Aruba Dining Guide: The Hottest Restaurants For 2023

Aruba has never had a shortage of fantastic restaurants to choose from. I have been visiting Aruba for over 20 years, and every time I return, there are new openings with some of the best food in the Caribbean. From fusion-inspired chef’s tables to waterfront feet-in-the-sand venues, there is something for everyone.

Longtime visitors to Aruba are largely from the East Coast and are a very energetic bunch of foodies. Many return to their favorites year after year for the food and the emotional connection to the place. From engagements to anniversaries and birthdays, there is more than just fine dining when you are in Aruba; there are memories that last a lifetime.

I reached out to hundreds of online Aruba fans, many longtime repeat visitors, and all very vocal about what they consider the best. I narrowed down a week’s worth of dining adventures and hit a home run. All the top picks I have included are led by talented, passionate chefs who care about giving you the best dining experience possible.

While it is impossible to feature everyone’s favorite restaurant on the island, this highlighted selection is a must for every visitor. My favorite recommendations for your next visit are listed below in no particular order.

YEMANJA

WHO: This lively Caribbean restaurant is located downtown behind the Renaissance Hotel and is led by its charming and dedicated Chef / Owner Joyce De Cuba-Hüsken. At the age of 14, Joyce began to pursue a career in Culinary Arts in Holland. After moving to Aruba, she became owner and Executive Chef in 2009.

WHAT: Creative, healthy-style meals with spectacular flavor, including; an outrageous Truffle potato soup, New Zealand Frenched Lamb Chops, herb-crusted cauliflower steak, Asian Skirt Steak, and famed Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. Vegetarian options are also plentiful. And for cocktails, the best margarita in town.

WHY: This is among my top three restaurants on the island and an absolute must for all foodies. A lot of love is put into each meal, making this place a top favorite from my reader’s poll. Bring your appetite, though, because plates here are enormous.

WILHELMINA

WHO: This trendy art-filled, fine-dining restaurant is one of the best on the island. Chef / Owner Dennis van Daatselaar is joined by a longtime talented team, including Chef Glen Bonset and Manager Miriam.

WHAT: Balchi di Pisca Aruban style fish cakes with Caribbean rock lobster, Kandratiki & Chorizo Pan Seabass with saffron and crispy chorizo crust, and large homemade ravioli packed with beef short rib, foie gras, and roasted mushrooms were among the highlights. And for cocktails, possibly the best Old Fashioned I have ever had.

WHY: Chef Dennis also runs the popular chef’s table concept Carte Blanche and the newly opened Greek restaurant Olivia, all within the same complex.

LIMA BISTRO

WHO: Chef/Owner Teddy Bouroncle was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where his chef grandparents introduced him to the kitchen. He has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and oversaw the kitchens of 17 properties in Peru. He is a kind, generous man, which shows in his cooking and happy staff.

WHAT: Food is spectacular here with a stunning Tuna Tartar with avocado and rocoto cream, Shoyu butter Scallops with chips, Duck breast with purple corn sauce and cashew pure, Pork chop cowboy style with red cabbage, mashed potatoes, and my favorite, the authentic Peruvian dish Lomo Saltado (delectable marinated strips of sirloin) with potato fries. Desserts stand out with Childhood Strawberries, an outrageous Crème Caramel with fresh ice cream, and Chocolate mousse. For cocktails, try the authentic Pisco Sour.

WHY: The atmosphere is fantastic here; the clean, light space has direct water views overlooking the marina. Staff, including the lovely manager Sally, are top-notch with perfectly timed service. Chef Teddy will soon open a stunning new art gallery/open-fire concept restaurant called Azar. Connected to Lima Bistro, this new spot will surely be on the top list next year.

OCEAN Z

WHO: The beautiful and charming Owner Eva Zissu is a well-known Venezuelan former model and fashion designer who, along with her partner Zulay Rada run one of the top restaurants on the island.

WHAT: Dining is a real treat here, and my favorites included; Tuna Tartar, Onion soup, a perfect Filet Mignon, and Lamb Chops, all accompanied by a fabulous Angel Hair pasta with Aioli. The Linguini Lobster and Shrimp were also a popular selection. And don’t miss out on their amazing Frozen Key Lime Pie for dessert.

WHY: Trip Advisor just awarded this acclaimed restaurant the Best Fine Dining in the Caribbean. It is located within the new OceanZ Boutique Hotel designed by Venezuelan architect Óscar Enrique Bracho Malpica. The honors are stacking up for this stunning contemporary dining retreat located oceanfront just past the popular high-rise hotel district. Live music, and great staff led by manager Leoncita Rivera, all add to the perfect evening.

ANNO 1877

WHO: Chef/owner Linda Pool and co-owner Annie de Weerd run the perfect fine-dining restaurant. The Amsterdam-born and raised Chef Linda worked in several restaurants before moving to Aruba. After working in Restaurant Chez Mathilde, she decided it was time to own her own restaurant, and Anno 1877 has been a hit ever since.

WHAT: All dishes here are prepared À la minute, made to order rather than prepped in advance. Hot and piping meals are delivered fresh from the kitchen and make this a standout. Meals include; an amazing Beef Carpaccio and Duck Liver (Thinly sliced beef fillet, capers, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese shavings, dressed with truffle vinaigrette), Escargots Escoffier, authentic Onion Soup, 12 oz Pork chop, and my favorite the classic Tournedos au Poivre with a double baked potato. The Coq au Vin is also a popular standout. Finish with a Grand Marnier Soufflé and Oven Baked Apple Tart.

