11 of the Best Family Restaurants in Aruba
My very popular (and helpful) post on the best family restaurants in Aruba has been updated as of September 2018 after yet another successful family vacation to One Happy Island.
There are many reasons why Aruba is a perfect spot for a family Caribbean vacation. First, the island’s location in the southernmost stretches of the Caribbean makes it almost immune to hurricanes. Second, the beach options are nearly endless. When we’re in Aruba, we normally rent a car, pile the family in each morning, and head out to a different beach. Third, there’s a fair bit of adventure for you adrenaline junkies. Fourth – and in our opinion most import – the food.
In most Caribbean hot spots, the dining options are limited to bland buffets at all-inclusive resorts. Even those a-la-carte options where you have to get up early to wait in line two hours for a reservation aren’t worth the price of a Big-Mac. Not so in Aruba. In fact, with so many restaurants on an island that’s safe and easy to get around on, I’d suggest skipping the all-inclusive options and booking a traditional hotel.
Aruba’s cuisine can best be described as a melting pot with international influences from Latin America, Holland, and the Caribbean. With so many flavors and options, there’s truly something for everyone whether you want an all-you-can Brazilian steakhouse, seafood, or traditional German fare. While just about all of the best restaurants in Aruba are family friendly, here are some of my favorite family restaurants in Aruba.
Linda’s Dutch Pancakes
Treat the family to authentic Dutch pancakes at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes located near the High Rise Hotel Zone. Here, the pancakes resemble something closer to a crepe than traditional American pancakes and are bigger than your head. Try something sweet like the walnut, brie, and honey; savory like the ham, gouda, and mushroom; or a combo of both like the bacon and apple. To eat, roll, top with syrup, and cut with your knife and fork.
Eduardo’s Beach Shack
For a faster, healthier option, head over to Eduardo’s Beach Shack on Palm Beach with plenty of vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options like acai bowls, pitaya bowls, and smoothies. The best part? It’s located right on the beach. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Eduardo’s Beach Shack also makes for a healthy mid-afternoon snack.
We stayed at Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club and loved it. Some of the beach resort highlights include a lazy river, a Nintendo Wii lounge, poolside ping-pong tables, and a water slide at the Natural Pool. It’s also right around the corner from Hadicurari Beach for older kids looking to learn how to windsurf or kitesurf. Added bonus, there are plenty of suite options for the whole family to sprawl out in. For additional family-friendly hotels in Aruba, check out reviews on TripAdvisor.
It’s tempting to not want to leave the resort for lunch. The convenience of overpriced burgers and fries for the little ones is right there. Scott’s Brats on Palm Beach is fast and budget-friendly with options like Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian sausage, and grilled cheese sandwiches. They also serve breakfast (complete with Bloody Mary bar). Like Eduardo’s, Scott’s Brats is one of many Aruba restaurants on the beach on Palm Beach.
Buccaneer Restaurant in Palm Beach has been a favorite Aruba seafood restaurant since 1980. Not only does the kitchen cook up unique and fresh seafood dishes for Mom and Dad to enjoy, but the restaurant also boasts a 5,000-gallon aquarium. Call ahead to reserve an aquarium side seat to teach the kids a lesson on sea to plate dining.
For a real food adventure, head over to Zeerovers for lunch. It’s out of the way location in Savaneta makes it a great lunch stop after spending the morning on Baby Beach. The no-frills restaurant has two options – shrimp and catch of the day. Order family style and grab a table overlooking the ocean (bonus points if you can score a table on the pier). The fish is so fresh, you can witness fishermen delivering it. This joint is cash only so plan accordingly.
The West Deck
Families can embrace al fresco dining and the best of island life at The West Deck in Oranjestad. My suggestion is to skip the entrees and eat family style by ordering as many appetizers as you think your family can handle. Local favorites like fried funchi, polenta with melted Dutch cheese, and Keeshi Yena (a mound of shredded chicken topped with prunes, spices, cashews, and gouda cheese), offer a taste of authentic Aruba cuisine. The outdoor space offers plenty of room for kids to explore while parents enjoy the sunset and a cocktail.
Aruba is known for steakhouses as much as it is for seafood. El Gaucho in Oranjestad tops the list when it comes to family-friendly steak joints. The restaurant has a kids’ menu and a kids’ room complete with games to keep them occupied. For mom and dad, they have an extensive menu of beer, wine, and spirits.
Aruba also makes for a great adult only escape. Here are my picks for top adult only resorts in Aruba.
The Che Bar in Palm Beach offers a no-frills, yet still tasty steak option. The sidewalk kitchen cooks up Argentina asados that still make my mouth water. Order of few Parrillados for the table (blood sausage, chorizo, short rib, steak, and chicken), and I guarantee no one will go hungry. In fact, the food is so good and so cheap, you might go back tomorrow night.
Smokey Joe’s offers a little something for everyone with options ranging from Argentina grass-fed steaks to open-fire rotisserie-grilled chicken and baby-back ribs. However, my favorite thing to order at Smokey Joe’s is the seafood. Unlike many seafood restaurants on island that import seafood from all over the world, Smokey Joe’s only serves what’s caught fresh in local waters.
Bavaria is an example of one of the many European influenced restaurants in Aruba. I included it over many of the others as Bavaria falls more towards the casual side than say A Taste of Belgium. Choose from classics like currywurst, wiener schnitzel, and sauerbraten. They also have a beer menu with over a hundred different selections.
The Local Store
The Local Store is new to this list. Their website may say they serve the best wings in Aruba, but I’d argue these are some of the best and most creative I’ve had period. Try the Curry Ranch or Dude Latino and send me a thank you note. The burgers also rank up there on the creativity factor. We split the Rum Shop, which came heaping with Swiss cheese, garlic shrimp, pickled red onion, and Siracha mayo. What doesn’t say family restaurants in Aruba like burgers and wings? The Local Store has a respectable craft beer list if mom and dad are tired of Balashi.