Not as sophisticated as many of the destinations that populate this board, but for those of you heading to the islands this winter:
Tuscany (Marriott Hotel) - Very good. Especially gnocchi. Good service. Nice setting. $$$$
Sunset Grill (Radisson Hotel) - Sparse setting. Overbearing service. Mediocre starters. Good scallops, okay beef. Not worth the dough. $$$$
El Gaucho (Downtown) - Be prepared, this is a dining factory, with many different rooms, upstairs and down, all decently decorated, but loud-loud-loud. Go after 8:30PM if possible when the families depart. It is a good steak. The service is fine. The So American wine is cheap. The condiments (marinated onions and chimichiri sauce) are great. $$$
Agua Grill (Hotel Area) - Good bet. Three dining rooms, request the back room, the other two are too busy and too open. Seafood is fresh and cooked perfectly. Avoid the wane Aruban Soup. $$$
Chez Mathilde (Downtown) - Avoid at all costs. This place is a joke, having long out-lived its reputation. Literally had to walk up to the host stand to ask for a waiter. Two entrees were completely unedible. This is the first restaurant I have ever had to walk out on, leaving 100% of my food (and 1/2 bottle of Pommard) untouched. Btw, they couldn't have cared a less. Never even asked if there was a problem. $$$$
I know this post is several months old, but just in case there might be someone out there heading to Aruba, my favorite place in the world, thought I would add my two cents worth.
Marandi - get there quick, they're closing around the end of the year, losing the lease at their awesome location right on the beach near the airport. Run by some Dutch folks, absolutely wonderful food, and the price is about half what a place of this quality would be in Boston. The sunsets here are incredible.
Flying Fishbones - another place right on the water, more expensive and the food just was not good enough to warrant the relatively high prices (high for Aruba).
Madame Janette - one of our favorites, nice setting and lovely food.
Salt & Pepper - located in a little strip mall near all the resorts on Palm Beach, this is a small friendly and cheap place serving tapas. A lot of fun, and decent food.
Linda's Pancakes - just the best pancake you will ever have. They're Dutch-style, so they don't in any way resemble a pancake you would have here in the states. Wonderful.
We were unimpressed by any of the restaurants within the hotels, particularly Tuscany. Mediocre food, substandard service, they sat our party of five at a giant table where we had to yell at each other over a pianist who had the feel of a pre-historic toddler. Also disappointing was the Italian restaurant by the lighthouse, where a thirty-five dollar bottle of wine tasted like burnt Manishewitz, service was atrocious, and food was bland. The setting was priceless however, and it is definitely worth it to get drinks and take in the view. The only good dining experience we had was at the Ostrich Farm, believe it or not. Great service, nice and unpretentious setting, and very good food, and very affordable.