When on a dreamy island the only respectable thing to do is swim, eat and sleep mostly in that particular order. With Simpson’s – like skies and crystal clear waters Aruba and Curacao don’t quite disappoint in the food department either.
Below is a neat little guide that includes all the places where food was not just eaten but devoured. Each of these places combines food, ambiance and a little something extra:
- Start the evening with some song and dance at Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill – Aruba:
This place is on the pier at Palm – Eagle Beach. They have different activities each evening that include salsa lessons, karaoke and other fun stuff. Feel free to participate or simply enjoy your drink while sitting on the pier.
- Seafood pizza at Renaissance private Island – Aruba:
Spend the day at Renaissance Private Island feeding the flamingoes and yourself. For a $100 (steep, yes) you get to take the boat out to their private island, sip on 2 free cocktails, some delicious lunch and indulge in play time with the island flamingoes.
Tip: The seafood pizza melts in your mouth.
- Cheap eats at Juanchis burgers – Aruba:
On days you happen to spend $100 on lunch, you find a place that costs a quarter of that for dinner. I found Juanchis on the Internet and decided to try it out. The burgers were freshly made; sauces unique, patty juicy and I could have eaten one more only because it was so good.
- Dine at Pinchos Grill & Bar – Nicknamed Aruba’s most famous sunset restaurant:
Located at Arubas surfside Marina in Oranjestad, Pinchos has quite a dreamy set-up. The food is exquisite with the Ceviche being the clear winner for me. *Begin salivation* Pan seared Caribbean grouper with mango chutney and tomato marinara, grilled garlic shrimp with jasmine rice and herbed garlic cognac sauce *End Salivation*. The food and service is top notch accompanied with a gorgeous view of the ocean.
- Brunch at the Dutch Pancake House:
For the late risers when breakfast seems to be a distant dream, head to the Dutch Pancake house for your morning comfort food cravings. Famed for their pancakes both sweet and savoury I decided to indulge first in the ham-cheese-tomato-onion-peppers pancake and end with the poffertjes (dutch style silver dollar pancakes).
Tip: The Irish coffee is possibly the best I have ever had in the entire world and should never be missed, never.
- Post lazing on the beach meal at Big Mama’s Grill – Baby Beach Aruba:
After you’ve spent the good half of the day tanning and swimming in the water, your stomach growls so loud you have to find it in yourself to walk a few steps to the beach bar. Big Mama’s on Baby beach came as a pleasant surprise with its kick-ass burgers, Caribbean seafood platter and chicken stew all cooked in Mama’s special sauces. Don’t you just love special sauces? No one knows what the god almighty is in there but it tastes delicious. Wash these down with Mama’s cocktails and you’re set until your next meal.
- Winner – Flying Fishbone Savaneta, Aruba:
Straight out of what you see in the fancy Instagram photos is flying fishbone. This fancy pants restaurant almost always requires a prior reservation especially if you want to dine right on the beach, toes in the sand with the occasional mini tide tickling your feet. Right from the start you’re mesmerised by the charm of the servers and then by the delectable food. Start yourself with a pitcher of Sangria (a little pitcher never hurt anyone) to enjoy with your ceviche (I ate this almost everywhere for one month) while you gaze at the sun setting before your eyes. The server gave some excellent suggestions that we readily agreed which included Red snapper in white wine sauce and Halibut in champagne cheese sauce served with mash and tomato relish. With food so good you can’t say no to dessert and before it was too late I was scraping the chocolate off the plate that once held my chocolate brownie mousse with Amaretto ice cream.
Tip : You must go here. You simply must.
- More cocktails and Caribbean food at Pirate Bay – Curacao:
At the picturesque Piscadera Bay you’ll find the Pirate Bay Beach Club with its spirited atmosphere and colorful cocktails. Evenings are ushered in by local musicians performing island tunes along with the soulful jazz and blues tunes to go with your spiced food.
- Meet me on the Boulevard – Curacao:
Lots can happen here. For Instance my evening began dancing in front of the setting sun and ended eating shwarma and sushi at a terrace restaurant. The Mambo Beach Boulevard in Curacao combines shopping, dining and entertainment so you don’t have to wander far to find any of the above. Sunday’s is the nightlife night of Curacao (lucky me) so if you happen to be at the boulevard you wont be disappointed.
- I shacked up (all day everyday everywhere):
Shacks are my all-time favorites when it comes to finding authentic food. So every shack that was within reach from where I was planked for the day was visited by me. For instance, Cas Abou Beach and Playa Porto Marie had shacks the size of a minivan but served the best food. Ham & cheese toasties, Satay chicken, Teriyaki chicken salad with tropical cocktails on the side really left me with little reason to move for the day.
- The vibe at Zanzibar Beach & Restaurant at Jan Thiel Beach – Curacao:
Chanced upon this place when I heard it on the radio in Curacao and it packed quite a surprise. Zanzibar is a mix between African and Caribbean influences with its iconic zebra-striped bar, tent-like restaurant and bistro-esque menu with a separate pizza section famed to be the best on the island. Tables can be found in the designated dining area, high-tops on the beach or at the bar. Obviously I tried the pepperoni and artichoke pizza which was so good that I was tempted to try another but gave in to my curry cravings instead. The seafood curry was flavorful with a mix of Indian and Caribbean flavors (once an Indian always an Indian).
Tip: They also have a volleyball court so play before you eat!
- Let them take care of you at Karakter Curacao:
My last day in Curacao was spent doing what I do best. Sunning on a lounger, eating and snorkeling. Karacter is a private beach club that hands-down has the best snorkeling on the island. Loungers line the seafront from where you can enjoy your appetizers and cocktails. When it gets too hot walk in to the water and snorkel with the teams of colorful fish scurrying past you. Later, enjoy your private sunset at the sea front restaurant on the beach from where we nibbled on our butter shrimp followed by the catch of the day and some succulent chicken roulade.
Tip: Don’t forget your snorkel.
The Caribbean is a rich diverse region that features many cultures and cuisines as a result you’re never left with a lack of food and drink options. Despite being small islands, Aruba and Curacao have some enticing food jaunts that have to be visited when on the islands for its only fair to treat all your senses.