We have come to my favorite part of any trip recap, THE FOOD! With a crew of eleven people I knew I had to do research beforehand and reserve as many tables as possible before we arrived. With google and a little bit of luck while on the island, we found a few great restaurants that I highly recommend. Before I jump in to all of the goods on this Where to Eat in Aruba post please note that we ate outside at night a lot, as such photos were nearly impossible so this will not be much a visual post as usual. So just take my word on this without the pictures!
The West Deck
We ate our first dinner of the trip at the West Deck and it really set the tone for what was to come. A casual restaurant on the beach, West Deck included more local fare than any other restaurant we visited. My favorite dish was the funchi, similar to polenta, topped with pulled pork and cheese. Half of the grouper enjoyed the whole fried grouper. We loved it so much, we went back for any early dinner later in the trip. To top it off, the service was great.
Marina Pirata was conveniently located near our rental house, so on one of our chill days we opted to dine there instead of some of the more touristy restaurants. Here, we dined on a pier right over the water. Towards the end of the night, we enjoyed the sunset and watched fish clamor for bread being thrown below. As far s the food, I recall eating a decent lobster here, but what stood out the most to me was the beautiful space over the water.
The Dutch Pancake House
If you head to Aruba, Dutch Pancakes are a must! One morning, I was able to get the crew up early for breakfast at the Dutch Pancake House in the Renaissance Pavilion. It is a small restaurant, so there may be a wait. For the food, we all tried to keep it traditional with the various Dutch options. The Dutch pancakes can be gluten free, savory, sweet or small like silver dollar pancakes. I truly enjoyed everything I ate here and it ended up being one of our favorite meals from the trip.
Hands down my favorite restaurant on the trip from the food to the atmosphere. As the name implies, guests are sat on the beach and encouraged to go barefoot while dining. Aruba had some of the softest sand so this made for a comfy dinner! I was sold with the atmosphere alone, so when the food was top notch too, Barefoot quickly became one of my favorite restaurants form the weekend.
Our last night in Aruba happened to be the Dutch King’s birthday, also a national holiday meaning many places were closed. We made our way back to the Renaissance Plaza looking for last minute souvenirs and decided on Casa Tua just out of convenience. For whatever reason, I had low expectations for Casa Tua and yet it actually ended up being really good! I jazzed up the three cheese pizza with some meat and was very impressed!
During one of our tours, we stopped for lunch at La Granja a casual chicken restaurant about on the same level as a KFC back home. The roasted chicken is flavorful and they offer great sides like rice and, salad and french fries. We liked it so much that we came back towards the end of our trip. On that visit we went with the family feast which included chicken, pork chops and tons of sides. As far as value, this was a probably the cheapest meal we had.
This spot ended up at the bottom of most of our lists simply because the service was AWFUL. Our waiter seemed irritated that he was saddled with a group of 11 Americans and it showed throughout. After my aunt noted that he served her the wrong dish, he angrily grabbed the dish and said she would have to pay for it while storming off. He then refused to speak to her the rest of the evening including failing to ask for her dessert choice. If that wasn’t enough, the evening ended with him handing us our check to divvy it up ourselves.
I note all of this to say, this was an anomaly for most of our trip. We received superb service everywhere else we dined. Despite the horrific service, I did enjoy my food and the views on the pier are impeccable. Also, considering the great service we received twice at their sister restaurant the West Bank, I imagine they are fully capable of doing better, so they may be worth the try.
Bonus: Private Chef at our Rental House!
The caretaker for our house arranged for us to have a private chef cook us a meal at the house. After a long day out in the sun this is ideal plus it is much cheaper than the restaurants we visited in town, plus it was a general fun experience!
- If you have a large group like we did, be sure to call ahead and make reservations. Many can be done online before you arrive to the island.
- All of the good restaurants we visited were basically all outdoors on patios or docks. If you are not a fan of eating outdoors, you may have to search a little harder for restaurants that can accommodate this.
- The restaurants were much pricer than I am used to at home. I think a few factors contribute to this 1) it’s seafood and that is expensive everywhere 2) since it is an island, they have to import a lot of food to the island resulting in a price increase. A cocktail, entree and dessert generally set us each back about $50-60 dollars.
- There is definitely Dutch and Aruban cuisine but you have to search for it. It seemed to me that they really cater to the American diet which is okay for those who do not to explore other cultures. I just wish I would have encountered more Aruban dishes like the funchi dish.