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Thread: BradRobster's Aruba Story including restaurants

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    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    BradRobster's Aruba Story including restaurants

    ***1st post here was actually in response to a poll about eating downtown...since we had just gotten to Aruba, I participated in the poll and gave a few reviews of our favorite downtown places.
    Andrea was nice enough to move this to my own thread for our Aruba Vacation story...so this is the start...on or about June 13, 2012****

    Participated in the poll.. We just got here yesterday and as always...stay downtown a couple days before hitting our timeshare in the Aruba Ocean Club. I will be posting more comprehensive trip story/food reviews soon but in the interest of keeping this thread updated...here is what I have:

    Casa Tua- we found the one behind the Ren Marina hotel closed our first night so went over to their one at the Marketplace...was great! I had the Carbonera and wifey had the beef carpaccio ..with waters...less than $35.

    Cuba Cookin- we had lunch here today after an early cloudy morning at the private island. We each had the grilled grouper (catch of the day) sandwich (she -plantains..me-fries...) ..total $25 w/tip...(no service charge and we had waters)...awesome! and great deal too

    Hung Paradise- 1st time here ever for dinner( thanks to recommendations from the forum)..and it was awesome. Wifey got snapper in bean sauce and I had General Tsu's ..and both were great. $47 with tip, waters and a glass of wine for wifey.

    More to Come..we love downtown for a couple meals. Havent tried Pinchos..but we do venture back across island to Baby Beach, Flying fishbone and we tried a new locals place on the way to Baby Beach last year called the Welcome Diner...real hole in the wall place that was featured in one of the food mags you can pickup at the hotels..really good.

    We are just on day two...It takes me at least two days.....several/many rum and diet cokes...etc...to get into vacation mode...almost there..more reviews to come...Ocean club here we come in the AM...!!
    Last edited by bradrobster; 06-23-2012 at 02:08 AM. Reason: Clarified the start of my story for our trip..started as answering the poll...but turned into my trip thread

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks for participating the the downtown restaurant polling.

    i moved your post and created a Aruba Story thread for you.
    please continue to give us updates including food, weather, activities etc...

    many of us live vicariously thru other's adventures!

    thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by bradrobster View Post
    Participated in the poll.. We just got here yesterday and as always...stay downtown a couple days before hitting our timeshare in the Aruba Ocean Club. I will be posting more comprehensive trip story/food reviews soon but in the interest of keeping this thread updated...here is what I have:

    Casa Tua- we found the one behind the Ren Marina hotel closed our first night so went over to their one at the Marketplace...was great! I had the Carbonera and wifey had the beef carpaccio ..with waters...less than $35.

    Cuba Cookin- we had lunch here today after an early cloudy morning at the private island. We each had the grilled grouper (catch of the day) sandwich (she -plantains..me-fries...) ..total $25 w/tip...(no service charge and we had waters)...awesome! and great deal too

    Hung Paradise- 1st time here ever for dinner( thanks to recommendations from the forum)..and it was awesome. Wifey got snapper in bean sauce and I had General Tsu's ..and both were great. $47 with tip, waters and a glass of wine for wifey.

    More to Come..we love downtown for a couple meals. Havent tried Pinchos..but we do venture back across island to Baby Beach, Flying fishbone and we tried a new locals place on the way to Baby Beach last year called the Welcome Diner...real hole in the wall place that was featured in one of the food mags you can pickup at the hotels..really good.

    We are just on day two...It takes me at least two days.....several/many rum and diet cokes...etc...to get into vacation mode...almost there..more reviews to come...Ocean club here we come in the AM...!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Get to pinchos and barefoot before you leave.

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    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Day 3 update...wife got up early at the Ren Marina hotel, went to the Starbucks with her computer and dosed up some caffeine while trying to finish some work that she needed to get done. I met up with her and we went to Cilo for some breakfast. I had the New Yorker, she had the ground beef breakfast sandwich.(We laughed...it was a loose cheeseburger that needless to say...whooosh...was gone..lol.) Coffee's too and a total of $22 and change..not too bad. Great food and service.

    Checked out of the Ren Marina hotel ...drove around a bit..stopped at the Red Sail store on the main drag in front of the cruise terminal (loved watching the Carnival Valor..which we have sailed on..leave port in Aruba yesterday) for a good deal on a couple things and then headed for the Marriott Ocean Club. Before we got there, I swung into the Setar office right there at Aqua Grill. Picked up a sim card with 50 min for $29 bucks for my lame old moto razar quad band phone I bought off ebay. Nice....called the kids....now I have minutes available to call my pops and wifey to call her dad on Sunday too!

    Rolled up around 1:30pm at the Ocean club, we are 10 year owners so as always, hoping for a great room. We purchased Ocean View gold week originally. Nice guy at the desk had my req. and said he had a villa ready for us...on the outside of the U shaped building...on the side..last room until ocean front...but overlooking the new Adult Pool at the Marriott Hotel. At first...I said I would wait till something on the inside of the U was available so I could overlook our pool vs. the hotel pool.

