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Travellers loving taking their tastebuds on tour are being served up a varied menu, where a host of new restaurants are setting tongues wagging.
This Dutch Caribbean island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, so it is natural that it attracts some of the hospitality industry’s top talent. Chefs have ventured to the island from far afield and a number, having reached the top of the culinary tree in the island’s top hotel kitchens, are now carving a niche for themselves in their own restaurants.
Take Ever de Peña, for example, who came to Aruba from Venezuela at the age of 14 and reached the position of hotel executive chef just 12 years later. Noted for his creativity, he is now directing that energy into his own restaurant, bearing his own name, Ever Restaurant. Enjoying views over the marina in island capital Oranjestad, this 18-cover restaurant offers an intimate experience, with its star attraction being an eight-course tasting menu, each paired with the perfect wine.
Dishes include mouth-watering delights like baby scallops with coconut cream and Caribbean lobster on butternut squash puree.
Similarly, the talent behind Lima Bistro is also a former executive chef and director of food and beverage operations at one of Aruba’s major resort hotels. With a scenic location on Oranjestad Harbour, it aims to serve unique dishes that show creativity and wow diners. The frequently changing menu takes much of its inspiration from ideas and flavours the owner and his chefs gather from their own overseas travels.
Stars from this menu include grilled tuna steak on a bed of sauteed yakimeshi rice and short rib, made with chicha morada, a traditional Peruvian drink and cashew puree.
There has been a change of tempo at Tierra del Sol, sometimes referred to as the Beverly Hills of Aruba. At the northern tip of the island, it is home to an 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse, as well as a development of exclusive homes, and for decades has been the place to be seen. But following the takeover of the golf complex by global tourism group Iberostar, the clubhouse’s The Restaurant, has been given a more relaxed fee and is open to everyone for lunch and dinner.
But the new twist is Tapas Affair. Every Friday and Saturday, there is an additional little menu with small appetiser-size dishes….like funchi fries (funchi is a cornmeal paste), balchi pisca, fish cakes made with local ingredients, and gyozas, chicken and mushroom dumplings.
Billed as offering the best chicken Aruba has ever tasted, Azar Open Fire Cuisine is the result of a chance meeting between two rotisserie chicken lovers. This modern diner is half and half indoors/al fresco, with most of the menu grilled on charcoal. It’s not just chicken – there is steak, for example, with a Latin American twist, or chicharrones, pork belly cooked for 12 hours and served with a guava jam and spicy mayo.
One of Aruba’s best-known seafront areas, Palm Beach has seen significant development over the years. Now there is a little jungle paradise nestling in the middle: Bohemian.
Built around a large tree, Bohemian embraces an eclectic and artsy ambiance. The décor is vintage, colourful and uniquely mismatched, making it a laid-back dining venue.
Offering French and world cuisine its menu includes such classics as foie gras, coq au vin and duck magret, as well as paella and tuna tartare with an Asian twist.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant turns into a house and techno club, so visitors can go from French dining to dancing on tables. Give it a go!
We’re just getting started with the amazing effects Aruba has to offer. Dig into your trip details below to unlock a Caribbean experience that will leave you sunnier, happier, and (of course) a little more tanned.