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Kid-Cool Cuisine by Susan Campbell It can be difficult while on holiday to find suitable dining establishments where everyone in the family is well accommodated, but Aruba has plenty of spots where you and your children will enjoy both the cuisine and the experience!

Funny how children put all kinds of ined­ ible things into their mouths, yet when it comes to eating real food they can be summarily un­ adventurous. But there’s no need to settle for tried-and-true fast-food outlets when Aruba has such an eclectic variety of fun and friendly restaurants perfect for the entire family. We’ve done the legwork, have scoped out the scene, and have found the locations that your children will enjoy as much as you. Bingo! Cafe & Restaurant

This authentic Dutch bar/café has a huge terrace and is a favorite with locals for their large portions at modest prices. Children will enjoy the burgers and curly fries and a wide range of simple and specialty sandwiches, while adults will appreciate the upscale appetizers and creative main courses.

Burgers & Burgers

This indoor/outdoor spot boasts two dif­ ferent specialties under one roof. The Burgers & Burgers menu is available as of 11 a.m., with beef, chicken, turkey, and even vegetarian spe­ cialty burger creations. They also serve sand­ wiches, wraps, and melts, and offer a separate children’s menu as well. New York-style bagels are the other option here, along with breakfast served all day until 5 p.m. The bagel menu in­ cludes other American offerings like deli sand­ wiches and a special children’s section. Café Rembrandt

This easy-going, casual Dutch-style café serves international fare for adults and has a pirate-themed children’s menu of meat, fish, and pasta that comes with a special placemat for coloring. There’s also a treasure hunt prize if you order the kid’s ice cream! Café the Plaza

A hip and cosmopolitan indoor/outdoor café right in Renaissance Marketplace, Café the Plaza is always lively, with green spaces nearby where fidgety youngsters can stretch their legs. Beyond full-course meals there are plenty of casual options like burgers, sandwiches, and pasta that children will love including a special kid’s ice cream for dessert. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. E 44

Top photo by Svetlana Kataeva. Bottom photo by Jill Chen. Facing page photo by Noam Armonn

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Giorgio’s Ristorante Italiano

Casa Tua

This triumvirate of dining spots is fa­ mous for its thin-crust, brick-oven pizza, which is offered at all three locations. Casa Tua Mediterranée is situated on the top floor of the new Palm Beach Plaza right beside a cool, fun arcade for the kids; Casa Tua Barcelona is in downtown Oranjestad with Spanish-style tapas and cuisine; and the original Casa Tua Pizzeria is on the main Palm Beach drag. They are all lively and casual, and you know you can’t go wrong with kids and pizza!

You can’t go wrong with pasta and pizza when dealing with young eaters, and there are many such options at Giorgio’s. Parents, mean­ while, can partake of the more gourmand-style Mediterranean specialties. Everything is served in a lovely open-air ambience looking out at picture-perfect sunset views and one of the widest beaches on the island. Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant

This romantic surfside retreat also wel­ comes families with specialty sandwiches, wraps, and quesadillas, and some pasta dishes, too. Eve­ry Thursday is Italian Night when adults can go over the top with first-rate Mediterranean cuisine while the kids get to build their own pizzas! MooMba Beach

Cuba’s Cookin’

Just opened in gorgeous new digs that feature indoor and outdoor eating in the Renaissance Marketplace, Cuba’s Cookin’ has a special children’s menu that is bound to please, plus authentic Cuban delights like ropa vieja and the best mojitos in town for the adults to enjoy. But it’s the rollicking live music that really brings the whole family together here for a very special evening out.

Right on the beach with a small children’s playground on-site, MooMba has all kinds of finger foods, sandwiches, and wraps alongside the more upscale main-course choices. They also have a special menu for young diners that they can color in while waiting for their food. And the Sunday night all-you-can-eat barbecue is ideal for ravenous teens and adults alike! E

Gilligan’s Beachside Grill & Bar

This poolside and beachfront bar/restau­ rant is famous for its crazy cocktails for adults and a fabulous selection of fountain floats, malts, and shakes for the young and young at heart. They offer cosmopolitan casual cuisine for adults and separate children’s menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 46

Left photo by Hugh Stoneian. Right photo by Ruth Wilson. Bottom photo by Aldo Murillo


Señor Frog’s

Though a rousing party spot for young adults as the night goes on, Señor Frog’s is a family­-friendly spot for an early dinner and dur­ ing the day with a special children’s menu featur­ ing easygoing fare like mac ‘n’ cheese, corn dogs, spaghetti, and more. Children will love all the oversized frog characters lounging throughout and adults will adore the designer drinks! Sole Mare Ristorante

This traditional family restaurant serves home-cooked Italian food, just like Mama used to make and sure to please the bambinos. This place has one of the most extensive kids’ menus on the island with sure-fire classics like spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, mozzarella sticks, and many others. Take-out service is another option here for those evenings when you and the kids would rather keep things low-key. Texas de Brazil

Even if your children aren’t ardent carni­ vores, there’s still plenty to enjoy at this allyou-can-eat meat extravaganza, with tableside service by gaucho-style carvers. Their massive salad bars and heaps of delectable extras are sure to delight kids and non-meat eaters alike, and the reduced all-inclusive price for chil­ dren depends on their age and compensates for smaller appetites.

The Dutch Pancakehouse

Don’t assume you know your pancakes until you’ve tried them Dutch-style! This cute indoor/outdoor eatery boasts 75 types of sweet and savory thin, crepe-like pancakes, and often the filling is baked right into the batter! There is also a special children’s menu and their poffertjes (mini pancakes) come in dozens of delicious varieties. Tropic Yogurt

Open for breakfast and lunch, this cute indoor/outdoor eatery has much more than yogurt. Cool breakfast specialties like chocolatebanana-stuffed French toast is sure to be a hit with the kids, and adults will love the more up­scale entrées like pina colada soufflé pancakes. They also have scads of healthy fresh-fruit smooth­ ies, all prepared without any sugary syrups. Waka Waka

Your kids probably know the song, maybe even the dance that goes with it, now they can have fun at the restaurant of the same name. This new and fun spot calls itself a cantina and is run by the same people behind ABC Tours. The safari theme is carried throughout the décor and menu. They call it adventurous food, but there is still plenty to please the possibly finicky explorers in your party. K

See the listings on pages 74 to 79 for locations and telephone numbers.

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Top photo by Bigstock. Bottom photo by iStockphoto


Aruba's kid-cool cuisine, Island Gourmet Magazine, by Sue Campbell