As our 20th anniversary approached, my husband, Joe, and I decided we wanted to get away without our children to celebrate this milestone anniversary. We hadn’t been on a vacation without our kids for 10 years, so this was a long overdue treat, and I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible!
First we had to choose our destination. After much discussion we narrowed down our choice to two islands: Aruba or Turks and Caicos. Both islands are stunning in their unique ways, but there were a few factors that tipped the scales in favor of Aruba for this particular trip. A few years later we did visit Turks and Caicos, and we brought our children with us for that amazing trip!
I knew Aruba had a reputation for having several high quality restaurants, so I carefully considered which ones we would visit from the vast choice of top restaurants in Aruba. I wanted our dining experiences to be delicious, memorable, and romantic. All three of these goals were met, and I cannot wait to tell you all about our favorite dining experiences and where to eat in Aruba!
Before I provide you with a list of specific places to eat in Aruba, allow me to give you a few generalized notes regarding dining on this amazing island.
- The water in Aruba is completely safe to drink and tastes great. Since they don’t get a lot of rainfall in Aruba, their water is distilled in a saltwater desalination plant. It’s so nice to know this about their water before arrival! 🙂
- I was not disappointed with one seafood meal I ate in Aruba! Making its home on the Caribbean Sea, Aruba has easy access to delicious fresh fish! Some of my favorites were mahi-mahi, red snapper, and grouper.
- Aruba is a safe island to travel on, and Joe and I felt comfortable taking taxis to our dinner location every night. We exercised precaution as we typically would while traveling in a foreign country, and we felt comfortable as we navigated the island and explored many of the amazing activities and sights of Aruba.
If you like seafood, you’re in for a treat if at Wacky Wahoo’s!
The meal I had at Wacky Wahoo’s was not only the best seafood meal I had in Aruba, but it was also the best seafood entree I’ve eaten in my entire life!
This restaurant is closed until later in the day because the crew is out catching the fish that will be served for dinner that day! How’s that for a freshness guarantee?
I ordered the chef’s special the evening we dined here which consisted of barracuda, lobster ravioli, and cornbread. It was outstanding.
I never tried barracuda before. Our waitress said it’s not offered often, and whenever it is she always urges her guests to try it. I’m so glad she did – it was delicious, and left on my own to choose, I doubt I would have chosen this dish.
I love lobster, but I wasn’t sure how I’d like it inside ravioli. My apprehension was put to rest immediately after my first bite – it was divine.
Rte 3 33B, Noord, Aruba
+297 586 7333
Yemanja Woodfire Grill
Yemanja Woodfire Grill was Joe’s favorite place to eat in Aruba, and he is not alone in his opinion! This restaurant receives consistently positive reviews and remains one of the most popular restaurants on the island!
Joe absolutely loved the fusion of Caribbean flavor with European style. We both ordered steak, which was enhanced with a smoke flavor.
Yemanja’s staff were attentive and hospitable, and the restaurant had a welcoming atmosphere. We will definitely return here on our next visit to Aruba, and when we do, I’ll be sure to order one of the several delicious looking seafood entrees they offer!
Yemanja is also one of the most frequently recommended restaurants from the locals. I’m learning more and more to trust the locals when it comes to providing accurate and valuable tips regarding where to eat, shop, best site-seeing, etc. They know where the hidden gems are, and enjoy telling you where to find them!
Yemanja Woodfire Grill
Wilhelminastraat 2, Oranjestad, Aruba
+297 588 4711
Ricardo’s Restaurant & Bar
Ricardo’s was right down the beach from where we were staying; it was so nice to walk the beach to our dinner destination! All we had to do was walk up their steps from the beach and we were seated outside – perfect for watching the sunset. Aruba has the most stunning sunsets, by the way.
The menu at Ricardo’s features Aruban cuisine and a variety of international dishes.
I ordered Lobster pasta which was a lovely dish of lobster on top of perfectly el dente cooked pasta with a creamy vodka sauce, and I savored every bite. Joe ordered a seafood casserole – a mixed seafood stew with a creamy sauce with peppers and he loved it.
The food, service, and ambiance were awesome at this restaurant!
Ricardo’s Restaurant & Bar
J. E. Irausquin Blvd 53, Oranjestad, Aruba
+297 587 0760
Joe and I took a taxi to the high rise section of Aruba to spend an evening exploring, shopping, and of course, dining!
Located in the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, at Atardi you sink your toes in the sand at individual tables on the beach. We timed our meal so we would eat during sunset; it was a romantic setting, the food was delicious, and service were fantastic.
When our waiter learned we were celebrating our 20th anniversary he brought out a surprise complimentary dessert at the end of our meal. An unexpected and appreciated treat!
Bonus tip if you plan on eating here – request a table in the front row, on the corner. The tables were not too close together, but this did provide a little more privacy and an unobscured view of the ocean.
L. G. Smith Blvd. #101 Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Aruba
Tel: +297 520 6537
Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite restaurant and dining experience in Aruba.
Elements Restaurant is located in Bucuti and Tara, an adults-only boutique resort located on the low rise section of Eagle Beach. This amazing resort is where Joe and I stayed, and you can read about our stay here.
Elements offers a complimentary breakfast every morning for guests staying at Bucuti and Tara, and it was truly phenomenal. There are indoor and outdoor seating options available at Elements. I always opted for outdoor seating because, well, how often do you get to dine beachfront in Aruba?! 🙂
My favorite breakfast dish came from the made to order omelet station – they were so delicious. I also enjoyed a generous sampling of fresh fruits and pastries daily. Joe’s morning go-to was smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese. He loved it!
My favorite meal of the entire week, however, was the night of our 20th Anniversary. Joe and I booked the romantic dinner at Elements which was served in a private palapa on the beach while the sun set.
We both ordered the filet, which were cooked to perfection.
Our waitress was attentive, but not intrusive. She offered to take lots of pictures for us to remember this special night, and we so appreciated her willingness to do this for us.
It was truly a night I will cherish forever, and I’m incredibly thankful we chose Elements to celebrate this milestone anniversary!
Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 55B Oranjestad, Aruba
Tel: +297 583 1100 Ext 112
These five restaurants are only a tiny sampling of the incredible restaurants and dining experiences in Aruba. We are very excited to return to the island this summer with our children – this will provide new opportunities for delicious family dining experiences!
Have you ever visited Aruba? If so, what was your favorite restaurant? I’d love to get your recommendations – maybe it’s one I can add to my next must-dine itinerary!
About the Author: Jen
Jen Brooks is the author of the lifestyle and travel blog, Heartbeat of Your Home. Jen loves to travel with her family and enjoys helping others plan trips to provide family bonding time and memories to cherish forever. This busy mom of three boys can often be found at one of her childrens’ sports events, in her kitchen cooking for her hungry boys, or riding her bike when she can break away for some alone time! Follow along and engage with her on Instagram and Facebook where her posts will encourage your heart, enrich your life, and inspire your travels!