It’s dusk in Oranjestad, a bit past the bustle of rush hour when the light is a silvery blue and the streets have emptied out before night.
This is the time to sneak into Maroc before it gets too crowded, a way to see yet another example of the island’s increasingly exciting culinary scene.
Maroc is a tapas bar, the brainchild of Chef Dennis van Daatselaar, the man behind the island’s celebrated Carte Blanche and, more recently, Wilhelmina, the international-fare eatery that’s right next door.
The first thing that stands out here is the decor, wonderfully authentic and almost remarkably well appointed, to a standard you don’t often see in the Caribbean.
Sipping a glass of wine (or from the large selection of whisky), you’re instantly transported to North Africa, albeit in a modern-hybrid package.
But the food is outstanding, too.
There are more than 35 different kinds of tapas on the menu, from hummus and salted fish to heartier dishes like a superb chicken souvlaki, much of the food served on handy skewers.
Maroc is many things – a wine bar, a restaurant, a nightlife spot later on – but ultimately, it’s an escape – an energetic retreat from the mundane.
Maroc, Wilhelminastraat 74, Oranjestad, Aruba (right next to El Gaucho).
Phone, +297 583 0404