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Jun 22, 2009 01:35 PM

ARUBA - Snack Trucks, Local Food, Rijsttafel


Heading to Aruba next month for the first time

Interested in knowing if there are any local dishes to try, any snack trucks not to be missed?

Any place I MUST eat at for an Aruban experience?

Where do the locals eat?

Also interested to know if there is any Indonesian places to eat -- interested in having Rijsttafel (Rice Table) and with the Dutch history of Aruba I'm hoping the pickings are better than what I have at home, which is none...

Thanks in advance

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  1. ARUBA
    When you go to Aruba I have a few recommendations. I have been going to Aruba for 63 years. Need I say more. Richard
    All of the following restaurants are off the flip flop and tank top path. Marina Pirata, Papiamento Restaurant, Madame Janette, Chez Matilde, Flying Fishbone, Marandi, Nos Cunuco, Charlies Bar, it is a dump, but for a fun Lunch and a Beer (Steak sandwich 12-1 only). There is many more good restaurants, so enjoy, and you will be back on the rock (Aruba)

    2 Replies
    1. re: richard a

      Thanks Richard, I had a few of these on my list for fancier dinners.

      Anyone else?

      Also interested in places to try Suriname food as I hear there is a large population on the island. Any suggestions?

      1. re: Ewilensky

        Indeed Richard listed some typically high end places vs snack trucks. When you arrive, ask your concierge or host. The ABC islands do have great Surinamese spots to eat. Regretfully I have not dined at any in AUA. I do love Nasigoreng.

    2. There are good reviews on Trip Advisor for Gostoso Restaurante. Does anyone have any experience with it?

      1. For street food I would recommend Mrs. Kelly's food truck on Eagle Beach. IT is located right on Eagle Beach across from the Chalet Suisse. We had Aruban curry chicken and fries and it was delicious.

        KIng Ribs is a great BBQ place located in the Flea Market in LG Smith blvd (?)

        For traditional sit down Aruban cuisine I would recommend Gasparito.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Matt H

          I too love Gasparito's but its not what I would classify as a local priced sort of place in fact my recollection is, it's pricey. A divine setting.

          1. re: mrwynter

            I'd love to get this thread going again. I'm planning on trying the reopened Nos Cunucu, which although not "cheap", it seems inexpensive for the island.

            Any other snacks or shacks to recommend? Also, I'd love to find a Surinamese joint if you have recommendations.

            1. re: lambretta76

              I have not been back in a few years. See if anyone serves Keshi Yena as that's pretty Dutch local. Gasparitos used to. A snack popular in the ABC's is pastechi, a fried pastry filled with cheese or meats. I am not a fan. I always ask the hotel staff when I travel where they eat. The taxi drivers as well. If you do find a nice Surinamese place, order the Nasirama or bami. I also love Roti although I prefer Trini Roti over Surinamese.

        2. I have not been to Aruba since 1983, but I remember really enjoying rijsttafel. I am going back in December and would love to have it again. Do any restaurants on Aruba still serve it?

          1. I suppose I should report back after starting this thread.

            The food in Aruba was not the highlight of our trip, each time we ate out we regretted it and towards the last week of our trip we cooked in our room - you'd be suprised what you can make with a little kitchenette toaster oven.

            Highlights --

            BBQ on Saturday at the flea market. Simple BBQ but cooked with finesse. Mostly locals eating at this one. Past downtown heading North to the low-rise hotels on the right hand sign. There's a banner.

            La Granja (Savaneta) - it's off menu but they make a very good cebiche/cerviche. A bit on the expensive side but EVERYTHING is on the expensive side in Aruba. Chicken and beef is their specialty for good reason.

            Effe Amders (Savaneta)- Suriname food. HUGE portions for very little money. Menu is in Dutch/Suriname and not really willing to speak English. Nasi, Bami, Roti and Rijst - either with chicken, beef, or vegetarian. This was one of our favorite places. Point and smile.

            Zeerovers (Savaneta) - Means "pirates" matie. Really a fisherman's bar with snacks. But go for the fresh fish and shrimp. We cooked often in our little toaster oven but one night bought enough to entice a local family to let us cook on their grill at Mangel Halto beach. Best meal there.

            Nelo's Snack (Savaneta) - again, huge portions at cheap prices. Menu in Papiamento /Dutch. Ordered what I thought was fish. Got ribs. Didn't complain. Looks like a dump from the outside, which is pretty much how it looks on the inside. Good hearty food.

            Pelican Pier (Palm Beach) - Touristy but one of the better meals we had. Especially the grilled shrimp salad which had a nice curry spice to it. Heavy on the fried foods but some tasty wraps as well. Weakest. Drinks. Ever.

            Gasparitos - Tried the Keshi Yena. Good but extremely filling. Split with my wife and we ate only half of it and were full for days. Extremely expensive for what it is.

            Royal Taj - Standard Indian food, actually much better than we expected it to be. A bit more than we're used to paying but this is Aruba. Friendly drug dealers out front trying to sell sub-par weed at extremely high prices. Hey, they need to eat too...

            Sadly, no luck in finding Rijsttafel although there is rumor that an Indonesian place serves it on Wednesday only. I think we had given up by then.

            The best culinary find was my reacquaintance with stroopwafels which I had first discovered in Amsterdam. Two thin waffle like cookies with caramel or syrup between them. Great with coffee, especially when you put your cookie over your cup and let the steam warm them for a while. The big yellow "Super Foods" in front of Ling & Sons had by far the best selection. They freeze well. We brought 12 packages home, 11 actually since the customs guy was jokingly giving me a hard time about bringing so many home...

            A great trip, we actually spent about $50 less per day than we budgeted since we stopped eating out. And we lost weight....