Places to eat in Aruba

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    Papiamento: Carribbean Cuisine at its Best

    by SabrinaSummerville Updated Jan 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Papiamento is the name of the native language of Aruba, and is also the name of what I have termed the prettiest retaurant in Aruba.

    One of the main reasons that I booked this restaurant is because it is owned and run by the Ellis family, and Ellis is the family name of my Mother. The reasons that I would return again and again are that the food is incredible and the setting is a fairytale paradise.

    We were seated in the garden area of this beautiful property, surrounded by lush vegetation strung with white fairy lights. Everywhere you looked there were shady gazebos, trellises intertwined with flowers, and bird houses hidden behind leaves. The sound of a tiny stream trickled somewhere in the background and flaming torches reflected in the swimming pool.

    The tables were set with white linen covered with heavy damask cloths. Large hurricane lamps sat atop the lot and the tables were set with full silver service.

    The pretty (actually pretty stunning) house that occupies this garden paradise is whitewashed with a red tiled roof and green painted woodwork. The combination of colours is at once both fresh and striking.

    Favorite Dish: The menu is incredible, with both Caribbean and international dishes....and very many choices.

    My starter was an amazing hot dish of scallops in a mushroom sauce. This was topped with a sweet potato mash and creamy crispy cheese topping. The whole combination tasted of more, although there was more than plenty in the dish.

    I followed this with a hot platter called Neptune - fish, king shrimp, and lobster all served on a sizzling hot stone with lemon butter. Everything was so very fresh and comes only partially cooked as it continues to cook on the hot stone. This was accompanied by a caesar salad and mediterranean vegetables such as mixed peppers and red onion. I relished every morsel.

    I could barely fit dessert, but managed to squeeze in an ice cream dish with flaked almonds. Simple but perfect.

    It's not cheap, but it's perfect.

    Another on my list of places to propose marriage:-)

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    • Luxury Travel
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    Breakfast on the Beach: All you can eat breakfast buffet

    by Dabs Updated Dec 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are looking for an all you can eat breakfast buffet, skip the overpriced hotel buffets that are $17-18 and head to this very casual beachside shack on the boardwalk between the Occidental and Holiday Inn. The buffet is $9.95 per person plus the 15% service charge that is almost always tacked on your bill in Aruba.

    Favorite Dish: Omelets, eggs, waffles, french toast and pancakes are made to order, you can help yourself to 5 or 6 juice options, toast, bacon, fried potatoes, corn beef hash, fresh fruit. The food isn't gourmet but it's filling, we didn't even need to eat lunch that day.

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    Marina Pirata: Pirate's Seafood Den

    by SabrinaSummerville Updated Jan 20, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Marina Pirata floats like an island on a deck that stretches out into the ocean.

    It's hard to find so we were lucky to have the company of locals Pushi Rubiano and hubby Herry. It's another magical Aruban hideaway and you walk down a series of steps, across a bubbling stream (which runs through a little mangrove of crisscrossed branches) and into a virtual pirates den on this man made permanent raft.

    It's dark, lots of tiny fairy lights, plenty of candles, and the atmosphere is magic.

    We were seated at the edge of the deck and the waters, lit by hurricane lamps, were teeming with hungry fish who swarmed in shoals waiting for morsels of bread which we happily threw to them.

    The service was quick and pleasant and the prices were very reasonable indeed. I was stunned that a meal for four, with several rounds of drink, cost less than $140. At home we'd pay that for dinner for two!!!!!

    Favorite Dish: I started with calamari rings in garlic sauce. The serving was huge, I feared I wouldn't finish (but I did), and instead of the usual garlic butter this was a proper garlic sauce that was also redolent with the salty taste of the sea.

    I followed this with a seafood dish called Shore Platter - squid, mixed cubed fish, lobster, and shrimp served in a seafood sauce. All main courses come with mixed vegetables and your choice of rice, fried funchi (crispy corn bread), pan bati (aruban pancake), or french fries. I tried the pan bati, but it was too sweet for me. I tasted someone elses fried funchi and loved it - that will be my choice another time.

