Just returned from a 15 night stay in Aruba with my DH, DM (Dear Mother) and DD from March 28 - April 12. I will outline the restaurants we ate at, what we ate, and what we would rate them.
Saturday, March 28th
First night is always Pizza Bob's. Ordered a large pizza with mushrooms and black olives, a farmers salad and an Italian salad. Always good (which is why it continues to be our first night tradition. Grade: B+
Sunday, March 29th
Decided to try Waka Waka Safari Café for the first time. Interesting décor and we got to take pictures with stuffed jungle animals lol. I'm giving two grades for this because the appetizer review is very different from the main course review. For appetizers we got the coconut shrimp (which was recommended), the cheetah chips (which are fried plantains but very thin and in chip form) and onion rings. I don't eat shrimp, but DM and DH both said the shrimp were disappointing. They were small and overcooked. The cheetah chips had no taste and also seemed to be overcooked. DD loved the onion rings but DH said they were very greasy. Grade for apps: D
Main course: DH got an 8 oz filet mignon with a 4 oz lobster tail. He said everything was cooked to his liking and tasted great. DM got the Grandma's BBQ platter. While eating it, she said it was delicious, however, she was up all night with acid reflux. I had the Big Beef Skewer. It was tasty but the cut of meat was kind of fatty. DD got pasta with butter and said it was the best she ever had lol. For dessert DH had homemade cheesecake which he enjoyed. Dinner Grade: B- Maybe they were having an off night. Our waiter was such a sweetheart. I think we will give them one more chance.
Monday, March 30th
Bavaria - One of our yearly "go-to" places. Beer is fabulous although I forgot which ones we ordered. Can't go wrong with any choices in my opinion. Apps were the potato pancakes, salad and potato soup. Yum Yum and more Yum. Main course: DH got Weiner Schnitzel with spatzle and veggies. He cleaned the plate - need I say more. DM got Pork chops with sauerkraut. Said it was full of flavor. I got the pan fried grouper with veggies and potatoes. No complaints. DD got her usual chicken fingers and enjoyed them. She loves sitting at the table near the cuckoo clocks. Peter, the owner, always comes over and sets them off for her :-) Grade: B+
Tuesday, March 31st
Hung Paradise takeout. Ordered chicken with mixed veggies, chicken with broccoli, chicken with snow peas, a chicken soup, one loempia (giant eggroll) and one order of dumplings. We shared everything. All flavorful and light dishes. Very different from the Chinese food in the states that always seems to heavy and greasy. Grade: B
Wednesday, April 1st
Lunch at Sidebar at the Renaissance market place. This is the new burger place that opened up a few months ago. DM and DH both got the Sidebar burger which I believe is a no works cheeseburger. They were making Mmmm noises as they were eating. DD got mini sliders and I got a Pure Salad. Everything was fantastic and we were disappointed that we did not get a chance to go back twice. Had some frosty beverages too that were very good. Service was a bit slow for a place that was hardly occupied during the day. Grade: A-/B+
Dinner was at Mulligans at our timeshare at the Divi Links. Mom was still full from lunch so she didn't come. DH got Caesar salad with grilled chicken, I got Mixed salad with grilled chicken, DD got chicken tenders with fries and we brought Mom back a Dutch pea soup. Light easy dinner. We enjoyed our salads. Service was decent considering the place was packed. Grade: B
Thursday, April 2nd
Date Night for Hubby and me!! Barefoot - Another date night Aruba tradition for us. We had been hearing that Barefoot food quality had declined a bit since their new restaurant, Quinta del Carmen (which we were going to later in the week) opened. We didn't think so. It may not be the superb quality that it was when it first opened but it is still high quality. Started with some frosty beverages, then DH and I split crab cakes and a greek salad. Both excellent. I ordered the Caribbean grouper (with the mango cream cheese sauce) and it was tasty (although I admit I removed some of it - think it would have been better if it was more of a mango salsa than cream cheese but that's just my opinion since I love mango). DH had the Red Snapper Old Amsterdam which he enjoyed very much. No dessert as we headed to the casino lol Grade: B+
Friday, April 3rd (Good Friday)
Driftwood - another tradition. I need my yearly Wahoo fix and they always deliver!!! Appetizers were salad with creamy garlic dressing (my favorite dressing), crab cakes and coconut shrimp. Everyone was happy. For main courses, DH was not being a very good Catholic and had the surf and turf lol. DM and I both got the Wahoo. Blackened for her, Aruban style with creole sauce for me. Yum Yum Yum. DD had spaghetti and ate the whole bowl!!! Grade: A-
Saturday, April 4th
Chalet Suisse - Got there early and ordered 3 early bird specials. Appetizers were lobster bisque for DH and Caesear salads for me and DM. Main courses were grouper for me, weiner schnitzel for DH and steak for DM (DD got pasta with butter which is her new favorite). Dessert was 2 hot kisses and one apple strudel. This makes for 4 very happy people. Great price for the early bird 3-course and always above average food.