    Decided to go discuss with the boss ( aka:wifey)...and we agreed...well..since our kids are older..and not here...and if we overlooked adult Marriott hotel pool....there may be less noise than overlooking the Ocean Club pool.

    Well.....wifey( aka: Boss)...wins again...smart move on her part...very peaceful overlooking ocean and new hotel adult pool...lol... ( side note to self..in future..do not question...smile and comply...all works out)

    Wifey finished up yet more work..as did I ...then we hit Ling and Sons for some Grocerys....we brought stuff like coffee, sweetner, some snacks, 2 btls of rum and vodka, a few laundry tabs and dishwasher tabs...so didnt need much.

    Picked up beer, snacks, GOUDA....lol...and DAMN....thought we were going to find some really good dutch ham??? but no! Dietz and Watson brands!!! I get this stuff at BJ's warehouse at home!! what the heck?? ( Anyone who has insight into better quality deli meats...please comment! ) Anyway....Got a good bit of stuff for only $63 US...so I am happy!

    Came back to Ocean club, made drinks...watched the sunset and had some snacks...very ..very nice..wanted to be on the beach..but on the balcony...with the view...not bad at all.

    Never got a nap after a long day so got ready and walked down to the area where Salt and Pepper...Fishes and more...etc are. Since we were tired and hungry...stopped at the Casa Tua ...yeah..i know..been there done that.....and and dinner. Wife got great pasta dish and I got the margarita pizza with grilled chicken..1 glass of wine...couple of waters and got out for $46 with tip...not bad.

    OK..so plans thus far are MJ's on Sunday Night..and Flying Fishbone on Wed night...we are looking at Pincho's potentially...also ...I think I saw where folks really like El Goucho for a great steak? I'm curious! ..let me know your thoughts for steaks...

    Wife also may want Sawasdee for some Thai... we ate there 2 years ago..food quality was great...service was horrible.....even with Aruba layed back standards...but we had the kids then so maybe Dad was too tense about getting the food and service within a reasonable time? Also...wifey is talking Wacky Wahoo's ...I'm game....any recent reviews?

    More to come...sorry to ramble...just trying to give back to those who have given so much to us with all your wonderful information...hard to believe that we are hitting our 11th year since first coming to Aruba....


    EDIT:...needed to add Lunch...before the Ling and Son's trip...went down to Ocean club pool bar/restaurant and I had Grouper Sandwich and wife had the fish tacos'...also grouper..oh yea..two Mai Tai's..for $15..so total lunch and Mai Tai's $55 with tip...spensive! Tonight we saw that Hadicuri had lunch grouper sandwich for 11...which would be on par with Cuba Cookin's grouper sandwich....guess we are on a quest.....more to come...lol

    thx... bradrobster
    Last edited by bradrobster; 06-16-2012 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Need to add Lunch...lol

  5. #5
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    what you perceive as rambling is enjoyable reading.

    thanks
    :-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Day 4 update...decided to get up early... (yes...7:15 am is early for me..no comments please..lol ) to try and be prepared to battle for Palupa Nirvana. I did this because my precious wife is a very dedicated teacher who gets up every day around 5am...leaves for school by 6:15am and usually doesn't get home till almost 5pm. When summer comes for her, believe me, she deserves the summer break, yet another story for another time..lol

    As I rounded the corner near the pool at the Ocean Club prepared to see a line of die hard Palupa hunters...alas!...NO one...LOL.. The poor lady looked at me, I looked at her...both perplexed. She turned the reservation sheet around to me...pointed to two last front row palupas ...and another last 2 on row two as well. I said to her...." I really don't want first or 2nd row, too busy, too noisy, where is something quiet and peaceful..and afterall...3rd or 4th row only means an extra 10-15 steps further from a beach thats only a few feet or so from me." She smiled and said "Honey....here...."...I looked and all of 3rd row back was available...I laughed..she laughed....we got a nice peaceful one..well..until late morning.

    I came back to the room...all proud of my accomplishment and wifey and I did our usual brisk morning walk which then ended us back at our favorite breakfast spot in Aruba. Went to Salt and Pepper, she had the "Healthy Sandwich"..and I had the two eggs, sausage and hashbrowns...again..no comments please..lol. She had a Mimosa and we had waters ( already did coffee in the room and it was already hot at 8:30am...so we got out for $29.50 with tip.

    We made our way back to the Ocean Club and were out on the beach by 10:15. Beautiful weather...no clouds ( it was overcast the first two days..for part of the day). Wind was especially strong, we had seen the high wind warnings on weather reports. As I was sunning, the gusts at times were stong enough to pelt you with sand crystals.....I just pretended it was sleet to cool me off.

