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Thread: Marcio and Cristina's honeymoon restaurants

  1. #1
    Senior Member MarcioCampos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Mangel Halto for snorkeling, Palm and Arashi for beach time.

    Marcio and Cristina's honeymoon restaurants

    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.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Shnyda's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    The pool @ Gold Coast Aruba, Holiday Inn Casino, Arashi Beach, Sunset @ California Lighthouse, Baby Beach, Our friends hotels/timeshares when they are on the Island at the same time as us
    "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" --- We almost always follow this rule. We usually cook our breakfasts/lunches and splurge on dinner. Once or twice a trip we will go out to lunch if we aren't around our place. Lunch @ Taste of Belgium is an excellent choice. I still remeber how much I enjoyed a tuna sandwich there 3 years ago!

    "What matters is that we had a great time going out for dinner in Aruba ." ----- Great attitude, your on vacation - make the most of it!

    "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." --- That is the North American way of doing it, in our travel around the world we have seen several different ways of tipping. I always try to read up before I visit somewhere to ensure I am following their customs.

    Thanks for all your updates - I have been enjoying reading them. It is getting me excited for my own trip!
    -Eric, Karen and Mia-
    Aruba New Years 2017-18 12/28/17 - 1/3/18 (18th Trip)

  3. #3
    Senior Member MarcioCampos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Mangel Halto for snorkeling, Palm and Arashi for beach time.
    Shame on me, I let work drag myself and forgot finishing the restaurant reviews.

    Now, as promised:

    Friday, May 11th: La Playa Torchlight dinner at the Radisson
    Menu here; our choice for the main plate was the filet mignon with lobster.

    This one was a surprise to Cristina. All I had told her was that we would have dinner at the hotel. She only discovered it was a torchlight dinner on the beach when we went to Gilligan's.

    Elsewhere I described our dinner as a gastronomic orgy Everything was great, since the beginning. We loved the seafood chowder so much that we tried to replicate it at home when we invited two couples of friends to see the travel photos. The meat was rare, the way we like it. But what we were really eager for was the lobster, since we had never tried it. It was delicious -- we thought it tastes a bit like shrimp (at least has the same consistency), but softer. Our waiter was very nice and helpful. It's more expensive than an average dinner in Aruba, but definitely worth the price.

    Saturday, May 12th: Gianni's
    Appetizer: Fish salad (Insalata di pesce)
    Mains: lobster risotto (Marcio) and shrimp with garlic and oil (Cristina)

    Many Brazilians who went to Aruba recommend Gianni's -- I first read about it at the best Brazilian travel website/community -- and I'm sure it was something to do with our love for Italian food. We weren't disappointed. Many people mention the pasta cooked inside a large piece of parmesan cheese, but we decided to try the mix of Italian food with seafood. My risotto was very good. It came with large pieces of lobster with the rice, and a whole lobster tail to be extracted from the shell. Cristina also liked her shrimp with pasta. I just thought there could be a little more light inside the main building.

    Sunday, May 13th: Madame Janette
    Appetizer: crab cakes
    Mains: Shrimp Casserole "Du Chef" (Cristina) and sea bass delight (Marcio)

    Madame Janette was the only restaurant that was almost full when we went there (no wonder, given what everyone here says about it). The waiters were very, very nice, and we were greeted with two glasses of champagne with cassis, since we had mentioned we were on homeymoon when making the reservation. We did know the crab cakes were spicy when we ordered them, but they were too spicy for Cristina -- her stomach kept reminding her of it for hours.

    In my opinion, MJ had the most creative recipes among all restaurants we went to. The shrimp casserole was fabulous (I ended eating almost a third of it), but I wasn't that lucky with my order -- it had more salad and less fish than I had wished (the spinach sauce was great!), but let me tell you that it was not the restaurant's fault, but mine, since I chose a meal from the "low fat" area, and the menu did say the salad was big.

    So, we already know what to do next time we go to Aruba: leave the crab cakes for me only; repeat the shrimp casserole; and get the almond grouper or the florentine salmon.

    Next: Barefoot, Driftwood and our Wednesday adventures.

    PS: In case you're curious about our honeymoon pictures, Andrea's friends on Facebook can view my album, while I don't upload them here (it may take some time).



  4. #4
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Eagle Beach, Glitz Casino, Manchebo Beach Resort
    Now I'm hungry...... thanks for great reports.....

  5. #5
    Senior Member MarcioCampos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Mangel Halto for snorkeling, Palm and Arashi for beach time.
    OK, looks like I post every two weeks

    Monday, May 14th: Barefoot
    Appetizer: smoked mahi mahi with cream cheese
    Mains: Tuna pepper steak (Marcio) and shellfish trio (Cristina)
    Barefoot was our best overall dinner experience in Aruba. Everything was perfect: the place (we chose the deck instead of a table on the beach), the sunset, the people (very nice, friendly waiters), the food. We felt our choices were right on target since the very beginning with the smoked mahi mahi. Cristina loved her lobster, shrimp and scallops, and I got a huge piece of tuna with teriyaki sauce and some spice. It was really amazing! Just like on the previous day at MJ, we were also greeted with champagne glasses. It was just... perfect.

    Tuesday, May 15th: Driftwood
    Appetizer: shame on us, can't remember
    Mains: wahoo fish "blackened" (Marcio) and grilled salmon (Cristina)
    We went downtown to see the Bon Bini Festival and we were glad Driftwood started opening on Tuesdays (My Eyewitness guide said it didn't open on Tuesdays, so I guess it was a recent change) because we did like the place. It was the most, how can I describe it?, "unique" restaurant we visited, decoration-wise. Food was good, too -- Cristina's salmon was good (not stellar, but good), and I was wanting to try something different, so I chose the "blackened" catch of the day, which was wahoo fish. Firm meat, unlike other fish I had tasted until then. After reading this thread you already know I like spicy food, so the cajun spices made my fish even better.

    Wednesday, May 16th: Aruba isn't for late eaters and we discovered it the hard way
    It was the day of our trip to Curaçao and back. Unfortunately we took off from Curaçao with a 30-45 minute delay, so, to make a long story short, we left the Radisson for dinner only at 10.15 PM. We were planning to go to Smokey Joe's, but when arriving there we were told they were closing in half an hour, so they couldn't accept new guests. So we started returning to the Radisson and checking every restaurant on the way; all of them about to close, except for a Burger King. We ended in front of Soenchi's and I asked the lady whether they were still open, and she invited us in. We ordered juice and an appetizer, and, when we started ordering the mains, the problems started. Cristina wanted a certain fish and the waiter said "we aren't preparing this one anymore tonight because it takes 30 minutes to be ready" and offered another option that would take less time to cook. The fish I wanted wasn't available anymore.

    We were quite upset, because they could have warned us before we entered the restaurant, something like "we're open but not every option is available now because we're closing in xx minutes"; we would have gone elsewhere, but could still consider Soenchi's for another evening. I asked for the bill, paid for the beverage and appetizer, and we left. Then we stopped in front of Tango Argentine Grill and they were open. I mean, really open, not about to close. We both chose the grouper filet. Cristina still believes it was cooked on the same grill that was used for the meat (can't confirm). "Tastes like barbecue", she said. She didn't like it too much. I enjoyed my barbecue-like fish.

    Next: Smokey Joe's, Passions and Papillon.



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