Barefoot - I made this reservation for 6:15 before we left home to make sure we got a table in the sand for sunset. Communication from the restaurant was good. I confirmed our reservation the morning of and we arrived with no problem. We took at taxi that I think was around $20 (don’t quote me on that cost). We started with drinks and vanilla skewered scallops as an appetizer. The scallops were good, but I would probably try something different next time. They just didn’t give me that “OMG you have to try this” reaction. Now for dinner we both had some OMG you have to try this Grouper! It was a special of the day topped with Shrimp and some type of white sauce and served with mixed vegetables. It was outstanding. For desert we shared the deluxe sampler and had little tastes of some excellent choices. My favorite was the coffee Crème Brulee but everything was so good, I can’t imagine picking just one so I would definitely order the sampler dessert. Service was outstanding and they even call a taxi when you are ready. The wait staff was very attentive. Total cost for this meal with tip was around $130 for 3-4 drinks, shared appetizer, 2 meals, and a shared dessert. As for the atmosphere, we dined on the beach. It was a great toes in the sand experience, but I would consider it more fun and laid back than romantic. We were there over the holiday weekend for Queens Day and Labor Day so there were locals on the beach and their boats tied up together offshore cooking out and enjoying time together. There were lots of kids from the beach and some restaurant guests playing on the beach and we loved watching them. I would rate Passions higher on the romance scale, but I like Barefoot better for the food and more laid back feel. I’m thinking birthday or group dinner, the nod goes to Barefoot, but for romance or an anniversary or honeymoon, I would pick Passions (we went last year but not this time).
Papiamento - I hadn’t really planned on eating here, but while Jon napped one afternoon I was looking through the magazines in the room and knew I had heard good things about this restaurant so I called and got a reservation for the same night. We made our reservation for 6pm because we like eating early. (We do everything early) It turned out that night by dining at 6 we had the restaurant to ourselves all the way until our main entrees were served. It was a romantic setting around the pool. We were probably a little under dressed than most diners here in our casual shorts because I didn’t realize how nice it was going to be, but we did not feel uncomfortable at all. The hostess was very sweet. The wait staff was outstanding. We had someone right there whenever we wanted anything, without having to ask for anything. We had a couple cocktails, and their drink menu is impressive, all top shelf. I know nothing about wines, but the list did look like they had a decent selection. We always ask for recommendations for appetizers and our waiter did not let us down. We shared this shrimp topped with blue cheese sauce and it was great. Bread and Salads were included with our meal and they were fresh and good. For our main dishes we both ordered from the stone menu to get the full experience. I had wahoo, which was just okay. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, it just wasn’t anything special. My entrée also included shrimp, which were big and good. The vegetables grilled on the side were good too. Jon had the dish with rock lobster, shrimp, and I think Mahi. Our waiter was great when he brought out the stones. He made sure our food was cooked perfectly and helped plate the food from the stone. Our total bill here was about $150 and it was worth every penny. We skipped dessert here since we were both full. The atmosphere here is romantic. The setting is at a house and was about a $10 taxi ride I think (holiday rate, Queens Day). They invite you to walk through the house, but we chose not to. We sat outside around the pool. I don’t know if its like this every night, but with our 6pm reservation we had the place to ourselves for a while, which was really nice.
Pelican’s Nest Pier Bar - I should note that we never made it past the bar here, so my reviews are from the bar side, not the restaurant. This is a fun place. The music can be a little loud at times, but it’s party/dance music. Happy hour here is $4 drinks. I mostly drank beer here, but the mango daiquaris were good too. They have buckets of Chill or Brights for $22 all day. I think it was 6 to a bucket, but they keep them cold in the fridge if you are sitting at the bar. Happy hour on Saturday got crowded, but we were there about an hour before it started so we had seats at the bar. The bartenders here are great! As for the food - Gary’s Delight is a must! It’s an appetizer of pan fried grouper in bite size pieces. We tried the Conch Fritters here and they were okay, but I don’t think its fresh conch like you would get in the Bahamas.
Iguana Cantina is across from Holiday Inn, upstairs in the plaza overlooking the courtyard. They start you off with free chips and salsa. The menu is mostly Mexican food. The pink flamingo frozen drinks are really good! We were there on all you can eat fajita night (Wednesday) which looks like a great deal, but we both chose the pan fried grouper with salsa. It is one of my husband’s favorite meals so I decided to try it this time too. It was really good. You may see a pattern - we just really love grouper. This is a fun fast dinner at a great price. With 4 mixed drinks and 2 entrees, it was around $60. We had great service here. The only downside I could see is that they set up a moon bounce just on the other side of the balcony that could block some of the fountain show if you were sitting at the wrong table.