Sunday, April 5th (Easter)
Daniels' Steak and Chop House - this was our first time to Daniel's and it will definitely not be our last. Food was out of this world. We did not have one complaint. Even the rolls they put on the table were warm and delicious. Wine fabulous. DH got wedge salad to start and 6 oz filet mignon with mushroom sauce and roasted potatoes side. He finished his plate and wanted more!! DM got the shrimp tempura appetizer and the 10 oz filet mignon in mushroom sauce with truffled potatoes. She could not finish her meal but quickly ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. I got a caprese salad appetizer with 6 oz filet mignon with chimicurri sauce and sautéed spinach side. DD got chicken cutlet with fries. Outstanding Outstanding!!!
Monday, April 6th
Date Night #2. Quinta del Carmen - What can I say? AMAZING. Up until this point we thought Daniel's had been the best so far but Quinta may have surpassed them. DH got fried calamari appetizer and Sea bass dinner. I got watermelon salad appetizer and nut crusted mahi mahi dinner. We were actually arguing over whose dinner was better. Cleaned our plates and were too stuffed for dessert so we only got coffee/tea. Their dessert menu looked amazing and we can't wait to go back next year. We will split an appetizer next year so we will have room for dessert. My watermelon salad was huge and could have been an entrée.
Tuesday, April 7th
Matthew's for rib night with another couple we met and their 2 boys. The men got the ribs, DM got Coconut shrimp, I and the other lady got the Matthew's salad. I also got tomato soup which I thought was out of this world. Kids got shrimp and grilled cheese.
Grade: A- for Ribs and tomato soup. Grade: B+ for salads and shrimp
Wednesday, April 8th
Breakfast was at Dutch pancakehouse. I don't like to bash Aruba restaurants because we usually never have a bad meal but they must have been having an off morning. We usually go to Linda's but last year hubby turned the wrong way coming out of timeshare so we tried Dutch Pancakehouse instead. At that time I thought it was equivalent to Linda's. Not the case this year. 3 different kinds of pancakes and all were burned. My DM had cheese on hers which was almost inedible it was "crunchy". DH got eggs and bacon so he didn't complain. DD got a burnt plain pancake which she actually didn't complain about and got to pick a toy so she was happy.
Dinner: We ended up having to cancel our Madame Janette's reservations (which we rescheduled) because I had to take my daughter to the hospital. Nothing to worry about. Just an earache. We didn't get back until almost 9:00pm so we ordered Pizza Bob's again. Same pizza and salads as day one. Same rating.
Thursday, April 9th
Barneys - For appetizers we all split wedding rings (calamari) and onion rings. Both good and not greasy or heavy. DH and DM got parmesan grouper and I got the Let's go nuts grouper. You guessed it, DD got pasta with butter. DM and DH liked their dinner but didn't love it. I, on the other hand, loved my nutty grouper. We skipped dessert as we met up with our friends for Gelato at the Gellatisimo next to Senor Frogs.
Barneys grade: B- from DH/DM B+ from me.
Gellatisimo grade: A (YUM)
Friday, April 10th
Breakfast - Radisson breakfast buffet at Laguna Fish Market. A good buffet with a variety of items. Grade: B+
Dinner - this was the last night for our new friends and they had been having some major issues with their rental car (long story) so we wanted them to have a nice final dinner. We originally started out at West Deck (one of my favorites) but we did not have a reservation (very unlike us) and could not accommodate 8 people for 45 minutes. The hostess there was SOOOO nice and offered to call Yemanja Woodfire grill (which we love but our friends had never been to) to see if they could get us in. They were able to take us so we headed over there. We got a table in our own room with just seating for 2 more. I didn't write it down and for the life of me, I can't remember what we all ordered. I think most of us got a fish of some kind. For dessert, our friends split a hot over cold dessert which was espresso coffee poured over ice cream. The rest of us got gelato and coffees/cappuccinos/teas. I do know that we all loved our dinners and our friends were so happy with the choice.
Grade: A- I'm throwing in an honorable mention to West Deck for their hospitality in calling another restaurant for us. We will definitely be back to West Deck next year and this time with a reservation!!
Saturday, April 11th
Final Dinner - Madame Janette's.
DM did not come as she wasn't feeling well. We decided to venture back to an old favorite even though it has been getting very mixed reviews lately. We hadn't been in 2 years and decided to give it a go. We did not want to eat too heavy since we were getting on a plane in the morning so we each got a "Delight" dish which come with side salad in an awesome vinaigrette and are prepared very low-calorie. DH got the Sea bass and I got the Argentine tenderloin. Both were cooked perfectly. Service started out great and then got a bit slower by the end but nothing to complain about. We definitely enjoyed our final Aruba meal of 2015.
Forgot to mention that we went to the Kitchen twice during our stay. The Kitchen is located behind the Kong Hing (is that the name?) supermarket. It offers a buffet style lunch. It is not open for dinner. You get what you want and they weigh your plate. The price is very reasonable. The assortment and quality of food is excellent. My 6-year old DD loves it and its' a good way to get some really healthy foods into her since most nights she's eating pasta or chicken fingers. We get to load her up on veggies. They have a full salad bar plus many local dishes. I wish they were open for dinner. Would be great for take out.