When I get home I will do a long report on the beach, etc. I am going to speak with the manager about some of the issues as many can be easily rectified but unless you are right in the "thick of it" you wouldn't notice.
Most restaurants can have an off night so if we have had consistent service and good food, we will give the place another try before crossing it off our list. Again, I will do a more detailed report upon my return home in a few days.
Oh Pierre! The delicious bread in the pic with the amazing relish!!!!
Dh and I were discussing the watermelon salad last night. He has had it and too wished it were seedless. Is it probably that on an island like Aruba, there may not be access to "seedless" watermelon year 'round and even so, the price would most likely be extremely expensive?
Well, finally unpacked and starting to think about next trip and as usual where to make the "dinner reservations" but first I am going to report back on this trip and what we had experienced.
Blossoms (Japanese): our kids (although they are big kids now) always love to go here for the food. This year, once again, raised their prices. Meals run around $31 p.p. Although you do get a small bowl of soup and a small bowl of salad and a scoop of ice cream for dessert, the price point is really too high for a dinner that lasts at most 1 1/4 hour in duration. So what we decided is that on one of our first nights (when we are not spending as much time in the sun) we will come for 6 pm and do their early bird special for $17. Just can't justify the prices anymore.
Madame Jeanettes was absolutely wonderful again and thanks to someone on this BB found out that we could bring our own wine, which we did. Although there was a corkage fee, we liked this concept a lot.
Marandi's and Yemanja (went to both of these twice) and they were amazing. Both restaurants are winners.
Windows was a new addition but will certainly become a regular. The restaurant is very pretty and the food delicious. Service was impeccable. Only issue we had was with our reservation. I had emailed them numerous times and even reconfirmed a few daysbefore arrival in Aruba as did the concierge upon arrival but when we got to the restaurant no reservation. Luckily, they had a table. Coincidentally, this also happened with the golf reservation that was made prior to arrival. Got email confirmation prior to arrival but when called in Aruba they had no record of reservation??
OMATS: This restaurant I have been very apprehensive to write about but I feel that after 2 weeks having heard nothing from them I can freely write my comments. We were very excited to go back to one of our favourite restaurants and we were bringing another family with us who had never been but wanted to try this restaurant after all our positive comments. I have recommended this place to so many people including strangers that I met on the beach. We were 9 people in total. 4 people ordered lamb and the rest ordered fish. The fish was over cooked and not enjoyable, I had ordered the identical appetizer and main course as my previous visit and it wasn't anywhere near as good. The lamb was ok but pricey and smaller portions then was given at other restaurants (Marandi's and Yemanji and Madame Jeanettes). Our waiter was "rough around the edges" and so unlike the other staff we had encountered on our previous four visits to OMATS. We had been reading some negative reviews lately and felt that we would still give one of our favourites a try. The next day I sent the manager/owner an email and he responded promptly that he was going to look into the situation and to please give him a couple of days to check into the situation (that was on Dec. 22nd) and to date I have heard nothing from him. I did email him again last week and still no response. This is probably the nicest restaurant on the island and certainly a destination point as it is a far drive and rather expensive taxi drive. People don't mind coming the distance but only if you get value for your experience. I don't know what has happened here but this place has changed. Staff make such a big difference in a restaurant and the entire wait staff was the complete opposite of our last experiences. I don't really know what else to say.........
Screaming Eagle was also another one that after 4 visits will be eliminated from our list of places to eat. Firstly, I had called to make my reservation from home and specifically asked for a particular table. This was done twice at my expense of calling from Canada to Aruba and I was not placed at the table. I sat outside (as requested) but under the low canopy next to the outside wall. As a result it was very hot as there wasn't a lot of air movement in this area. As far as the food goes, it was ok but once again too expensive for what was offered. If I am going to pay top dollar for a meal (which we don't mind doing) then it has to be fantastic. For average, I can go to a less expensive place.
Our biggest surprise was GIANNI'S!! Having sworn that I wasn't going back we went there on NYE with a large group. We had an early reservation which was lucky because all the people who had later reservations were left standing around for close to one hour. They don't know how to book their reservations properly, especially on NYE as people do like to linger and it is not fair to confirm reservations and then let people sit and wait. But for us, the food was good and service was the best we have had from them in our last 3 prior visits. Was actually shocked and pleasantly surprised. They got me back as a customer so I will see in March if this was a flook or actually improved service. By contrast, I went to Azzurro and it was awful. The service was great and attentive but the food was terrible. Everyone of us (7 people) thought their food was not good.
Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt was wonderful and sitting outside was so nice. Three of us had chicken which was great and the other two had veal and we all loved our meal and service was excellent.
Those are our highlighted meals both from a positive and negative experiences.
The beach I wrote about on another thread but again worth mentioning that the ocean floor is being looked after very well and sea solutions is doing a great job.
Water sports, we did notice that most of the boat drivers are slowing things down a bit. With one exception who we felt was doing stupid things. My sons are waterski instructors so they know boating and this one particular boat scared us with some of his antics. Water police presence was around (never saw this before) and seemed to be doing a better job patrolling the boat driving. Perhaps this is due to the highly publicized accidents recently. One of the problems is that many of the fisherman's boats are moared close to where the boats drive the waterkiiers, tubers, etc. Very limited space and you find the boating activity all within a very small corridor of water. I think if the moared boats could be farther back this would allow more space for the moving boats. This would help but I think some lessons on boating safety would also be beneficial for some. While the boat drivers think it is fun to give their customers a wild ride, when an accident happens the wild ride wasn't so much fun. We have since banned water sports for our children.
The Palm Beach Mall is going to be gorgeous. Most of the shops are not open but it is going to be amazing. Can't wait to see it in March. People do seem optimistic about the new government and some of the changes that they feel will come into affect. There is a positive buzz that seemed to be lacking last December.
Randi, what can I say...nice report. Thanks for saying it "as it was".
Nice to read your restaurant reports...I had a feeling you were going to say exactly what you stated, and that the good were great,and bad were awful.
GLad to hear you are home, settled back, and that the luggage has arrived.
Nice report, we are debating on going back to sole mare or trying giannis I know they are run by the same people...I think Giannis you can sit outside???? which may be nice..Just can't decide on where to go eat....too many places I want to go should have gone for 2 weeks. oh well next year