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Thread: First Trip - Dining Report

  1. #1
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    First Trip - Dining Report

    As mentioned we had the breakfast buffet as part of our hotel deal.
    Thanks to this board i did not consider an all inclusive for Aruba.
    Some many nice restaurants in close proximity, an AI will not afford
    you the opportunity to get out and see the island. That being said, we
    didn’t get everywhere we wanted to so I guess we’ll just have to go back!
    Day 1 – it was a long day, up at 4am to get to the airport. We bought party
    sandwiches the day before to save us from the supplied breakie dreckie.
    After check in we wandered down to the beach bar. We ordered 2 bloody
    Marys’ a salad and a fish sandwich. The drinks were excellent, as they were
    for the entire week. This was the first difference we noted from our AI experiences.
    The food was fresh and tasty. Our timing was off and so were our appetites due to the long day. Dinner was a stroll over to Smokey Joes. I had the burger which i enjoyed. My wife had a salad, also good. We will try the ribs on our next visit.
    Day 2 – I had made an internet reservation for Passions as this was my wife’s birthday.
    I did mention this in the request. We almost canceled due to the weather. It was a mostly overcast day but we had a late reservation (8) and the sunset was not an issue.
    We decided to honor the reservation and took the short cab ride over to Eagle Beach.
    The maître d’ was cool with his reception, slightly off putting. We were shown to our ringside table, the setting was lovely and my wife was in heaven. We ordered a bottle of wine, 1 seafood soup, 1 caesar salad,1 tuna tropical, 1 seven seas parade.
    The soup was “good”, Caesar “good”. I had the tuna tropical, it was good but not great.
    It may have been my palate as I prefer spicy to fruity. My wife loved her seafood platter.
    We did not order dessert or coffee, we typically don’t. Maybe that was why there was no acknowledgement of her birthday, it was a little disappointing.
    The venue is very nice, the food is competent, the menu is a little thin.
    I would not rush back.
    We bumped into a newlywed couple as we were leaving, they asked to share a cab. We all decided to go to Senor Frogs, we had tequila shots and danced. Great evening!
    Day 3 – Included in our room were two $50 gift certificates on the “dine around program”.
    We decided to use them at Le Petit Café, in front of the Playa Linda. This restaurant had been recommended to my wife so we gave it a shot. We arrived around 9. It was very busy and it was quickly clear to us that they were struggling with the service. We got our drink and food order in, a glass of wine for my wife and a beer for me. We shared an
    Escargot appetizer and a Caribbean seafood soup, both good. We had to chase down some bread to soak up the garlic and oil from the snails. I made them take the 3 remaining snails back to heat up to be enjoyed with the bread. A different sever essentially threw our main courses at us. These are served on a hot stone, partially cooked. The harried server places it on the table and then turns the meat/seafood over and presents you your cutlery.
    He was in such a rush I was afraid I was going to get cut by the knife as he handed it over.
    The table of four next to us was not as fortunate. They repeatedly begged for bread, never got it or a drink. They got up and left. I had surf and turf, my wife had treasure of the sea(shrimp,Lobster and fish). Both were good, we probably will not return.
    Day 4 – Well so far the dining experience has been underwhelming. The food has been good but nothing more, the service has been nice. The waitress at Le Petit tried her best to keep us happy under difficult circumstances and I tipped her well. It wasn’t her fault that the guy
    delivering the main courses tried to stab me or that they were understaffed. I decided it was time to visit a true ‘A’ list establishment. I called Madam Janette’s. We arrived around 8:30 and were
    shown to our table after a short 15 minute visit to the bar. We carried our bottle of wine started at the bar to our table. The venue is very nice, we sat just outside but under cover. We enjoyed the live entertainment, a guitar player/ singer. I have always preffered ordering multiple appetizers
    rather than an entre, the menu here accommodates this. We shared the Caesar salad, which includes four large delicious shrimp, excellent. Next was Madam’s Termidor Gratin, served in a shell, and absolute perfection. I typically stay away from these kind of rich dishes, am I glad I indulged here. This dish was perfect in every way, I was impressed. We followed that with the BANG BANG Shrimp, very good but a notch below the Termidor. All the shrimp here were perfectly fresh, I can’t say that for the meals we
    had earlier. A chocolate chocolate dessert with aperitifs finished a lovely evening. The service was good though we did get off to a rough start. All three dishes appeared at our table simultaneously. I guess I needed to spell out that we would be sharing and the order of appearance I would like. The waitress saw our quizzical look and immediately recognized her error. She asked what order we would like, removed the two dishes that were early and all went smoothly from there. Well done. On the list!
    Day 5 – This was our anniversary dinner, three nights early, but hey who can argue with a slot at Carte Blanche! We were seated by our gracious hosts in the 5/6 position at the table of 14, rose petals decorating our table in honour of the celebration. I can not say enough about the care and attention Dennis and Glen put into an evening. This was a wonderful experience. We embraced the concept and made fast friends of our dining partners, a nice crew they were. We opted for the wine pairing and are
    happy we did. They food was excellent, a ceviche starter was outstanding. We opted for the five course meal, three appetizers and two entres. The only dish we didn’t love was the pork entre.
    We are not pork lovers but we knew going in that the menu is set, you might hit a dish you don’t like but you just might taste something fantastic that you would never have tried otherwise.
    Glenn had my wife mesmerized; his attention to every detail is incredible. He has to be mentally exhausted by the end of the night. Dennis was equally dedicated to his patrons, he put out four dishes that were excellent to my palate. The desserts were lovely; we were offered a choice of
    two. We shared one of each along with a dessert drink. We were stuffed and stoned!
    Carte Blanche is a must for anyone looking for a great dining experience. Do not miss!
    Day 6 – We needed a rest from fine dining and didn’t get hungry till late. We wandered over to Amore Mio. We ordered two pies, both were good but expensive. I don’t think I have really mentioned cost for some of our meals, this one was expensive for what it was. We added toppings and had
    bottled water so this bite cost me $60. It was the cheapest meal we had had other than the first Burger night, but it was the only time I felt I had over paid.
    Day 7 – Back to serious eats. Amuse Bistro is next to Le Petit Café in front of Playa Linda. This is the only thing they have in common. We enjoyed a lovely evening on the patio, serenaded by 2 minstrels.
    We shared a bottle of wine, and three appetizer sized dishes. The food here is very good, the service thoughtful.We will return to explore the rest of the menu.

