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FREE ISLAND GOURMET & LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

island

Gourmet & lifestyle magazine 2020

Romance on the Menu Women at the Helm Cocktail Hour ISLAND MAPS PROFILES OF ARUBA’S RESTAURANTS VALUABLE COUPONS

2020 EDITION | FREE COPY IG20_Cover Final.indd 1

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A MODERN AMERICAN STEAKHOUSE 28-Day dry aged usda prime & american wagyu beef seafood selection weekly blackboard specials BLT Steak The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba L.G. Smith Boulevard #107 Palm Beach, +297-527-2222

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Gourmet Publisher Douglass Markus Managing Editor Zelly Zuskin Art Director Béatrice Parc Business Director Sunanda Markus Senior Writers Susan Campbell Writers Lesley Chesterman, Meredith Marin, Jessica Percy-Campbell Photographers Rob Arismendi, Ken Grille, JZ Marketing Photography 123RF, Bigstock, Can Stock Photo, Dreamstime, Fotolia, Getty Images, iStockphoto LP, Shutterstock Island Production Coordinator Nita H. Mokiem Island Sales Lisett Lizausaba Cell: (297) 594-1496 Wilhelminastraat 19, Suite L Oranjestad, Aruba Tel: (297) 582-4930 Fax: (297) 582-4940 International Sales Nights Publications Inc. 1751 Richardson Street, Suite 4.203 Montreal, QC, H3K 1G6, Canada Tel: (514) 931-1987 Fax: (514) 931-6273 sales@nightspublications.com www.nightspublications.com

Island Gourmet is published annually. Island Gourmet is part of the Nights Publications group, which includes Aruba Nights and Curaçao Nights. ISBN 978-99904-69-59-2 Copyright © 2019 Nights Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden without written permission from Nights Publications. Pre-press & Lithography: Solisco Printed in Canada Nights Publications cannot be held responsible for any opinions expressed by collaborators and advertisers through words or graphic material contained herein. Cover illustration by Alaver

Nights Publications

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Gourmet FEATURES Romance on the Menu .............................. 16 Steal away with your significant other to canoodle tête-à-tête at these very special spots by Susan Campbell

Meet the Masters ...................................... 26 True masters share a passion for excellence. Meet some of Aruba’s master chefs, bartenders, and wine experts

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by Susan Campbell

Women at the Helm .................................. 36 There is one thing downtown Oranjestad’s blossoming restaurant scene has in common, and that’s a powerful female presence by Susan Campbell

A Very Vegan Story ................................... 46 Aruba’s hottest new culinary trend might surprise you! Plant-based cuisine is creative and decadent on this vegan-friendly island by Meredith Marin

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The Beauty of Brunch ............................... 52 À la carte gourmet breakfasts are colliding with avant-garde lunches to carve out entirely new options for the late to rise and shine by Susan Campbell

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Gourmet FEATURES

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Cocktail Hour ............................................. 64 When the first glimmerings of an enchanted tropical evening arises, herald that magical moment by raising a glass in good company – Aruba style by Susan Campbell

Heavenly Herbs ......................................... 74 Chefs around the world agree that truly celestial cuisine is discovering what foods to marry, and in what measure, to Mother Nature’s natural flavor enhancers

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by Jessica Percy Campbell

Films to Feast On ....................................... 82 When you’re a food person, the things that grab you most in a movie are the food scenes. Here are some top picks that capture the spirit of what cooking is all about by Lesley Chesterman

74 DEPARTMENTS Food for Thought .......................................................................................................... 12 Index of Featured Establishments (by location) .............................................88 and 90 Maps ...................................................................................................................89 and 91 Index of Dining Establishments (by type of cuisine) .................................................. 92

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Food for Thought Can you believe that Island Gourmet has been publishing since 1998, which makes this the 22nd edition? What I really enjoy pointing out here is that I sense I’m talking to a large audience of repeat visitors who have been reading us all this time. So let’s huddle up and walk through our two generations of presenting our restaurant magazine to you ’cause... we’ve come a long way since then. First, it’s important to note that when we started our magazine, there were only 185 restaurants on the island. Take a guess at how many restaurants the island has now? If you guessed around 350, you hit it on the button! Taking it from here, Aruba has become widely known and respected in the Caribbean for its plethora of cultures, which provides many varied restaurants, and this resounds well with all of our guests.

In collating the magazine this year we spoke to many restaurateurs, and it’s fair to say that Aruba’s restaurant industry still enjoys a strong vibrancy. As well as being something all Arubans are very proud of, it is also one of the pillars of our economy, both in employment and in revenues. I believe that Aruba stands very strong and because of its extreme popularity as a vacation destination, it provides us with a positive branding and romantic image that truly exists. Add to that its subtle, spiritual healing quality that keeps everyone coming back for its soul soothing, refreshing support. For those living here, it’s part of the mosaic that bonds us all together and to the island. Without this mix of visitors and islanders, I don’t think Aruba would be that place that would feed your soul with its great and varied soul food as well as your mind, spirit, and beyond.

Bon appétit,

Douglass Markus Publisher

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Photo by Rob Arismendi

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Romance on the Menu by Susan Campbell Steal away with your significant other to canoodle tête-à-tête at these very special spots. Barefoot in the sand, secreted away inside a sophisticated enclave, or glammed up to the max in a trendy gourmet hot spot, we guarantee you’ll always find romance on the menu at these first-rate dining establishments.

Seaside enchantment in the sand

The only thing more romantic than long walks together on a beautiful beach is dining surfside by tiki torchlight with your bare toes touching in the soft white sand. The soothing sound of gentle waves and the brilliance of the stars in a tropical night sky set the stage for a night to remember forever. Aruba has many beachfront dining options, each with their own individual appeal. And if you reserve early enough in many of these retreats, you’ll also be treated to a spectacular sunset over the sea. For playing footsie under the table with bare toes, Barefoot Aruba offers creative cuisine right on Surfside Beach, and their covered dining area is carpeted in sand – perfect for couples in love. Pureocean at the Divi Aruba Phoenix Resort offers tables on the beach as well, and they have intimate private seaside dining options with their three-course Romance Menu. The Hyatt Regency Aruba has also set aside some tables in the sand for couples seeking intimate beach dining as part of their Pampered in Paradise menu that includes a three-course dinner with champagne. And private palapa dining is very romantic and popular with honeymooners or those seeking to propose. The Old Man & The Sea at Aruba Ocean Villas in Savaneta has one such private palapa pier over the water that will instantly

attract couples in love. They have tables on their private beach, but it’s a very tiny boutique property, so reserve well in advance to avoid disappointment. Alluring alfresco & heavenly hideaways

If you’d prefer that your sandals and stilettos remain on solid ground but still seek a dining spot close to the sea, Pinchos Grill & Bar is situated on its own sparkling private pier with underwater lights that allow you to see the colorful tropical fish swimming right by your table. Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant at Casa del Mar is mere steps from the surf and affords epic sea view vistas, while the Sunset Grille at the Hilton Aruba is aptly named for its nightly show and seduces couples with gourmet food as well. And now, you’ll find upscale casual fare at the new Allegra Bistro at Courtyard by Marriott Aruba; choose a table by the lovely lit garden facing the ethereal glass wall for the best privacy. If you’re dressed to the nines and seeking an inside escape, then Windows on Aruba offers a classic upscale and sophisticated vibe with a panoramic glassed-in view. But if an indoor, casual, more nautical theme is to your liking, then legendary Driftwood is the place for fresh fish and seafood lovers. And though Aruba is famous for its fresh fish and seafood, couples who are passionate about red meat are more than 

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well accommodated at many top establishments like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, L.G. Smith’s Steak & Chop House, and The Chophouse – all classy indoor locations with air conditioning should you need to cool down a bit from your steamy attraction to one another! For couples seeking vegan and vegetarian fare, Aruba has undergone a massive plant-based food revolution over the last few years, and today, the choices are legion and very creative. Just ask. Places such as Ike’s Bistro at the Manchebo Resort have developed entire stand-alone vegan menus beyond their regular specialties. The international language of love

Why not feed each other amazing tidbits from around the globe at some of Aruba’s finest international restaurants? Discover amore at Casa Nonna, the Ritz-Carlton Aruba’s signature Italian enclave, or become transported into a laid-back New York state of mind at their BLT Steak that also boasts amazing sunsets. Da Vinci Ristorante in the Holiday Inn Resort serves up amazing authentic Italian, and they have a private nook where couples can enjoy it away from families and groups.