    I didn't have dessert - I didn't have room; but cappuccino was served promptly and was delicious.

    A great meal in a gorgeous setting.

    Very romantic!

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    Old Cunucu House: Caribbean cuisine

    by Dabs Updated Dec 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Set in an original Aruban house built over 150 years ago, the Old Cunucu House was a little difficult to find on a rainy Sunday night but after being chased by a wild dog when we approached a private residence we finally found it before the rain really started in. Lots of the restaurants in the Palm Beach area are closed on Sunday but this one was open even though the website says its closed, you might check in advance, you can book reservations on the website below.

    There's a coupon for a free glass of wine in the Arubaguide you can find at most hotels.

    Favorite Dish: We started off with fried calamari ($8) which was just OK and a rather small portion, I ordered the coconut shrimp ($22), 5 large butterflied shrimp rolled in coconut with a mango dipping sauce which was very good, David tried a local Aruban specialty, Keeshi Yena ($19) which is Gouda cheese and chicken baked with onion, peppers, celery, green olives, raisins and cashew nuts. The dish originated from the Dutch colonists who had to stretch their provisions til the next ship came so they didn't waste anything. The complimentary flatbread and garlic bread was also good. No room for dessert!

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    Madame Janette: For People Who Love Great Food

    by SabrinaSummerville Updated Jan 18, 2007

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    Everywhere you go in Aruba, people (especially locals) will ask you if you have been to Madame Janette's. So....we just had to try it. It has, after all, been consistedly voted the best restaurant in the Caribbean and has been awarded a bevy of gold medals by both Les Amis d'escoffier and rising culinary star of the year.

    When our taxi pulled up outside (having travelled a myriad of backroads in the pitch dark) it looked just like a straw roofed shack with locals sitting outside on benches (these turned out to be waiting taxi drivers). You walk through the door and find yourself in a modern, hopping, happy bar and restaurant full of both locals and tourists but overall a pretty upmarket crowd.

    At the very front there's a garden waiting area with tables and chairs made from old trees. You check in at the front desk and they give you a little space age disc. When your table is ready this buzzes and glows red. When they give it to you they don't explain what it is or why you have it, so you pick it up from watching everyone else.

    I thought the guy at the reception was quite rude, but I think perhaps he was just too busy. That saying, in a service industry there's just no room for rudeness. That, however, was the limit of our disappointment.

    We were quickly seated at our comfortable table and soon found ourselves comfortably surrounded by a bevy of waiting staff. Again, as in many Aruban restaurants, the menu choice was vast and I found myself puzzling over my order. The food came quickly and with big smiles and pleasant chat from our lovely waitress.

    There was live music from one singer on guitar and as the night wore on I saw that he was taking requests. People sat very happily over their coffees and cocktails listening to him sing and there was no sense of urgency to leave.

    The place is huge, but you don't feel it to be so as it's divided off into lots of sections. I believe that it's packed to the roof every single night, so be sure to make a reservation well in advance.

    Favorite Dish: I started with blue crab lobster lollipops, which consisted of three large "lollipops" of seafood, deep fried in batter and served on giant lollipop sticks with mixed salad leaves, soy sauce,and oriental style crackers. The serving was more than generous but I found the lollipops just a little gluey for my taste. I think others would adore them, however.

    I followed this with a surf and turf dish called "Gianni Versace" consisting of superb fillet steak topped with medallions of lobster served with a delectable sauce and slices of portobello mushroom. This came with the house style roast potatoes - diced potato with bacon and onion.

    You'd think after all that that I wouldn't have room for dessert, but I had to indulge. I had fresh diced pineapple marinated in rum and served with ice cream, cream, flaked almonds and toasted coconut flakes. Very tasty indeed.

    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    El Gaucho: Steakhouse in Oranjestad

    by Dabs Written Dec 13, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another restaurant that came highly recommended, I was very pleased with our choice on our final night in Aruba. We decided not to be total pigs and eat at one of the all you can eat meat places but I wanted steak so we headed here. We didn't have a reservation and were very casually dressed but they seated us right away, although in the furthest part of the restaurant from the entrance. That's OK, we had a terrific server with a good sense of humor, I even made him go back and get me a souvernir plastic cow when I forgot to keep mine from the steak and he did it with a smile.

