As as I told you back in our vacation recap post, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Aruba each year for almost two decades. So, I’m comfortable saying I know a thing or two about great restaurants on the island. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up eating at an overpriced tourist trap. And you don’t want that to happen, do you? Ya, I didn’t think so. The only thing worse than having a crappy meal is paying a lot of money for it.
So, here I am to give you five fool-proof options that’ll make your vacay delicious. These places all rate high on food and atmosphere. (Because the weather in Aruba is too nice to eat dinner in an air-conditioned room.) I don’t have any pretty pictures of food for you so click the links to get more info. But I do have pictures of me and my family enjoying each of these places over the years…so feast on that!
1. Flying Fishbone
Saveneta #344, Tel: #297.584.2506
This tables-on-the-beach restaurant is our favorite date place. Make your reservation for an early time so you can see the sunset — and so you can score one of the tables closest to the water. We’ve eaten something different each time but it’s always been delish. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Note: Flying Fishbone is in Savaneta which is nowhere near the main strip of hotels and timeshares. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Check out the little stand they give you to hang your shoes on.
2. Madame Janette
Canuncu Abou 27, Tel: #297.587.0184
A great outdoor location decorated with twinkle lights where you can have an Argentine steak or some yummy local seafood. We recommend the Almond Grouper. And when I say “we recommend”, I mean “get it”. (You’re welcome in advance.) If you have kids who will eat fish, we’ve learned that the kid’s grouper is plain and they always want our Almond Grouper so now we just order one adult portion for them to split. (And please don’t think I’m bragging that my kids eat fish at restaurants because 9 times out of 10, it’s chicken nuggets for them. We’re human, people.)
I love this picture of blurry Sophia and Lily dancing to the live music a few years ago.
Don’t forget to snap a picture on the driftwood bench in the lounge area like we do each year.
3. Smokey Joe’s
Juan E. Irausquin Blvd. 87 , Tel: #297.586.2896
Let’s take it down a notch for a second to the amazingly casual, yet still totally delicious, Smoky Joe’s. These fall-off-the-bone ribs are a perfect accompaniment to the Pink Iguana, a fruity drink that I dream about getting back to each year. Don’t be an idiot — just order a full rack of the original recipe ribs and you will be very full and very happy. (And maybe even have leftovers for lunch the next day.)
I love this picture my brother snapped at Smokey Joe’s a few years ago. See that smile on my face? That’s not just because of the antics of my crazy nephew. That’s the Pink Iguana talking.
This picture doesn’t show you much of the restaurant but it’s Lily being beautiful and I took it at Smoky Joe’s so here it is.
Bucutiweg 50, Oranjestad, Tel: #297.582.0157
This is definitely one of the top ranked restaurants in Aruba – and deservedly so. The food is fresh and delicious. And eating out on a pier looking at sunsets like this doesn’t hurt either. We all loved our food there this year but my mom’s rack of lamb earned the most oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
(Well, would you look at that. I’m wearing the same dress I wore last year to Flying Fishbone above. Guess I need to go shopping.)
Check out that sunset — and my good lookin parents! (Guess which one wears sunscreen.)
5. Chef’s Tables
Bubali 16, Oranjestad, Tel. # 297.587.8140
This has been one of our favorites for years and it never fails to give us a perfect meal. The atmosphere is a little lacking inside so ask for a table in the back courtyard. And make sure you leave room for dessert which is served in little shot glasses so order a few extras and then you can get lots of different “bites”. Isn’t that the best way to eat dessert? Obviously, Lily thinks so.
Of course, there are lots of other great restaurants in Aruba but these are our five must-visit spots. But I need to give honorable mentions to The Dutch Pancake House (take a trip into town for breakfast/brunch), Windows on Aruba (a beautiful round restaurant that overlooks the Divi golf course), Pincho’s (casual, grilled food out on a pier), and L.G. Smith’s Steakhouse (we’ve had great meals here but it’s not-super-kid-friendly and the indoor location is just not want how I want to spend my Arubian nights. Regardless, it’s delish!).
Sue at Home