For Cuban cuisine, killer mojitos, and sultry live Latin music every night, Cuba’s Cookin’ is the place to be in the Renaissance Marketplace. And as the saying goes, “French is the language of love,” your taste buds will surely fall in love at Papillon Restaurant that specializes in French cuisine classics with a Caribbean fusion twist. And it’s not just the meat that sizzles at El Gaucho Argentine Grill, the entertainment is also pretty hot with meandering guitar players softly serenading you. Have you ever been to a dreamy escape that combines the cuisines of Peru and Japan? You’ll find this quixotic and exotic experience at the new Nikkei Sushi Bar in the alfresco Cove Mall. For international and distinctly Aruban fare, a visit to the lush garden poolside terrace of Papiamento Restaurant is a must. Or enjoy the laid-back live entertainment at Fusion Restaurant Wine & Piano Bar where you and your significant other can savor an eclectic range of international food, tapas-style shareables, and fine wines by the glass. And don’t forget to ask about special “lovers’ menus” for two wherever you go because many spots offer them but don’t always present them on their regular menu. 

Papiamento Restaurant

Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant

Pampered in Paradise beach setting at Hyatt Regency Aruba

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Clockwise from top left, photos courtesy of Papiamento Restaurant, Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant, and Hyatt Regency Aruba

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Exquisitely unique venues

Aruba has some unique dining venues where passions can be fueled by food and wine. You’re bound to turn the libido level up a notch if you head to Screaming Eagle where you can dine privately in a gorgeous canopied bed. And the epic faux ruins and wonderful water circuit at Ruinas del Mar make it a perfect choice to kindle romance. Or sleuth out Quinta Del Carmen’s fabulous courtyard behind a beautifully restored mansion for an ideal location to celebrate your mutual adoration for each other with fine cuisine. You can also enjoy the enchanting liquid fireworks show in Paseo Herencia’s courtyard while you share a sensuous cheese fondue with wine for two at Melt Away Aruba. Hit the road with your significant other to experience a very special tour by Kukoo Kunuku called Wine on Down the Road with champagne toasts and a wine and tapas tour with a certified sommelier on board their party bus. Quinta Del Carmen

Looking to get starry-eyed upon the sea? Embark on a dreamy starlit dinner cruise onboard Monforte III. You may also opt for a combo of a sunset sail with Pelican Adventures and after enjoy a seaside three-course dinner at Pelican Nest Seafood Grill, their restaurant right on the water. And who says you must do all your romantic dining in one place? You might want to plan a progressive dinner to experience as many delights as you can in one night. Choose one restaurant for an appetizer, another for a main course, and finish up somewhere else for an extravagant dessert. For a great preview of the downtown dining options, sign up for Fusions of the World Food Tour with Aruba Walking Tours. Aruba is one big happy romantic island. So, get out and get closer over some fabulous dining adventures. The tropical sun shouldn’t be the only thing that makes your holiday here hot and steamy!  Barefoot

Romance onboard the Monforte III Luxury Cruise

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Clockwise from top left, photos courtesy of Quinta Del Carmen, Barefoot, and Monforte III Luxury Cruise

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MEET THE MASTERS

Meet the Masters by Susan Campbell Aruba’s food and beverage professionals are an eclectic collection of dedicated professionals striving to be the best at their craft and always seeking new ways to improve the overall hospitality experience. They come from near and far, but true masters all have one thing in common: a passion for excellence.

Every successful food and beverage establishment knows that it can take an entire team of dedicated and talented professionals to make a place rise above the rest. Even those with celebrity star chefs know that if the front of the house doesn’t mesh with the back of the house in common goals, communication, and knowledge of what they serve and the vibe they want to portray, the customers will feel a disconnect. No matter how lovely the locale or enchanting the décor, it’s the people who work there that keep customers always coming back for more. But those who have never worked in the service industry might not realize what additional skills these professionals need to learn to become masters. Every position has its own challenges and considerations. So, let’s examine a few. Chefs are typically at the helm of the operations, but they might also own the business, which brings additional responsibilities like marketing and infrastructure upkeep and hir-

ing. But even if they don’t, a chef ’s day begins early. They often go to the market or to the pier personally to source the freshest ingredients for their special of the day, and they are tasked to be creative using what’s readily at hand. They must also think ahead to what will be seasonal to envision future specialties. Then there’s the prep and leading the team in the kitchen to ensure they come together to deliver the chef ’s vision and a smooth service. It takes more than passion, culinary skills, and imagination to become a master chef. It takes stamina. Bartenders have their own challenges. It’s not enough to know how to make every classic cocktail and come up with inventive drinks. A bartender’s personality can be key; they have to handle crowds of customers quickly and fill their demands efficiently, yet remain jovial and fun to garner a loyal and regular following. And they need to stay ahead of the drink trends and continually find out what’s new in the spirits world.

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MEET THE MASTERS

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But it’s the wine experts, or sommeliers, which are probably the most misunderstood. Of course, they require an in-depth knowledge of wine, but they not only need to know their wines, they should also have a great knowledge of food since they must coordinate with chefs to discover perfect pairings to match the restaurant’s signature dishes. They must also deal with the public and discover simple ways to explain to novice wine buffs what the intrinsic differences in varietals and regions might be. They have to also respect an establishment’s budget for importing the best wines at the best prices to encourage their customers to try new things.

And of course, there are the servers on the floor, the hosts or hostesses at the door, and other peripheral staff that can be so excellent at their jobs that their contributions can make your night out a very memorable one. As you can see, in the hospitality business, success truly depends on a team effort. But it also takes an inherent drive to surpass expectations that can make an individual stand out as a master of their craft. Fortunately, Aruba has a multitude of these highly driven professionals working in fine dining emporiums and casual eateries all over the island. So, let’s meet some of them. 

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MEET THE CHEFS

Executive Chef Matt Boland HILTON ARUBA CARIBBEAN RESORT & CASINO

American born, yet an Aruba culinary legend for decades, Chef Matt brought his considerable French cooking chops he learned in Paris to the island and combined it with a love for inspiring people to eat and cook healthier. In fact, he teaches local school children to cook and grow their own vegetables and gives workshops in the community. When he’s not busy in his position of executive chef overseeing Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort’s signature restaurants, introducing stellar new specialties and forward-thinking styles to their menus, and giving cooking demonstrations on-site, you’ll probably find him underwater seeking out new spots to swim with sea turtles in the wild.

S I G N AT U R E D I S H

Single-Cut Lamb Chop Elegant and simple yet infused with exotic flavors, Chef Matt goes to his French cooking influences to create a fresh tarragon glaze for this chop, and he accompanies it with a freshly made parsnip puree.

Chef Wilinton Mora NIKKEI SUSHI BAR

Better known on the island simply as “Chef Will,” Wilinton Mora hails from Venezuela, yet has a passion for Japanese cooking as well as his distinctive homeland flavors. After working in one of the best restaurants in Caracas and studying at Alta Cocina, one of the country’s best culinary schools, he moved to Aruba where he opened his first Nikkei Sushi spot off the beaten path. He then decided to open a second spot, right in the heart of the tourist district, at the Cove Mall in 2019 to bring this exciting fusion of cooking styles to the Palm Beach strip.

S I G N AT U R E D I S H

Lima Roll This unique dish combines Japanese cooking techniques, fresh local ingredients, and Peruvian ceviche made with tiger’s milk, all in one big flavorful roll. Crunchy shrimp and tempura vegetables with avocado topping are also tucked inside, and the passion fruit dip is the perfect foil for the creative explosion of flavors. 28

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Top right photo by Rob Arismendi. Top left photo courtesy of Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort. Bottom photos by JZ Marketing

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MEET THE WINE CONNOISSEURS

Tina van Mal and Michael Otten PAPILLON RESTAURANT

Tina, owner of this landmark French restaurant, grew up with a passion for wine and created wine menus for almost 15 years in several Aruba restaurants. At Papillon, her focus is on the oldworld wines like French Bordeaux, Burgundies, and Italian classics like Barolo. But her manager Michael, also a wine expert in vintages from around the world, prefers new-world wines like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and the amazing Cabernet from Napa Valley. So, between the two of them, you are sure to find the best of all possible worlds in wine pairing with fine fare at their dining spot. W I N E R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S :

RED WINE : Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée • 2013

COUNTRY / REGION: .........................France • Burgundy APPELLATION:...........................................Vosne-Romanée GRAPE BLEND:................................................Pinot Noir PAIRING: ............Rack of lamb with rosemary herb crust WHITE WINE : Misty Cove, Sauvignon Blanc • 2018

COUNTRY / REGION: ................................. New Zealand APPELLATION: ........................................... Marlborough GRAPE BLEND:..................................... Sauvignon Blanc PAIRING: ............ Papillon’s signature goat cheese salad

Edward Ellis PAPIAMENTO RESTAURANT

As one of the current owners of famed Papiamento Restaurant, originally opened by his parents some 30 years ago, Edward follows in his father’s footsteps to continually build the island’s most comprehensive wine cellar for decades. It’s called “The Wine Bodega,” and today it holds over 1,800 bottles of international vintages. Of course, he instinctively knows what will go best with their culinary specialties and is always delighted to advise his clientele on how to pair the best with what they order. Customers are also welcome to visit the wine bodega to witness the extraordinary care taken to preserve their treasures. W I N E R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S : RED WINE : Freemark Abbey Merlot • 2014

COUNTRY / REGION: .....................................United States APPELLATION: ............................................. Napa Valley GRAPE BLEND:...................Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon,

Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc & Malbec PAIRING: ..................... Ideal with escargots or tenderloin

with melted Gorgonzola cheese WHITE WINE : Bleu de Mer Rose • 2018

COUNTRY / REGION: ...... France • Languedoc-Roussillon APPELLATION:.........................................Vin de Pays d’Oc GRAPE BLEND:...............................Grenache & Cinsault PAIRING: ......... Superb with seafood appetizers like tuna

tartare or their famous keshi yena, Aruba’s national dish Photos by JZ Marketing

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MEET THE MIXOLOGISTS

Alba Marchan DELIA’S TERRACE POOL BAR, COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT ARUBA RESORT

Originally a casino dealer from Venezuela, Alba decided to rejoin the hospitality industry after moving to Aruba and raising two children. So, she took it upon herself to learn to bartend as she worked as a server and later a cashier, learning from the island’s best on her own and taking bartending classes. In early 2019 – witnessing her passion for bartending and natural customer service skills – the Courtyard by Marriott Aruba Resort management gave her the opportunity to prove herself. Today, she’s so popular with guests that they rave about her fabulous personality and wonderful creativity in making up cocktails. S I G N AT U R E C O C K TA I L

Cucu Island

1.25 OZ.............CUCUMBER LIME VODKA 1 OZ..................TRIPLE SEC 1 OZ..................LIME JUICE 3 OZ..................PINEAPPLE JUICE 1 ........................SPLASH OF SODA WATER 1 ........................DASH OF PISANG AMBON Shake all ingredients except the soda and Pisang Ambon and serve over ice in a tall glass, garnish with an “island” of cucumber, lime slice, and a sprig of fresh mint. Alba added distinctly Caribbean flavors to her signature cocktail, making it uniquely refreshing, and the wheel of cucumber floating on top represents the island of Aruba.

Roger Stiven Villamarin Tangarife QUINTA DEL CARMEN

Growing up in Colombia, Roger loved to watch bartenders in films like Cocktail and decided to be one. After he moved to Aruba, he watched his aunt work at a local bar, and then worked his way up from dishwasher in top restaurants to bartender, learning from the best and taking extra classes on his own time. Today, at Quinta Del Carmen, Roger is famous for pleasing guests with his creativity. For his specialty Manhattan cocktail, he even makes his own bitters at home from peppercorns, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, orange, and lemon zest, and brings them to work. S I G N AT U R E C O C K TA I L

Roger’s Manhattan

2 OZ..................BLANTON’S BOURBON 1 OZ..................SWEET VERMOUTH 2 DASHES ........ROGER’S HOMEMADE BITTERS Combine bitters, whiskey, and vermouth in a shaker glass with ice and stir to chill. A Manhattan is always stirred, never shaken. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry. Can also be served on the rocks. Roger uses Blanton’s Bourbon for its complexity, but also because his son loves to play with the collectible little horse statues that come on the bottle top, so he brings them home. 30

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Photos by JZ Marketing

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Papillon Restaurant Papillon Restaurant located at The Village in Palm Beach, across the Hilton Resort & Casino, and within walking distance of all other major hotels, invites you to join them on a culinary journey and experience traditional French cuisine with daring Caribbean flair.

Papillon’s menu consists of classic French dishes with a local twist and is perfected with seasonal highlights throughout the year such as asparagus, mussels, Seafood September, and Game Season. Papillon can be summed up as a romantic, cozy, casual-elegant restaurant with excellent service, amazing food, and a wonderful atmosphere. It’s a favorite choice for return visitors to Aruba. Quality and Papillon Restaurant have been synonymous for more than 10 years! For anyone unfamiliar with Papillon and its concept, the restaurant is named after one of the most famous prisoners in the world Henri Charrière (portrayed by Steve McQueen in the famous 1973 movie by the same name), who was nicknamed “Papillon” because of the butterfly tattoo on his chest. The theme of the restaurant is in the details, and the ambience is perfectly executed in the interior design. And people watching has never been more delightful than from the spacious outside terrace. While guests enjoy the surroundings, European

influenced chefs take the lead in the kitchen cooking skillfully to create palettes reminiscent of colorful restaurants in the French Riviera. The new menu, full of mouth-watering plates, has its sharp focus on fresh ingredients, local produce, and locally caught fish resulting in natural flavors that are outstandingly good. In addition to the extensive menu of both classic and modern infused dinner options, Papillon Restaurant is now also accommodating vegans. Together with Meredith Marin from Vegan Aruba, Papillon offers classic dishes with a vegan approach to cater to everyone’s tastes and wishes. No meal is complete without a wide variety of wine pairing options. Guests can choose from the extensive list of wines from all over the world such as the famous French Margaux and Pomerol or delicious Italian and celebrated North- and South American wines. Papillon Restaurant’s team invites you to celebrate life, great food, and great times at their French-Caribbean home! 

Make your reservation today at info@papillonaruba.com or call (297) 586-5400. Open daily from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. For complete menu details and specials, visit www.papillonaruba.com. 32

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Photos courtesy of Papillon Restaurant

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Women at the Helm by Susan Campbell Downtown Oranjestad’s restaurant scene has been blossoming lately; it’s virtually impossible to miss the creative, colorful, and dynamic newcomers staking their claim beside the many newly refreshed legendary landmark establishments. But old or new, there’s one thing many of these successful places have in common, and that’s a powerful female presence.

In some cases, it’s easy to see what women in the downtown restaurant scene are bringing to the table – literally. For example, at Amice Lunchroom, their female award-winning chef ensures that everything leaves the kitchen looking more like fine art on a plate than basic fare, and her incredibly refined homemade pastries bring an elegant, elevated offering to their menu. It will come as no surprise that Pinchos Grill & Bar set on a pier with twinkling lights, and often cited as one of the romantic dining spots on the island, was borne of a female owner’s vision, and that its sister establishment, The West Deck, is located upon the absolute best view of the sunset over the sea from the downtown core. No mistake there.

And though the brilliantly colored canopy roof of umbrellas covering the terrace of the brand-new HP Bar & Grill might signal a woman’s taste, the concept was actually a collaborative decision of the engaged couple that own it. The restaurant offers live bands, hot DJs, and excellent grilled food, but you will note the female influence in their menu as they also offer lighter fare and even vegan choices alongside the classic grilled (and often messy to eat) meat options. But women running these businesses bring a lot more than alluring décor and elevated eats to their establishments, they also bring grit and determination in order to stand out in a mostly male-dominated industry.

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Take the congenial one-woman show that owns Taste My Aruba under the Cosecha building. You would never guess, as she warmly welcomes her nightly guests, that she had been up at the crack of dawn to source fresh ingredients from local farmers, had already expertly filleted a massive catch-of-the-day, and had still made time to create all the sides from scratch… without skipping a beat. Running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart. It takes incredible stamina. But women are masters at multitasking, and their desire to mentor each other in business is also a plus. At landmark family-run Driftwood restaurant, it’s the matriarch who has been captain of the dining room over their decades of operation. She has since mentored and passed that torch on to her daughter-in-law at that establishment so she can be more hands-on at their sister spot, Red Fish restaurant, just off Eagle Beach. And despite the fact that the original concept of legendary Garufa Cocktail Lounge as a

gentlemen’s rum and a cigar bar, and El Gaucho restaurant as an intrinsically “macho” carnivore spot was their father’s original vision, the daughters who run them now have added their own more modern and cosmopolitan vibe to both. It might come as a surprise that it is a woman at the helm of rowdy, fun bar Eetcafé The Paddock, best known for attracting expat Dutch males and being the place to watch football especially when the Netherlands are playing. And its sister spot, 7 West, open for relaxed dining in the evening, also turns into quite the wild party spot later at night! Regardless that these women are intrinsically competitors, they are also good neighbors. There is a silent sisterhood of tribal support and an inherent undercurrent of understanding of the unique challenges that women can face in this predominantly male-oriented industry. But though their sisterhood may be silent, when it comes to running their respective businesses with passion and drive – you do hear them roar. 

Meet the Women at the Helm TOP ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Carolina Merryweather-Raven – Driftwood and Red Fish Geraldine Guzmán Lopez – HP Bar & Grill MIDDLE ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Annelotte Ellis – Amice Lunchroom Nathaly De Mey – Taste My Aruba Anabela Peterson de Sousa – Pinchos Grill & Bar and The West Deck FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Francine de Lannoy – Driftwood and Red Fish Natasha Ignacia Brieva – El Gaucho Roanne Lacle Peterson – Pinchos Grill & Bar and The West Deck

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DOWNTOWN DINING

Unpretentious Sea to Table Patio Dining

Only Fresh Local Fish Open 6pm – 11 pm, Monday to Saturday Located in town at Plaza Padu Lampe | Reservations +297-588-1600

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner... COME FOR DINNER, STAY FOR THE PARTY!

FREE TAXI RIDE!

