The Best and Worst of Aruban Cuisine

After spending three consecutive Christmases in Aruba I’ve had the privilege of surveying a great deal of Aruba’s restaurants with offerings varying from fanciful Italian delicacies to authentic Aruban prepared fruits of the sea. And I’ve found that despite the decor (elaborate or simple), the cuisine (Asian Fusion, Italian, or Aruban – or casual), or the service (which is mostly quite poor), all of these restaurants left me feeling equally disappointed, unsatisfied, and slightly cheated.

Living in New York has made me incredibly spoiled. If I want the freshest organic milk Manhattan has to offer its either across the street at the Food Emporium or a short subway ride away. If I get a sudden craving for delicious Indian food it is four blocks away. Good Italian food, one block – ten blocks for REALLY good Italian. And so on.

In Aruba if I want good anything I go to one of the now four Dunkin’ Donuts or a cute local shop called Dushi Bagels. I know, great name. A lot of things are coincidentally named Dushi in Aruba- boats, restaurants, drinks- you name it. And why? Maybe because in the native Arubian language of Papiamento, Dushi means precious. And let me tell you, on an island full of awfully plain restaurants, Dushi Bagels is a precious gem. This quaint, incredibly friendly “coffee shop”, located right outside of the Playa Linda, serves great salads (especially their crab salad), turkey burgers, egg sandwiches, and draft beer! Most importanly they have a lovely staff which is tough to come by in Aruba.

Aruba claims to be “One Happy Island” but their restaurants state otherwise. Despite the many duds I came across this past Christmas there were a few shining stars to be found.

Iguana Cantina

This causal Mexican eatery really hit the spot. With all you can eat fajita Wednesdays, the Levine family took advantage of this fabulous find which is centrally located across from the Holiday Inn.

Yemanja Grill

With Christmas vacation always comes my dad’s birthday and Yemanja Grill was a great place to celebrate! Aruban Decor and a sophisticated menu delighted our party of eight. And if you arrive early and stick to the appetizers and the grilled Salmon, you’re guaranteed to have a great meal. Just be sure to pay in cash as the service here is no better than the rest of the island.

Chef’s Table

Our favorite restaurant of three years. Ahi tuna appetizer and entree are excellent as are their salads and fish soup. The rest of the food is as plain and simple as is expected. But their desserts are a dime a dozen! Chef’s table uniquely serves all of their desserts in tall shot glasses!

Other restaurants I’d like to try….

Pago Pago

Screaming Eagle

Morandi

Places to stay away from…

Blossom’s (inside the Hyatt)

Cuba’s Cookin’

Scala

Asian Cuisine: Pan Asian or Asian Fusion?

Living in Manhattan has given me a constant craving for all things Asian; well, in terms of food at least. I’m not sure whether it’s because there is an Asian inspired restaurant on every corner or I just love the comforting taste of carbs & MSG. I don’t mean to put down this cuisine by any means, I just don’t quite understand why I love Asian Food so much! And it’s ironic how much I love the stuff given how I enjoy eating healthy.

And speaking of Asian Cuisine, what do you call it? Friends and family members are commonly calling this style of cuisine Pan Asian and it drives me nuts! According to Wikipedia Pan-Asianism is an ideology that
Asian countries and peoples share similar values and similar histories and should be united politically or culturally. This could be why I don’t like the term. But I also just like the way Asian Fusion sounds AND more importantly, it just makes sense. It’s a fusion of Asian cultures, end of story.

In any case, Asian Fusion, along with Thai, Chinese, Cantonese, Japanese, etc are all equally delicious. And because I frequently eat this type of cuisine, I wanted to share some of the Asian Fusion restaurants I’ve been to this month along with a list of my top favorites.

So please stay tuned for some great reviews and recommendations. Some of the restaurants up for discussion this week are:

Bond Street

L’Annam

New Yeah Shanghai

Nice Green Bo (New Green Bo)

Yama