    A few final thoughts.
    We are from Toronto and used to paying for good restaurants. I found the prices here to be in line with expectation. Part of this may be the lack of a 13% tax.
    In most instances I didn’t mind the service charge of 17.5% being added to my bill, service was generally good and a honest effort was always apparent. I did ask a few waiters if the charge was the tip,the only one that answered no was at Passions.
    I realize I haven’t given a lot of detail to the food. My purpose here is to guide you to places we enjoyed, your palate may tend to very different menu choices. We gravitated to seafood and fish.
    “AI” = ALL INCLUSIVE.

  2. #2
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    Great report!! I am in the minority but I have to agree with you about Passions. We went there based on many "rave" reviews and found it good but not outstanding with good but not outstanding service. We much prefer BAREFOOT for outside dinning both for food and service and atmosphere.

    As far as Petite Cafe, that place has been off our list for about 5 years and quite frankly, don't know how they are still in business. We found all of what you reported. A few years ago we were enticed there by their cheap breakfast. Well if you can imagine their breakfast and experience was far worse than the dinner. I would never recommend going there.

    We also loved, loved, loved Carte Blanche. I would add to your list for next year, Barefoot, Windows and also Ventanas del Mar for more upscale dinning. Wacky Wahoos is good for a fast fish dinner. Haven't tried White Modern Cusine but its on our list for upcoming trip. Yemanja Woodfired Grill is another good one and very reasonably priced.

    We are big Anna Maria fans and we enjoy the dinning experience with friends and family so do not mind spending 2 hours there. We love the sicilian Italian variety of food and like the outside, casual atmosphere. Owners have always been wonderful and so accomodating to us. Don't like many of the other Italian places.

    We love all the really fresh fish in Aruba since we don't get to see to much of that in our part of Canada (Ontario). Ha ha we don't bother with the Salmon there as most of it comes from Nova Scotia so it is probably fresher to have it at home!
    happiness is going to Aruba with your adult kids because they still want to come with their parents

  3. #3
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Great report. I never thought about the fixe menu like you said "you might hit a dish you don’t like but you just might taste something fantastic that you would never have tried otherwise."

    One thing to add about La Petit Cafe. We had a pleasant experience there at lunch on our last trip. There were only us and one other table of guests there at the time and we found the servers very attentive and had fresh fish dishes cooked on the hot stones. It was definitely a pricey lunch, but we did it on a day that we planned on partying and drinking a little at night so we opted for a big meal at lunch and something very light later on.
    Not sure when, but we will be back

  4. #4
    Senior Member jeffnev's Avatar
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    Nice report and thanks for taking the time to write with so much detail. We agrre that Amuse Bistro is a wondeful place to try lots of yummy, small plates and the service is so friendly and they do not take their guests for granted. Amuse is on our "must" list every year. Also glad to hear you had a positive experience at Madame Janette's as there have been a few negative ones posted here recently.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time. I liked the detail in your report. Glad Mme J's was good for you since I had read some negative reports lately. Regarding Passions, I feel that Passions has a great atmosphere, but only good (not great) food. Fortunate that you got the 'OK' dining stuff outta the way early and move on to your 'A' list for more satisfaction!

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much for a great trip report! We love to get good dining tips and your report gave us a couple places we had crossed off.
    Sean and Susan

  7. #7
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    interesting conversation

    we had with the cab driver on the way to the airport. I told him that we
    had visited Zee Rovers but did not get to eat there. He laughed and said
    he had taken his wife after hearing many good things about it. He said
    the food is nothing special and not "true Arubian cuisine". He, being a
    "true Arubian".
    He recommended a place that only serves lunch, next to Wacky Wahoo.
    The name escapes me, something Diner. This is real grub according to him.
    He recommended Wacky as well.

  8. #8
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    that is not the first time i have heard about arubans not being overly enthused about zeerovers.

    thank you so much for the great detailed dining report

    much appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by TOMANIAC View Post
    we had with the cab driver on the way to the airport. I told him that we
    had visited Zee Rovers but did not get to eat there. He laughed and said
    he had taken his wife after hearing many good things about it. He said
    the food is nothing special and not "true Arubian cuisine". He, being a
    "true Arubian".
    He recommended a place that only serves lunch, next to Wacky Wahoo.
    The name escapes me, something Diner. This is real grub according to him.
    He recommended Wacky as well.

  9. #9
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    in my opinion passions is OVERRATED, petite cafe when the kids were young it was enjoyable for them, no longer my stomping ground.
    zeerovers, for the arubans on the island is nothing more than a fish market for home cooking, for visitors i'ts a treasure all the shrimp you can eat with alcohol for lunch,
    PRICELESS!!!!

  10. #10
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    agree with your thoughts!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by ricky59 View Post
    in my opinion passions is OVERRATED, petite cafe when the kids were young it was enjoyable for them, no longer my stomping ground.
    zeerovers, for the arubans on the island is nothing more than a fish market for home cooking, for visitors i'ts a treasure all the shrimp you can eat with alcohol for lunch,
    PRICELESS!!!!

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