We always say a great restaurant comes down to three things: “food, service and ambience.” When it comes to the best restaurants in Aruba, you can find all three very easily. Aruba’s diverse populace and history have lent themselves to a rich, textured culinary environment. It sees a veritable potpurri of creole, European and Caribbean flavors. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Aruba is home to a growing stable of top-flight chefs, from Erwin Husken to Dennis van Daatselaar. The best way to experience an island like Aruba is simple: to taste it; and you can. These are the 10 best restaurants in Aruba.
This was number one in 2015 on our list of the 50 best restaurants in the Caribbean, and it’s a well-deserved honor: the aforementioned Chef Erwin Husken has created a hip, creative, chic restaurant experience centered around one main concept: breathtakingly good food.
This toes-in-the-sand waterfront eatery is perfect for a romantic meal in Aruba: This eatery set in the fishing village of Savaneta is about the core ingredients of Aruba: namely, ultra-fresh seafood. This restaurant, which first opened in 1997, has become something of an institution in Aruba.
Aruba’s newest restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Dennis van Daatselaar. The eatery, which is set in an historic art deco building, is part of what is hoped will be a renaissance of this corner of downtown Oranjestad. The emphasis here is “World Cuisine,” meaning a United Nations-style gamut of dishes from around the globe.
This isn’t just a restaurant — it’s an experience. Set at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, it can only accommodate 14 guests at a seating — making it one of Aruba’s hottest tables. The meal involves a five-course surprise tasting, prepared right in front of you. There really isn’t any other eatery like this in Aruba — or the wider region.
White Modern Cuisine
This is culinary tour de force, part of a welcome trend on the island of top-flight, inventive restaurants. The restaurant is in a bright, white, modern atmosphere that is part of another trend in Aruba: restaurants that emphasize social interaction, with both guests and staff. The menu is broad and playful, with dishes like Chicken Pot Au Feu and salmon yakatori. But for the real deal, go for the chef’s tasting menu.
2 Fools and a Bull
Similar to Carte Blance, this is a dining experience located in what the place calls a “gourmet studio.” The restaurant, which calls an old Cunucu House home, includes a five-course dinner, a champagne cocktail and a unique “shared gastronomy” experience.
If you ask anybody in Aruba what their favorite restaurant is, you’ll often hear the same response: Zeerovers. That’s because this is a throwback to Old Aruba. The seaside restaurant that often has long lines is popular for its spectacular seafood, brought right to the dock. This is a no-frills restaurant that’s all about eating fresh fish on the water. It’s as simple as that.
This sleek restaurant (pictured in cover) with a modern, glassy look is the flagship at the Bucuti & Tara, and it’s set right on the beach. But the most notable thing about the menu is its accessibility to all kinds of travelers, with one of the Caribbean’s widest range of organic, vegetarian and gluten-free options ,from pasture-fed cattle to gluten free pasta.
This is the grand dame of Aruba restaurants, housed in a 126-year-old cunucu covered in charming antiques. The family-owned restaurant is led by Chef Edward Ellis, whose creative menu blends local Aruban ingredients like cactus and herbs with a cosmopolitan culinary perspective. Perhaps most importantly, this is paradise for wine lovers, with an 1800-bottle-strong “Wine Vault.”
If you head to the Aruba Marriott during the day, you won’t find this place. Because this is a restaurant that seems to appear out of thin air at sunset on the beach. A classic toes-in-the-sand restaurant with a passion for seafood, the recently-redesigned decor only helps its case.