    We ended up with some folks at the adjacent Palupa not to far from us. Seemed to be 3 couples...all 40-50ish ( our similar ages) ...and all drinking nicely by 10am. I am not one to judge here..lol...as I too, have been over-served at times...lol. They were fine for a while, then the guys disappeared for a bit. We ended up going to get lunch so let them be.

    Walked over to Hadicurri on the other side of the Surf Club before you get to Moomba. It acually has been a while since we ate there but we tried lunch. It was great! I had the grouper sandwich ( continueing my quest!) It was $11 and on a great bun ( $5 cheaper and better bun than Marriott), also substituted rice for the fries ( yes...feel free to comment here on my healthy choice..other not so healthy choices...keep your opinion to yourself..lol). She got the mixed grill salad...wow...a piece of Mahi, Wahoo and Grouper...all on top of a great salad..she loved it! ( $12.50)...we had waters...Lunch total with tip ..$29.60. Not Bad!

    Back to the palupa for the afternoon. The guys at the neighbor palupa showed back up around 1pm ...well...they obviously left the girls to go finish the cigars and whatever booze they had...without a lot of detail, wife took a nap, I went to pool area and found a new place to hang out. By 3pm, she shows up frustrated with them ..as I was ..and we had a great afternoon by the pool and in the hot tubs that are fantastic at the Ocean Club.

    Dinner! - got a great reservation at Wacky Wahoo's ( 5min drive from Ocean Club). Never eaten here before but wow....Great people, great service and so much awesome food. We both got the special ( not normal for us..but it was so awesome we just looked at each other and said screw it..we are both getting it..lol). Started with a $14 appetizer of conch and calamari sauted over yellow rice/corn mixture...awesome...tender, tasty...very good. The special was a Wahoo filet on top of a bed of yellow rice with 3 tiger shrimp and a tomato basil mixture on top. It also had an "Aruban Crabcake"..wife loved it...it was ok for me...some spice that I was just not that fond of, she said it was Dill..I was not convinced. It also had two little polenta cakes and two plantains that were great. $32 for the special, TON of food, they could have cut the Wahoo filet in half and it still would have been a great deal! Got the brownie for desert. Total bill with tip ( 1 glass cab and water for me) $112. It was our most expensive meal thus far but still ...a very good deal for the quality AND quantity of food.

    More to come for tomorrow...didn't get the MJ's reservation for tomorow, got it for Monday....It's Dad's day tomorow...so not sure what we may do. Gonna use some of our Setar minutes on the cheap razar to call our dad's and our kids.

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    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Your report is great... almost like being there with you.

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    Senior Member jpsphr's Avatar
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    Brad,
    It's fun reading your report. We'll be at the OC in a few weeks. Love the Marriott, but food there is silly expensive. Sometimes we get too lazy (or happy) to move from the palapa, so we overpay for their lunch. At least it's great food.

    Glad too hear Hadicurari has a good lunch. Last year, we had them cook the fish that my son and I caught on our charter trip and they did a great job with the fish and accompaniments for $35 for three of us. We also plan to hit Zeerover's for lunch once during the trip.

    Take care and enjoy,
    John

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    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    I too am enjoying reading about your trip. Sorry about the palapa neighbors

  10. #10
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Day 5 Update-ARRGH...halfway point on trip...makes me struggle between happy and sad!
    Fathers Day in Aruba! As one of my relatives put it...." you are very lucky to be celebrating in Aruba!!" ...very true..but still a bit sad as our kids are older and stayed at home to work this summer. Very proud of them and happy that they are responsible and that they want us to go and enjoy Aruba...so..agreed..very lucky.

    I have occasionally been called a creature of habit and today...being fathers day, I could think of no place to yet again get a great breakfast but Salt and Pepper.

    **Important note: The part of "wifey"...aka: Boss.... will now be known as "Deb". I was politely told this morning that someone didn't really like terms "wifey or "boss". So let it be written..so let it be done....now...on to the good stuff.

    Deb went down to grab the palupa around 8:30 and then we headed off on our usual walk which ended up at Salt and Pepper around 10ish. Not sure what the deal was but wow..it was crowded...we were only about 30-45 min later than we usually were. Service was slow due to this and we actually watched 2 different couples get up and leave but we patiently read our little Aruba newspapers, drank our water (Deb had a mimosa $5) and waited...same as yesterday...she had the Healthy Sandwich and I had the 2 scrambled with hashbrowns and sausage. For Fathers day...I had them throw in some Gouda into the eggs for an extra buck. Fantastic as always...about $32 with tip...Deb had a 2nd Mimosa...( as she said "in your honor for fathers day)...what a gal...lol.

