The Best Places to Eat in Aruba
If paradise had a flavor, it would taste like Aruba. The food here borrows heavily from Spanish, Portuguese, African, Indonesian, and Dutch traditions, while restaurants range from romantic, fine-dining destinations to beachside grills serving fresh seafood and Dutch pancakes.
Washington 61, Noord, Aruba
Located in a former home built more than 100 years ago, this intimate restaurant excels in ambience and Caribbean specialties. Outdoor tables sit next to a pool and pretty tropical gardens, while the dining room boasts an array of European antiques. A son of the restaurant’s original owners, the current chef specializes in such dishes as bouillabaisse, crunchy okra, and cinnamon-and-brown-sugar sweet potato mash. Also on offer is seafood prepared with local spices and coconut milk. Whatever you choose, don’t miss the wine cellar, which once functioned as the home’s cheese room and now features nearly 2,000 bottles by 120 labels.
Driftwood Building, Klipstraat 12, Oranjestad, Aruba
Thanks to its robust offerings, Driftwood is widely considered the best seafood restaurant on the island. Here, marquee dishes range from Atlantic king crab to Caribbean lobster, while standard options include coconut-battered shrimp and the catch of the day, often hauled in from the sea by the restaurant’s owner. For an even fresher meal, opt for the catch-and-cook experience: Driftwood Charter Yacht offers deep-sea fishing excursions, after which the house chef back at the restaurant will prepare whatever you’ve caught.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370, Noord, Aruba
Go Dutch with breakfast at this beachfront spot, located next to Aruba’s iconic red windmill. Here, the menu is written on a chalkboard and features all manner of sweet and savory pancakes, from apple-cinnamon-banana to Norwegian and Dutch cheese with ham. There are even some gluten-free options. Just don’t expect American-style flapjacks—the house specialty is more of a thick crepe. Whatever you choose, pair it with preservative-free syrup from Holland and your pick from the never-ending coffee list.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 51, Oranjestad, Aruba
Located at the Casa del Mar Beach Resort, this casual, indoor-outdoor restaurant starts serving breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and stays open until 10 p.m. Whether you visit morning, noon, or night, you can look forward to everything from local fish to oversize salads and hearty sandwiches. Cocktails are another specialty—in fact, the restaurant hosts happy hour three times a day with two-for-one drink offers. Other nightly specials popular with both visitors and locals include all-you-can-eat ribs on Tuesdays and karaoke on Wednesdays, made all the more fun by the breezy location and ocean views. Die-hard sports fans don’t even have to miss the game, since the restaurant tunes its TVs to whatever patrons request.
Havenstraat 36, Oranjestad, Aruba
It’s all about the fruits of the sea at the Old Fisherman, a local favorite in the center of town. Although the decor is nautical and the dishes are named for seafaring icons, the atmosphere isn’t exactly what you’d expect on vacation. No matter, you—and the locals who pack the place at lunchtime—came for the food anyway. Among the must-try dishes are the Charlie Brouns (fried fish roe in garlic sauce), Juan Henriquez (grilled catch of the day in a mango-coconut-wine reduction), and the Jan Semeleer (conch). Pair your order with an ice-cold Balashi (the local beer) or non-alcoholic awa di lamoenchi (house-made lemonade).
Bubali 141-A, Noord, Aruba
True to its name, this centrally located eatery and seafood market excels in super-fresh preparations of the daily catch, whether fried, baked, smoked, grilled, or cooked in soup. The fish-and-chips, served with coleslaw, is particularly popular for its light batter and crispy finish, and the tuna—in any preparation—is always excellent. For the best deal on the island, opt for the trio combo and pick three of your favorites. If you’re not keen on sitting in the cramped space, order your food to go and enjoy it on the beach instead. You can also pick up marinated fillets to cook yourself at your condo or villa.
San Fuego 70, 7, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Day-trippers in search of awesome views, cool drinks, and light bites score at this oasis in the middle of Arikok National Park. The menu is simple and heavy on island favorites, from fried whole fish to seafood served with plantains, salad, and pan bait (a pancake-like bread). There are also hamburgers and cold sandwiches, along with frozen cocktails and local beer. Still, it’s the views that really stun. From its perch between Boca Prins Bay and the Fontein Cave, the restaurant has sweeping vistas of desert, hills, and sea.