Moomba Beach Bar - The service was outstanding. Each bartender and server we met here was friendly and made great recommendations for drinks. The watermelon mojito was my favorite, but they didn’t have it every day, it was a specialty drink for that day. We sat at the bar each time we went here, except one night when it was pretty crowded so we stood nearby. We ate appetizers from here a couple different days. We wanted to try something different, so we had the Dutch Platter at the recommendation of our sweetheart bartender (Annandi). The platter is little fried appetizers with meat and I think potatoes. I really have no idea what it was so I just checked their menu and here is the description: Combination of bami schijf, nasi schijf, bitterballen and meatballs served with bbq sauce and mustard. We figured we couldn’t go wrong with meatballs and bbq sauce and decided just to try it. We like it so much we ordered it again a few days later. We also had chicken wings from here on our way back to the room one night, but honestly I can’t review them, since I had been drinking most of the day and really at that point anything would have tasted good.
Hopi Bon next to the pier in the Renaissance Marina, next to the Seaport Casino. We ate here after fishing on with Hatts Off Charters. Captain Glen recommended that we take our mahi over there for a fresh lunch. The mate cleaned our two fillets and Glen carried it over for us and had us all set up. The waiter here was so funny and upbeat. We sat outside and it was hot in the middle of the afternoon, but they have a covered area with great ceiling fans to move the air. They took our fresh fish and prepared it two different ways and in bite size pieces perfect for sharing. It was served with rice and veggies and only $11 per person since we had caught our own fish. This was a good experience that I would recommend for any fisherman out there.
#1 on our list is Scotts Brats. We only made it down twice this trip but we love it. The breakfast burritos are a perfect start to a day on the beach. They have a bloody mary bar, if that’s your thing but we chose Gatorade. The food here is good, but chatting with Scott and Leslie make it even better. Leslie, if you see this, after one day back home Jon has decided he still wants a job with you guys!
Aromi d’italia. We stopped here for breakfast on our last morning. The restaurant opens early. The tables all have the morning paper on them which is a nice touch. The service was quick and the food was decent and prices reasonable. We both ate for around $25. One comment here, don’t order the hash browns, they are just the frozen patties and they just weren’t good. I liked having the small slice of watermelon on the side. I had a croissant sandwich and Jon had some type of wrap.
We ate at the Marriot Surf Pool restaurant for breakfast twice, we never did the buffet, just ordered off the menu. Jon had some type of breakfast wrap with peppers, eggs, gouda cheese and I think bacon. It was big, we could have shared. I wasn’t too hungry so I had a bagel and a side of bacon. The bacon was cooked perfectly for me, just a little crisp but not burnt. Hotel breakfasts are usually overpriced and that doesn’t bother me, we ate there for convenience not the price. The atmosphere here would be better if we weren’t always seated next to rude Americans. Both times we had people that were just plain rude to the servers, always with northern accents and very bossy. I felt bad for the waitresses, and embarrassed. I really just wanted to say - hey relax, you are on vacation but I am pretty sure my husband would have killed me had I actually said something.
We also had food from the servers on the beach at the Marriott. The calamari wasn’t very good. The pizza rolls were not very good either. They were egg roll wrappers with a mozzarella stick inside with pepperoni and deep fried. The chicken fingers were okay. The best part were the fries, they give you a ton.
Happy hour at the pool bar at the Surf was fun, we did it one day, but it was a little crowded for our taste. We aren’t generally pool people. But the raspberry mudslides were delicious!
Champions Sports Bar was not somewhere I will go back to. We went there one night because it was close and convenient. It just seemed dark. We sat at the bar and the bartender was stand offish. I had fried grouper but the breading part was too greasy. I don’t remember what Jon had, I justThi s know we weren’t impressed. The atmosphere was kind of dead even though hockey play offs were on. We had no real interest in hockey, but it was quiet for a sports bar.
Bugaloe Beach Bar - No food for us here, just drinks. We had a lot of fun listening to live music and chair dancing. There were lots of people dancing, but we prefer watching from our seats. We love this place. It was pretty back on Tuesday but we happened to arrive just as someone was leaving the bar and had two seats right away. The mudslides are not that great here, so I switched to mixed drinks.
Senor Frogs - This place is what it is. We stopped for frozen drinks, which were good but over priced, even by Aruba standards.