Satisfy Any Cravings With These Delightful Downtown Eateries



Arubans love to eat. They like to try new flavors and experience different culinary traditions, but they remain loyal to their local dishes and specialties. That’s why Oranjestad  provides a perfect playground for all taste buds. No matter where diners come from, no matter what time of day, there is always something special, new or interesting to savor here, in Aruba’s capital city.

Starting with breakfast and lunch, there are a couple of gems right across the street from the cruise terminal. Lecca Lecca offers great Italian coffees, hot grilled panini and the best gelato in town. For more than 65 different kinds of pancakes, cruisers can take a short stroll to the Renaissance Marketplace to get to The Dutch Pancakehouse, or to Cuba’s Cookin’ for a lunch of fried calamari, Cuban sandwiches and a couple of premium mojitos.

A walk to the end of Wilhelminastraat, will bring visitors to De Suikertuin (The Sugar Garden). This typical, old Aruban villa is one of the island’s favorite breakfast, lunch and high tea spots. Fine dining is also available at Yemanja Woodfired Grill, located at the beginning of this street. Que Pasa Restaurant & Art Gallery is another dining option, situated right in the middle, offering international dishes with European flair.

For the best local cuisine and ambiance, Driftwood Restaurant in the Klipstraat (side street of Main street) is serving its customers the freshest catches of the day, including all those Aruban flavors, since 1986. But there is more. Check out this 10Best list and find out where to grab (or catch) a meal downtown.  



10
Kowloon
Photo courtesy of Albert Braamskamp


 

This casual spot in the outskirts of Downtown Oranjestad serves elegant Chinese cuisine at affordable prices. The two red and black decorated dining rooms feature lacquered woods and lamps with paper shades. The chef is skilled at most Chinese cooking styles including Hunan, Szechwan, and Shanghai. The house specialty is a seafood combination of fish, scallops, lobster and shrimp served in a Szechwan black bean sauce. For lunch or dinner, Kowloon is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to experience the oriental cuisine in Aruba. Don't forget to ask for a fortune cookie, it may predict your next visit.


9
Downtown


 

Sushi-Ya's wide selection of sushi, from the traditional California roll to the most exotic creations like the Caribbean and the Zulia Roll, is prepared with the freshest ingredients. Sushi-Ya has two locations, one at the Renaissance Marketplace and another at the Playa Linda Beach Resort. These two sushi bars and Japanese restaurants, both feature a variety of exotic Japanese dishes, rolls, fresh sashimi and also a special menu offering many delectable choices without fish or seafood. For a relaxing indoor or outdoor lunch or dinner, try Sushi-Ya at the Renaissance Marketplace and enjoy the harbor views of the Oranjestad Marina.


8
Cuba's Cookin'
Photo courtesy of http://www.cubascookin.com/

 

This casual Cuban eatery is a favorite among island visitors and locals. Munch on fried plantain chips and salsa as you peruse the menu. The Confusion de Empanadas is a treat; a sampler platter of meat pies are filled with seasoned beef, chicken or seafood. Or be adventurous and try the Cuban sashimi. Seafood is "cooked" ceviche-style using lime juice. The fried calamari and Cuban sandwiches also win raves. Part of this restaurant's charm is the decor, even if they've recently moved out of the old colonial home built in 1877 to settle in the midst of Oranjestad's vibrant hubbub. Bright artwork still decorates the walls and there is often live music that adds to the warm, comfortable vibe.


7


 

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).


6


 

This little Dutch bar & bistro has a great view and a hip European waitstaff. Stop for a cup of coffee as you watch the boats in the harbor or savor an imported beer at the bar. Frozen cocktails are as good as they can get, and so are the platters. Lunches consist of pita pockets stuffed full of salmon, shrimp or crab salad, or sliced beef. The Dutch chicken sate and fries is another favorite here. Some opt for a lighter snack of sliced sausages and cheese. For dinner, try the Dutch platter that features glazed pork tenderloin � it is succulent and delicious. Smakelijk!


5


 

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.


4
Downtown


 

Downtown shoppers flock to the well-hidden 7 West restaurant to cozy up on the terrace overlooking the liveliest street of Oranjestad or to cool off inside the handsome and spacious dining room, where plates of Tuna Tataki, generous Grouper salads and tagliatelle with sauteed garlic shrimp parade via the hands of accommodating staff. While the restaurant suggests bountiful seafood in gourmet and lifestyle magazines, fish entrees fight for a place on the menu, which is loaded with Italian pastas, steaks, chicken and even American sandwiches. Try to avoid these solid but unspectacular dishes - the fresh fish is the real catch here, also at lunch.


3
Downtown


 

Since 1986 Driftwood is a reliable seafood-driven restaurant, hidden behind the main street of downtown Oranjestad. Traditionally prepared, super-fresh seafood is the draw here - the owners catch their own every day. Broiled Caribbean lobster is always a solid choice, but the fresh catch of the day, prepared to your liking, is really the standout. Whether you opt for Aruban style (pan-fried with a Creole sauce), a la Meuniere (dipped in egg batter and sauteed with white wine and lemon), or deep-fried, your selection will arrive with sides of rice or potato, fresh steamed veggies, pan bati, the local hearty pancakes and fried plantain. Landlubbers will appreciate the steak and chicken options, too.


2
L.G.Smith Boulevard


 

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.


1
L.G.Smith Boulevard

 

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.


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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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