture than I expected. As we were getting ready to leave, I asked about the sign on the display case (see picture)--I didn't understand it. The woman at the counter had a little problem explaining due to the language barrier so she went and got a piece of the local bread and showed us that you can get the croquette and eat it (kind of like a hot dog on a bun) with other stuff on it. Wish I had known that before I ate so much! Oh well, next time.
On the second night of our trip, I was in the mood for seafood, but unfortunately, most of the seafood restaurants we looked up had no vegetarian options (or limited) for Elisabeth. We then stumbled upon the name of Sushi Ya, located in the Renaissance Marketplace. Sushi immediately appealed to both of us so off we went.
At first, we were a bit put off by the fact that we couldn't sit in a table for four because we were only two. The server also seemed a bit cold, but once we found a seat, she warmed up and the experience just got better and better. Our rolls were fantastic. We ate 4 different rolls between the two of us and they were all very creative and just scrumptuous! If I had the room, I would have asked for seconds, but I was full!
I highly recommend Sushi ya. The creativity alone made this restaurant fantastic!
I would however avoid dining here on Friday or Saturday evenings as the local traffic into the marketplace and neighboring cinema is loud and annoying. Plus who wants to inhale fumes with their meal. If you do dine during this time, ask for a table inside.
Favorite Dish: The four rolls we had, all of them fantastic! The lime thing on the Arikok roll was really unique (in a good way)!
Mix Tartar roll - Chopped fish with scallion, avocado topped with seafood & flying fish eggs
Arikok roll - Tuna, tobiko, avocado topped with fresh salmon & lemon
Dynamite Special - Salmon, seaweed, crab, mango, crispies topped with spicy mayonnaise
Veggi roll - avocado, wakame, cucumber, carrots & mango
On our first night in Aruba, Elisabeth and I weren't in the mood to travel too far for dinner and so we decided to try one of the Renaissance Hotel's on-site restaurants. It turned out to be a very pleasant experience with fantastic food, great atmosphere, and attentive service. At first we worried that this restaurant would be a problem because of Elisabeth's vegetarian diet, but she managed to find just enough options to keep her happy. L.G. Smith's certainly looked like the top restaurant on-site and we certainly would vouch for that. As mentioned before, the food was fantastic and we flirted with going back there prior to our departure from Aruba. I would definitely recommend this restaurant, especially if you're a guest of the Renaissance Marina Hotel. Open 6:30 to 11:30 pm.
Favorite Dish: I started with the Seafood Ceviche which was awesome, and my main meal was the surf & turf, which was an 8 oz. petit filet (unfortunately medium, not medium-rare as requested) and a carribean lobster tail with drawn butter. Scrumptuous! Elisabeth started with a tomoto cream soup that she loved and then had a baked potato with asparagus served with sauce Hollondaise. She loved the asparagus. For dessert, we shared a mango crumble which is a must!
On our last night, we decided to skip the fancy restaurant we had made reservations for and opted to go to "the Villa" because they had apfelstruedel (apple struedel) which Elisabeth wanted. The service was certainly friendly, and the food good. The restaurant itself looked nice inside, but the patio seating wasn't as comfortable. The restaurant won us over with the excellent soups, just like the one's in Germany/Austria, and delicious food. Unfortunately, the apfelstruedel, our main reason for dining there was sub par. They did give Elisabeth a free strawberry daiquiri which she rather enjoyed. Avoid dining in the patio of this restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings as the local traffic going to the marketplace and neighboring cinema is annoying to say the least. This may be a better place for breakfast.
Favorite Dish: The pancake soup and pumpkin soups were delicious. Elisabeth's season green salad was also great. My wienerschnitzel was good, but not the best I've had.
I don't usually eat pancakes (crepes) but this place changed my mind. They have all kinds of pancakes on their menu with ingredients you may have never thought about combining. There were so many that I went back there a second time just to try more.
On a whim, we stopped to watch this guy cutting up coconuts for the locals and the tourists and putting on quite a show! He had all sorts of flavors available for drinks. After watching a woman stop just for a cup of coconut milk, I decided to ask whether he could make a coconut milkshake--made from fresh coconut. Well, of course!!! It was pure heaven.
We walked along and did some sight seeing and on the way back to our ship, we did a tiny bit of backtracking to---you guessed it! I had to return for a 2nd one. Then in the terminal shopping area, I stopped in one of the little port shop where they sold little airline sized bottles of alcohol for about $3 each. I added a little bottle of rum to it.
With or without the rum, Dr. Koko's coconut milkshake is wonderful!!!
This is a new restaurant right next door to Senor Frog's. It's very close to the pier. In fact, you can look out their front door and see all of the cruise ships! (see pic)
It's very pretty inside and the women running it were terrific!! Very friendly, helpful, great service.
Favorite Dish: This was part 2 of our search for local food. I decided to try some local giambo (sp)--gumbo and some local bread. Well, the flavor of the gumbo was good BUT if you aren't used to a very slimy gumbo, you may not care for it. I think this may be a local preference though!
Now--that said--I would definitely go back!! The menu has tons of choices and I'm sure the other food here is probably delicious. The reason I say this is because the other food we tried--the bread (Pan Bati) and the table sauce were fantastic.
In fact, the very very best part of all was that little bowl of pepper sauce (sweet not very spicy) that the woman said was made fresh that morning by her mother. We ate all of the bread--both the bread they put on the table as well as the batch of Pan Bati we ordered--just to have some place to put this sauce! We even requested a 2nd bowl of the sauce!! I came home and tried to duplicate it and no luck so far.