Being outside the hurricane belt isn’t the only reason visitors can enjoy the idealistic sunset views while dining in Aruba.
By Sheila Mulhern
It’s hard to imagine that the winter blues have not gotten to everyone in some way by now. Escaping to a tropical destination will always be the best cure…if you can manage to get away. The island of Aruba lies outside of the hurricane belt so the dry, arid climate is an ideal retreat from the dreary wintery weather. Northeastern tradewinds sculpt out the bending divi-divi tree-lined beaches which serve as a seamless backdrop where fine dining meets casual romance in the Lesser Antilles. If making the trip to the island, which is just a few miles north of Venezuela, the beach front and sunset dining locations are almost unavoidable. Here are some favorites that visitors and locals enjoy alike.
Hollywood Producer Pick
Built on a pier off shore at Surfside Marina, Pinchos Grill & Bar is so romantic that it was featured on ABC’s The Bachelor. A hand-built bar made by local craftsmen is dressed in tiny blue lights and makes for an ideal focal point as guests sip cocktails, suspended over the water for intimate sunsets. The menu flavorings act as accents and marinades with from herbs and spices derivative of the Orient. Try the Pan-Seared Caribbean Grouper served in an apricot and ginger dipping sauce or the Grilled Black Angus Tenderloin Skewer, dark rum infused with blue cheese sauce.
Let Me Upgrade You
Location, location, location…Palms Restaurant is centrally located on the west side of the island at the Hyatt Resort & Casino and probably going to be the easiest to get to no matter where you are staying. Loaded with entertainment from live nightly music performances, spas lounges and pool bars, this place has it all including six restaurants. Palms Restaurant focuses on Latin food, drinks and fun with open beachfront dining. Local Ceviche, Chilean Fish Tacos and Tres Leche Cake are some of the Latin flavorings from the menu. If you want a more intimate experience where you can also put your feet in the sand, upgrade to the Footprints Beach Grill. With only five tables available, reservations are strongly recommended.
New Kid on the Block
If you are more interested in exploring the latest cuisine to hit the island, then Barefoot Aruba is a must. Opening just this past September by Chef Gerco & Maitre d’ Luc, the two combined their passion for food, the island and its visitors. Built under a towering straw canopy, dining options can be either on the outside circular wood flooring or the interior sand. Top appetizers to try are the Vanilla Skewered Scallops and Beef Carpaccio.
For South Beach Lovers
Screaming Eagle departs from the traditional beachy feel and brings a more upscale vibe to this chic lounge. Draped curtains, white interiors and modern décor will likely make this a top location for anyone who typically enjoys going out on K Street or who visits South Beach. Chef Erwin Hüsken delivers French fusion cuisine and an innovative cocktail list. Guests have the unique option to dine “in bed” with dishes delivered on wooden trays to the canopy beds – indoor and open-air terrace seating is also available.
Wine Director Job de Reeper and Chef Kasi (Karsten Gesing) are behind the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner, Madame Janette. With an extensive inventory of approximately 250 red and white selections, meal pairings stretch to all corners of the world from Italy, France and Germany to emerging cuisine capitals based in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.
Worth the Drive
Marandi will be a longer cab ride to get to but certainly worth the trip. Dining is under a giant palapa hut above the water, the Havana Beach sunsets are a key element to the ambiance and the menu always receives rave reviews from local residents as well as vacationers. Some highlights include the Maple Leaf Duck Breast served with an apricot raisin sauce or the Golden Snapper “au gratin” with Brie, crunchy pancetta over fettuccini with sun dried tomato oil.