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Chef in waterAruba's Restaurants


Comments

  • A general note about restaurants & service: people move at Aruban time there. Service is slower than in North America, but that just gives you more time to sip a drink and enjoy the trade winds blowing through the restaurant. Please exercise patience.

  • Restaurants become more crowded after 7:00 p.m., probably peaking at 8:00 p.m. For sunset, go around 6:15 - 6:30 p.m, as the sun sets quickly between 6:30 and 6:45 year-round.

  • All the restaurants are rated at least once a year for quality and service standards by the Professional rating company The Freeman Group from Houston, Texas. The 1998 winner for highest quality is The French Steak House at the Manchebo Beach Resort.

  • In a recent informal poll on the ABB, the following topped the list as favourites: 1st- El Gaucho's; 2nd- Valentino's; 3rd- tied among the Driftwood, Old Cunucu House, Chez Matilde, Papiamento's; 4th- Suisse Chalet, Mama Mia's, Tuscany's, La Tratiorria; also mentioned- Boonoonoos, Brisas Del Mar, Le Petit Cafe, Rigoletto's, The Paddock, Le Dome, L'Escale.

  • If you can only eat at one fancy restaurant, make it the Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt. It is designed after an old Gold Mine; you can eat inside, or out on the patio overlooking the pond containing black swans, red flamingos, turtles, and tons of fish. If they don't promise outside seating, don't go - the food is wonderful, but it's the romantic atmosphere that's the main draw - rated one of the most romantic spots in the Caribbean by Fodor's travel guide. They also have the best hot homemade loaves of bread, which they keep replacing whenever you finish the loaf.

  • The other most romantic spot on the island is a small beachfront restaurant in the southern part of the island called The Flying Fishbone. Get a table on the sand a few feet from the water and get there in time for sunset. Not a cheap place but a very beautiful and romantic setting. Excellent food and wine list. Ask around, the locals all seem to know about it but it's not heavily advertised, likely because it only seats 40-50 people (Tim M from ABB). The deck overlooks the beach, and out on the beach there is a cozy area with sofas and chairs where you can take your after-dinner drink and sit next to the water. Shorts are allowed at the Flying Fishbone. Sample meal: Appetizer: Smoked Duck with Cantaloupe and Strudel with Mushrooms; Entrée: Fish Stew and Veal Medallions with Bell Pepper Sauce; Dessert: Apple Torte with Vanilla Sauce and Ice Cream and Pineapple Coconut Pie. Taxi ride - approx. $18 each way from the hi-rise area to and from Flying Fishbone (Lisa from ABB). The Flying Fishbone is part of the Cosmos day spa. This restaurant is receiving nothing but raves reviews on the ABB lately and I suspect we may find it on Fodor's list sooner or later.
    Directions & Photo

  • Try The French Steakhouse at the Manchebo Beach Resort for South American cuts of beef and continental cuisine. Last year the French Steakhouse was rated the Third Best Restaurant on Aruba and this year the French Steakhouse was rated the # 1 Highest Quality Restaurant on Aruba. The French Steakhouse is open from 5:30 pm - 11 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays. Menu Coupon

  • For great outdoor snack, go to the Pelican's Nest on the Pelican Pier by the Playa Linda - it has a great tropical patio deck atmosphere - have a nice cool drink and watch the sun set (watch for the green light as it sets). Great for a lunchtime spot, also, as the pier is where the semi-submarine docks, as well as numerous other snorkle/cruise boats, plus the banana boat drivers are set up on the Holiday Inn side of the pier so there's great people-watching.

  • Try the Marina Pirata. Ask to sit on the pier and have them turn on the underwater lights and throw some bread in the water so that you can watch all the fish swim by as you eat. Also walk around the restaurant for some interesting sites. A little out of the way but worth it. (Jeff Launiere from ABB) Photos

  • Don't miss the Sunday champagne brunch at the Hyatt.

  • There have been some negative comments about the service at La Trattoria by the California Lighthouse on occassion, but it is highly recommended for its unparalleled sunset view - a good place to go for sunset drinks.

  • Papiamento (by the pool) pops up again & again on people's favourites lists, as does The Buccaneer & El Gaucho's, as well as the Chez Matilde garden room.

  • The Red Parrot, in the Divi Divi Resort, is set up so that 2/3 of its seating is inside a dining room with no wall on the ocean side so you can see right out to the beach. The other 1/3 of the seating is past that open wall on a terrace with a 3 foot stone wall separating it from the beach. You literally eat right on the beach. You eat to the sound of the waves on the shore, and a live band playing on the beach.

  • Senor Frogs is located behind the Seaport Shopping Mall, or the Sonesta Hotel if that's a better landmark; has great margaritas, burgers and quesadeillas. It is literally covered in graffiti - some people say to bring a pen and leave your mark when you go. I don't know what the restaurant's view on this is, but it's fun reading what people have written while you're eating.

  • Iguana Joe's is located downtown across from the cruise ships, upstairs in the downtown mall. You'll spot it by the huge green painted iguanas adorning the pillars on the outside deck. Great grilled chicken burgers - 2 huge chicken breasts on a steak bun. A great spot to try when you're downtown shopping - good views of the marina.

  • Another spot high on atmosphere is the Pirate's Nest at the Bucuti Resort. It has an outside deck and is situated in a sunken galleon on the beach. Another great place for a sunset meal with a casual feel. Sunday evenings are "Seafood Cookout & Limbo Night" - a popular event.

  • Twinklebones is a restaurant that does dinner at two seatings each night, (closed on Sundays). Along with the dinner is a singing and dancing show done by the waitstaff and chef that also involves the customers. They videotape each dinner show, and you can then buy the video of the show (with you in it). The show is fun, the food can be inconsistent and so-so. (Richard, webmaster of the ABB)

  • The Kokoa Bar is located on the De Palm Pier between the Radisson and Aruba Palm Beach hotels. It's a lively, open-air bar from which many of the evening sunset cruises leave. There are rope-barstool-swings to sit on and watch the sunset. They have happy hour everyday from 3 - 5 pm with live music every Sunday and one other night.

  • Before being seated at Chez Mathilde check out the front and the garden room. They are quite different and some prefer one or the other. Long pants are required, and it is one of the dressier restaurants on the island.

  • Brisas Del Mar is another wonderful oceanfront restaurant.
    Directions

  • Le Petit Café (formerly at the Allegro Resort) has moved to the Playa Linda where the Le Bistroquet was formerly located.

  • El Gaucho is closed on Sundays; The Flame is closed on Wednesdays.

  • Across from Costa Linda is a restaurant called Le Dome which features Belgian cuisine.


Here is a poll done on the Aruba Bulletin Board of people's 3 favourite restaurants and their general comments on them. (Poll recorded by Gary from ABB) Comments


Links

Restaurant Guides

www.virtualvoyages.com Listing of Aruba's restaurants & their links
www.nightspublications.com Listing of restaurant addresses and phone numbers
www.arubaonline.com Sun Development Corp's restaurants
www.webcom.com Caribbean On-line's restaurant listing plus locator map
www.arubadining.com Aruba Gastronomic Association
www.arubarecommendations.com Aruba dining recommendations
www.arubaguide.com Aruba Guide - some good info & menus, a lot of broken links

Individual Restaurants

www.chaletsuisse.com Suisse Chalet - site contains photos of much of their menu
www.chezmathilde.com Chez Mathilde
www.manchebo.com Manchebo's French Steakhouse
www.visitaruba.com The Plaza Cafe
www.visitaruba.com El Gaucho
www.visitaruba.com Kokoa Beach Bar
www.visitaruba.com Le Dome - with sample menu items
www.visitaruba.com Nathan's Famous
www.visitaruba.com The Seagull Restaurant
www.visitaruba.com Steak 5
www.visitaruba.com The Waterfront Crabhouse
www.arubadining.com The Flying Fishbone - sample menu
www.arubaguide.com Brisas Del Mar
www.ArubaPavilion.com Rigoletto's - menu & photos
www.arubatourism.com The Buccaneer - includes menu
www.arubatourism.com Tango Restaurant - includes 10% discount coupon
www.aribaaccess.com Senor Frog's - with photos and menu
Boonoonoonoos
Brisas Del Mar
Chez Mathilde
Driftwood
Pago Pago
Rigoletto's
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This site went online 1999.
Photos by Patti MacK copyrighted 1999 and may not be used without permission.

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