Take a cab to join us for dinner, we’ll discount it from your bill! - Not valid with other promotions. - Offer only available for dinner. - This offer is valid for your taxi ride to HP. - Please present your taxi receipt before payment of your bill. - Refunded amount will be no greater that the total of your bill.

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DOWNTOWN DINING

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DOWNTOWN DINING

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MORE DINING CHOICES Eagle Aruba has everything you need to relax and rejuvenate yourself. This is where comfortable accommodations meet the best in food, entertainment and fun. Eagle Aruba has a number of dining options to satisfy every craving. From margaritas and steak skewers to ice cream and donuts, there are more ways to indulge here. Just take a look for yourself at all we have to offer. The moment you step onto our property, our friendly and helpful staff will be waiting to greet you with a smile and everything you need to make your stay a unique and unforgettable experience.

+297 587 9000 | eaglearuba.com J.E. Irausquin Blvd. #248 Eagle Beach, Aruba Must be age 18 to play. Play responsibly.

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A Very Vegan Story by Meredith Marin Aruba’s hottest new culinary trend might surprise you! Plant-based cuisine is creative and decadent on our vegan-friendly island. Keep an open mind and you might just discover your new favorite dish at one of the island’s 60-plus vegan-friendly restaurants.

If you had asked me during college where I thought I’d be in 10 years, I certainly wouldn’t have said “living on a Caribbean island teaching chefs how to make delicious meals from plant-based ingredients.” A few months after I graduated from college in New York City, I joined my grandparents at their Aruba timeshare for a week of sand and sun. The night we arrived, we headed out to explore Aruba’s culinary scene, known as one of the best in the Caribbean. The first spot we stumbled upon was an Italian restaurant, where the maître d’ charmed us with his knowledge of the island’s history and his fluency in four languages. I wasn’t vegan at the time, and it was easy for me to choose my meal from a menu of indulgent dishes. My greatest indulgence was falling in love with the maître d’, a local Aruban who jokes that he was my best souvenir. Several years later, after travels, careers, a wedding, and a baby, we decided to move back to Aruba and live the island life. When we arrived on Aruba, something big had changed.

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But it wasn’t the island that changed. We had changed. Since living abroad and learning about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, the ethical concerns of animal agriculture, and the sustainable solutions that going vegan could bring, we had totally transformed the way we shopped and ate. And of the 400 restaurants on the island, I could count the vegan options on one hand. Eating vegan on an island with very few plant-based culinary options at restaurants was a challenge that left us feeling anxious and frustrated when dining out. I believed that Aruba’s chefs could do better if only they knew how extravagant plant-based meals could really be. I imagined cashew cheese tacos and tempeh steaks, with dark chocolate cake desserts instead of the typical salad, pasta, and fruit bowl. 

Photo by Ken Grille

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Tapping into my network, I was offered the opportunity to give a presentation to members of the Aruba Gastronomic Association. As I stood in front of restaurant owners and chefs, I described the vegan guests’ experience at their restaurants. I made suggestions on how they could improve their service to vegans by adding vegan menu options, creating accurate menu labels, and training their service staff to understand the needs of vegans, vegetarians, and all guests with food allergies or special dietary considerations. At the end of my presentation, I asked, “Any questions?” And then I received a question I hadn’t anticipated. It came from the dynamic restaurant owner of Cuba’s Cookin’, a popular hot spot in downtown Oranjestad. “Can you help us?” I showed up at Cuba’s Cookin’ a few days later with tofu and tempeh and a packet full of recipe ideas that I had been testing out at home. A few months later, the restaurant’s vegan menu launched with huge success and I had a list of restaurants requesting my services. I started the Vegan Aruba movement to make it acceptable and accessible to be vegan on Aruba and found that one of the most effective ways to work toward this mission is by supporting the hospitality and tourism industry in catering to this growing market. I have since taken this work Vegan delight from Ike’s Bistro at Manchebo Beach Resort

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internationally with my new business Vegan Hospitality (www.veganhospitality.com), through which I train people all over the world to help the hospitality industry adopt vegan-friendly service practices. Businesses who work with me attract more guests and confidently serve people with allergies and dietary restrictions. I am proud to say that tourists are now flocking to Aruba for its vegan scene, with more than 60 vegan-friendly restaurants and growing. Aruba is the No. 1 vegan-friendly island in the Caribbean and one of the most vegan-friendly vacation destinations in the world. Ready to try out this trendy and creative vegan-dining scene? Visit www.veganaruba.com for my directory of vegan-friendly supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels.  Taste Some of My Favorite Dishes on the Island!

Alfresco Restaurant Tofu scramble with arepitas

Kamini’s Kitchen Chickpea curry with roti

Blossoms Choose mock chicken or mock duck and add it to any of your favorite dishes!

Papillon Restaurant Vegan crab cakes Santos Vegan blueberry pancakes

Cuba’s Cookin’ Portobello ribs with plantains, rice, and black beans

Vegan crab cakes from Papillon Restaurant

Da Vinci/Holiday Inn Resort Vegan mousse di cioccolato Elements at Bucuti & Tara Resort Cashew cheese tacos Faro Blanco Penne alla vodka with homemade cashew cream sauce Ike’s Bistro at Manchebo Resort Buffalo cauliflower wings

About the Author:

Meredith Marin was on vacation in Aruba in 2008 when she met the love of her life. Now, ten years later, after travels, degrees, a wedding, and a baby, they live on Aruba together with their daughter. Meredith is a social worker and lecturer at the University of Aruba, a vegan activist, and a food consultant, and she spends her free time exploring all of the wellness offerings the island has to offer. Check out Meredith’s website, www.veganaruba.com, for restaurant recommendations and vegan events. Top and bottom photos by Ken Grille. Middle photo courtesy of Papillon Restaurant

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The Beauty of Brunch by Susan Campbell The all-you-can-eat brunch buffet is a culinary cornucopia that can make any Sunday a special occasion.But now à la carte gourmet breakfasts are colliding with avant-garde lunches to carve out entirely new options for the late to rise and shine. And some are served every day of the week! The beauty of brunch

Have you ever wondered how breakfast met lunch to evolve into this midday extravaganza we call brunch? On Aruba, American visitors introduced the all-inclusive Sunday buffet, but “brunching” is actually a British innovation. Though Sunday brunch really took root in North America in the 1930s, the concept originated in Europe in the 1800s. In fact, the word “brunch” (the blend of the terms breakfast and lunch) was first coined in 1895 by Guy Beringer, a British writer who penned an article in Hunter’s Weekly magazine entitled “Brunch: A Plea.” He pleaded for the introduction of a new meal that began around noon to replace the early, heavy after-church Sunday repast so as to make life brighter for “Saturday night carousers.” He also predicted that brunch would “sweep away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” His plea seems to have been heard, as evidenced by an article that appeared a year later in the British magazine Punch that stated “to be fashionable nowadays we must ‘brunch.’ ” Throughout the ages, the freedom to partake in feasts of bacchanalian proportions at a leisurely pace was a privilege reserved for the most affluent. But as the average family income increased, the practice eventually extended to the middle classes where the ability to put out lavish, extensive spreads for Sunday guests became a symbol of spiraling status. As cosmopolitan hotels and restaurants in America began serving

it, going out for brunch became an opportunity for friends and family to gather and a perfect way to give women a break from their domestic duties, especially on Mother’s Day. Great “eggspectations”

Egg dishes have always been, and still are, one of the most important parts of the most important meal of the day. And brunch would not be what it is without those oval-shaped chameleons that can accommodate almost any savory ingredient so well. Sunny-side up, over easy, scrambled, or folded into interesting omelets are all de rigueur brunch fare. But the classiest stars of the brunch venue are more complicated creations like Eggs Benedict, Quiche Lorraine, and Italian-style frittata. 

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Appealing pan pleasures

We have ancient civilizations to thank for the pancakes and crepes that grace most breakfasts and brunches. Using hot rocks as Mother Nature’s very first frying pans, humans soon learned that blending ingredients such as ground oats, wheat, barley, rye, and even potatoes, with eggs and milk and topping them with flavorings like wild honey made for some great eating. Almost every culture has developed its version of “pancakes,” from potato latkes to blinis, flapjacks, and even tortillas. France’s very thin pancakes, called crepes, often delight at brunch. Filled with meat, seafood, cheeses, vegetables, and rich sauces for the main affair, they switch easily to fresh and preserved fruit drizzled in sweet syrups and slathered in whipped cream for dessert. On Aruba, johnnycakes (plain pancakes) have been widely adopted as a local dish though their original recipe is West Indian. But it’s the Dutch pancake culture here that really surprises North Americans. Dutch pancakes do double duty

In the Netherlands, poffertjes – puffy, little silver-dollar-sized pancakes typically made with buckwheat flour and sprinkled with powdered sugar – are most like North American style pancakes in taste and texture. But the traditional Dutch pancakes, pannekoeken, are certainly nothing like your everyday flapjacks, and they’re served for dinner and lunch as often as they are served for breakfast or brunch.