Savaneta 270, Savaneta, Aruba
A classic fish house in the sleepy village of Savaneta, Zeerover is all about fresh, Aruban-style seafood. Cooled by ocean breezes, the spot may feel like a bit of a dive to some, but its fish comes straight from the sea—in fact, you can watch from the restaurant’s perch on the pier as fishermen pull in their catch. The menu reflects whatever the boats bring in that day, often snapper, wahoo, or even barracuda, and includes savory sides like banana hasa (plantains), pan bati (corn bread pancakes), and funchi (fritters). Be sure to also try the shrimp; the peel-and-eat delicacies are always cooked to perfection. Note: The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 79, Noord, Aruba
If you like piña coladas, make a beeline for this overwater outpost on glittering Palm Beach. Situated on a pier, the open-air bar and grill boasts uninterrupted views of the water—as well as Aruba’s spectacular sunsets. Here, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served alongside an extensive array of chilled beverages, attracting a friendly crowd. There’s live music every day during happy hour and, on Sundays, the Travel Session band plays from 7 to 10 p.m. If you’d rather sing yourself, be there on Saturday, when karaoke starts at 8:30 p.m. While the restaurant definitely has a party-like setting, children are more than welcome and high chairs are available for little ones.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 230, Noord, Aruba
Dream about a Caribbean beach bar and chances are you’ll imagine someplace like MooMba, just south of Palm Beach. Here, you’ll find oversize palapas, tiki torches at night, and a crowd looking for fun with their feet in the sand. From its lounge chairs positioned under swaying palms to its extensive list of tropical cocktails, the watering hole is really what an island vacation is all about. To eat, there’s a buffet, with Sunday’s beach barbecue theme being your best bet. Go at happy hour, which is timed to coincide with the sunset, then stay into the evening for live music and DJs.
Wilhelminastraat 2, Oranjestad, Aruba
Full flavor is on offer at this downtown open-air spot, helmed by a Dutch expat. You’ll find a host of local ingredients on the menu, many of which are plucked straight from the sea and cooked on the wood-fired grill. While unusual in the Caribbean, the restaurant also offers hearty vegetarian dishes, from fattoush (a flat bread topped with greens and tzatziki sauce) and quinoa-stuffed zucchini to vegetables in a spicy Creole sauce, as well as several gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free options. For dessert, get the delightful coconut mousse.
Wilhelminastraat 64, Oranjestad, Aruba
Located in a historic mansion on one of the oldest streets in Oranjestad, Bistro de Suikertuin is hard to miss. The building is painted a bright hue of yellow, reminiscent of the tropical birds that visit its namesake sugar garden, and the front porch features a blackboard with the daily menu. Tables are scattered inside and out, but the pretty garden is the preferred spot for savoring your morning coffee and Aruba’s traditional pancakes. Come lunch, the restaurant is all about salads, wraps, and broodjes (Dutch-style sandwiches with meat and/or cheese on baguettes). Note: Reservations are recommended for afternoon tea service.
De La Sallestraat 30, Oranjestad, Aruba
Opened in 2002, Coffee House Aruba is an homage to Vienna’s traditional coffeehouses. The three-room gathering space invites guests to sip coffee drinks on overstuffed furniture, surrounded by several antiques. While coffee is the principal focus—there are roasts from Jamaica, Colombia, and Curaçao as well as a house blend from local roaster Smit & Dorlas—the spot also offers an impressive selection of teas. Rounding out the menu is light fare like quiches, salads, and pastries. Note: The coffeehouse is closed on Sundays.
Cunucu Abao 37, Noord, Aruba
This spot near Eagle Beach is pure Caribbean. The live music is infectious, the plates come piled high, and the tables are situated outdoors, under the sky or a tin-roof overhang. Plus, there are more local patrons than visitors. While the atmosphere is laid-back, the menu is full of sophisticated presentations, from island favorites to international dishes. Popular picks include the crab cakes, almond-dusted grouper, and lobster ravioli. The wine list is also excellent, as is the craft beer selection. Note: Reservations are recommended. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
L.G. Smith Blvd 7, Oranjestad, Aruba
Instagrammers, take note: This open-air eatery is prime for watching—and snapping—the sunset. Every table is positioned on the pier, directly over Aruba’s shimmering waters. Come early to score a front-row seat for the evening spectacle, then stay late for the live music and light bites. The fish cakes are a must, but other popular dishes include pan-seared grouper with ginger and apricot sauce, and dark-rum-infused blue cheese tenderloin. If this chic lounge looks familiar, it’s because it made an appearance on The Bachelor.
Lloyd G. Smith Blvd 82, Oranjestad, Aruba
At Blue, blink and you may think you’ve landed on a different island. Sleek and mod, this cocktail lounge in the lobby of Oranjestad’s Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is evocative of European discos. Sushi and tapas enhance the international vibe, as does the drinks menu, which is heavy on specialty martinis. Guests can also look forward to weekend DJs, cool blue lighting, and, since this is Aruba after all, sweeping ocean views. Happy hour, which takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, offers drink specials and a stylish scene for watching the sunset.
