While the Palm Beach area of Aruba has grown to be an epicenter of activity on the island, downtown Oranjestad, the capitol of Aruba and its largest city, remains a bustling seaport. The harbor area is a glorious example of living, breathing history. Downtown is a celebration for the eyes as you can drink in the rich, vibrant Caribbean colors of the charming architecture.
Wilhelminastraat, a half-mile stretch in Oranjestad, is home to a myriad of culinary offerings—from fine dining and intimate chef’s-table concepts to creole and ethnic food. Here is a quick taste of restaurants on Wilhelminastraat and what to expect.
Carte Blanche is ideal for the culinary adventurer. Each evening, this exclusive chef’s-table experience can accommodate no more than 14 adults (18+ only), who will watch the master chef create and serve a five-course meal perfectly paired with exquisite wine. (Certain allergy restrictions can be accommodated upon early notice. See the reservation page on their website for more details.)
Open: Tuesday – Saturday, from 7 pm
Brought to you by the culinary geniuses behind Carte Blanche, Wilhelmina Restaurant is Carte Blanche’s slightly more structured big sister. Extremely classy yet completely unpretentious, Wilhelmina’s menu is fit for the queen—Queen Wilhelmina, that is. Reservations are highly recommended (especially for groups) since space is limited; but the bar is open to anyone who wishes to be offered exceptional service and excellent food in an inviting ambiance.
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 6 pm – 10 pm
From the creative culinary mind of Chef Dennis, chef-owner of fine-dining restaurants Carte Blanche and Wilhelmina, comes Olivia—spotlighting Mediterranean cuisine and healthy living. Located adjacent to its sister restaurants, Olivia is housed in a historic building and offers chic open-air dining in the heart of the Wilhelmina historic district.
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 6pm – 11pm
Classic Cantonese cuisine takes center stage at this popular Chinese restaurant that’s a go-to for locals as well.
Open: Monday – Sunday, 11 am – 10 pm
Taste My Aruba
This local family-owned restaurant recently moved into the downtown historic district on Wilhelminastraat. Beautiful décor blends historic character with a chic and on-trend vibe, including a charming open-air courtyard. The menu highlights fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and changes based on what’s fresh and in season.
Open: Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
This Argentinian steakhouse has been a meat-lover’s favorite since 1977. Step inside and you’re instantly transported from Aruba to the heart of South America, where grass-fed beef is king, craftsmen prefer working with wood, and live guitar music is the favorite beat. El Gaucho is a lively, family-friendly restaurant with an extensive wine list and a seasoned staff.
Open: Monday – Saturday, 11:30 am – 11 pm
Bits & Cheeses
This European-style deli and boutique restaurant offers a variety of imported meats and cheeses, fresh breads and sandwiches, charcuterie, and a carefully curated wine list. Breakfast is also served.
Open: Tuesday – Friday, 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday, 9 am to 10 pm
Bistro de Suikertuin
This quaint café is located in another one of downtown’s historic gems. Serving a Euro-style breakfast, bistro sandwiches and soups, and a full dinner menu, guests can enjoy pleasant inside dining or alfresco dining in the courtyard garden.
Open: Monday – Friday, 11 am – 10 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 10 pm
What can we say about Que Pasa? What’s up? This eatery (a member of the Aruba Wine & Dine family) features an eclectic mix of continental-inspired cuisine set in a colorful ambiance highlighted by local art.
Open: Kitchen open daily from 4 pm to 11 pm, bar till midnight.
Just upstairs from Que Pasa, there is a lovely, second-story eatery that celebrates the senses in a unique, memorable way. Chef-owner Roy mingles with guests in a chef’s-table setting, serving a multi-course menu to just a few guests each night. Check website for reservations.
Open: Monday – Friday, 7 pm – bedtime
Restaurant Anno 1877
Located in a historic 18th-century building on Wilhelminastraat in downtown Oranjestad, Restaurant Anno 1877 features an innovative menu that combines classic French cooking with modern updates and seasonal offerings. Diners can enjoy a unique selection of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts while relaxing in the main dining room boasting original architectural details.
Open: Wednesday – Sunday, 5 pm – 11 pm
Delimar Peruvian Restaurant
Authentic Peruvian cuisine takes center stage here, with guests enjoying traditional dishes including ceviche, a variety of saltados, fresh seafood, and side dishes like fried yuca, plantains, and Peruvian beans.
Open: Monday – Saturday, 11:30 am – 9 pm
Yemanja Woodfire Grill
Owned and run by Chef Joyce de Cuba-Hüsken, Yemanja is one of the hottest dinner experiences on the island. In addition to her signature meats cooked on a wood-fired grill, the chef is well known for her colorful, creative vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Open: Monday – Saturday, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm