I'm still in the middle of my trip report but it's time to start talking about restaurants too. Some of you may remember earlier threads in which I discussed my list of choices.
I'll talk mostly about dinner. Something I learnt while travelling with my father in 2010 is that you can have lunch pretty much anywhere provided it's clean, nice and cheap but treat yourself with a nice dinner (before 2010 I would apply to dinner the same rule of lunch). To give you an idea, half of our lunches were either at Wendy's or Starbucks The only exception was Sunday 13th, when we went to Taste of Belgium for sandwiches and Hoegaarden beer (that's for me; Cristina doesn't like witbiers) and really enjoyed it.
I can say that all dinners we planned were good ones. We really appreciated them. I don't know how much it says about the restaurants or about ourselves. Maybe the restaurants are really good, maybe our standards are a bit lower than other people's. I don't know, and, to be honest, I don't care that much. What matters is that we had a great time going out for dinner in Aruba .
The very first thing we noticed is that you aren't pushed through meals. We would finish our appetizer and the mains would arrive only 10, 15 minutes later. At first we thought it was a bit weird; we aren't used to it. But later we realized it's much better this way. That's how it should be when people have plenty of time (because sometimes we don't).
The second thing we noticed (and liked) is that water is free. Here you must pay for a bottle of ordinary, natural water (not sparkling).
And the third thing is that it took me a few days to realize how additional tips are given in Aruba. Here in Brazil they give you the bill, and if you want to give them a bigger tip you say "please charge $ (value)" before giving the card to the waiter. In Aruba I didn't notice that first you receive the bill, then you give them your card, it's approved, and only then you write down the additional tip. A few restaurants were left only with the customary 15%...
Given this introduction, let's go to our choice for our first evening in Aruba.
Thursday, May 10th: Papiamento
Appetizer: smoked salmon salad
Mains: West Indies shrimp (Marcio) and saffron grouper (Cristina -- didn't find it in the restaurant website menu)
Location played a role in this choice: we didn't want a place too far from the hotel because we were already arriving in the island in the evening.
Cristina and I were very impressed by the place, a beautiful old house, and we were given a table very close to the pool. We love smoked salmon, which reminds us of Ireland, so the salad was an obvious choice. And, except for one evening at Smokey Joe's, we tried fish and seafood in every Aruba restaurant we went to, looking for different recipes that we usually don't find in Brazil (well, maybe you find them in places where you need to leave a kidney when you receive the bill...).
I like spicy food, and I love curry, so the shrimp fit my taste perfectly (it also has coconut milk, besides curry) and I liked it a lot. But Cristina has other preferences, and she felt the grouper was good, but a bit too spicy for her (I tried it too and thought it was OK for my spice standards). Except for this little detail, we agreed it was a nice start to our honeymoon trip.
Next post (tomorrow, maybe): La Playa torchlight dinner and Gianni's.