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Updates on Aruba?

puffinsmuffins Feb 11, 2014 04:50 PM

We are staying in Aruba next week. I have several reservations but I am still shuffling things around.

So far, I have:
Flying Fishbone
Old Man and the Sea
Madame Jeanettes

Is there anything I should add or subtract? I am seeing some not so great reviews recently for Old Man and the Sea and Papamiento.

My preference is for good food over fancy presentation. In fact, I would prefer a casual environment to something super upscale but will follow the tasty nibbles. Little local places are great. I avoid trendy and chains at all costs!

Thoughts, please!

  1. p
    phatchris Feb 26, 2014 08:22 AM

    Wacky Wahoo is really good.

    1. jrvedivici Feb 11, 2014 06:05 PM

      There is NOTHING super upscale in Aruba so don't worry about that. The most upscale restaurant on the Island was Chez Matilda which closed in recent years.

      I have been going to Aruba since 92 and have been there nearly every year since, I know the Island well my last trip was this past Nov.

      I do not know the Old Man and the Sea at all, but Papamiento is past it's prime. There is a big change in the dining there, with recent construction of shopping and dining directly outside the high rise hotels, fewer and fewer people are venturing out to the old restaurants spread throughout the island. Many of the hidden treasures are now either gone or just hidden with fewer people venturing past the new trendy spots for the old standards.

      You must go to The Driftwood for seafood, wahoo specifically. Trust me you will enjoy it, it's located downtown. Also the best Italian food is located near the Costa Linda Resort. It's actually in the parking lot, the name escapes me but the chef was from Valentino's which was a staple for fine Italian for many years.

      Flying Fishbone is breathtakingly beautiful, try to be there for sunset. It's towards the other side of the Island (San Nicols). The food isn't what it once was but the setting is well worth it.

      Madame Jeanette's was once the most popular places on the island. It is an example of places that are suffering from the new construction. It is still excellent but their business is down.

      Although I haven't been to it in years El Goucho is a very popular steakhouse and worth the visit if in the mood. It had gotten pricey and after going so many times I just started to pass on it.

      Hope this helps, if you want to tell me where you are staying I can advise you more based on your location. Enjoy it's a beautiful island!

      10 Replies
      1. re: jrvedivici
        puffinsmuffins Feb 11, 2014 07:37 PM

        Thank you! That's very helpful. We are staying at the Marriott Ocean Club. Is there anything at all in the high rise area worth checking out?

        1. re: puffinsmuffins
          jrvedivici Feb 12, 2014 07:24 AM

          There is really nothing to pay attention to at the Hotels. Directly next to you is a new resort operated by the Ritz Carlton. They were just nearing completion in Nov. they should be open by now. I have no idea about the dining options there, but there is nothing special about any of the other Hotels. Don't get me wrong....the foods not bad, but nothing to draw you from the other more local fare.

          I own at the Playa Linda, two resorts over from you, the Holiday Inn is in between us and you. You will see the new construction that I'm speaking off across the street from where the Playa Linda is.......all the shops and restaurant you see along the strip there are less than 5 years old, before that it was all just desert.

          Do yourself a favor now......I assume you rented a unit at the Marriott, it is a HUGE resort, very nice and plush but very, very large. If you have a unit closer to the road than the beach it can be a 15 minute walk from the beach to your room. Try to get a unit as close to the beach as possible, if not you will be doing a TON of walking during the day.

          There use to be a hut between the Holiday Inn and the Marriott on the beach, they built it up a bit......but it use to be nothing but a thatch roofed hut where the small local fishing boats would come in. (the commercial boats come in downtown). You could go there and get the "fresh" catch of the day.....grilled on an open grill and the fish could have been out of the ocean for less than an hour. It was a great place to have a red snapper sandwich and beer for lunch. I haven't been there in the past couple of years because they had built it up a bit and it lost it's "charm" to me.

          About 10 minute drive is the Light House. There is a restaurant there as well........again I haven't been for years and it's changes hands/names a few times. I cannot vouch for the quality of the food, but again it's all about location. The view is amazing, it's elevated and directly on the coast so you get a wonderful view of that side of the island from the restaurants vantage point. It's a great place to check out.

          A big disappointment this last trip was The Chef's Table. Like Madam Jeanette's this use to be one of the better restaurants on the island. While Jeanette's still maintains it's quality, just less customers, Chef's Table when completely to hell. Avoid if suggested to you.

          I'm sorry I cannot remember the name of the Italian restaurant, but ask the concierge about the Chef from Valentino's she should know. Like I said the restaurant is a free standing building in the Costa Linda grounds, be careful because there is a pizza place a few hundred feet before it, so you might see the pizza place and think that's it but it's not, keep going and you will see it!!

          If you are going to be going to Flying Fish Bone and other restaurants around the Island do yourself a favor and rent a car. Plus you can go adventure seeking whenever you want, you will spend a ton on taxi's going all over the place. Do yourself a favor if you like snorkeling go to Baby Beach great snorkeling spot.

          If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I love that Island and truly do plan on retiring there one day! (a boy can dream!)

          1. re: jrvedivici
            Linda VH Feb 12, 2014 08:49 AM

            The restaurants name is Eliotti's. The restaurant at the Lighthouse is overpriced and not very good. Barefoot is really great (location of the Old Mirandi's - rotary closest to airport) and saves a trip to Flying Fishbone which has also fallen from favor. We love Chalet Suisse for consistently good food. The new restaurant at Costa Linda is right on the water and is very good - Water's Edge is the name.

            1. re: Linda VH
              jrvedivici Feb 12, 2014 09:50 AM

              Elliotti's!!!! Yes!!! Thank you so much that was driving me crazy!

              The Chalet Suisse is one of the older restaurants that is still surviving, I haven't been there in a while but it was mostly a steak house if I remember correctly?

              On our last visit I drove my niece and her boyfriend to the Flying Fishbone for their romantic date. I noticed a new restaurant opened up almost next to it, do you know anything of that?

              1. re: jrvedivici
                puffinsmuffins Feb 12, 2014 04:57 PM

                Wow, thank you both. This is very, very helpful. I think we'll go with Barefoot instead of the Flying Fishbone. We also have reservations at Marandi. I think we'll skip Old Man and the Sea. I am going to see about Ellioti's now! It looks like it might be ok to bring my daughter there because they have live music to drown out the toddler noise!

                1. re: puffinsmuffins
                  Linda VH Feb 13, 2014 09:05 AM

                  Chalet Suisse is more than a steakhouse. I always have duck and friends like their fish. They have German dishes as well.

                  1. re: puffinsmuffins
                    pwrube Feb 19, 2014 07:22 AM

                    Just got back from my annual 2 week vacation......

                    The meals that stand out (and usually stand out)

                    Carte Blanche
                    Bingo's (for a Bingo burger)
                    Wacky Wahoo (tho noisy)

                    Meals that were good.....

                    Ike's Bistro
                    West Deck
                    The Old Fisherman
                    Que Pasa

                    1. re: pwrube
                      Linda VH Feb 19, 2014 07:32 AM

                      Hope you had the curly fries with the Bingo Burger.

                      1. re: Linda VH
                        pwrube Mar 12, 2014 12:41 PM


                2. re: Linda VH
                  financialdistrictresident Feb 19, 2014 01:03 PM

                  I have not been to Aruba since the 1980s. I think we had dinner in the Lighthouse!

                  I remember Aruba is very close to the equator and you can get sunburned very quickly. It's also very windy so you don't feel the heat and no bugs.

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