Eating in Aruba
One of my very favorite things to do while traveling is eat. Heck, it is one of my favorite activities when we are at home, too, but I really like experiencing different foods around the world. I don't usually eat fancy or expensive food, but I just like experiencing whatever it is that different destinations have to offer. On our recent trip to Aruba we were excited to try out some foods the island had to offer, but while we had a few things I really liked, it probably was not my favorite trip in terms of cuisine.
This post specifically is not at all a guide of "where to eat" in Aruba, but rather just a summary of things we tried near the resort area and what we thought of them. We did not have a car in Aruba and for simplicity's sake, ultimately only went to restaurants that were an easy walking distance from the Radisson and the Hyatt.
Right next to the Hyatt Regency Aruba on the beach (on the side further from the Radisson) is Scott's Brats. This tourist-centric joint is a hut on the beach that serves drinks, brats, wraps, and grilled cheese sandwiches. As you can see below, the menu is pretty basic, but the service was friendly, the price was right, and the location was great if you are at the Hyatt or somewhere in that area.
We were able to get lunch for the family of 3 for around $25, which was not something you can say at many places near the resorts in Aruba.
I loved that there were plenty of menu items that my daughter readily ate without any issue, even if the choices weren't exactly healthy.
Eduardo's Beach Shack:
This beach shack is located very close to Scott's Brats and has equally friendly service, and very good (slightly healthier) food.
I enjoyed the acai bowl shown below, and we all went nuts over the fresh fruit smoothies. The prices and smoothies were better than at Kadushi Juice Bar located on the Hyatt grounds.
Gianni's Ristorante Italiano:
This restaurant is located directly across the street from the Radisson Aruba in a shopping area with several other restaurants and shops. It has indoor and outdoor seating options, and was some of the best food and service we experienced in Aruba.
The food was very good and they were willing to pretty much make anything you could come up with using the ingredients they had available. The only downside to the restaurant was that it was pretty pricey with basic pasta dishes starting around $20, and the pasta seafood special my husband ordered without double checking the price ringing in closer to $40.
I still recommend Gianni's, but just make sure it fits your budget and double check the prices on the specials before saying yes to how delicious they sound.
Right next to Gianni's was Gelatissimo that we visited after dinner for some gelato. Prices here were much easier to swallow at $3 for a scoop of delicious frozen goodness! We all very much enjoyed their creamy gelato, just don't try to walk about to the Radisson to enjoy your dessert there as it will totally melt in the process!
One evening we walked down the beach from the Hyatt to the Pelican's Nest to eat dinner while watching the sunset on the water. If you visit, note that the restaurant is at the very back of the pier and is different than the bar area with tables in the middle of the pier. It is probably a good idea to make reservations if you want to come for sunset, but we tried our luck without a reservation and still got a pretty good table.
The sunset view from the pier was outstanding, and probably worth a visit for a drink or appetizers. However, none of us liked our food and the service was not very good either. The staff was also pretty pushy with asking to be sure that we tipped and to further explain that they had to share their tip so we needed to give extra to make sure they got some of it. I heard them do this not just to our table, but others around us as well. All in all this was not a good dining experience in terms of the food or the service, though the location was indeed picturesque.
A short distance from the Hyatt Regency Aruba was a restaurant that was a pretty good combination of casual, easy, close, and yummy. The Smokey Joe's menu had a good mix of shrimp, wings, fish, ribs, and more. We were all easily able to find something on the menu that sounded good, and best of all, we all actually liked what we ordered!
I enjoyed the coconut shrimp, the grilled shrimp, the rice and beans, the lemonade, and the friendly and prompt service. The prices for entrees were in the $15 - $20 range, which wasn't terrible for Aruba.
Palms Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Aruba:
Out of convenience's sake we went to the Palms Restaurant at the Hyatt for brunch one day. We had tried to go to the Ruinas del Mar, but they were having Sunday brunch that costs north of $50 per person, so we settled for the nearby Palms for a slightly more budget friendly option.
They offered both indoor and outdoor seating areas, and had decent enough prices for the area (average of $15 for lunch options), but the food was not our favorite. It was pretty bland and we wouldn't have returned for a second meal even given the convenient location.
There are (from what I hear) some better places to eat on the island, but most of those must have been outside easy walking distance from the hotels we were visiting. This trip was primarily about just having a relaxing time on the beach and pools with our family, so that is what we focused on instead of hunting down the best spots to eat.
If you head to Aruba, I hope you have as relaxing of a time on the water as we did!