This “One Happy Island” made for very happy bellies. The Caribbean is not generally known as a food destination, but that is not true of Aruba. During my research, I found that almost every restaurant recommendation was for upscale restaurants. When we travel we rarely seek out fine dining. While we are avid foodies at home, we prefer street food and supermarket finds to save time and money when we are in new destinations. On this trip we did some research ahead of time and also looked for recommendations from locals. A few places stood out.
The Flying Fishbone is worth reserving in advance, furthermore far enough in advance to secure a table in the water. These reservations are only available for 5pm sittings, but that means that you will watch the sun set as you dine, and when they say “in the water”, they really mean it! We were surprised to find that we had to wade into knee deep water and hang our shoes on the nearby rack before we dined.
The delicious food matched the beautiful setting. We both had excellent seafood dishes, but for me, the highlights of most meals are the cocktails and desserts. Their cocktail menu isn’t published online, but there were many drinks to choose from. While we waited to be seated, Jeff and I both ordered different tropical drinks at the bar, but the star of the show was The Flying Fishbone martini which we had later in the meal. We saw several being delivered to surrounding tables and had to inquire about it. It looked like a science experiment and a cocktail in one! It turns out the blue bowl on the bottom is colored water and ice to keep the green fruity martini chilled, but the overall effect was awesome. The restaurant also offers one of my favorite dessert options: a little bit of everything. I love sweets, so it’s often hard for me to decide which dessert to order. This restaurant offers “Dessert Flying Fishbone” with small portions of most of the things on the dessert menu. It was a winner. So much so that I don’t even have a picture to share.
It would be wrong of me to not write about the service here. It wasn’t overbearing or stuffy, but our every need was thought about. There were shoe racks by each table, a foot washing station on the way out, and a pretty table as you entered offering complimentary bug spray. We didn’t find this to be warranted, but I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and presentation of each gesture. This was one of our most memorable dinner dates anywhere in the world.
Our other memorable stand-out was completely different. At Zeerovers you order the catch of the day by weight from a list of local fish and shrimp by the window. We felt pretty out of our depth in this process and the staff was helpful in guiding us to the type and amount we should order. After you order, they clean and fry the fish while you stake out a table and plop your number down so they can find you. Drinks have to be ordered at a different part of the restaurant, so as I stalked the tables closest to the water, Jeff and the boys picked up some local drinks at the bar. We were lucky enough to secure a table out on their dock where we watched the huge tarpaulins swimming under our feet. We deheaded and peeled a pound of hot, seasoned shrimp, a fillet of the catch of the day, some cornbread, and loads of fries. As we finished our food, we threw the scraps into the water to watch the tarpaulins feast. When you go to Zeerovers be prepared for super fresh local seafood, picnic tables and paper plates, and be sure to bring cash. No credit cards are accepted here. No fuss, no nonsense, fun, local grub.