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Late-Night Eats on Aruba's Hottest Corners and Streets



It may not come as a surprise that people in Aruba love to eat, and preferably hot (not necessarily healthy) meals like deep fried pastechi or empana in the morning. For lunch anything from rich bowls of stews to fried fish platters will do, as long as they’re accompanied by glistening rice, homecut fries, corn cakes, fried plantain and hot papaya sauce. 

 

A sandwich or snack in the evening is enough to keep the locals going, but when the clock strikes ten (eleven, twelve, one…) the munchies start to kick in.   

       

Of course, there is no food like homemade food. Actually, there might be. Popular hangouts like El Mexicano and Aruba Riba Snack Truck offer deliciously prepared family recipes to comfort those grumbling tummies.

        

Excellent Italian street food is also available from eight till late at Eataly Aruba, next to Eagle Bowling Palace. And night owls looking for impossibly late bites are in luck at Marriott’s 24-Hours Cafe located in the lobby.          

 

A hefty platter at Paradera’s Aruba Riba Snack Truck is perfect for prepping the bodies for a night of bar hopping. Same goes for another nighttime favorite located in the Tanki Leendert district: Truck Di Ruiz. Their feisty cup of local Oyster soup will eliminate hangovers even before the first drop of alcohol has been consumed.  

 

When restaurant’s kitchen doors close, the bright neon lights of food trucks and snack bars brighten the streets and quiet corners of Aruba. Let 10Best and their local experts be your guide while exploring the safest, most worthwhile places to grab that last bite before sunrise. 

 

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All your favorite kitchens and supermarkets in Aruba are closed and the 24/7 store hasn't got what you're craving for at 4 or 5am! Something light and healthy like a sandwich maybe, or a sweet and flaky pastry with a hot cup of coffee. Sushi, soup, a salad? There's always a window of possibilities, if only we knew where to look. In the lobby of Aruba's Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino for instance. Marriott's 24-hour Lobby Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anyone who needs a hearty or sweet fix at anytime, and on any day of the week.




What is late night street food in Aruba without mentioning San Nicolas and its true Caribbean flavors to fuel the all night bar crawl. Grill 21, the newest kid in Aruba's Sunrise City, has conquered a hot corner downtown with its sizzling barbecued specialties. Homemade cole-slaw and perfectly fluffed up and deep fried Johnny Cakes are unmissable companions to fill up these loaded platters. With so much goodness over the charcoal fire, so many friendly smiles and happy customers, it's a real pity we're only able to Meat here during the weekends. Let's hope Grill 21 is just warming up.




This cozy cafe on the corner is a true hot spot in the already buzzing Noord district of Aruba. The secret of Cafe 080 may have to do with the Dutch owners' idea of combining authentic Dutch specialties like kroket (deep fried beef croquettes), fricandel (sausage specialty) and patat (fresh cut fries) with ice cold Heineken (or any local beer), a totally laid-back atmosphere and - best of all - as-good-as-it-gets local prices! With only three main courses a day, which include three variations on the traditional homemade hotchpotch with meat and gravy, Cafe 080 aims to keep it simple and satisfyingly good.


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Battle Of The Food Trucks and Most Original Dish Winner, Tia Rosa Snack, is honored for her one-of-a-kind Patacon sandwiches. Instead of buns or bread slices, Tia Rosa stuffs two flattened, seasoned and panfried green plantains (Latin American side dish called Patacon) with flavorful delis and hot meat fillings, fresh toppings and typical homemade sauces. Apart from her delightful Arepas, Empanadas, Buñuelos and other South American Bocadillos, Tia Rosa passes an array of delicious local and international snacks down her friendly window. Her Aruban pastechis, American burgers and hotdogs are equally capable of calming down the munchies, from 6AM till late at night.


Ruiz Take Away
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


The lively district of Tanki Leendert is located in the middle of everywhere. On your way back to the resort? On the road for an Aruba By Night Trip? Or on the hunt for a no nonsense night time meal? A quick stop at Ruiz Take Away truck can change your food preferences for good. One sip of the island's addictive anti-hangover potion Sopi Oester (Oyster Soup) and you're under Ruiz's spell. Specialties like the Pan cu Calco (Conch Stew Sandwich), the Steak Platter and Chicken Wings to die for, keep customers happy to be hooked to this welcoming window.


Late night snackers should not leave Aruba without discovering the island's midnight munching roots. "Saco Di Felipe" (Felipe's Snack Pack) holds a tradition of more than 65 years of Caribbean delicacies like sizzling-hot fried chicken or chops, plantain, homecut fries and Johnny cake, all joined together in a brown paper bag. Bobby Dollison, Felipe's grandson, stays true to his inheritance by sticking to the original family recipes, the freshest ingredients and homemade preparations. No wonder locals drive from wherever they're hanging out, all the way to San Nicolas to comfort their cravings or prep for a night of plentiful partying.




Eataly's bright neon lights promise late night diners and roaders a satisfying meal on the go. With a wonderful selection of gourmet Italian comfort food, this mobile cuisine is parked and ready to feed the hungriest appetites. Stationed on a very accessible corner next to the Eagle Bowling Palace and Club Hipsz, drive-by locals and tourists can stop for the most scrumptious panini's, burgers, pastas, pizzas and... Cassata? Siciliana? Cannoli? With Ricotta? Si, si, and the menu goes on, featuring many Italian favorites, regional specialties, causing acute 'l'acquolina in bocca' (mouth watering). The only cure to this: Eataly it away!




El Mexicano food truck serves the finest Mexican bites, merging fresh ingredients, authentic Mexican flavors and family recipes to tame those late-night munchies. The tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tortas - anything that can be stuffed or topped - are handcrafted with love. And many tantalizing possibilities like refried beans, jalape�os, hot salsas, crisp lettuce, cilantro, tomato, avocado and cheese. El Mexicano also grills up juicy, marinated steaks, ribs or chicken, all accompanied by a more than decent portion of natural cut fries and tossed green salad. Picky eaters have a variety of platters to choose from, including chicken wings, hamburgers or hot dogs. For weekend hangovers, there's nothing better than El Mexicano's hot Soup Of The Day.




Multi-talented chef and owner Elvin Figaroa knows about music, cocktails and appetites. Late night munchies are his specialty, adding a generous amount of flavor and zest to Aruba's after hour street food scene. Aruba Riba Snack Truck is well-known for its mouthwatering Steak And Cheese platter, Chicken Sate with spicy peanut sauce, Seasonal Sandwiches and uplifting local soups. On weekends, orders of "Saco" (local snack pack stuffed with fried chicken, ribs, pork chops, Johnny cakes and other goodies) keep pouring in at this friendly, tucked away truck in the heart of Paradera. Aruba Riba Snack Truck is located right next to the neighborhood's garden: Hoffi Chona.




L.G. Smith's Steak & Chop House is a classic American steakhouse with a more contemporary black-and-white color scheme jazzed up with warm wood floors, nearly-white stone walls and bright blue accent lighting. The trendiest tourists and hippest locals frequent the place, so while there's no strict dress code per se, you'd be wise to wear your most stylish threads. Food-wise, expect top-grade steaks and perfectly prepared seafood with a good range of a la carte sides. The wine list is one of the best you'll find in the Caribbean. And in Aruba, L.G. Smith's is the one and only late fine dining restaurant available.


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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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