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May 28, 2018

Aruba Travel - Dutch Caribbean Island Restaurants Reviews

Aruba Travel - Dutch Caribbean Island Restaurants Reviews (click to tweet)

Second Go Family Travel to Aruba - Making Up The Experience - Story continued

Casa Tau
First night in Aruba we went out to check out the strip across the road from our hotel. It has a lot of restaurants and shops. We didn't have reservations so our plan was to go to a restaurant that is likely to not have too long of a wait and open space. Casa Tau was very close and fit the requirements. It is a pizzeria that offers also pasta, sandwiches, and other fares.
The food was ok. We got a Margarita pizza, a pasta bowl, and garlic bread. Since we are from NY and likely spoiled by pizza selections, we did not like it. It was too overdone and had very few ingredients in it. Kiddo, however, loved the pasta and the pizza. Though not sure if it was the fact that she was very hungry after all day travel and swimming.
The service also was not that great at this restaurant. We had several waiters come up to us but they asked the same questions and still forgot our garlic bread. The atmosphere was casual, though as the restaurant is located right near a few of the larger hotels and on a corner, it was very loud there.
It did work well in our plan overall as it was an easy decision and got us some food after a long day of travel.
Hungry munchkin 

We got some gelato afterward in pretty much the first ice cream stand we saw. We got more selective in the later days as we discovered much better spots for a cold dessert. I got the stracciatella flavor, which is a mix of vanilla ice cream and chocolate chunks. Best of both worlds for me.

Texas de Brazil - Brazil style steakhouse
Until this restaurant, I have never been to a Brazilian style steakhouse. It was very good and a very interesting experience. We received great service and it was a short wait for most things during the meal. We did make reservations prior as this is one of the more popular restaurants in the area.
There were at least 7 different kinds of meat. And being Brazilian style steakhouse, when you give the green light there are men flanking you with all kinds of meat. The first time I flipped over my card to green, I was astonished by how many came by at the same time. I decided to try all of the offerings so that we would know what to pick for the next rounds. The salad bar was pretty good also, it had many choices beyond the standard.
Most of the cuts of meat were pretty good, though they were also over salted. Some a lot more than others. Overall, the meal was delicious and we enjoyed the evening.
Mmm meat

This is a relatively new restaurant with modern design and fun ambiance. There is a bar outside, and the restaurant is indoors. Some of the reviews online said that this place was not too friendly to families. And guessing as a reaction to this, they placed several small rocking horses right outside for kids to enjoy. Ours did.
+297 is a place for foodies. The menu they serve is quite different from most of the restaurants on the strip. Passion Fruit Ceviche tartare we got as the first course set the mood for the rest of the meal with great flavor. It was followed by shrimp tempura. Very nice and lightly battered, with a nice spicy kick. Last was the Brooklyn sushi roll. It was not what we expected based on the description. Though it was good, especially when adding the sauce it came with, which was a soy and plum combo.

Menu selection on a tablet

Ceviche appetizer

Shrimp tempura

Brooklyn sushi roll

Wacky Wahoo
Wacky Wahoo is one of the most popular restaurants that side of Aruba. According to many other travelers, the reservations to the place are very hard to get. While on location we find out that this mostly due to their hours of operation and size. It is a small restaurant with a local feel. But not local clientele. We were able to get last minute reservations by making some calls and talking to the front desk.
The track to the restaurant is longer than most. And the restaurant is hidden away more towards the less touristy area and definitely not visible from the strip. Almost all of the patrons end up taking car service from their hotel to the place. We don't mind walking, that is just part of our lifestyle, we are used to walking to restaurants, stores, and such. It ended up a nice stroll through the area.
The menu at Wacky Wahoo is seafood based. Once we were there, we found out the Wahoo is actually a name of a fish. Had no idea. Unfortunately, as it is very popular, they ran out of it when we were there. We did have their special of the day with pan-fried grouper, ceviche appetizer with conch, wahoo, shrimp, tuna, and calamari, and pasta and fish for the kiddo. The ceviche appetizer here we didn't find as good as the one we had at +297. Actually, we had ceviche at several other restaurants and we still chose +297 as the one we liked the most.
We did not get dessert here as we were quite full and leaving some space for gelato. That evening we found the best gelato on the strip from a recommendation from folks we met on the trip that have been to Aruba a few time before. It was from Gelatissimo (It is part of Gianni's Group that owns half the restaurants in the area). There are two locations. One is right next two a couple of other Giannis's restaurants, and the other is on the other end of the strip that is just a small booth but has the same type of ice cream.

Ceviche appetizer
Crabcake with shrimp and veggies

Kid's entree with pasta and fish

Aqua Grill

This restaurant was a bit more upscale than others. It also was one of the largest in term of indoor space. We were shown to the back and got a large semi-circular booth across from a wall with a lot of wine bottles. Thedefinitelyfinitly plenty of space. We did have a carriage with us so not sure if we were brought to this area because of that or because we were not just a couple.
For dinner, we ordered fried calamari for an appetizer, red snapper, and of course some french fries. As the kiddo called it, fish and chips. She loved that name and kept trying to order that with every waiter. Fried calamari was not as good as people claimed. It tasted ok but was too fried and too breaded. Red snapper was delicious. We also ended up getting a glass of wine, a Riesling from Washington state. We wanted to get one from Germany as those are much better tasting, but as seems to be the usual, they ran out of it.
Aqua Grill fresh seafood selections

Pelican Nest
Pelican Nest is located on the water with great views all around. It is on a pier that is right off the beach. Reservations here are needed as it is a relatively small restaurant.
It is a fully open-air eatery. In the evening, it was great to look around and see the ocean and the stars. Though it does get a bit dark as it does not have that many lanterns throughout.
When we tried to make reservations, the website said the restaurant is closed on Monday, but nowadays we found out they are open, and the site is outdated.
As we were on ceviche kick, we ordered it as our appetizer here also. Ceviche was salty and not as good as other places. They did have Wahoo fish and we ordered it as an entre plus a steak sandwich with fries. It took a very long time to get our meal. While the restaurant was a bit full when we first got there, it was slowly thinning out. Yet, our main course didn't come out for over an hour. We were not the only ones, fortunately, or not. The waitress did provide complimentary drinks to us to compensate for the long wait. Once we received the food, I thought everything was way over salted. While my wife thought it could have used less salt, she didn't find it as salty.
Minus the wait, the meal and atmosphere overall was a great experience for us.

Pelican Nest Wahoo fish and chips

Smokey Joes

Last night of our vacation we decided not to reserve restaurants and keep it relatively open. We did want to check out Smokey Joes as we saw this restaurant and its menu when we are planning the trip and the bbq offerings sounded good.
We walked over to the restaurant and found out that there was about a 15-minute wait even it if was after 8pm. The wait actually turned out to be about 10 minutes and the smell of the ribs kept us in place. It was as expected. The restaurant is no frills. It is just about all outside with metal table and metal chairs. There are sauces and a roll of paper towels on the table.
The food was great. The ribs did not disappoint at all, very delicious.
There is a sharing fee at Smokey Joes. So if you order one entre for two, there will be an additional fee. However, we found a special for $14.95 with added half rack rib that was a great deal since it is designed to be shared. We got the rib and shrimp combo plus a half rack of ribs and 3 sides. It was more than enough food for all three of us.

During our stay at the Palm Beach Aruba, except for lunch and ice cream, we didn't repeat any of the restaurants and as such got to sample quite a variety of foods and culinary experiences throughout the trip.

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