Local Flavor: The Best Restaurants in Aruba

With nearly a hundred nationalities making up its population, Aruba has a diverse culinary landscape. Here’s where to go and what to eat during your next vacation.

Foodies who love traveling so they can try new dishes won’t want to miss Aruba. I’ve been to the island half a dozen times in the last decade, and the culinary offerings never cease to surprise me. Over the years, I’ve sampled everything from local favorites to classic seafood dishes. Pickled and curried foods are mainstays on the island, as well as options like Aruban goat stew and keshi yena (braised beef, chicken or pork baked with Dutch Gouda cheese).

The next time you’re on the island, discover the local flavors with a culinary tour of these great restaurants for foodies.

Best restaurants in ArubaFlying Fishbone

Flying Fishbone was one of the first restaurants in Aruba to popularize on-beach dining, which means eating with your toes in the sand and palm trees above your head. The restaurant’s location is ideal, in Aruba’s charming fishing town of Savaneta, and the cuisine deftly marries European flavors with Caribbean flair. What should you order? I suggest Savaneta Seafood History, which includes a delicious variety of seafood served with rice, vegetables and curry sauce. The shrimp shi-take and blue cheese casserole is a local favorite, and another standout is the truffle tortilla stuffed with mixed vegetables, truffle and a creamy mustard sauce.

White Modern Cuisine

This chic, airy restaurant in Noord is always bustling. Be sure to try the signature dishes, including Aruban seafood stew, chicken pot-au-feu and Caribbean braised lamb shank. The multi-course tasting menus change seasonally, and the ambiance is lovely. Snag a table in the all-white dining room or dine al fresco on the terrace lounge.

Best Restaurants in ArubaPinchos Grill & Bar

All of the tables at this casual grill and bar are set on the pier, giving diners stunning 360-degree water views. Located outside downtown Oranjestad, the restaurant attracts people from all over the island. It is an excellent spot for sunset drinks — there are a variety of flavorful tropical cocktails on offer — and favorite dishes include shrimp ceviche, citrus-marinated duck breast and espetada de mariscos (shrimp skewers). Head here for a romantic candlelight dinner under the stars.

Gostoso Restaurante

A favorite with locals and travelers alike, Gostoso in Oranjestad has reasonable prices and a casual, intimate atmosphere. The dishes are a blend of Portuguese and Aruban cuisine. Some of the more popular offerings include chorizo and morcilla (Spanish blood sausage), espetada a la marinera (grouper kebabs) and cabrito stoba (goat stew). Be sure to start with the cod fish appetizers or the conch, which is sautéed in butter and garlic or served in Aruban creole sauce.

Best restaurants in ArubaBLT Steak

BLT Steak features classic steak and seafood dishes, along with weekly specials that highlight local ingredients and Aruban flavors. Be sure to sit on the patio, which offers amazing views of the water. Meat lovers can enjoy many different chops: Certified Black Angus and USDA Prime steaks and American and Japanese Wagyu beef, plus lamb and chicken. Don’t forget to leave room for the rich desserts.

Marina Pirata

Tucked along the southern shore in Savaneta, Marina Pirata prides itself on serving ultra-fresh seafood with amazing ocean views. Plenty of families frequent the eatery to enjoy its variety of Caribbean and international cuisine. Indulge your taste buds with dishes like the lobster thermidor, fish fillet a l’orange and cream of oyster soup. If you don’t have time for dinner, at least stop by for a drink or some appetizers — the views are well worth it.


Where to Stay:

Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club

Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club

Judy K. is a travel writer living in New York.