The Dutch style pancakes are very flat, thin, and plate-sized (almost crepe style) and stuffed with, and/or topped by, a surprisingly savory array of ingredients. Bacon, ham, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms on a thin round base make it almost like a pizza rather than a pancake. But they do have many sweet variations as well, with a variety of fruits and fillings and sprinkled with powdered sugar, then covered with some kind of stroop (syrup). Sometimes they are served with a side of ice cream or topped with whipped cream and candy sprinkles. So you can have Dutch pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Aruba’s pancake houses have all styles, and they have also combined their own creative additions like flambéing the sweet ones in orange brandy, or going international like the “Provençale” with French Brie, ham, caramelized walnuts, chives, and honey. 

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THE DUTCH PANCAKEHOUSE “Best Breakfast In Aruba”

2014 - 2017

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Brunch goes gourmet

As our love affair with brunch continues, more international flavors and new culinary trends have become part of the tradition. The true beauty of brunch lies in the vast variety of its choices. From selective grazers to the allyou-can-eaters, there’s bound to be something satisfying for all. Don’t be surprised to see raw bars, sushi selections, caviar bowls, and even chocolate fountains sitting alongside standards like bacon and eggs and home-fried potatoes. But it doesn’t stop there. Brunch offerings have gone full-on gourmet in many spots. New options are including dishes like lavender-infused French toast, lobster mac & cheese muffins, oyster soup, and marinated duck with couscous, wild fruit coulis, and peach chutney. All-you-can-eat roast beef and seafood bars and appetizer offerings have also sidled up to the traditional fruits, pastries, and cheeses on the buffet table. Even bagels are getting special treatment. How about smoked salmon with a dill avocado cream on a mini bagel served with raspberry aspic? And when it comes to desserts, the sky’s the limit! The resorts and fancy dining spots seem to be trying to outdo each other in their sweet table brunch buffet selections. Better wear loose fitting pants!

Brunch beverages reimagined

Brunch is one of the few occasions where cocktails before happy hour are not only accepted, but also expected. Champagne, Bloody Marys, Caesars, and mimosas (orange juice and champagne) are all part of the perfect brunch experience. But these classic cocktails are receiving creative new twists. Let’s start with mimosas. Turns out that orange juice is no longer the only game in town for mimosa creation. Diligent barkeeps have discovered that champagne or sparkling wine pairs delightfully with almost any fresh tropical fruit juice to create a light, sparkling, and refreshing brunch cocktail. There’s even a name coined for creating frozen mimosas with fresh fruit: “Frimosas”! Another frozen adult slushy cocktail popular at brunch is “Frosé,” which, as the name suggests, is frozen rosé wine. 

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Then there’s the Bloody Mary revolution. First created back in the sixties, the classic Bloody Mary (vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, spices, and celery salt) is still a brunch staple. In fact, nowadays they are served with so many optional additional ingredients that if you used them all, the cocktail would become more of a meal in a glass than a drink! High-styling Sundays

It’s not only the grand extravaganza of food set among fancy ice sculptures and artfully presented in appealing buffets that make resort brunches so special. It’s the atmosphere and setting as well. Typically on Aruba, the dining rooms have special attractions like a killer sea view or a romantic waterfall, and more often than not, classy live music sets the tone for making the occasion ultra special. Big hotel brunches are also the ideal spot to gather big groups of family and friends to celebrate special events, or simply to celebrate being on holiday. Nothing says pure indulgence like a leisurely midday feast in a gorgeous tropical oasis. Breakfast options also abound

Aruba’s multiethnic mix makes it easy to find Latin American breakfast specialties like arepas with grilled meat and fried eggs, and you can also find Cuban tortilla omelets. There are

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many cafés and kiosks making healthy treats to go like delicious, protein-laden and vitaminfilled smoothies and acai bowls full of tropical fruits and nuts. So don’t miss all the breakfast and brunch goodness on “One Happy Island.” Try many different spots. We’re sure you’ll agree that this island goes above and beyond to make a leisurely Sunday even better. So go get energized for lots of fun in the sun via the most important meal of the day – every day of the week. 

Photo by

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“SERVING THE BEST STEAKS IN ARUBA SINCE 1959”

 OPEN DAILY 5:30PM - 10:30PM For reservations, dial +297 526 6612 or email hiltonconcierge@depalmtours.com

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 81, Palm Beach, Aruba hiltonaruba.com |

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@HiltonAruba

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Cocktail Hour by Susan Campbell On this happy island every hour is happy hour! But there’s a time of day when the vibe begins slowly switching gears from fabulous fun on the beach to the first glimmerings of an enchanted tropical evening to come. And the best way to herald that magical transformation is by raising a glass in good company. Welcome to the cocktail hour – Aruba style. A little cocktail hour history

No doubt even the ancient pyramid builders must have had social get-togethers to raise a glass and shake off the trials of a hard day’s work. In fact, there are even forensic mixologists (yes, that’s a real job!) working to unearth exactly what kind of alcoholic libations the early Romans and Greeks were imbibing back then. But the coining of the term “cocktail hour” came much later. Today that expression evokes a civilized and sophisticated tippling time with ladies and gentlemen dressed to the nines socializing in some upscale setting. Even Christian Dior labeled classic designs “the cocktail dress.” But one might be surprised to discover that the origins of “cocktails” and the gatherings where they were consumed were of much grittier and far less merrier beginnings.

It was a time of bootleggers, rum runners, and gangsters when the cocktail really came into its own. Prohibition that began in the 1920s forced many Americans to make their own spirits that resulted in alcohol that tasted more like turpentine and packed a punch more powerful than a freight train. So in order to make it more palatable, juices, creams, sweeteners, and mixes were added ostensibly creating a “cocktail culture.” Though the first appearance of the word cocktail in print was a New York newspaper in 1896, the socializing cachet surrounding its consumption came much later. Forced to drink underground during that time, secret liquor dens began opening that became known as “speakeasies.” The term is thought to have come from bartenders advising their clients to keep their voices down or

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“speak easy” so as not to be heard by authorities. Though later those establishments became loud and deluxe entertainment venues ushering in modern music and also encouraging women to become modern and partake of cocktails alongside the men. It’s ironic that prohibition – though designed to stop people from drinking – instead, became the impetus behind today’s sophisticated cocktail culture! Cocktail hour Caribbean style

The islands have always had their own less formal version of cocktail hour, rarely taking place in plush old-fashioned parlors, but rather preferring nature’s glory instead as a backdrop, enjoying drinks on seaside terraces, outside garden patios, and piers. But that has also changed in the last few decades. Today there are many classy indoor enclaves like hotel lobby lounges and dining emporium cocktail bars for indoor imbibing. So if you wish to get gussied up and enjoy the transition in high style and with air conditioning, there are plenty of places on Aruba to do so. Many local business types prefer the downtown indoor watering holes for an after work get-together at cocktail hour.

But if you want to simply throw on a coverup after a day at the beach, there are plenty of happening bars by the sea that often offer complimentary snacks and live entertainment at the island’s many “happy hours.” And you need not even cover up if you want to belly-up to a swim-up pool bar to socialize at that time as well. In fact, there is no dearth of ideal spots to suit your style on this island during cocktail hour. There are bars with great sunset views, local sports bars, karaoke, and party bars. There are wine bars, sake bars, brew bars, and South Beach style enclaves in the sand as well as cigar lounges and many cool bars in the casinos! It all depends on your mood. You can also often order a cool concoction right from your lounge chair by simply raising a flag; no need to actually get up and go to a bar! Or you can order room service and enjoy a private romantic cocktail on your deck. But one would be remiss not to explore all the luxurious libations this island has to offer in so many inviting and diverse establishments. And when feeling particularly sociable, opportunities abound to meet other visitors and locals to share a drink and a yarn with around the wood. A good way 

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to find out where scheduled get-togethers are happening is by joining the online bulletin boards of groups like Travel Talk Online, www. traveltalkonline.com, or www.aruba.com. They often post where virtual visitors plan ahead to meet in person when on island at the same time. Or hop aboard a bar-hopping bus to discover some of Aruba’s most popular watering holes along the way. And taking a lovely sunset sail aboard a beautiful craft to enjoy cocktails with a group is also an inviting option. And who knows? You might even witness the famous green flash when the sun disappears beneath the waves while drinking a cocktail called the green flash! Expand your libation horizons

Once you’ve decided where to go, why settle for the same old, same old tropical rum punches when you get there? This island’s top mixologists have magical concoctions to enchant your taste buds and broaden your horizons. Aruba’s enthusiastic barkeeps keep their skills sharp by competing in local and international competitions throughout the year that encourage overthe-top creativity. Put them to the test – they’re up to the challenge! And you’ll quickly see on drink menus from barefoot beach bars to fancy lounges that imagination truly abounds in the drink offerings here. Flavored spirits and new fusions of liqueurs combined with fresh fruits, herbs and spices, and even vegetables and seafood are all making the rounds of cool cocktail ingredients. So why have a regular old piña colada when you can have a cocoa berry colada made with local coconut rum?