    Palupa beach time today was unbelievably interesting and exciting! Much better than yesterday's experience! A family showed up at the same palupa as our less than favorable guests yesterday. After hearing them talk, I could have sworn that I heard the daughter say they were from Raleigh. Deb saw the daughter and son in the water and we talked to them and not only were they from Raleigh, but their kids went to our kids high school, their daughter graduated with our son back in '07 and their son just graduated and new our daughter well since she is an upcoming senior!...and they literally live less than 2-3 miles from us...small world!...Anyway...their first time to Aruba, gave them some tips and restaurant ideas and offered to help them in any way while they are here.

    Lunch...ok...creature of habit here again. After having a great conversation with our new friends and real life hometown neighbors, we headed off to grab some lunch. It was already about 2pm and we could hear the crowd already over at Moomba beach for the Netherlands vs. Portugal game which was to start at 2:30. We decided to go back over to Hadicurri again. They were really packed, I guess due to the match but they didn't have any tv's showing it, you had to walk over to Moomba to see it. They sat us at the bar which was fine. I got the gouper sandwich again but Deb got the shrimp wrap. We did notice that size of the gouper filet was about 1/2 the size of the Mariott's and her shrimp wrap only had about 5-6 shrimp in it. Prices are good here but portion sizes are reflective of the price. Since I have a few Marriott give cards to burn, I am pretty sure it will be Marriott lunches for the remainder of the trip. We had one drink with lunch and waters...total was about $36 with tip.

    Today started as overcast, turned to Sunny and then back overcast later in the day. We took in the sun and ocean today till late afternoon, then a bit of pool time before coming in around sunset and trying to decide where to eat dinner.
    It's my fault for not really planning anything and trying to get reservations...we both were kind of fooded out and still have MJ's to look forward to on Monday Night and Flying Fishbone on Wednesday. Didnt' really feel like driving tonight so we narrowed our choices to Tango, Scala or Papillon. We have eaten at Scala two years in a row and loved it. We have never eaten at Tango or Papillon.

    It came down to pure hunger and desire...I have already eaten a great deal of grouper so I was looking for a change. After reading the menu's and not having reservations we decided to do the following. Our plan was to walk down to Papillon first, see if they could accomodate us and if not, we would head to Tango/Scala based on the same circumstances.

    At 8:40pm, Papillon was very busy, all outside tables were full except one. When we asked, she went and checked and said she could seat us inside and it may take a bit longer than usual. We decide to go for it.

    We were seated by 8:45pm, Deb got a glass of cab and I a rum and diet coke. Fresh bread was brought with olive tapinade and olive oil around 9:10ish. We ordered the escargot's under puff pastry ($14)...which didn't arrive until 9:30ish...but WOW...We both love good snails in garlic..but this was fantastic. BY FAR..the best escargot dish we have ever been served. It was a small bowl with over 10-14 snails in a sweet garlic bath and the dish was topped with a fresh homemade flaky crust to steam in the snails while it was baking. UNBELIEVEABLE...if you like escargot...no one...on Aruba...that we have tried...or even in the better french resturant in our hometown or anywhere else has done it this good...again ( $14).

    For entree's, I decided to go for the lamb chops,( Carre of Lamb) medium. They were prepared with a herb crust with a tyme sauce and vegetables ( small potatoes, mushrooms, brocceli) and a red pepper sauce. They were great...didn't blow me away..but they were very, very good. They were ($38) , so very expensive but worth it if you like lamb.

    Deb got the grouper. It really did match up to it's description. It was a grouper filet pan fried with garlic, herbs and lemon under a potato crust and served with a white wine lobster cream sauce. This entire thing sat atop a wonderful bed of risoto. I got to take a few bites of this one and when you get a piece of the grouper..along with a piece of the potato crust and some risoto and rub it into the lobster sauce....all I can say is "heaven". This was probably one of the most creative and flavorful dishes we have had so far. Deb cleaned the plate....again..in honor of "Fathers Day"...lol...had to throw that in...she is sleeping now....I will pay for it tomorrow.

    After that 2 hour meal....they did give me a complimentary small glass of Brandy...was good..burned the throat going down..lol

    We had a great server (Bryan) nice kid, very attentive ...even with the crowd. I can't believe we have been coming to Aruba since 2001 and never eaten here. Their menu at Papillon's is fantasic, in the future, we will be coming back here to try out everything else!

    It's 1:43am...loving writing about this stuff....great day today...looking forward to tomorrow. We may bag the drive to Baby Beach. We always bake there...and Palm Beach is very similar. We may drive down and go back to Malmok or Arashi since they are closer, just a bit more rocky. We are both great swimmers so all we bring are goggles and we go snorkelless( is that even a word?..lol) and just swim around and look at fish. MJ's tomorrow night...I need to get in a extra powerwalk/swim prior to that.

    Going to try and eat the ham and gouda for breakfast tomorrow to save some $$ and time..Still gonna get a palupa...but may use the car to check out some beach stuff close by.

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