Aruba’s tourism slogan is “One Happy Island,” and with more than 200 different dining establishments easily accessible no matter where you live or where you’re staying, both residents and visitors alike are in for a treat (okay, probably a lot of treats) on this tiny outpost in the Dutch Caribbean. From romantic, off-the-beaten-path gems to classic, toes-in-the-sand beach bars, diners will find an exceptional assortment of great places to eat, with or without a roof over their heads! Whether you have already booked your Aruba vacation, or are still amongst your vacation planning, here are a few recommendations:
With its 2016 Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor has named the Flying Fishbone one of the best beach restaurants in the world. Here’s why: your toes are in the sand and palm trees sway overhead in a quaint little fishing town called Savaneta. The European dishes boast a touch of the Caribbean, with an artistic flair. Try the roasted rack of lamb with couscous, grilled tomato and sweet onion sauce, or for something a bit lighter, skewered black tiger shrimp with herb risotto, mixed vegetables and lemon garlic butter sauce. The menu is diverse and the service outstanding – absolutely worth a visit.
The most unique dining opportunity on Aruba is Carte Blanche, which only seats a total of 14 patrons each evening - ensuring direct interaction with Chef Dennis van Daatselaar himself in a very cozy and relaxed atmosphere. If you visit, bring your appetite and an open mind, as the chef will prepare a surprise, five-course menu right in front of his guests. The meal will feature many different flavors and emphasize fresh ingredients. Pair it with great wines from all corners of the globe, or perhaps a martini from the bar. Reservations are required at Carte Blanche; be sure to make yours well in advance
Quinta del Carmen
Cuisine: Dutch Caribbean
Having just celebrated 100 years, the striking architecture of Quinta del Carmen provides a nice change of pace from other, more typical dining setups on the island. Having begun life as a vacation home and alternatively serving as a hospital, a clubhouse, and today one of Aruba’s premier restaurants, the menu here is dinner-only, and the vibe upscale. Patrons tend to begin with the Quinta Royal Champagne (accented with fresh strawberry), and often move on to one of “Grandma’s Favorites,” like Red Snapper Creole or Sucade Lappen – steak stewed in red wine, herbs and spices. Wonderful!
Located within our own Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Atardi is the resort’s signature seafood restaurant, with a setting directly on the beach. Start things off with a fresh shrimp salad, followed by Macadamia-crusted grouper served with Bok choy, black quinoa chaufa and creamy red curry sauce. Then cap an amazing evening by sharing a slice of coconut cake or trying “Old Pirate’s Treasure” – Grand Marnier, brandy and coffee. Perhaps a reviewer on Google said it best: “If you are looking for a romantic restaurant with fantastic food and top-notch service, look no further than Atardi.”
Since 1999, Madame Janette has been a hotspot on the island dining scene. The atmosphere is casual, with colored lights strung above a big patio and music in the background, but the dinner menu is full of international gourmet favorites. From Chilean sea bass, to Black Angus beef carpaccio, to pork schnitzel that may leave you wondering if you’re in Vienna as opposed to Aruba, owners Karsten Gesing and Ramon Helgers have created something special here. And don’t forget about the beer menu, which is among the Caribbean’s most extensive, with no less than five dozen different choices.