Aruba Restaurants

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Our Cat Gasper Admiring Artwork of His "Homeland" Aruba

Our Story...

Jerry and I have fallen in love with Aruba's Gasparito Restaurant & Art Gallery. On our first visit to the island in 1997 we had dinner here since it was highly recommended by Fodor's Travel Guidebook. Now many years later, Gasparito is still on their list & our most favorite restaurant in the world. We love this place so much we have even named one of our cats- Gasparito. Here he is admiring his "homeland" in two Aruban themed local pieces purchased at Gasparito. No matter where you choose dine in Aruba, there is something for each budget and tastes.

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Do you need advance dinner reservations?

As far as restaurant reservations go, time is personal preference. We absolutely love the beach & it is hard to tear ourselves away at the end of the day. We usually get up to our hotel room just in time for sunset, unless we have a few drinks for happy hour. Some folks like to make reservations for the Flying Fishbone so they can see the sunset. I love it just as much after dark with the breeze through the palms & the clouds, moon & stars overhead. Most of our reservations end up being 8:00 pm or 7:30 pm depending on the time of the year.

When to make your advance dinner reservations?

When I first started following the Aruba bulletin boards about 1196, someone told me if you want to eat where you want, when you want, on the night you want, make your reservations in advance. Many folks I know will "take their chances" for the first night's dinner & call either the day of arrival or the next day for reservations for the week. Depending on which hotel you are staying at, the Concierge should be able to make the reservations for you.

Best Romantic Restaurant for a special occasion?

The Flying Fishbone is literally on the beach. Their food is very good & expensive, but with a nice bottle of wine at sunset a setting for the ultimate in ambiance. Other romantic choices for outdoor dining are Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt, Gasparito Restaurant & Art Gallery, Azull at the Westin or Papiamento Restaurant (this restaurant was featured on ABC TV's "The Bachelor").

How much should I tip?

From the late Aruban Restaurateur, Roger Coster, speaking of some of his establishments...

"Our company writes in all our menus:
The 15% Service Charge added to your bill is a gratuity divided among our kitchen & service staff according to a point system & is part of their salary. However please fell free to tip where individual service has been excellent.

The restaurants & hotels hold a percentage of the 15% to cover breakage - In addition the service charge is taxed as being a part of the salary. If the service is good I never fail to leave an additional 5 to 10% to insure promptness ( T.I.P. ) 

If service is bad I do not leave one penny more. 

We have instructed our staff not to give a verbal answer in regards to the TIP question but just bring the menu back to the guest. 

In Miami Beach with its large clientele of Europeans & Latins the 15% has become customary. 

I believe that our menu statement reflects with integrity the truth about the 15%." 

Another explanation from the Aruba Tourism Authority:

"The hotel employees do pool their tips & get this in their pay Cheques. If you decide to add some more, s/he gets it at the end of his/her shift that same day. But some of the independent restaurants do it differently. "Service Charge" does not necessarily always mean that the server gets this. I was shocked, I am sure you will be too. This goes to the back staff (cook, dishwasher, etc). Breakage & Insurance: this is a very ludicrous. I have not patronized none of these establishments."

Some restaurants do not add the service charge & allow you to tip as you feel best. In all of our trips we have always left an additional amount to the server if we felt that the service warranted it (which 9 out of 10 times it does). It is a personal choice, many people feel that what they [the employees] get is what they get, if it has to be split, so be it.

Tipping is not required for taxis, but we also tip an additional amount. For example, $18 ride from the airport to the hotel for our luggage & us, we will usually pay the taxi driver that plus a dollar per bag & additional for our dive gear. The absolute most we have spent in a week of taxi fares was probably about $120. My husband & I feel this is reasonable considering a weekly car rental would cost us at least $180. This does not even take into consideration that we would then be responsible for theft or damage to the car, have to worry about parking & NOT GETTING LOST. To us it is worth every penny.

It is customary to tip the porters an average of 50 cents USD per bag, & all other gratuities are left to the guest's discretion.

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