The Heart of Aruba’s Restaurant Row – 5 of the Best Restaurants on the Island

Plate

With legendary trade winds, tropical temperatures, post-card worthy beaches, divi-divi trees, and world-class resorts dotting the sand, Aruba makes for a surefire island getaway. It’s a safe and easy place to go for a stroll, especially in the bustling and quaint downtown area. And with any great downtown – which means throngs of hungry people – you’ll get big competition between restaurants. Luckily for the consumer – in this case, paradise-seeker – you get to simply choose which spot tickles your fancy the most. And competition keeps the restaurant business honest, which means the quality keeps on growing in quantity.

If you want a place to start, here are five of our Aruban favorites.

 

El Gaucho – No Paradise Like a Steak Paradise

steak

El Gaucho, the first Argentine restaurant to open in Aruba, back in 1977, is quaintly situated in a colonial townhouse serving up massive, juicy, char-grilled steaks. This includes the famous 16 oz. sirloin Gaucho steak (named after those tough Argentinian cowboys). They also serve up the one and only Pincho Torro Caliente, what they claim to be “the biggest shish-kebab ever served.” This warm, welcoming restaurant – with resident guitar players always walking the floor and strumming a tune – is a must for steak lovers when on the island.

The menu also features classic Aruban dishes, especially fresh seafood, and all could be paired with exclusive Argentine wines from the cellar.

Some menu highlights:

  • Churrasco Argentina/ The Gaucho Steak: one pound of Argentine beef, naturally grass fed
  • Grilled Whole Rack of Lamb: New Zealand spring lamb, marinated in chimichurri sauce and grilled
  • Grilled Caribbean Lobster Tail: Served with drawn butter, smashed red bliss potatoes, broccoli and fired plantain

Recommended: Aruba, One Happy Island

 

Faro Blanco – The Italian to Eat When in Aruba

lasagna

OK – we’re not going to try convincing you the Italian here is better than that favorite restaurant of yours back home, but we will say this: It just may be.

When you get that itch for true, honest, fresh Italian cuisine on vacation (because of course you will), this Aruban gem does it right. Situated perfectly atop the Hudishibana hill, directly next to the idyllic California Lighthouse, the setting itself lifts the experience to new heights. Take in unrivaled sunsets, long vistas of Aruba’s gorgeous and untouched nature, and of course the Caribbean Sea. It’s situated in a truly unique area of Aruba and was actually the lighthouse keeper’s dwelling once upon a time. Maybe no other Italian restaurant in the world offers up this level of charm, beauty, paradise, and quality of food.

Some menu highlights:

  • Ossobuco di Vitello con Risotto Milanese: Veal Ossobuco (shank) baked with red wine, white wine, parsley, rosemary, broth, garlic, onions, olive oil and lemon juice, served with cheese risotto
  • Risotto del Faro: Arborio rice cooked in a tomato base with clams, mussels, baby shrimps, jumbo shrimp, baby octopus, squid, cherry tomato, basil, and fish broth
  • Lasagna di Mia Nonna: Pasta sheets layered with Bolognese sauce, marinara sauce, béchamel sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and basil, topped with Bolognese sauce

Recommended: A First Timer’s Guide to Aruba

 

Papiamento – All in the Family

Okra

Opened in 1983, this quaint restaurant remains in the same family’s hands (the Ellis Family), serving up a fusion of flavors and spices (thanks to son and head chef Edward Ellis’s creativity) with a focus on reinventing classic Aruban cuisine. Before you even eat, however, you’ll be struck by the setting, where you’ll be surrounded by a seriously lush garden and a turquoise sparkling pool, creating a magical atmosphere. A 126-year-old Aruban “cunucu” house beside the pool also acts as a museum, holding antiques from Europe that date back to the early 1800s. So here it’s always dinner and a museum.

Some menu highlights:

  • Sweet Potato Mash, with cinnamon and sugar
  • Crunchy Blanched Okra
  • Bouillabaisse filled with local fish, hint of Madam Jeanette hot pepper

 

It’s Screaming Good – The Screaming Eagle

Lobster

The Screaming Eagle, an award-winning French-fusion restaurant, will certainly make you scream in total bliss. Besides classy indoor and outdoor patio seating – usually the pinnacle in tropical settings – this restaurant even offers a “Dinner-in-Bed” experience, bringing you your meal on comfortable lounge beds.

Chef Erwin is also constantly updating the seasonal specials, including game specialties like kangaroo and wild boar if you’re looking to expand the palate.

Some menu highlights:

  • USDA Certified Black Angus Pepper Tenderloin 8 oz., with truffle mashed potatoes, caramelized onion compote, green asparagus, oven tomatoes, and Madeira-duck liver sauce
  • Steamed Fresh Caribbean Rock Lobster, with pasta carbonara, bacon, ratatouille and Provençal butter
  • Strip Loin of Australian Wagyu Beef, center cut 8 oz., with parmesan-truffle gnocchi, julienne of sugar snaps, -20-degree egg yolk, shiitake dashi, capers and foamy garlic sauce

Recommended: Three Top Experiences in Aruba

 

Culinary Euphoria at The Flying Fishbone

Beach Dining

A wild name for a wildly delicious experience, this is your on-the-beach dining and seafood must-stop – a full culinary journey right on Aruba’s soft sands. Enjoy a meal lit by tiki torches, lanterns, or the sunset. This European-influenced restaurant gives everything a Caribbean flair, and how can you not when situated right on the very definition of paradise itself? The menu is almost overflowing with fresh seafood, so it’s also a seafood-lover’s paradise.

Some menu highlights:

  • Savaneta Seafood History, a rich variety of seafood acquired daily from the local fish market down the road, with rice, vegetables, and curry sauce
  • Shrimp Shiitake & Bleu Cheese Casserole, shrimp in a rich bleu cheese shiitake sauce served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables
  • Seafood Pasta, scallop, shrimp, mussels, daily catch, calamari, and pasta with marinara sauce

So, put a fork in it. The place setting for your next island getaway is all set.

Together with GOGO Vacations, your local travel agent will get you there.

 

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