Many standard classic cocktails have also taken new twists here. How about a raspberry mudslide, a coconut ginger lemon drop martini, an apple cinnamon mojito, a strawberry basil gimlet, or a cucumber collins? Fun and fruity tropical concoctions with cute names like tropical itch, sneaky tiki, and the happy tourist are also offered alongside sophisticated creations like the fifth element – raspberry vodka, passion fruit, blue Curaçao, soda, and lemon, or the flirtini – vodka, champagne, pineapple juice, and lime. Feeling uptown? Try a Champs-Elysée with Mumm’s, Cointreau, and strawberry liqueur. Latin American flavors like caipirinhas made with real cachaça are also easily found while Mexican margaritas are taking on interesting flavor surprises like chocolate and even avocado. Or how about a Cuban kiss? Raspberry rum, triple sec, fresh strawberries, and lime should have you puckering up for romance in no time. And the popular trend of making “beer-ritas”– placing a frosty bottle of brew topside down right in the margarita, is a favorite on Aruba. 

Pinchos Bar & Grill

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Bottom photo courtesy of Pinchos Bar & Grill

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Then there’s the thick and creamy, dreamy frozen delights and spiked fresh fruit shakes that come in a wide variety of tropical flavors like banana, coconut, watermelon, guava, mango, and strawberry to hit the spot on a very hot day. Some even have added protein in them to pack more power to their punch. Or ethereal before-dinner drinks like signature bellinis of sparkling wine and peach purée, or fresh fruitfilled white wine sangrias will also quickly sate a tropical thirst. And if you overindulge in liquid delights, most local mixologists have their own day-after drink cures like the bloody fisherman that’s almost a meal itself with baby shrimp, oysters, and squid in a bloody Mary mix. There’s no doubt that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creative cocktail choices here. So sample and enjoy as many different kinds as you can, and take notes so you can try to recreate them at home. Aruban specialties

However, there are some cocktails that you’ll not be able to recreate at home unless you purchase some locally made specialty spirits to take with you. Coecoei is one of them – the rich, ruby red liqueur made from agave sap, rum, and cane sugar that tastes like licorice. The recipe for this spirit was handed down from the ancient Indians, and today it is one of the main ingredients of the island’s most famous drink the Aruba ariba!

Aruba ariba

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Cocktail Hour at The West Deck

It’s also often used in place of grenadine for coloring. Then there’s ponche crema – a strong, liquor-laden eggnog type holiday drink that’s wonderful on its own but is also an interesting partner in local drink recipes like the Aruba sunset. It’s also often used as a potent creamer for coffee. Even the island’s famous aloe can be found in some signature cocktails here. Aruba also has its own locally distilled spirits and spiced liqueurs, and there’s even a vintner that makes signature wine from sea grapes! Of course, the Dutch influence is present – their rainbow assortment of liqueurs made in Holland (fashioned after the famous blue Curaçao made from bitter oranges and brandy) figure prominently to color and flavor many cocktails. Premium Dutch beer abounds, but Aruba also has its own refreshing brew called Balashi – the only beer in the world made from desalinated seawater! But don’t ask your server or barkeep for a “Balashi cocktail” if you’re seeking something strong. That term is local code for “a glass of water” since Balashi is also the region that desalinates the seawater used for the island’s delicious and safe-to-drink tap water! To unearth all the fabulous bars where you can try some of these cool cocktails, see the Nightbeat section in Aruba Nights magazine. Ask your concierge for your complimentary copy. Cheers!  Top photo courtesy of The West Deck

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My name is Kamini Welcome to my Trinidadian homemade cuisine where I have been cooking for everyone’s family including my own since I was 10 years old. The smile you see on my face comes from the delight I take in filling everyone full of my food whose main ingredients are love, happiness and wonderful full flavored tastes from my island of Trinidad. Please come and share a great meal served up with the best service, personality and humility as has always been so enriched by our Caribbean culture. We are located in the heart of Aruba’s oldest city, San Nicolas where history meets a large mix of cultures and the outcome is all served up here at Kamini’s Kitchen.

BOOK NOW KAMINI-KURVINK@HOTMAIL.COM CALL 563 1933 | 587 1933

D E VU YST 41B SINT NICOLAS, ARU BA

OPENING EVERY DAY FROM 12 TO 8PM / EXCEPT TUESDAY

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Gouda News From vision board concept to reality, it was a full-circle year of challenges and triumphs for expats Torri and Donnie Schwentke since they set out to leave their US home and open their dream business, Melt Away, on Aruba. But now they confess, it was a very “gouda” decision.

Like many longtime repeat visitors, Torri and Donnie Schwentke from Connecticut fell in love with this island and often dreamt of moving to Aruba for good. But too young to retire, they knew they’d have to stay busy and contribute to the island. So, Torri, a big believer in “if you can dream it, you can do it” set her imagination to work on a vision board and thought about what Aruba might be missing. Then inspiration came in the form of a wheel – a wheel of Gouda to be exact. Torri says, “I always brought a wheel home from Aruba and wondered why there was no one central spot to enjoy all the Dutch and European cheeses, especially melted cheese dishes. So, we decided on that concept, and once we found the ideal location in Paseo Herencia’s courtyard, we dove right in.” Then, with help from a Dutch friend/partner, Eline, who knows the restaurant business, and with advice from Divino wine expert, Edzart, they launched Melt

Away Aruba, and never looked back. The fall of 2019 marked their first anniversary. So, what do they miss? Torri says, “Beyond my family of course, I miss the fact that Amazon doesn’t deliver here, but my husband sees that as a plus!” And what do they love the most? “The people!” Torri exclaims, “Locals and visitors alike have been amazing! And I’ve been learning Papiamento, but it’s tricky. For example, keshi meaning cheese, means something quite risqué that raises a few eyebrows if you mispronounce it like keesha. But the bottom line is that we want everyone to feel like family at Melt Away, and we’re very proud of the creative, unique dishes we offer. Though a new business can be challenging, the rewards can be wonderful.” So, for the Schwentkes, their Aruba adventure hasn’t been just another “cheesy” love story, it’s been living the dream. 

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Photos courtesy of Melt Away Aruba

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Heavenly Herbs by Susan Campbell Successful chefs the world over will agree that the difference between creating great food and truly celestial cuisine is discovering what fare to marry in what measure to Mother Nature’s natural flavor-enhancers – herbs! Herbal history

Mankind has held a special relationship with herbs for over 5,000 years, not only for flavoring food and teas, but as integral ingredients in healing, cultural traditions, and even embalming. Fortunately, early civilizations did the groundwork of determining which plant parts are edible and which ones are toxic! But even today, one should be mindful of some herbs and their side effects, such as epazote, an ancient Mexican herb used in bean dishes that can be harmful during pregnancy! Do your homework before experimenting. Most herbs are chock full of healthful benefits as the ancients noted, and many modern scientists believe compounds in many of these plants might even prevent cancer and heart disease.

are harvested from the leafy part of the plant – though there are exceptions like lavender, which is a flower – while spices are typically produced from the seed, bark, root, or stem of the plant. International inclinations

Cultures display specific preferences for herbal use in their cooking. Herbs that commonly show up across the board in continental cuisine are mint, bay leaf, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, dill, and garlic (though many consider garlic to be in a class of its own). Fresh parsley tops just about anything, and egg dishes, salads, and all vegetables benefit from most herbs except perhaps mint, sage, and bay leaves. 

Herbs vs spices

What constitutes an herb and what is a spice can be a confusing conundrum, especially when occasionally the two come from the same plant like coriander (a spice) and cilantro (an herb). But the rule of thumb seems to be that herbs

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In Europe, it’s the French who have the biggest love affair with herbs. They have also created many combinations, like a bou quet garni: a potpourri of herbs which might include bay leaves, thyme, parsley, chervil, rosemary, and basil all tied together to season soups and stews (and removed before serving). Herbes de provence can be a combination of marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, rosemary, sage, fennel, chervil, and sometimes lavender. And a dish served aux fines herbes will contain a mixture of tarragon, cher vil, and parsley as a base. Mediterranean cuisine relies heavily on basil, oregano, and garlic, but also fennel, especially for fish. Chinese cuisine prefers spices but does use cilantro occasionally, while the Japanese favor parsley-like mitsuba and minty shiso, and the Vietnamese flavor dishes with the rice paddy herb. Many Southeast Asian and Caribbean recipes incorporate lemongrass combined with coconut milk for a sweet distinctive taste.

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Herbs even have their own awards. The International Herb Association began choosing an “Herb of the Year” in 1995, and in 2019 AniseHyssop received the honors. It’s also known as “licorice mint” and often used as a flavoring for teas, ice cream, baked goods, and lamb dishes. Local flavor

On Aruba, traditionally it has been yerb’i hole blanco (white basil), a sharp, pungent herb that has provided the authentic local flavor in many dishes. But recently, a demand for more farm-to-fork products – despite the island’s arid climate making it difficult to grow things – has spawned many small growers to find new ways to provide more high-quality local produce,  The “Herb of the Year”, Anise-Hyssop

Photo by

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including herbs. In fact, United Farmers Aruba is a new community foundation designed to support each other in doing just that. Now you’ll find so many more locally sourced herbs like cilantro, lemongrass, mint, and basil appearing in the dishes of fine dining spots, and some restaurants and resorts have built their own herb gardens as well. 

