Tucked in a 126-year-old former house, this intimate eatery excels in romantic ambiance and offers a sophisticated take on Aruban specialties. Some tables are positioned around a pool surrounded by tropical plants. Signature items include seafood dishes served with a hint of local spices and coconut milk.
Eduard Ellis, the chef and general manager of the restaurant, brings together fine dining with regional flavors. While seafood seems to be the focus (as with most Caribbean islands), Papiamento’s vision stems from the unflinching standards of the Ellis family, whose roots are from Holland. They’ve served Caribbean food in their farm home in the countryside (Cunucu in Papiamento) for over 200 years now, so they should know a thing or two about fine cuisine.
You can expect dishes like Keeshi Yena: a very authentic local specialty stew typically made with chicken, herbs, and melted Gouda cheese. Other favorites of mine include the Burgundy Pate (given the chef’s fondness for wines), and a fine Julius salad served with baked croutons and dressing. A delicious Pan Bollo or Aruban bread pudding with Ponce Crème for dessert finishes the meal off perfectly.