There are a few hundred restaurants on Aruba, from elegant eateries to seafront shacks, so you're bound to find something to tantalize your taste buds. You can sample a wide range of cuisines—Italian, French, Argentine, Asian, and Cuban, to name a few—reflecting Aruba's extensive blend of cultures. Chefs have to be creative on this tiny island because of the limited number of locally grown
ingredients: maripampoen (a vegetable that's often stewed with meat and potatoes), hierba di hole (a sweet-spicy herb used in fish soup), and shimarucu (a fruit similar to the cherry) are among the few. Hot sauce made from local Madame Janette peppers is on every table, and the seafood du jour is always a good choice.
Although most resorts offer better-than-average dining, don't be afraid to try one of the many excellent independent places. Ask locals about their favorite spots; some of the lesser-known restaurants offer food that's reasonably priced and definitely worth sampling.
Most restaurants on the western side of the island are along Palm Beach or in downtown Oranjestad, both easily accessible by taxi or bus. If you're heading to a restaurant in Oranjestad for dinner, leave about 15 minutes earlier than you think you should; in-town traffic can get ugly once beach hours are over. Some restaurants in Savaneta (Flying Fishbone) and San Nicolas (Charlie's Restaurant & Bar) are worth the trip; a car is the best way to get there. Breakfast lovers are in luck. For quantity, check out the buffets at the Hyatt, Marriott, or Westin Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino resorts, or local joints such as DeliFrance.