    The service was very fast and everything was as we ordered. Reservations can be made online, I'd recommend them if you are visiting in season even though the restaurant is huge, it's also very popular

    Favorite Dish: I splurged and got the 20 oz. bone in ribeye ($40) and David had the Argentine grill ($30.75)with tenderloin, pork sausage, ribs, pork loin & beef short ribs. Mine was excellent, David's was good. You get three sides with your meal, I could barely eat any of it and definitely no room for dessert!

    Total bill with 1 drink each and 15% service charge was $99, we added a little more for our waiter

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    Mathilde: Divine and Delectable

    by SabrinaSummerville Updated Jan 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chez Mathilde was one of the most respected and desirable restaurants on Aruba for very many years. Very upmarket and very luxurious, it was a habitat of the rich and famous.

    Recently the establishment decided to go for a more modern image and renovated the whole place, dividing it in two.

    The part known as "M" is situated at the front of the building, is designed to be a little more casual (the decor struck me as bistro style), and is aimed at a younger or more casual crowd.

    The back part of the restaurant, "Mathilde", is decorated in light coloured wood - wooden walls, wooden floors, with huge gold pillar-type structures that are in fact enormous planters. Paintings on the walls are mainly caribbean style and of young Caribbean faces. There's a baby grand piano here with live music and flowers appear to adorn every available flat surface. The flowers are glorious - the shelf beside my table was graced with a gorgeous display of sunflowers.

    Service is prompt and very efficient, although one waiter brought Pinot Grigio instead of Pinot Gris as a second glass of wine (the first being correct).

    The atmosphere is literally humming and the place buzzes with happy diners, both locals and tourists.

    We had listened to so many people report that they were disappointed in the new style of "M" and "Mathilde" that we were almost disinclined to eat here, but looking back on it now we are both so glad that we did. It was one of the most enjoyable meals we had in our two week vacation.

    Favorite Dish: The menu is vast and varied, so much so that it was hard to decide what I wanted.

    I started with the foie gras and apricot torte, which was served with a raspberry sorbet. At $32 it was by far the most expensive starter on the menu, but I am a real foie gras addict. It was delectable, caramelised on the outside and melt in the mouth inside, as foie gras should be. I thought the sorbet a bit unnecessary and it caused the flavours to compete a bit too much, but overall it deserves an A.

    That was followed with Chateaubriand, a house special. I thought it was good, but nothing spectacular. That saying, the accompanying vegetables were al dente and delicious.

    My dessert was an incredible crepe suzette, cooked at our table. I watched as fresh oranges and lemons were squeezed into the pan, then as cognac and grand marnier were added, and finally the whole thing was set to flame a glorious blue. The resultant crepes tasted divine and melted in the mouth. They were served with ice cream and cream and looked so amazing that guests at adjoining tables ordered them having seen ours.

    Related to:
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    • Food and Dining
    • Business Travel

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    Sunset Grill: Steaks and seafood, excellent meal

    by Dabs Updated Dec 21, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sunset Grill was one of the most highly recommended restaurants, both by guidebooks and online reviews, and since we were staying at the Radisson, it was an easy choice for Saturday night dinner. I didn't realize there was an outdoor terrace, we were seated indoors in the brightly lit cheery restaurant. Service was efficient, not overly friendly. The menu specializes in steaks and seafood, the most expensive meal we had but not out of line with the higher end restaurants in Aruba. Dinner is the only meal served, 7 days a week. Reservations can be made online.

