The traditional German 'Biergarten' started out with family-style outdoor seating, plenty of fresh beer from the barrel, but no food at all. Because brewers weren't allowed to sell anything to eat, guests would bring their own picnic baskets filled with bread, homemade 'Obatzda' cheese, ham, sausages, potato salad and other typical Bavarian specialties. Nowadays, this tradition has evolved and spread, - not only over Germany - but all over the world. In Aruba, it's at Bavaria Food And Beer where connoisseurs (and curious customers) can fill up their mugs with Hefeweizen (German wheat beer) or draft beer. Order a Creamy Bavarian Potato Soup, Bratwurst or a Schnitzel, there's much, much more than a picnic basket to fill up those empty bellies.
The name Red Fish is inspired by Aruba's world famous Pisca Cora (Red Snapper) - a favorite catch of the day on the island. Good thing is, snappers are not the only bites available at this fairly new eatery in the recently opened Orange Plaza. Red and white checkered paper with stacks of fried shrimps or fish, plantain, 'funchi', fries and dip sauces make simple yet delicious finger food. For lunch or dinner, Conch in Creole Sauce can be ordered, Pan-fried Lobster or Balchi Pisca (Fish Balls or Cakes) with white rice, cole slaw and pickled onion or tartar sauce.
Cafe The Plaza is the queen of cafes and captures the neighborhood vibe well, complete with free wi fi, comfy couch, hiding area in the back for anti-social writers, newspaper readers or guests looking for a cool spot to have an early coffee, a refreshing cocktail or a late-night meal. For outdoorsy types, people watchers or smokers, there's a huge patio serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack varieties and even live music for a swinging night out during the weekends. Cafe The Plaza is always celebrating something: the Dutch Queen's birthday, World Soccer Competitions... That's why they attracts a lot of locals, so blending in is inevitable and absolutely worth the visit.
This seafood stop has been a must for visitors and locals since 1980. The nautically decorated dining room complements the revamped bill of fare. Succulent lobster Thermidor, flaky barracuda and a delicious crabmeat cocktail are special favorites. Even their uniquely prepared side dishes like Buccaneer's stuffed shrimp with crab, the cabbage side and sweet plantains remain a draw until this day. Those preferring turf to surf will be pleased with the pork cutlets served with sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes, or the juicy beef tenderloin. Buccaneer now accepts online reservations, so if you want a coveted seat next to the 5000-gallon aquarium, visit their website and reserve your table or arrive early!
A visit to downtown Oranjestad just isn't complete without a rendezvous with The Old Fisherman, which focuses on local seafood and Aruban dishes, but also includes international options like US Black Angus Tenderloin and Seafood Linguini with Marinara or Alfredo sauce. Locals love this spot, especially for lunch and breakfast. So, prepare to feel a bit crammed and jammed. The tiny dining room is decorated with nautical items, fishing gear and many memorable photos of Aruban fishermen. The seafood courses are named after some of these local sea heroes and list interesting plates of sauteed conch called Jan Semeleer or a Claudio Wolf - a whole red snapper grilled, fried or any way you like. The beverage list features local beers, classic cocktails and the regular soft drinks. For a special non-alcoholic beverage, ask for a refreshing glass of 'awa di lamoenchi' (home-made lemonade).
This lovely, authentic Aruban house is indeed The Sugar Garden (De Suikertuin) of downtown Oranjestad. Wherever you choose to take a seat, - inside, in the cozy, air-conditioned home-style cafe or outside, under a tropical tree or in the shady patio - a breakfast or lunch here will always delight the senses. De Suikertuin has something for everyone. Check out their menu while having your first Cappuccino or a freshly squeezed orange juice. The Pampering Breakfast is more than a promise, and if Dutch pancakes sound tempting, know that many toppings are possible - hearty or sweet. If you still can't decide what you want for lunch, just ask what the daily specials are.
'Teppan' means steel grill, and 'yaki' is another word for broiled. Aruba loves Japanese cuisine, and having a Teppanyaki restaurant like Benihana on the island is not a luxury at all for families and friends who want to have a uniquely entertaining dining experience. The main draw here: Benihana's hibachi-style menus, cleverly prepared in front of young and older customers by highly trained chefs. For lunch and dinner, Benihana offers an extensive list of sushi specialties, tempura and seafood dishes to satisfy any craving. Pull up as many chairs as needed and gather around the steel table with a signature cocktails to start off, a carafe of hot sake or an alcohol-free fruit smoothie.
Having a family of their own, Dutch couple Ron and Eline know how important it is to make any guest feel at home. At Barney's, diners of all ages can rest assure that they'll find more than just a decent meal to satisfy their appetite. Apart from the popular choices like French Onion Soup and Caesar salad to start off, Barney's menu has succulent meat dishes like Bronto Saures Ribs in several portion sizes. The Going Dutch Beef, Chicken or Pork Skewers and Build Your Own Barney Burger are other favorites. For fresh catches, try Betty's flavorful fish specialties with Indian Green Curry or oven-roasted with garlic butter. Yabadabadoo is a dish and what customers call out after a gay old time at Barney's.
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.
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. For families with babysitting arrangements, looking for a sophisticated night out, there is live music and an extensive variety of premium scotches, cognacs, cocktails and fine wines at the brand-new D Lounge (former Garufa Cigar Lounge), right across the street.