Whether modern or traditional Aruba food, food in Aruba is fantastically diverse — any taste or budget can find a way to dine happily here. Whether you are in the mood for Italian, French, Mexican, or German, Aruba dining features them all. But your best bet to get in touch with local culture is to try a Caribbean or seafood restaurant as that is what this region is all about.
One of your best bets to sample a variety of Aruba restaurants is to do the Dine-Around Program sponsored by the Aruba Gastronomic Association (AGA). The AGA has compiled a list of Aruba's best restaurants and regularly checks in on their members to make sure the quality stays up to par. Best of all, the AGA offers dining plans. For a set price, you can pre-buy meals at any of the participating restaurants. See the AGA website for more information.
Traditional Aruba food tends toward the simple — largely hearty stews made with goat or chicken, chicken with raisins, corn meal mush, or cocada (coconut candy). Spices and seasonings are common and originally came into popularity to give the food some variety. Dutch colonization brought cheese along with it, but cheese remained a treat instead of becoming a staple. With a simple diet on their hands and an explosion of foreign and fast food on the island, many Arubans have ditched their traditions for newer, tastier things. Because of this, truly traditional Aruba food is not located on every street corner, but it is still out there.
Aruba dining today would not be complete without sampling the tasty array of seafood available here. Shellfish such as lobster, and fish such as mahi mahi and grouper, are plentiful on the island and thus often a good choice for an affordable meal.
If you are seeking a great meal at any cost, there are many Aruba restaurants to choose from. Many of these options combine local fare with international dishes and are likely to be located in the tourist hubs of Oranjestad, San Nicolas, Palm Beach area, the hotel district, or even at Aruba's best golf course Tierra del Sol. Aruba is not known as a cheap island as far as food goes, actually one of the more expensive places to dine in the Caribbean. However, if you are after more moderately priced food in Aruba, this is also widely available. Often, the moderately priced food in Aruba can be surprisingly tasty and happily authentic. Grab a pastechi (meat, cheese, or seafood filled pastry) or an empana (cornmeal pocket) at a beach-side hut.
Aruba restaurants offer up food for all tastes and there
is such variety here that the best restaurant in Aruba is largely up to what you find appealing.