    Favorite Dish: The meal started off with a piece of complimentary sushi and a bread basket filled with yummy rolls. I started off with an excellent cup of French onion soup ($8), topped with cheese, David had the lobster bisque ($10) which was rich and creamy and topped with a puff pastry crust. I knew I'd be having steak later in the week, so I ordered the pan-seared ruby red sushi grade tuna with sesame peppercorn crust served rare ($29) with a wicked wasabi and soy sauce which was excellent except for the very ends that were overdone. David had the bone in ribeye ($39) prepared medium, also excellent. Entrees are served ala carte so we ordered smashed potatoes with bacon and gouda cheese, sinfully delicious. I ordered the white chocolate hazelnut souffle ($12) served with caramel ice cream when I ordered my meal as it takes 30 minutes, some of the other dessert options were also tempting but we split one as we were stuffed.

    The total bill was $129 with the 15% service charge that most restaurants in Aruba add on and no alcohol.

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    Le Dome: Sunday brunch

    by Dabs Updated Dec 13, 2007

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    I wanted to try Le Dome, one of the more highly recommended restaurants in Aruba, so we went for the "reasonably" priced (reasonable for Le Dome anyway) Sunday champagne brunch, $40 per person. You order brunch items off the menu, our server explained that you could order in any manner you like, dessert first and soup last, all of the appetizers or none of the appetizers, if you found something you really liked, you could order it again and again. There are 3 or more choices in each category, cold appetizers, soups, warm appetizers, entrees and desserts.

    There are 4 different rooms including the terrace, in all but the terrace the dress code is casual elegance, long pants and sleeved shirt required for men, shorts are allowed on the terrace.

    You can make reservations online.

    Service was very good, our server was actually trying to get us to eat more and was always ready with the champagne bottle.

    Favorite Dish: The kid in me wanted to order dessert first but I stuck with the traditional format of soup, appetizer, entree and dessert. I started with the French onion soup which was OK although it wasn't topped with cheese. Next was the appetizers, I had the snails in a delicious portobello mushroom cream sauce and the mozzarella cheese croquette which was pretty much like a cheese stick. Next was the entree, the Aussie roastbeef tenderloin which was good, the portion size of the entrees is small so you can try more than one. David's creole chicken wasn't very good, nor was the sauce very creole. I was ready for dessert and wanted to try several, all were good, the NY style cheesecake, the mango sherbet, the flambeed pineapple with ice cream and warm apple pie.

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    TEXAS DE BRAZIL CHURRASCARIA: "We Want to MEAT You "

    by LoriPori Written Nov 6, 2006

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    The popular Palm Beach steakhouse TEXAS DE BRASIL CHURRASCARIA serves Rodizzio-style meats, slow-roasted over an open flame, seasoned to perfection, carved and served tableside on large sword-like skewers, as well as a 40-item gourmet soup and salad bar - all for a fixed price.
    Their waiters/carvers, roam through the restaurant with choice cuts of certified Angus Beef, chicken, lamb, pork ribs and sausage.
    Why not try their signature drink the "Caipirinha" before or after dinner in their relaxing lounge.

    Favorite Dish: Salad Bar:
    Soup, shrimp, sushi, buffalo mozzarella , various salads and vegetables, salami and cheeses.

    Desserts:
    Brazilian cheesecake, White and Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake & Creme Brulee.

    Hours of operation:
    Dinner Only - 5.00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. (high season)
    6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (low season)

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    FISHES & MORE " THE RESTAURANT": GREAT SEAFOOD!!!

    by LoriPori Updated Nov 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located in the Arawak Gardens in Palm Beach FISHES & MORE RESTAURANT opened up just 3 and a half years ago and has been a great success since day one. The owners Jeroen Kuling and Hans Heijink together with their staff including Chef Gerben, work hard keeping the restaurant open 7 days a week from 4 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. The ambiance at the restaurant is wonderful, especially outside on the terrace where you can enjoy the tropical breeze and daily live music. Most come in early for the daily fresh catches, such as Red Snapper, grouper, mahi mahi, wahoo and tuna. Check with the server to find out about the "Catch of the Day" prepared the way you like it best - grilled, deep-fried or pan-fried. Every Wednesday,seafood specials are prepared depending on what the Fishermen bring in fresh out of the water that afternoon. These specials usually include fresh Caribbean lobster and pounds of peeled shrimps. For those who like to try something different, try their Pina Colada Shrimp or Hot Octopus in Lemon and Honey. MMMMM!

