With a multicultural local population and tourist influence from all of the world, there’s something for everyone in Aruba’s diverse culinary scene.
Vegan dining is the newest culinary movement to gain popularity on the island, with several restaurants creating innovative vegan dishes and hosting special vegan culinary events.
With the recent launch of www.veganaruba.com, it’s easier than ever to stay updated on where to eat, shop, and meet up with the vegan community at fun local events.
From vegan gelato at Gelatissimo to vegan burgers at Alfresco, everything is starting to get “veganized”! Even the popular Pastechi House in downtown Oranjestad recently launched a vegan version of the iconic Aruban breakfast. Yes, a vegan pastechi! At this rate, Aruba is gearing up to be the #1 destination for vegan tourism in the Caribbean!
Here’s where you can find my favourite vegan dishes on the island right now:
1. Calamari Vegani at Fishes & More
Fishes & More, a popular seafood restaurant in Palm Beach recently launched a new sea-inspired vegan menu! My favourite dish on their menu is the Calamari Vegani, a vegan version of the traditional dish made with hearts of palm and enoki mushrooms. It’s seasoned with nori powder and old bay spices to get that seafood flavour, then battered and deep fried in chickpea flour and served with a vegan red curry mayo dipping sauce. Fishes & More is located at Arawak Gardens, across the street from the high-rise hotels.
2. Smoked Cashew Cheese Tacos At Elements Restaurant
If you’ve never tasted vegan cheese, this is the perfect way to try it out! Elements has the most extensive vegan menu on the island, with a variety of plant-based options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their smoked vegan cheese is homemade and melted to perfection inside three soft tortillas loaded with black beans and sautéed veggies. You’ll find this dish on their vegan lunch menu. Elements is located on the beachfront at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.
3. Grilled Tamarind Tofu at Las Ramblas Tapas & Charcoal Grill
The first time I dined at Las Ramblas, I called in advance to ask the chef if he could make a vegan meal for me. He went to the supermarket that day to buy tofu and came up with a creative dish using fresh vegetables and flavourful sauces. After the meal, he came to our table to find out how I liked the dish. I told him it was so delicious that he should put a tofu dish on his menu. A few months later, Las Ramblas is one of my favourite places on the island to eat. I start my meal with their eggplant rollatini which is made with vegan cheese, and then enjoy my tamarind tofu with a view of the sunset over Eagle beach.
4. Portobello Ribs at Cuba’s Cookin’
A vegan version of a classic favourite, BBQ ribs! These ribs are cruelty-free, made from thick slices of portobello mushrooms and paired with traditional Cuban sides: tostones, black beans, rice, and mixed vegetables. This is just one of the many flavourful Cuban-inspired dishes on the vegan menu at Cuba’s Cookin’. Cuba’s Cookin’ is located at Renaissance Marketplace in downtown Oranjestad.
5. Three course vegan tasting menu at Ike’s Bistro
I’ve saved the best for last! Why is this “dish” the best? Because it’s not a dish at all. It’s an entire vegan tasting menu! At Ike’s Bistro you can watch the sunset and enjoy a relaxing three course meal complete with appetiser, entree and dessert. From creamy butternut squash soup to cauliflower steak, this menu offers the full gourmet vegan experience. Of course you can also order directly off of their extensive Vegetarian/Vegan menu, but I prefer to leave it up to these creative and talented chefs to surprise me! Ike’s Bistro is located at Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa.
For more restaurant recommendations, head over to www.veganaruba.com and feel free to reach out to me on social media @veganaruba where I post daily updates about vegan living on Aruba. Enjoy your vacation on our “One happy (& vegan friendly) island”!