ORANJESTAD — It’s in an old art deco building in a quieter part of Oranjestad, a section of Aruba’s capital you may not know.
But at the heart of this old commercial building is something very special.
It’s called Wilhelmina, and while this world-cuisine eatery only opened its doors at the beginning of October, it’s quickly become a must-visit for foodies on this Dutch Caribbean island.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Dennis van Daatselaar, most famous for his Carte Blanche eating “experience” at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts in Aruba.
Wilhelmina serves food from around the world, with each dish on the menu accompanied by a national flag.
But that’s what makes Chef Dennis’ food so impressive – whether it’s “Wilhelmina’s Ravioli,” a pair of ravioli filled with braised beef short rib, foie gras and mushroom, dover sole or seared jumbo shrimp wrapped in pancetta with langoustine, everything is prepared and plated just about perfectly.
But the food isn’t the only story here — it’s the building, too.
Chef Dennis, a painter whose work adorns many of the walls here, has lovingly restored and reimagined this old space, creating the kind of historic-modern hybrid you’re used to finding in places like New York or Paris.
It’s a great lesson for the Caribbean in taking an urban space and revitalizing it, particularly in an area in need of rebirth.
Wilhelmina’s is cool, it’s sophisticated and it’s artful — and it’s the best new restaurant in the Caribbean.