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10 Best Aruba Restaurants: For Those Seeking More Than Just Great Food



"Bolo preto" (traditional fruitcake) at a wedding, baptism or holy communion. "Suls" (seared pickled pork cuts with Madame Jeanette peppers and onion slices) for a Christmas snack. "Pan cu carco stoba" (stew conch sandwich) while playing dominoes and drinking ice cold beer at the beach. "Conserbe di pinda" (home-made peanut candy) for the sweet tooths. Arubans love the good life and food plays an important role on this island, as visitors may have noticed. There are restaurants, cafes, bistros, snack and sushi bars, fast food chains and local food trucks everywhere. But for the best fine dining experiences in Aruba, there's no need to get disappointed by trying your luck. Avoid the tourist traps and consult the continuously updated list of top ten restaurants reviewed by a 10Best Local Expert. Aruba is growing and becoming a food lover's paradise, offering a wide selection of excellent dining options ranging from high-end gourmet to local fare. Looking for an exquisite dinner on the beach? Visit Flying Fishbone and capture the sunset. A casual hotspot with foodie appeal? Yemanja Woodfired Grill won't disappoint. Gastronomic delicacies, local pinnacles or a combination of both? Try The Kitchen Table by White and be amazed. Indulge your culinary passion by exploring the island's culture and diversity through food. Live the good life and Bon Apetit. (Enjoy your dinner)


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This picturesque restaurant was built in 1914 as the home for the California Lighthouse-keeper and apart from the panoramic views of the island, La Trattoria El Faro Blanco's menu features many Italian favorites with a special emphasis on Neapolitan cuisine and seafood. The Linguine Allo Scogliera is served mounded with shrimp, octopus, scallops, clams and tomatoes, and the Zuppa Di Pesce Del Faro is one of the best seafood soups on the island. There's dinner, lunch, but also breakfast and a special mini-pizza menu for early birds diners. If you can't make up your mind yet, take a cocktail and enjoy the sun and the scenery, the full bar service starts at 9:00 am.


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Downtown


Aruba has several excellent steakhouses, but El Gaucho stands out for many reasons. Not only are they celebrating 35 years of great food, great friends and memorable moments. This recently renovated townhouse in downtown Oranjestad is loved by locals, visitors from all over the world, couples, families, business groups, everyone who enjoys perfectly charcoal-grilled Argentine steaks (or amazing seafood dishes), like the famous Gaucho steak or the Pincho Torro Caliente - the biggest shish kebab ever served. Apart from being the only restaurant in Aruba with a well-stocked Kids Play Room, El Gaucho also features two new private dining rooms for intimate parties and a wine cellar with an expanded collection of hearty reds to accompany your steak. For cigar aficionados there are some hard-to-find smoking treasures and an extensive variety of premium single malt scotches, cognacs, brandies and the finest port wines at El Gaucho's sophisticated Cocktail Lounge Garufa.


Papiamento


Papiamento is the native language of Aruba, and an authentic, Aruban villa built in 1886. Transformed into one of the island's most cherished restaurants and run by the dedicated, local family Ellis, this historical cunucu house, filled with Dutch antiques and hand-carved furniture, is ideal for romantic dinners. For extra sparkle, ask to sit outside by the pool, surrounded by a vibrant tropical garden, fairy lights, candles and the stars above. Caribbean seafood dishes are without compare, especially the fabulous clay pot seafood medley. Try something "on the stone"; steak, lobster or fish served on a super-heated stone for guests to finish cooking at the table. For a typical local delicacy, taste the Keeshi Yena, a "family recipe" consisting of minced tenderloin and chunks of chicken stewed with fresh herbs and spices in a baked Gouda cheese crust. There are plenty of additional and traditional options to say: Bon Apetit!


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Want to dine on the beach surrounded by rustling palm leaves, lapping waves and a gorgeous sunset? Then make reservations at Flying Fishbone and be prepared to get sand in your shoes (or your toes in the sand)! More than half of this little restaurant's tables are literally on the beach, though there are seats indoors and upstairs as well. The menu changes each day to keep pace with the freshest catches. Shrimp and lobster combos, Wahoo in pesto cream sauce, and lobster chowder are local favorites. For dessert save room for the chocolate ice cream served with spiced pineapple or the mango ice cream doused in fresh mango compote. Right in the heart of Fisherman's village Savaneta, Flying Fishbone is absolutely worth the cab ride. The freshest seafood, the finest steaks, a large wine selection and a picture perfect place is all you need. And lots of love, naturally.