L.G. Smith Blvd 107, Noord, Aruba
Steak house fare meets Caribbean flavors at this outpost of the celebrated international restaurant. Located at the tony Ritz-Carlton, the eatery offers a fusion menu of choice cuts, just-caught seafood, and comfort food sides. Specials incorporate local ingredients such as tuna, snapper, and lobster, but standbys like popovers, Wagyu, and truffle mac and cheese still have top billing. An extensive raw bar, bespoke cocktails, and those famous Aruban trade winds enhance the entire experience.
Sero Colorado, Aruba
At this colorful eatery in San Nicolas, the owner, chef, and namesake crafts piquant sauces to accompany a variety of fresh seafood and meat. The curry goat-and-chicken roti (spicy stew wrapped in flat bread) is a top choice, as is the fried red snapper with Creole sauce. Shrimp with red beans in garlic sauce also can’t be missed. The atmosphere is as friendly and laid-back as one would expect in a Caribbean family home. Just don’t ask Kamini for recipes—her sauces are closely guarded.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 87, Noord, Aruba
On Playa Linda Beach in Noord sits a thatched-roof kiosk helmed by Midwestern transplants—and Green Bay fans. Here, the affordable menu is as simple as the beach stall where it’s prepared. There are hot dogs, wraps, and the namesake brats, all served with an ice-cold beverage and a smile. At breakfast, expect typical grab-and-go fare (breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches, egg muffins) along with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Later in the day, look forward to live music.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 266, Oranjestad, Aruba
Dinner at The Kitchen Table is best described as a “culinary journey.” Here, the experience of lingering over seven to eight courses is limited to just 16 diners a night. Meals begin with a sunset cocktail, during which guests are encouraged to mix and mingle. Then, it’s time for artfully presented dishes made with local ingredients and homegrown produce. The dynamic menu changes often but usually includes standbys like salt-cured tuna with native greens and Creole sauce, and black salmon topped with mango chutney, saffron sauce, pickled squash, and curried popcorn. Vegetarian menus are also available.
Bubali 119, Oranjestad, Aruba
Quinta Del Carmen’s story begins in 1916, when it was built as a weekend home for a wealthy family. Since then, this charming stucco, Spanish-style structure has served as staff housing for Aruba’s first hospital, a clubhouse for oil-refinery workers, a private residence, and finally as an elegant restaurant specializing in seafood—although there are plenty of options for carnivores and a few for vegetarians as well. You can dine inside or out, where twinkling lights and lush foliage make for a garden-like atmosphere. Specialties include the seafood paella and sucade lappen, a traditional Dutch beef stew slow-cooked in red wine, herbs, and plenty of butter until it’s fall-from-the-fork tender.
Wilhelminastraat 74, Oranjestad, Aruba
It’s the chef who has carte blanche at this aptly named eatery, which feels more like an intimate dinner party than a restaurant. There’s just one seating each evening (except Sunday and Monday) for 14 guests, who each take a spot along the curved bar facing the open kitchen. Chef Dennis then prepares and plates a five-course tasting menu before diners’ eyes, with dishes changing nearly every night. Expect anything from ceviche as an appetizer to seared beef tenderloin for a main course, plus creative desserts. Note that Carte Blanche cannot accommodate vegans or vegetarians.
Palm Beach 13A, Noord, Aruba
Set a bit back from the Palm Beach area, Local Store offers a fantastic craft-beer selection in a casual atmosphere with a neighborhood vibe. Sit at the bar and you may actually meet some locals while you wash down your choice of 15 types of chicken wings with one of the 40 beer selections. Also worth trying are the burgers and wraps, served basket-style with fries, homemade chips, or funchi fries (fried polenta topped with melted gouda cheese and served with Sriracha mayo). There’s breakfast service on Saturdays and Sundays as well, during which you can treat yourself to homemade donut holes or the s’mores waffle tower, made with graham-cracker waffles, marshmallow, and chocolate sauce.
Kerkstraat, Oranjestad, Aruba
The oldest bar on the island, Flor de Oriente was established in 1935 and remains a favorite for both island natives and repeat visitors. It’s a great spot to grab a happy hour drink away from the crowds at the beach, as well as a bite to eat, like locally caught fish, burgers, and bitterballen (a deep-fried Dutch meatball and the perfect accompaniment to the lengthy beer list). There’s usually live music on the outdoor patio, too, from jazz to oldies to the ever-popular house band Flor de Oriente Social Club, which plays merengue and salsa every Friday.