    Favorite Dish: All main courses are served with potatoes au Gratin & fresh vegetables. The early bird menu ( served between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ) is priced at $20.00 USD

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    IGUANA JOE'S CARIBBEAN BAR & GRILL: HOME OF THE PINK IGUANA

    by LoriPori Written Nov 8, 2006

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    For nine years, IGUANA JOE'S has been Aruba's most popular Caribbean restaurant.Their award-winning Caribbean menu ranges from the seven-layer Igua-Na-Chos appetizer to the Argentine grass-fed Filet Mignon, Caribbean Mahi Mahi, Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Baby Back Ribs.
    For Dessert you might want to try the Creme Broulee, Lamoenci Key lime Pie or Oreo Surprise.
    They also have a unique Logo Shop featuring their Original T-shirts.
    Located at the Upper Terrace of Royal Plaza
    Open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until midnight
    Sunday from 5:00 p.m. until midnight.

    Favorite Dish: Home of the Pink Iguana, a delicious and refreshing frozen blend of strawberries, pina colada and rum. They also serve the Lethal Lizard a wicked blend of Rum. Vodka, Gin and Bourbon.
    Their Signature Igua-na-chos are crispy tortilla chips topped with chili con carne, cheddar cheese, black olives, jalapenos, homemade chunky pico de gallo, sour and guacamole -- simply awesome!!!
    Also you might want to try their St. Martin Onion Soup, Half French and Half Dutch. Their homemade onion soup is topped with a thick crust of roasted French bread and Dutch Gouda cheese, then baked in the oven - to die for!!!

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    EET CAFE' " THE PADDOCK": GENUINE DUTCH BAR & RESTAURANT IN ORANJESTAD

    by LoriPori Written Nov 10, 2006

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    Located right next to the flea market and the Harbour in Oranjestad, the EET CAFE' "THE PADDOCK" is the only genuine Dutch bar & restaurant on Aruba. So of course Hans and I had to check it out - right! A great feature of "The Paddock" is its open air ambience and friendly staff. You can sit outside and enjoy the seaview while relaxing on the cozy terrace.Their cuisine is a variety of Dutch favourite platters and the usual beef, chicken & fish selections. Wednesday is "all you can eat ribs for $13.00 USD.
    Lunch Menu - served 11.00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    I will highlight some examples such as:
    French onion soup $4.25
    Caribbean Fish soup $4.25
    Large fresh buns with tuna salad $6.25 - with crab salad $6.25 - breaded grouper fillet $6.25.
    Hamburgers $5.00 $6.00 & $6.50 with fries $2.00 extra
    Omelettes
    Lunch platters from $6.50 to $18.50

    Dinner Menu - served 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
    Dinner Platters from $$8.25 to $18.50
    For example Sate' Platter $11.75
    Mixed Grill Platter $15.25

    Open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

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    TAKE AWAY: WHERE THE LOCALS EAT

    by LoriPori Written Nov 11, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After we left Alto Vista Chapel, it was lunch time and we were all getting hungry. Herry asked if we liked soup. I said yes, but Herry it's 30 degrees out and hot hot hot! but OK. So we went to Santa Cruz at a little local TAKE AWAY place with a parking lot full of cars parked every which way. It was full of locals having lunch. Ilona called it a "Dive" hehe. It was simple but the soup was absolutely wonderful. It should have been called stew instead, as it had huge chunks of meat and potatoes, along with macaroni, all in a delicious spicy broth. We even got to chat with the locals. That was fun Herry. Thanks.

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    Le Petit Cafe: All you can eat served breakfast

    by Dabs Updated Dec 17, 2007

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    Le Petit Cafe has an all you can eat breakfast for $7.95 per person but I preferred the slightly more expensive all you can eat breakfast at Breakfast on the Beach. The food wasn't as good here, there wasn't as much selection and everything except toast and coffee has to be brought to you by a server.

    Favorite Dish: Omelets, eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, fresh fruit, orange juice, coffee and toast

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