Foodies who love traveling to try new dishes won’t want to miss Aruba. “With more than 99 nationalities in Aruba, there are many unique flavors found within our cuisine,” says Urvin Croes, chef at White Modern Cuisine. “Some of our more common and authentic island dishes would be Aruban goat stew, a favorite on the island, and keeshi yena, which is essentially chicken stuffed cheese. This dish is comprised of braised beef, chicken or pork, and then is smothered with Dutch gouda cheese and baked until bubbling.” Additionally, pickled and curried foods are mainstays on Aruba. And given that it’s an island, seafood is regularly on the menu.
These restaurants serve as a solid start for a culinary tour through the island.
White Modern Cuisine
This chic, airy restaurant is always bustling. Be sure to try their signature dishes, such as the Aruban seafood stew, chicken pot au feu and Caribbean braised lamb shank. They also have a tasting menu of three and five courses, which changes seasonally. Located in Noord, within the Gold Coast Villas of Tierra del Sol, you can get a table in their all-white dining room, or dine al fresco on the terrace lounge.
Pinchos Grill & Bar
This casual grill and bar is located outside the downtown of Oranjestad, at Aruba’s Surfside Marina. All the tables are on the pier, giving diners amazing 360 degree water views. This is a great spot for sunset drinks—it attracts people from all over the island—or a romantic candlelight dinner under the stars. Favorite menu items include the shrimp ceviche, the citrus marinated duck breast and espetada de mariscos. There are a variety of flavorful tropical cocktails on the restaurant and bar menu.
A regular for both locals and travelers, Gostoso has reasonable prices and a casual, intimate atmosphere. The dishes are a blend of Portuguese and Aruban cuisine. Some of the more popular dishes include chorizo and morcilla, espetada a la marinera and cabrito stoba. Be sure to start with the cod fish appetizers or conch, sautéed in butter and garlic or served in Aruban creole sauce. Located outside the downtown of Oranjestad, it’s conveniently located to most hotels and resorts.
Tucked along the southern shore in Savaneta, it prides itself on serving the freshest seafood dishes with amazing ocean views. Plenty of families, both local and tourist, come for the variety of Caribbean and international dishes. Indulge your taste buds with hits such as the lobster thermidor, fish fillet a l’orange and cream of oyster soup. If you don’t have time for dinner, at least stop by for a drink or some appetizers—the views here are well worth it.
This was one of the first restaurants in
Aruba to popularize on-beach dining; you literally dine right on the beach, with your
toes in the sand and the palm trees directly above you. The cuisine here deftly marries
European flavors with Caribbean flair. The must-order dishes are Savaneta seafood history, which includes a delicious variety of seafood along with rice, vegetables and curry sauce, and the shrimp shi-take and blue cheese casserole dish, which is a local favorite. Also a standout favorite is the truffle tortilla, which consists of tortillas stuffed with mixed vegetables, truffle and a creamy mustard sauce. The restaurant’s location is ideal, in Aruba’s charming fisherman’s town of Savaneta.
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, is located on Palm Beach. In addition to the beach access, two swimming pools and an expansive club lounge, the hotel has four dining venues.
BLT Steak, the signature restaurant features classic steak and seafood dishes, along with weekly specials that highlight local ingredients and Aruban flavors. Solanio, which is one of the top Italian restaurants in Aruba, offers al fresco dining for both lunch and dinner. Madero Latin Grill serves up local Aruban cocktails and has an extensive wine menu; it’s the perfect place to take in the sights of the island, while watching the sunset. Divi Bar and Lounge offers light bites like sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls.