I recollect the time that we were “baby-mooning” in Aruba and we went searching for a restaurant where we could have a romantic dinner. We were directed there by a fellow tourist, who encouraged us to make reservations for 15 minutes before sunset. What an awesome dinner. Normally, I’m a stickler for good food, but good food with a romantic sunset, right on the beach is unbeatable. Imagine a romantic table for two on the beach with unobtrusive service followed by a gorgeous sunset with wine and cocktails. Then as the last drop of sunlight dances on the ocean, your first course comes out. The carpaccio was a bit saucy, so ask for no dressing and instead request olive oil and balsamic; it will be much better. The grilled mahi mahi was not only fresh, but also cooked to perfection: moist, smokey, and tender. The red snapper with shrimp was also very good, but I thought the sauce was a bit heavy (cream based). Having said this, I think most people would consider it a very, very tasty dish. The dessert was magnificent: We got the grand dessert, which is a compilation of five smaller desserts as I recollect; absolutely heavenly. The meal is on the bit expensive side, but well worth it by any measure.

Another wonderful restaurant was the Driftwood, which is more of a local place. There the fish soup was delightful and the grilled barracuda was something very special. The waiter tried to tell me that it is a fishy fish, but it really isn’t. Thank goodness we got the garlic sauce on the side. The red snapper was also very fresh and delightful. The good news about Driftwood is that it was very reasonably priced.

Fishes & More restaurant is a good deal for good food. The lobster there was actually fresh and cooked to perfection and the red snapper was also grilled to perfection. The fish soup there was excellent too, but the Apple Strudel was to die for. Wow!

BTW, there was a cigar shop in the same mall where the Fishes & More restaurant is located; don’t buy cigars there; they sell fake cubans.

If you want cigars in Aruba, the only place to go is the Cigar Emporium in the Renaissance Mall in Oranjestaad. We had the Montecristo #2 and the R&J Short Churchill and both seemed to be authentic Cubans.

The Palms at the Hyatt is garbage and very expensive. Taste of Belgium was very, very mediocre, but interesting beers could be had there. Y.H. Lee, a Chinese restaurant, was what we would call very good mid-west American Chinese, so terrible, in a word. The lobster was frozen and expensive!

The snorkeling was not as good as Hawaii or the Grand Cayman Islands, but it was decent. Baby beach is too far off the beaten path and not worth going once you get there, unlike the Fish Bowl in Hawaii, which was a pain in the butt to get to but excellent snorkeling once you get there. Malmok reef was decent and fairly conveniently located, but you have to take your own beach chairs and towels, drinks and snacks. No bathroom nearby either.

Net overall, I would strongly recommend Aruba as a vacation destination.

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