I got inspired today to actually sit down and do a trip report. I realize how much better it is to do it during or right after as once you get home the full details are a stretch to remember.
We travelled with two other couples (for our first week) who had never been to Aruba and they loved it. They couldn't believe how clean, safe, and friendly "our" island is and couldn't stop raving about the fantastic restaurants.
Bully and Hebert were our taxi drivers for the entire two week stay. They are amazing, warm people and great for information. Our friends and DH did an island tour with Ivan (Bully and Herbert were busy) and had only the best things to say about him too. DH found the tour very informative and was surprised how much he didn't know even though we have been coming to Aruba for years. He was surprised about the information about the Boa Constrictors on the island but I suggested that that information would probably not be shared with our kids!
We met luvsun at their restaurant Scott's Brat's. I introduced myself over a great breakfast sandwich and DH agreed that our boys will be spending a lot of breakfasts there in December. The place was impeccably clean and we were so impressed with what Leslie and Scott have done. Very nice people.
The weather was wonderful and we did find that it was without much breeze, which is also unusual. Weather patterns all over seem to be changing and many Arubans are now adjusting to the fact that they seem to be getting a little more rain than years ago. Many restaurants that did not have any coverings are now adding some. For example, Pinchos and Amuse Bistro.
Aruba Aloe has changed their packaging but I also think they seem to be smaller bottles for more money. They are now green bottles with a better lid. We found that the previous packaging was very poor for the sunscreen as in the heat the liquid would become thinner and leak out of the top. However, the sunscreen has become more expensive and that was disappointing. We used to bring home little bottles of hand cream as gifts but not sure if the new price point will make us think twice about bringing home 12 bottles. I couldn't find the shampoo anywhere and I hope that it will still be available as I love it. [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Randi/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg[/IMG]
No trip report would be complete with a full review of the restaurants that we went to. This year we added a new one to our list and went back to two others that we hadn't visited in a few years.
Our new restaurant was CARTE BLANCHE and it was everything and more that people rave about. We did the wine pairing but the four course meal rather than the 5 and we were so happy we did as the food and wine were plentiful. We loved Denis and Glen and you can tell that they truly love what they are doing. Glen's wine pairings were amazing as was Denis's superb food. We had an absolute blast and loved the experience. They told us that right before Christmas week they will be moving to a new location which seems like it will be beautiful. They said it will have lots of glass and overlooking the water. It will be located at the Bucuti Resort. Unfortunately, they always close week 51 and 52 so many people who travel at this time period will never get to experience this gem of a restaurant.
VENTANAS DEL MAR was a place we hadn't been in about five years. We had heard some negative reviews over the past few years but we were told that they renovated and had a new chef so we were eager to try it again. We had a wonderful meal with a beautiful view overlooking the area surrounding the lighthouse area. The outside of the restaurant either directly overlooks the golf course pool or some large cacti with soft lighting with the landscape of the north end of the island in the background. The inside, which was never that attractive, has been done over with a bar area and casual seating plus some tables but (imo) the outside is the nicer area to sit. We loved our dinner and found the food to be excellent. Service was good but they seemed to be in the process of training a number of new staff so they weren't as polished as other places. No complaints though and we would definitely go back.
MIRANDI'S I am not going to go into much detail as I gave my detailed opinion on the food in another thread . Marandi menu The setting of Mirandi's is beautiful and the staff are fantastic, polished and very well trained. When we arrived we commented on how much we love this location and we hoping for an unbelievable meal which would justify coming back again. We hadn't been in a few years since the chef and maitre de left and opened up Barefoot.
Wacky Wahoos continues to be the best fresh fish on the island. The place is small, loud and not a place for an intimate dinner but we just love it.
PINCHOS was good and reasonably priced. The setting is lovely but not on the "A" list of places we went. The service was good but not fantastic. We will go back but we aren't running....
YEMANJA WOODFIRED GRILL is a place that we always love and has great food, fantastic service and good prices. We are always warmly greeted and love to sit outside. They have a good following of customers and it's easy to see why people love to come back to this place. Always a "must" on our list.
WINDOWS is another place we love. Although it is an inside restaurant the atmosphere is serene and the food is excellent. We each had a soup and then shared the 16oz of rack of lamb. The lamb was done to perfection as was the service. This is a wonderful dining experience. Highly recommend a visit here.
ANNA MARIA is our favourite Italian restaurant in Aruba. Chris and Anna Maria are wonderful hosts and do their utmost to make their customers happy . We have been there 8 times now and never had a bad meal. There portions are large with the exception of one or two dishes and we always end up bringing some of our dinner home. They have lots of variety for pasta with many topped with seafood. They also serve chicken and fresh fish dishes as well. No veal available but so many other choices. This trip we were 6 people and our dinner was the fastest in all our visit- 2 hours! As I and others have stated many times, this is not the place to go if you want a fast meal, it is a dining experience and if you go there with this in mind you will enjoy the relaxed setting. The recipes are from Sicily so some may not be the traditional Italian flare but they are delicious. The prices are right in line with the other restaurants in Aruba and about the same as many of the other Italian places.
BAREFOOT is probably our favourite restaurant in Aruba. The food is outstanding in taste, variety and presentation. The setting is beautiful and the staff are wonderful. Luc, one of the owners, always welcomes his guests with such genuine warmth and he remembers his regulars too. We have been coming to Barefoot since it opened and it is so nice to see that his business is such a success. Everything is excellent and they have a wonderful wine list. This is also one of the few restaurants that allows you to bring your own wine and charge a reasonable corkage fee. They have many different fish entrees, some more simply prepared and some with sauces. A good variety to suit many people's tastes. The appetizers go from simple to exotic and there is truly something for all. Our kids have tried a number of their meat/lamb dishes and all have given top ratings. Desserts are "out of this world" delicious. Creme brulee to die for!!!!!
Hope all of my information is helpful. Can't wait to go back in December and of course, enjoying reading everyone else's trip reports.
The hair products listed are the old packaging with a number of products shown as out of stock. When I went to many Aruba Aloe stores they said that they had nothing left. They were hoping that the factory would start selling hair products again in the new packaging. I think they are just trying to clear out the old stock.
Sitting on the couch and reading your trip report. Loved your take on the local eats. When I got to yemanja I had a sudden flash back and longing pang for the most tasty veal chop I had last month. Was the special of the night.....mmmmm!
Absolutely one of our fave dining spots and you gave me a hopeful glimpse for our fall trip!