Aruba’s New Glow
When Aruba hit the tourist map in the 1980s, its downy beaches were dotted with a large helping of high-rise resorts and glitzy casinos. But glamour? Not so much. Things have changed, as Aruba now boasts a wealth of world-class restaurants and snazzy lounges.
Chow down on fried funchi (polenta) with Dutch cheese, Balashi-battered coconut shrimp, and keeshi yena (shredded chicken, prunes, peppers and cashews wrapped in Gouda cheese and topped with a tomato sauce) at this charming Oranjestad beach shack.
L.G. Smith Boulevard; thewestdeck.com
El Gaucho Argentine Grill
If it’s turf-inspired cuisine you’re looking for, venture into Oranjestad for carnes a la parilla (grilled meats), which have satisfied carnivores for over 35 years.
Wilhelminastraat 80; elgaucho-aruba.com
Windows on Aruba
Binge on brunch and bottomless mimosas at Windows on Aruba, a waterfront eatery atop the Divi Village Golf clubhouse. Its five-page menu (tuna with mango, seafood in puff pastry) is an elegant alternative to a buffet.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 93; www.windowsonaruba.com
This seafood restaurant’s courtyard projects a fairy-tale ambience, with tiny lights braided into towering trees. Enjoy exceptional bouillabaisse, swimming with locally sourced spices and Madame Jeanette hot peppers, or the West Indies shrimp, simmered in a coconut curry broth and served alongside okra from the family farm.
Washington 61, Noord; papiamentoaruba.com
Watch your meal come off the boat — and then wash it down with a Balashi beer — at this no-frills outdoor fisherman’s bar in the town of Savaneta, complete with a dock that stretches over the water.
Savaneta 270; facebook.com/zeerovers