Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, Aruba is a tourism hotspot. While it is known for its exceptional views, amazing beaches and perfect waters, it is also quickly gaining momentum in its gastronomy sector. Aruba has some of the most unique, delightful restaurants in all of the Caribbean. From international cuisine to old European flare, there are plenty of eateries to try while you stay in Aruba.
Go International at Carte Blanche
Imagine going to a dinner party hosted by some ridiculously talented friends, and that is what it is like to eat at Carte Blanche. There are only 14 seats in this restaurant, all arranged so that you can view the open kitchen and interact with head chef Dennis van Daatselaar. Enjoy an expertly prepared five-course meal that changes each night and refreshing drinks prepared by Glen Bonset. If you are visiting Aruba during tourist season, you will want to book your dinner experience at least three weeks in advance. Due to limited seating, reservations last minute are next to impossible. No one under the age of 18 can dine here though - so it’s not ideal for traveling families. But, it is certainly an experience worth trying. Not only is the menu a complete surprise, but you can dine with other locals and tourists alike, chat over drinks, and enjoy some of the most creative dishes you will ever have in a lifetime.
European Cuisine at Old Fisherman
This compact, crowded favorite is always a delight. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and when you enter, you will be hit with an overwhelming, but delicious, scent of garlic. During breakfast, you’ll find the fluffiest omelets in all of Aruba and lunch time at Old Fisherman is known for their refreshing, filling salads. But, it is what is served at dinner time that makes this restaurant so popular. From their delectable seafood dishes (featuring fresh lobster and shrimp) to hearty side dishes, you can easily spend hours here. The service staff is very quick and extremely gracious for your business - and the bartenders are ready to serve just about any cocktail or beer you can dream of.
Classic Caribbean Cuisine at Queen’s
You cannot visit the Caribbean without eating traditional Caribbean cuisine. Queen’s is nestled into the high-end resort region of Aruba and it is one of the few restaurants on the island that serve traditional Aruban food. Owned by Chef Varella Innocencia, known as the “queen”, she ensures her menu is full of local eats, including stuffed Gouda cheese and a hearty, rich chicken stew. Queen’s is only open for dinner, starting service at 3:00pm and serving until 11:00pm. While it is a little pricier than other local eateries, the food is authentic and the atmosphere charming.
Best Steak in Aruba at Yemanja
This stylish eatery is the Aruban equivalent of an American steakhouse. Located just behind the Aruba Parliament, you will find one of the area’s most stylish eateries. Drinks are served in cobalt-blue stemware and the overall dining area is sleek, sophisticated and very open. Majority of the dishes served at Yemanja are grilled over wood - offering a robust, smoky flavor. Most popular are the seared tuna dishes, marinated rock lobster and of course, the tenderloin. If you are a vegetarian, don’t worry. Yemanja offers vegetarian dishes (grilled of course) for those who do not want meat.
Fine Aruban Dining at Gasparito Restaurant
If you are looking for Caribbean cuisine and a fine dining experience, Gasparito Restaurant is perfect. This romantic eatery is located inside an old country house and has a quaint outside dining patio lit with candles. This restaurant features only family recipes, including meat-filled cheeses, keshi yena, and marinated shrimp dishes. Gasparito is only open for dinner and it is located in the resort region of Aruba, so it can fill up quickly.
Rise and Shine with Sunrise Bakery
Start your day off right with a delicious pastry or even a classic bagel from Sunrise Bakery. The aroma of fresh baked goods takes over the entire block as you head down to this eatery. It is tucked away between the budget hotels of Aruba and gets busy during tourist season - but definitely worth a stop if you have the time.
Que Pasa International Cuisine
It may sound Spanish, but Que Pasa offers fusion cooking that mixes Spanish, Caribbean and other international traditions together. The restaurant has a large upstairs terrace area, perfect for sitting down and enjoying drinks. The dishes are creative, fun and change constantly. Inside there is an art gallery, where viewings are encouraged. You can dine here for lunch between 11:00am and 2:00pm or come for dinner starting at 5:00pm daily.
True Barbecue at Baby Back Grill
Baby Back Grill is like a food truck that never moves. This casual eatery is open daily starting at 11:00am and runs until 11:00pm. Dine under the shady trees on picnic tables and eat some of the best smoked ribs, grilled steaks, perfectly moist chicken and more. This restaurant is a hotspot for locals and those who want a quick, delicious eat after a day at the beach.
Top Off Your Meal with Dessert at Happy Spot
You cannot enjoy Aruban food without dessert. Enjoy tantalizing juices and creamy milkshakes at Happy Spot. This open hut is located on the main shopping block of Aruba and features juices, milkshakes and of course ice cream. They’re only open until 8:00pm, so you’ll want to hurry over and get in your order before they shut down. But, after you pick up your sweet treat, you can take a walk and enjoy something cool during those warm Aruban nights.