Mix and Match

Here’s a basic guide to get you started matching the right herbs to the right foods. Once you know your flavors, you can get more creative. When experimenting with herbs remember that dried herbs are far stronger than fresh. The spice rack is actually the worst place to keep herbs; store them in the fridge or even the freezer to retain potency. Add fresh herbs at the last minute for the most flavor. Basil:.......................... Italian cuisine, vegetables, sauces,

..............................meats, rice, fish

Bay leaves: ............ Stews, sauces, soups Chervil: .................... Eggs, fish, chicken, vegetables Chives: ..................... Soups, Mexican cuisine, potatoes Cilantro: .................. Mexican cuisine, Asian cuisine Dill:............................. Pickling, fish, salads, cold soups Fennel: ..................... Fish, seafood, soups Marjoram: .............. Stews, soups, beef Mint: ......................... Lamb, cold soups Oregano: ................ Italian cuisine, vegetables,

..............................sauces, meats, fish, poultry

Rosemary: .............. Beef, lamb, veal, roast potatoes,

..............................rice, seafood

Sage: ......................... Stuffing, poultry, pork Tarragon: ................ Fish, poultry, rice, sauces, soups Thyme: ..................... Soups, stews, rice, meat 78 Photo by

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Films to Feast On

Confessions of a Food Movie Aficionado by Lesley Chesterman When you’re a food person, and by that I mean a skilled cook, a keen restaurant-goer, or simply somebody whose idea of a good time is an afternoon watching cooking shows, the thing that grabs you most in a movie are the food scenes.

Whether it’s the GoodFellas dinner in prison scene or Sylvester Stallone cracking eggs into a glass for breakfast in Rocky, the moment the camera focuses on any form of feasting, we’re enthralled. Movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel captivate with their cream puff pastries, but the choice movies for us gourmets are not the ones where the food is a bit player, but the star of the show. For not only are the best food movies fun to watch, chances are the story is deeply touching. Some of my top picks are foreign films and many date back a bit, but they all have one thing in common: terrific food scenes played out by actors who capture the spirit of what cooking and the kitchen are all about. Here’s a list of my favorites sure to please those who tend to get more emotional over a well-made risotto than a drawn out embrace. Enjoy one, several, or why not organize a foodie film festival of your own? I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a good feast. And just think, no calories!

Babette’s Feast

Another serious tearjerker, Babette’s Feast recounts the story of a 19th-century French woman who arrives in Denmark to work as a housekeeper for two pious Christian sisters, whose diet is made up primarily of salted fish. When Babette finds out she has won the lottery, she spends her winnings on a sumptuous feast 

Eat Drink Man Woman

Directed by brilliant filmmaker Ang Lee in 1994 before Sense and Sensibility and Life of Pi, this film (in Mandarin with subtitles) recounts the story of a retired master chef and his three daughters. Not only are the food scenes impressive, but also the story is incredibly touching. And if you don’t burst out crying at the final scene, take your pulse to see if you’re still breathing. The opening scene, showing the chef at work preparing Sunday lunch for his daughters, took one week to shoot and features the sort of knife skills most chefs can only dream about.

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Movie photo and posters courtesy of Movie Stills DB and CineMaterial

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for the sisters and members of this isolated community. Based on a story by Isak Dinesen, this film not only brought home the Oscar for best foreign film, but also turned a whole new generation of foodies onto the idea of turtle soup, puff-pastry-wrapped quails and rum-soaked savarin. A great choice for young and old alike. Big Night

A big foodie favorite everyone loves to recount at dinner parties since its release in 1996, Big Night is beloved primarily for the scene where chef Primo (played masterfully by Tony Shalhoub) has a meltdown when a customer in his Italian restaurant requests a side of spaghetti to go with her risotto. A labor of love by actor/ co-director Stanley Tucci, Big Night is set in a doomed Italian restaurant in postwar America where the food is fabulous, the customers are few, and two brothers do their best to carry on. The food scenes are terrific (the timbale assembly is epic), but the relationship between the two brothers, so well captured in the final scene, is what this film is all about.

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Mostly Martha

A superb, little-known German film released in 2001, Mostly Martha is a great choice for food lovers, or anyone. Set primarily in a restaurant kitchen, the film centers on a control freak of a chef whose life goes through drastic changes when her niece comes to live with her after her sister’s death. This challenging relationship takes her away from her kitchen, where a new Italian chef is working his charms on her while tampering with her menu. Not only is actor Martina Gedeck completely believable in her role, the food and restaurant are just so feminine, minimalist, and well... Danish. A touching movie with some hot but tasteful romantic scenes, Mostly Martha was remade in English in 2007 as the stinker of a movie, No Reservations, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. Trust me, the original is miles better.

Movie posters courtesy of CineMaterial

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Julie & Julia

Like Water for Chocolate

It seemed like every dinner party I attended in the 1990s featured a dish of roast quails with rose petals, and that can only be because that dish was so central to this incredibly sensual Mexican film. Basically, this is the story of the love between the two main characters, Pedro and Tita, and why they couldn’t get married: Tita’s mother insisted her oldest daughter get married and Tita stay at home to care for her. It’s heartbreak city, but the fantasy, passion, and over-the-top magical quality of this film are awe-inspiring. And the wedding cake scene is pure genius.

Movie photos and posters courtesy of Movie Stills DB and CineMaterial

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Whether or not you loved Meryl Streep’s somewhat exaggerated depiction of Julia Child in this wildly popular 2009 movie, there’s no denying the whole food angle was handled brilliantly. Styled by ex-Martha Stewart food editor Susan Spungen, this movie makes everything look delicious. But the sap in me particularly relished the scenes between Julia and her husband, Paul, played with great sensitivity by the superb Stanley Tucci (see Big Night above).

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Ratatouille

Anyone with school-age children is sure to have seen this 2007 Disney-Pixar masterpiece, but if not, do because it’s a scream. It’s the story of a wildly gifted rat whose cooking skills are transmitted to a gawky chef who doesn’t know the difference between time and thyme. The food angle is scarily precise (star chef Thomas Keller is listed as a consultant), the action never stops, the dialogue is sharp, and there’s plenty of food for thought here for the young ones. Best of all, the great Peter O’Toole voices the hatchet -faced restaurant critic Anton Ego. A must.

Hau

Marie Antoinette

Another film with its loathers and lovers, this 2006 retelling of the life of France’s most privileged and ultimately tragic monarch is rarely mentioned in food film buff circles. However, fans of the pastel-colored macarons of the Parisian pâtisserie Ladurée will recognize these famous cookies’ presence in the film, as they are not only plentiful in many of the party scenes but also inspired director Sofia Coppola’s color scheme for the movie. Fancy cookies aside, the elaborate food presented to the king and queen is sure to titillate the gourmet crowd, until you realize that – wow – those primed and powdered, snug-corset-wearing damsels really ate that much food! Ouch.

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Movie photo and poster courtesy of Movie Stills DB and CineMaterial Photo by

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T Hort Frot) of Fr for P of th kitch for w shar pass in a but a when


Chef

Haute Cuisine

This wonderful French film tells the story of Hortense Laborie (played beautifully by Catherine Frot). A renowned chef from the Périgord region of France, Laborie was invited to Paris to cook for President François Mitterrand, who was tired of the fancy fare produced by the Élysée Palace kitchens and longed for the farmhouse cooking for which she was famous. The food scenes are sharp, and Frot is perfectly cast in her role of passionate and often exasperated female cook in a man’s world. Not only is this a true story, but also Frot worked and cooked with Laborie when preparing the role.

Movie posters courtesy of Movie Stills DB and CineMaterial

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Written, directed, co-produced, and starring big-budget film director Jon Favreau, Chef is the story of Carl Casper who quits his job as chef at a high-end Los Angeles restaurant and heads to Miami to buy a food truck. This fun movie is famous for a scene where Casper gets his revenge on a food critic, and the star power in the film – including Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo – makes it all the more entertaining. It’s also a great film for kids as the chef ’s son plays a key role, and the food scenes are authentic. Don’t enter this movie hungry! 

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Featured Establishments Please consult the following maps to help you locate the restaurants and other businesses featured in this magazine.