WHY: Located in a historic 18th-century building in Oranjestad, comprised of three rooms with original architectural details. The French-inspired food with a modern take is fantastic. The kindness of Linda and Annie makes you feel like you are dining with an extended family, and this place will always remain one of my favorites.

TASTE MY ARUBA

WHO: Nathaly De Mey is the exuberant owner of this authentic, family-owned, sea-to-table restaurant. She is proud to use only locally sourced Aruba products, and her menu is based on the day’s catch. The Head Chef and Co-Owner is her nephew Derwin Tromp. De Mey lived in the United States for 16 years and another 17 years in Dublin, Ireland.

WHAT: Delicious pork prepared as we watched, freshly caught fish that changes daily, and more. For cocktails, the mixologist-prepared smoked Old Fashioned is a winner.

WHY: Opened in 2021 in the heart of Oranjestad, the restaurant is located in a restored 100-year-old heritage house with an open-air courtyard and an Irish bar inside. They have recently launched a second venue under the same roof, Amantes Tapas. This place is constantly a surprise and full of energy. The night I visited Nathaly had a full steel drum band entertaining a birthday celebration. You are guaranteed a fun night here.

BOHEMIAN

WHO: Chef / Owner David Nataf and his partner brother Gregory were inspired to the restaurant business as young boys living in the South of France. Their grandparents ran a restaurant in the French Alps and on the island of Porquerolles near St Tropez, and they grew up with the farm-to-table concept.

WHAT: Homemade Foie Gras Terrine or Escargots, Chicken Coq au Vin, amazing Goat Cheese Salad, Braised Lamb Shank, Beef Tenderloin. Don’t even get me started on how good the bread is. There is a vast wine list with wine imported directly from France and Italian, Spanish, American, and Australian options.

WHY: Located in the heart of Palm Beach’s hi-rise district, live music welcomes you as you enter beyond the large Moroccan-style wood door into a perfectly lit garden with authentic thatched huts. Large trees filled with hanging lanterns make this a romantic retreat. There are also authentic-looking servers with suspenders and berets to add to the French flair.

INFINI

WHO: Celebrated local chef Urvin Croes, a pioneer of molecular gastronomy in Aruba, opened this intimate chef’s-table experience last year, and this was my second time visiting. I am now a dedicated fan. Urvin began his career in the Netherlands working at the Michelin restaurant Grand Hotel Karel V. Chef de Cuisine Ashwin Maduro has worked at several two-starred-Michelin restaurants in the Netherlands.

WHAT: The special menu curated for our evening celebrated Meso-American cuisine. From meticulously designed and artfully crafted courses, including Hamachi, Aguachile, Platano, Corn Croquettas, Lamb Barbacoa, Beef Short Ribs, and several desserts. The 12-course Chef’s Impression is prepared right before your eyes for $149 per person. For the ultimate experience, you can opt for a carefully curated wine or cocktail pairing for an additional $110 per person.

WHY: Infini is a theater of sorts in their open-kitchen venue. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated, and you will never distinguish the difference – that’s how good they are. The restaurant only seats 18. Croes also recently opened the adjacent Po-Ké Ono at the Azure. The culinary staff is the selling point here, with the lovely Maître D’ Jessika Theysen taking care of guests.

PICNIC ARUBA

WHO: Jacky & Maarten are the owners of Picnic Aruba. Their picnic adventure started two weeks before the island went into lockdown due to Covid in March 2020.

WHAT: Luxury pop-up picnics are the perfect way to celebrate when you are on the island. I ordered the Breakfast basket ($67); Puff pastry filled with egg, pesto, and roasted red peppers; croissants side of butter and fruit preserves; mini baguettes, Fresh ham, and cheese, Belgian waffles, a Yoghurt bowl with fresh fruits, homemade granola, fresh orange juice, and a bottle of champagne. I also tried out the gourmet Charcuterie basket ($95), which was delicious.

WHY: Baskets are specially prepared and delivered fresh to your door, hotel, or lobby. However, the real treat is when you have them build out a custom picnic on the beach, where a butler welcomes guests with a specialty cocktail, and a family-style four-course meal cooked tableside by their chef ($130 per person).

AND MORE…

With so many fantastic dining options on the island, it was impossible to visit them all in the week I was there. Still, fan favorites also include the following highly-rated restaurants:

Agrigento– Homemade Italian cuisine

BarefootFeet in the sand surf & turf dining

ElementsElegant oceanfront adults only at my favorite hotel Bucuti & Tara

Flying FishboneUnique feet in the water dining best for celebrations

Fred RoyalChefs table for 17 guests

Italy in the WorldHigh-quality Italian cuisine in a charming tiny Cunucu house

Linda’s Dutch PancakesCrazy popular with long lines for breakfast/brunch

O’Niel Authentic Caribbean family-style cuisine

PapiamentoUpscale local cuisine in a 100-year-old Aruban cunucu house

Quinta Del Carmen– Seafood dining located in a centuries-old mansion

The Old Man and the Sea– Unique over the water, beachside, and romantic

Wacky Wahoo’sCrazy popular with long lines serving memorable seafood

ZeeroversLocal bar and seafood restaurant on a fishing pier

ZucchiniMediterranean cuisine on Eagle Beach

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