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Northwest Coast


Part of the experience of Madame Janette is finding the place! Located out in the cunucu (or countryside) this award winning eatery seats guests under the stars of the beautiful Caribbean. Run by Ramon Helgers and Karsten Gesing, the restaurant is named for the hot Scotch bonnet pepper which, in this part of the world, is called the Madame Jeanette after a famous South American courtesan. Try the Madame's homemade raviolis appetizer or one of the delicious main courses which include the Old Butcher lamb rack, the almond grouper, or the Butcher steak best cut and grilled to perfection with oxtail glace on top. Finish off the cravings with killing desserts like Madame's Diet Crushers Stroop Waffles or the Dying Dutchmen Fried Ice Cream sandwich. Good luck!




Nestled between historical and modernized monuments like Aruba's oldest church, the 100-year-old Cosecha building and the House of Parliament, Yemanja creates a warm and welcoming veranda for her downtown guests. The inviting aromas of Yemanja's wood-fired grills attract and satiate all kinds of palates, uncovering succulent dishes like the Caribbean Grilled Swordfish Kebab and the perfectly prepared Picanha accompanied with rich homemade sauces and Chimichurri. Vegans and vegetarians will have a hard time deciding how to Power Bowl their main course salad with Yemanja's wealth of savory additions, including gluten, nut and dairy free options. Every single dish - no matter how you decide to combine your favorite food - is made with fresh, flavorful ingredients and so much love and dedication... it shows and will satisfy even the pickiest eater.




The Screaming Eagle is an excellent mix between restaurant, lounge and bar, which allows people who want to mingle as well as couples who only have eyes for each other to have it all - an exquisite meal, a good time and an impressive decor. The diverse menu includes a wide selection of exciting signature meals, a creative take on the classics and the finest wines to pair. Unable to make up your mind? Let accomplished Chef Erwin Hüsken tempt your taste buds with a tour of his kitchen artistry - from the first sip of Lobster Bisque to perfect Beef Wellington with black bean sauce until the last scrumptious bite of French Lemon Pie. Whether it's indoor cocktails at the bar, alfresco dining on the terrace with stunning views of Eagle Beach or a romantic aperitif behind the chiffon curtains, at Screaming Eagle anyone can sit back and unwind.


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L.G.Smith Boulevard
Elements
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


Elements at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts is one of those restaurants that resemble the quiet but surprisingly bright and delightful kid in class. The late Chef and Director Kurt Hoffmann understood what Aruba was in need of and his legacy remains: an elevating idea that combines all the important elements necessary for an exquisite, guilt-free dinner experience. Sustainable seafood, ethically and naturally produced meats, homegrown herbs, locally sourced fresh produce, certified organic foods. If these descriptions ring a bell, pay attention. If dishes like Swordfish sprinkled with Himalayan pink sea salt and virgin pumpkin oil drizzles, Lobster Cappuccino with a touch of fine Cognac, or Sauté Filet de Boeuf simmered in Whisky sauce are flooding your mouth with saliva, prepare to make reservations.




Before its current position as a fine dining restaurant, the property served as a physician's practice, a hospital, a clubhouse and a family home. Relive the old lavish days surrounded by revamped Dutch colonial decor and antiques. Or, step down into the welcoming courtyard to enjoy a laid back evening under the stars. At Quinta Del Carmen there is a room, a corner, a special spot for every guest; indoors, outdoors or anywhere in between. Start with a Quinta Royal Champagne garnished with fresh strawberry while flipping through the appetizing menu. Don't forget to review the Specials, which include a couple of creatively prepared (and very flavorful) dishes such as Ceviche and Dutch Herring.


The Kitchen Table By White
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


Aruba visitors who are familiar with White Modern Cuisine and Chef Urvin's exquisite creations, will be thrilled by the news of his latest endeavor: The Kitchen Table By White at the Blue Residences. The menu changes every month, but there are a couple of recurring favorites like the "Tuna Marin" salt cured tuna served with Aruban Spinach, healing Moringa leaves, pickled cucumber and other fresh, locally grown greens and herbs in a reinvented Creole sauce. And also, the "Jerked Cobia" (Black Salmon) surrounded by curry popcorn, pickled squash, Mango chutney and lemongrass saffron sauce swirls. Reserve your seats for a welcoming evening: an introduction to Aruba's most tantalizing flavors, colors and textures, all perfectly concocted and sculptured to delight the senses.


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Meet Liliana Erasmus

Born and raised in Aruba, Liliana moved to the Netherlands to continue her college education in Marketing. Since 1998 she’s been back on her beloved island, where she is working as a...  More About Liliana

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