DOWNTOWN 

#

Name



Amice Lunchroom

DINING

Coffee House/International

280-0990

42



Cuba’s Cookin’

DINING

Cuban

588-0627

80/81



Driftwood

DINING

Seafood/International

583-2515

Back Cover



Eetcafé The Paddock

DINING

Dutch/International

583-2334

42



El Gaucho

DINING

Argentinean Grill

582-3677

39



Garufa

Tapas/Cocktail Lounge

582-3677

38



H P Bar & Grill

DINING

Grill/International

587-1540

40



Montforte III

ATTRACTION

Luxury Cruise

583-0400

24



Taste My Aruba

DINING

Seafood/Caribbean

588-1600

40



The Dutch Pancakehouse

DINING

Dutch

583-7180

55



Wind Creek Crystal Casino

NIGHTLIFE

Casino

583-6000

34/35

Category

NIGHTLIFE

Description

Page

EXT. 6318

ORANJESTAD & SURROUNDINGS 

#

Name

Category

Description



Balashi Brewery

ATTRACTION

Brewery Tour

585-8700

10/11 & 96b



Barefoot

DINING

Caribbean/International

588-9824

7



Pinchos Grill & Bar

DINING

Grill/Caribbean

583-2666

41



The West Deck

DINING

Caribbean/Grill

587-2667

41

Page

w

29

15 14 13

12

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age

6

5

42

0/81

1

over 42 39

7

38

3

40

2

24

9

40 55

10 8

4/35

11 4

TROLLEY ROUTE

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HIGHRISE & LOWRISE HOTEL AREA #

Name

                        

Allegra Bistro BLT Steak Butterfly Farm

Category Description DINING

Caribbean/International

DINING ATTRACTION



Page

526-7714

21 & 96b

Steak/International

527-2222

Inside Front Cover

Tour

586-3656

96a

Casa Nonna

DINING

Italian

527-2222

1

Comuna 13

DINING

Colombian

280-8182

67

Delia’s Terrace

DINING

International

526-7700

31

Dushi Bagels & Burgers

DINING

International

586-3035

50/51

Eagle Aruba Resort Restaurants

DINING

International

587-9000

44/45

Emboca Caribbean & Local Food Lounge

DINING

Caribbean/International

744-9149

77

DINING

Mediterranean/Caribbean

522-3444

13

Residences

280-5040

94/95

Ike’s Bistro L’aquila Residences

REAL ESTATE

Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant

DINING

International

588-7300

19

Melt Away Aruba

DINING

Fondue/Raclette

280-0044

72/73

Nikkei Sushi Bar

DINING

Sushi/Japanese

737-6506

79

Omakase Sushi Bar

DINING

Sushi/Japanese

522-3444

13

Papiamento Restaurant

DINING

International/Caribbean

586-4544

14/15

Papillon Restaurant

DINING

French/Caribbean

586-5400

33

Pelican Nest

DINING

Seafood/Grill

586-2259

25

Quinta Del Carmen

DINING

Seafood/International

587-7200

5

Red Fish

DINING

Seafood

280-6666

Inside Back Cover

Ruinas del Mar

DINING

Grill/International

586-1234

22/23

Santos Stellaris Casino

DINING NIGHTLIFE

EXT. 36

Coffee House/International

280-0303

57

Casino

586-9000

60/61

Sunset Grille

DINING

Steakl/International

526-6612

59 & 96a

The Chophouse

DINING

Steak/International

522-3444

13

w

SAN NICOLAS 

#

Name



Kamini's Kitchen

DINING

Caribbean/Trinidadian

587-1933

71



O'Niel Caribbean Kitchen

DINING

Caribbean/Seafood

584-8700

70

Category Description

Page

41 42

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19

age

17

96b

38

over 96a 1

29 20 24

33

67 31

36 22

0/51

28 17

4/45 77 13

39

4/95

32

19

2/73

The Courtyard Resort

79

31

16

13

4/15

18

21

33 25 5

over

2/23 57

34 Eagle Aruba Resort

0/61

23

96a

26

13

35

age 71 70

25 30 40 27

37

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Dining Establishments In the mood for something in particular? Please consult the following listing by type of cuisine to help you choose from the restaurants featured in this magazine.

Cuisine



Page

ARGENTINEAN El Gaucho

582-3677

39

Garufa

582-3677

38

Allegra Bistro

526-7714

21 & 96b

Barefoot

588-9824

7

Emboca

744-9149

77

Ike’s Bistro

522-3444

13

Kamini’s Kitchen

587-1933

71

O’Niel Caribbean Kitchen

584-8700

70

Papiamento Restaurant

586-4544

14/15

Papillon Restaurant

586-5400

32/33

Pinchos Grill & Bar

583-2666

41

Taste My Aruba

588-1600

40

280-8182

67

588-0627

80/81

Eetcafé The Paddock

583-2334

42

The Dutch Pancakehouse

583-7180

55

280-0044

72/73

586-5400

32/33

El Gaucho

582-3677

39

HP Bar & Grill

587-1540

40

Pelican Nest

586-2259

25

Pinchos Grill & Bar

583-2666

41

CARIBBEAN

COLOMBIAN Comuna 13 CUBAN Cuba’s Cookin’ DUTCH

FONDUE / RACLETTE Melt Away Aruba FRENCH Papillon Restaurant GRILL

Ruinas del Mar

586-1234 ext. 36

The West Deck

587-2667

22/23 41

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Cuisine



Page

INTERNATIONAL Allegra Bistro

526-7714

21 & 96b

Amice Lunchroom

280-0990

42

Barefoot

588-9824

7

BLT Steak

527-2222

Inside Front Cover

Delia’s Terrace

526-7700

31

Driftwood

583-2515

Back Cover

Dushi Bagels & Burgers

586-3035

50/51

Eagle Aruba Resort Restaurants

587-9000

44/45

Eetcafé The Paddock

583-2334

42

HP Bar & Grill

587-1540

40

Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant

588-7300

19

Melt Away Aruba

280-0044

72/73

Papiamento Restaurant

586-4544

14/15

Piet’s Pier

586-1234

22/23

Quinta Del Carmen

587-7200

5

Ruinas del Mar

586-1234 ext. 36

22/23

Santos

280-0303

57

Sunset Grille

526-6612

59 & 96a

The West Deck

587-2667

41

527-2222

1

Driftwood

583-2515

Back Cover

Pelican Nest

586-2259

25

Quinta Del Carmen

587-7200

5

Red Fish

280-6666

Inside Back Cover

Taste My Aruba

588-1600

40

BLT Steak

527-2222

Inside Front Cover

El Gaucho

582-3677

39

Sunset Grille

526-6612

59 & 96a

The Chophouse

522-3444

13

Nikkei Sushi Bar

737-6506

79

Omakase Sushi Bar

522-3444

13

ITALIAN Casa Nonna SEAFOOD

STEAK

SUSHI / JAPANESE

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Cut Yourself a Break! It pays to be an Island Gourmet fan because we’ve got some fabulous specials and discounts for our readers to tear out, right here!

SPECIAL ARUBA OFFERS

Check out the removable coupons on the facing page to enjoy some of Aruba’s finest establishments and coolest tours and activities for less. And, don't forget to pick up our Aruba Nights magazine and peak inside to discover even more valuable coupons for wonderful savings. But that’s not all! Visit our Nights Publications website to find many special coupons, discounts, unique bonuses, and free gifts for great shopping, activities, tours, and casinos, as well as fine food and drinks all over the island.

Visit www.nightspublications.com/aruba/offers. All special offers are also downloadable from our handy Nights App available via Google Play or the App Store or at our website: www.nightspublications.com. 96

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Bring this coupon to Sunset Grille and receive One (1) complimentary Coconut Crust Chocolate Soufflé* with the purchase of a main course. OPEN DAILY 5:30PM – 10:30PM FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL 526 6612 *One complimentary Coconut Crust Chocolate Soufflé per person. Valid until December 31, 2020. This offer is not valid with any other promotion, coupon, discounts, or vouchers. No cash value.

This coupon with admission ticket gives you a Free Pass for your entire vacation.

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Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience and breathtaking scenery at Sunset Grille, an energetic, modern steakhouse. Diners enjoy a variety of steaks, chops, seafood and creative dishes – all among awe-inspiring views.

LOCATED AT HILTON ARUBA CARIBBEAN RESORT & CASINO

Open Daily 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Last tour at 4 PM This coupon with admission ticket gives you a Free Pass for your entire vacation

Located Across from Phoenix & Riu Hotels, Palm Beach, Aruba WWW.THEBUTTERFLYFARM.COM

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1 FREE GLASS OF WINE OPEN DAILY FOR Breakfast 7 am – 11 am Lunch 12 pm – 3 pm Dinner 6 pm – 11 pm BAR HAPPY HOURS 5 pm – 6 pm 10 pm – 11 pm

. .

For reservations call +297 526 7714 Allegra Bistro One coupon is good for single, couples & groups. *Upon presentation of this coupon. Offer is good for main course lunch or dinner. Must be 18 and over. Not valid with other offers.

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SEE OTHER SIDE FOR OFFER

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ISLAND GOURMET & LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

2020 EDITION

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Island Gourmet Aruba 2020  

Discover the best restaurants and bars of Aruba inclusive MAP & Valuable coupons with The Lifestyle Magazine Island Gourmet!”

Island Gourmet Aruba 2020  

Discover the best restaurants and bars of Aruba inclusive MAP & Valuable coupons with The Lifestyle Magazine Island Gourmet!”

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