In a small, yet smart space in the busy Oranjestad neighborhood, chef and owner Jose Do Nascimento returns to his Portuguese roots and serves up a fresh and flavorful menu. Gostoso, which translates to "palatable" in Portuguese, gives meaning to its name by offering a variety of local seafood, and Aruban, Portuguese and International dishes, passionately crafted to indulge the most discriminating foodies. House specialties such as the Criollo Sushi Roll for two with plantain, crab and a spicy home-made sauce; the most tender Lenga Stoba (Beef Tongue) ever; and Portuguese style Bacalhau (salted codfish) keeps this establishment on the radar of those with adventurous palates. Venture into dessert territory and meet the Quesillo di Coco (coconut flan) or stick to the ever-satisfying chocolate cake.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Gostoso restaurant is freshness, flavor, family - a feast for foodies in downtown Oranjestad.
Liliana's expert tip: The three course Delight Lunch Special is only US$23 per person and worth a taxi drive, or a walk through Oranjestad.
This family-owned beach bar and grill is situated on one of the gorgeous beaches along the L.G. Smith Boulevard, called Governor's Bay – the Governor's house is right across the street. Being part of Aruba's buzzing Linear Park, The West Deck embraces the calming views of the ocean where cruise ships and yachts sail by, airplanes descend for landing and fishing boats anchor in clear blue water.Whether the sun is reaching its highest point at noon or disappearing gloriously below the horizon, it shouldn't be celebrated without a refreshing Beer-Rita, Mojito or an ice cold Chill (locally brewed light beer) out of the bucket. Try favorite small plates like Conch Fritters and Island Coconut Shrimps. Whatever the plan is; sharing plates or choosing your own entrees, having drinks or only dessert, lunch or dinner; The West Deck is the perfect place to find what island life is about.
Recommended for Caribbean because: The West Deck offers spectacular ocean views, island vibes, flavors, friendliness and prices, on a cozy wooden deck overlooking Oranjestad's beaches, bays and parks.
Liliana's expert tip: Try West Deck's fresh tropical fruit juices and local bread basket with 'arepitas' and 'Johnny cakes'.
What used to be the soul of Costa Riba Restaurant is still alive and cooking in the revamped venue called Kamini's Kitchen. There's this colorful building on your way to or from the beaches in Sero Colorado. Legendary couple, Kamini and her husband Pete, have permanently moved to this prime location and are waiting to welcome famished guests with local specialties like their famous Curry Goat or Fried Red Snapper with Creole Sauce, among other mouthwatering Caribbean and vegetarian dishes. At Kamini's new restaurant, locals and visitors can order the daily specials for carryout as usual, or pull up and chair to enjoy Kamini's delicious homemade specialties – famous by word of mouth alone.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Kamini's Kitchen cooks and serves amazing local and Caribbean homemade meals.
Liliana's expert tip: Contact Kamini's Kitchen via phone or Facebook to find out more about their menu.
Located at the Manchebo Beach Resort, there's the fairly new and already popular Ike's Bistro. This young culinary team guided by Chef Ever de la Peña, draws inspiration from both, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean region. Cozy up at the poolside. Catch the evening sunset while sipping on a fresh fruit Martini. Discover skillfully prepared fusion dishes like herb-crusted scallops with avocado purée, pepper cilantro salsa and coconut foam; couscous paella of sautéed seafood delicacies with a light saffron broth over couscous. Or, if you're in an adventurous mood, go on a delectable tasting tour by ordering the Chef's four-course surprise menu.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Ike's Bistro brings an exciting new twist to the Caribbean cuisine in Aruba.
Liliana's expert tip: Enhance your dinner experience with the Wine Lovers Selection.
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!
Recommended for Caribbean because: Papiamento is more than just a local fine dining restaurant; it's about family and sharing the love of great food.
Liliana's expert tip: Papiamento's Cas di Biña (Wine Bodega) houses more than 140 excellent wines from around the world and is open to visitors at all times.
While watching the sun set, a sailboat silhouette slides silently along the horizon, a couple of children play on the beach with no care in the world and a Barefoot Delight is the perfect cocktail to toast to an amazing evening (you immediately realize after taking the first sip). Elegant dining in flip flops? What about baring those feet to feel the cool, soft sands of Aruba before starting off with an exquisite Lobster Cappuccino topped with a vanilla froth. And if love is in the air, who could resist chef Gerco's creative and mouthwatering combination of three different, fresh catches, alias the Romance Of The Sea. Tenderloin & Truffle for meat-lovers, Goat Cheese Tempura for vegetarians, Grand Dessert for the indecisive sweet tooth in all of us... Barefoot's menu and monthly specials will always delight, no matter who you are, what you choose, how or when you drop in.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Barefoot offers the whole Caribbean package: exquisite tropical flavors dishes served right on the beach.
Liliana's expert tip: With the help of local wine suppliers, Maitre D' Luc Beerepoot created an impressive list and is always ready to help guests select the right wine to pair.
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.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Charlie's Bar and Restaurant is one of the main attractions on the island where visitors can see, smell, taste and listen to Aruba's stories.
Liliana's expert tip: Even if you're not that health food conscious, try the organic wines and cocktails, they taste (and feel!) so good, maybe even better than the commercial ones. Have a tasting!
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.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Quinta Del Carmen embraces local and international flavors, old charm and modern practicality, indoor and outdoor dining, past and present.
Liliana's expert tip: The Granpa and Grandma Favorites add a personal touch to Quinta Del Carmen's delightful menu.
Part of the experience of Madame Jeanette is finding the place! Located out in the cunucu (or countryside) this award winning little eatery is under the stars of the beautiful Caribbean. Run by Chef Boris Druschkowitsch, 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 lobster raviolis appetizer or one of the delicious main courses which include a stuffed veal chop, the rack of lamb, the grouper, or the Butcher steak cut of out Tenderloin and marinated for two days in real lard and bacon from Austrian mountain farmers.
Recommended for Caribbean because: Madame Jeanette has been delighting guests with its consistent quality and culinary imagination since 1999.
Liliana's expert tip: Check out Madame Jeanette's specialized beer selection; it's one of the largest in the Caribbean.
Aruba visitors who are familiar with White Modern Cuisine and Chef Urvin's exquisite creations, will be thrilled by the news of his latest endeavour: The Kitchen Table By White at the recently opened Blue Residences. The menu changes every month, but there are a couple of recurring favourites like the "Tuna Mariná" 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 the "Jerked Cobia" (Black Salmon) surrounded by curry popcorn, pickled squash, Mango chutney and lemongrass saffron sauce swirls. Get acquainted with Aruba's tantalising flavours, colours and textures, all perfectly concocted and sculptured to delight the senses.
Recommended for Caribbean because: The Kitchen Table By White elevates the Caribbean fine dining experience.
Liliana's expert tip: Don't be late! There's a specialty cocktail and meet&greet before the Pre Fixe Seven Course dinner starts.