Located just 18 miles off of the Venezuelan coast, Aruba (also known as “One Happy Island”) is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and makes up 1/3 of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, & Curaçao). When you combine the island's unique desert landscape with its close proximity to numerous other countries (Venezuela, Curacao, Bonaire, and Colombia) and its deep ties to the Netherlands, you get a very unique culture that can’t help but spill over into its food. We had the pleasure of spending a week exploring this beautiful island and if you know us, we LOVE to experience a destination through its food, and we did just that! From fresh seafood to local beers to authentic dutch cuisine and even gelato, we did our best to sample the best that the island has to offer and put together what we think are 12 of the must-eat restaurants on the island (in no particular order).
Be sure to check out our “Aruba Food Tour” vlog for a closer look at our self-guided food tour where we visit 7 out of the 12 stops on this list!
1. Eduardo’s Beach Shack (J.E. Irausquin Blvd 87, Noord)
Eduardo’s Beach Shack is just that… A beach shack! It’s located right along the beach pathway near Playa Linda Resort and serves up delicious and wholesome smoothies, açai and pitaya bowls, raw treats, salads, and more that change seasonally. On our visit, we decided to go with what Eduardo’s is really known for… açai and pitaya bowls! I especially enjoyed the Pipeline Bowl (pink dragon fruit & chia pudding topped with cacao nibs, goji berry, & peanut butter drizzle) and the Eduardo Special Bowl (açai bowl served with banana, strawberry, peanut butter & Nutella drizzle) and Natalie loved the Pitaya Bowl (pink dragon fruit & banana) and the Kokomo Bowl (pink dragon fruit layer, tropical mango, & turmeric layer). I will say… Even though the menu lists the ingredients found in each bowl, we found that each bowl differed slightly from the menu description. I assume some of the ingredients change due to availability during the particular season, but regardless of the reason, just know that when you visit, you might not get exactly what is described on the menu.
2. Linda’s Dutch Pancakes (Route 3 Palm Beach 6-D, Rte 3 6, Noord)
Family-owned for over 20 years, Linda's serves up delicious Dutch pancakes with a wide variety of toppings. We got the Ham & Cheese pancake (per the recommendation of our server) and really enjoyed it. It was nothing flashy or even visually appealing, to be honest, but it was delicious! The ham (or bacon as they sometimes call it) is cooked into the pancake and is then topped with slices of gouda cheese. Again… Not very visually appealing, but quite tasty!
3. Zeerover (Savaneta 270, Savaneta)
If fine dining is what you’re looking for, then Zeerover might not be the place for you, but if incredible seafood is your thing, then go ahead and plug the address into your GPS! Located right on the ocean in the town of Savaneta (which, fun fact, was Aruba’s first capital), Zeerover - a Dutch word meaning “pirate” - is one establishment that seemingly everyone agrees is a “must-eat” while in Aruba. The seafood here doesn’t get much fresher and the views are about as good as it gets. As you place your order at Zeerover (which is done by weight by the way), the cashier pulls the fresh filets and shrimp from ice chests right in front of you before weighing them and sending them off to the kitchen to be fried up for your enjoyment. And yes, fried is the only way they prepare the seafood at Zeerover. Once your order is ready, a server will bring it to you in a brightly colored plastic basket lined with paper where you’ll then spend the next half-hour or so digging in finger-food style to some of the best seafood you’ll ever have put in your mouth. And when you’re finished, feel free to toss the scraps from your basket off the end of the pier for some built-in entertainment as the seagulls have no problem eating leftovers!