Aruba has some of the finest cuisines in the Caribbean and these are exotic, delicious and diverse. The country’s cuisine is a delectable confluence of global cuisine. Native cuisine here has evolved to take on Dutch influences. Let's take a look at what makes this Caribbean nation's cuisine famous and the restaurants that showcase the nation's finest food.
A confluence of flavour
The geographic location of Aruba off the Venezuelan coast separates it from other Caribbean island nations. This separation and the arid climate have had their influence on the country’s native cuisine.
The world on a platter
Of particular interest is the array of global influences. While Aruban food largely keeps to its Caribbean influences, there are the expected influences of Creole, Mexican, Cuban and Argentinean cuisine.
Since Aruba is attached to the Netherlands, the Dutch influence is also no surprise. What is really unexpected is the significant influence of Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and Indian cuisine. Therefore, whether you’re looking for a fine dinner or an economical meal, there’s enough variety to choose from.
Native cuisine Aruba restaurants offer almost everything, such as typical Aruban dishes like Giambo, a soup made of okra and Funchi, a stew-like dish made of corn meal which is paired with several fine wines. For native cuisine, you can try Aruba’s jerk cooking which involves grilling marinating meat with a special jerk spice. The marinade is particularly delicious since it is allowed to soak into the meat for over a day. Delicious dishes of chicken, shrimp, and lobster are always available although a crowd's favourite is Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and salt fish.
Where to dine
For a taste of local cuisine, try the downtown cafe, ‘The Paddock’ where the pickled conch is one of the traditional dishes of this beautiful nation. Other ethnic restaurants here are the QuePasa which serve typical Caribbean cuisine with Asian influences.
Cuba's Cookin’ If you like South American cuisine, Cuba's Cookin’ serves the best Midnighter Sandwich and a Cuban favourite, the Palomilla Steak. Argentinian delights are best at El Gaucho and for Brazilian lip-smacking food, hop over to Amazonia Churrascaria or Texas de Brazil Churrascaria. Driftwood and the Flying Fishbone One of Aruba’s best seafood restaurants is Driftwood, where you can enjoy the variety of shrimp, lobster, octopus, grouper and squid. The Flying Fishbone restaurant is where you can get the best of the day’s catch. Five-star dining The Papiamento Restaurant is a farmhouse-style restaurant which features five-star Aruban cuisine and service, a 2000-bottle wine vault and the glorious ambiance of a century-old mansion. For a night of fine dining, Papiamento is often said to be the best dining experience in the country.