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There’s plenty of local Aruban food for you to try: keshi yena (hollowed-out gouda shells filled with spicy meat) reflects the island’s Dutch background, while stobà (lamb or goat stew) and cala (bean fritters) are distinctively Caribbean.
Try these at The Old Cunucu House (Palm Beach 150), a Spanish-style farmhouse turned legendary Aruban restaurant.
As with nightlife spots and hotels, most of Aruba’s top restaurants are found around Palm Beach. That includes the island’s most dynamic restaurant, White Modern Cuisine (Diamante 300).
Head chef Urvin Croes spent five years in a Michelin-starred establishment in The Netherlands and gives thrilling updates to indigenous flavours and dishes. The menu continually changes, but speciality dishes in the past have included coconut-curry lamb shank with cilantro chips and creamed cauliflower.
The Low-Rise area near Eagle Beach is also blessed with some fabulous eateries. With four-hour sittings and room for only 14 customers, you have to book months in advance to get a table at Carte Blanche (LG Smith Boulevard 55B). Guests sit communally as patrons Dennis and Glen prepare amazing, ad hoc meals before their eyes.
Some of the best places to eat in the capital are located outside the centre of Oranjestad. Take classy Madame Janette (Cunucu Abou 37), regularly declared Aruba’s best dining option. Amid a suburban tamarind-tree garden, diners can devour sensational shrimp casseroles or marinated lamb racks.
Where’s the best spot to eat for honeymooners in Aruba? The luckiest lovers grab one of Barefoot’s (LG Smith Boulevard 1) lamp-lit beach tables. Blackened mahi-mahi fish with pineapple salsa is the dish to go for, washed down with a little something from the unusually extensive wine list.
Occasional airplane landings – surreally, the restaurant neighbours Queen Beatrix airport’s runway – only make things more memorable.
Savaneta, the island’s oldest settlement and an established fishing port, is a sure bet for seafood. Plates of grilled wahoo or snapper, plantains and corn bread are served at the end of a small pier at Zeerovers (Savaneta 270), surely one of Aruba’s handsomest dining locations. Cold bottles of Balashi beer are the best accompaniment.