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Curaçao

5 Popular Curacao Restaurants

Curacao floating market
Curacao's floating market is popular with tourists and restaurants alike. © Curaçao Tourist Board
Though small, Curaçao offers the kind of cultural diversity that is commonplace in numerous larger Caribbean islands. This cultural plurality is evident on the culinary scene.

Curaçao offers a large selection of restaurants, presenting a wide variety of international as well as local cuisine.

Below, we explore five of the best restaurants on this small Caribbean isle.

1. Punda's Wine Cellar


Established for more than 30 years, Punda's Wine Cellar is synonymous with fine French dining and is regarded as one of island's most famous spots for great dining experiences.

Close to the center of town, this restaurant boasts an extensive wine list and an old-fashioned European ambience. Patrons Nico and Angela Cornelisse present well-done dishes using lobster, red snapper and shrimp as well as cuts of imported beef, lamb and venison. Such dishes are then paired with an impressive wine list.

Popular choices include their Lobster Salad and Sole Meunière in butter-and-herb sauce, salmon and U.S. beef tenderloin with goat cheese sauce.

Reservations are required.

Location: Intersection of Ooststraat and Concordiastraat, Willemstad

2. Belle Terrace


The Belle Terrace is an open-air restaurant in a 200-year-old mansion overlooking the sea.

With a peaceful setting-under a thatched roof dotted with fairy lights and a relaxed atmosphere, the restaurant features Scandinavian, Continental, and local cuisine with specialties such as pickled herring and smoked salmon, along with the chef's weekly special, grilled, poached, or meunière.

Specially themed Wednesday nights often offer a range of authentic Curaçao dishes. On Saturday night, there is a mixed grill and a serve-yourself salad bar, all accompanied by entertainment courtesy of a live steel band. Reservations are required.

3. Bistro Le Clochard


Locked away in the ramparts of Rif Fort, at the gateway to the harbor, the appealing atmosphere begins at the entrance, marked with a canopy leading to a series of rooms, each built under the vaulting of the old Dutch fort.

Bistro Le Clochard is a formal restaurant featuring several seating options, including a glassed-in dining room near the entrance and an outdoor terrace. The Bistro is also well known for its backdrop of stunning ocean views from the historic setting of Baron Krayenhoff's rugged fortress.

They are particularly well known for their beef dishes; the tenderloin with mushrooms in a cream sauce is a great example. The signature dish is La Potence, a swinging, red-hot metal ball covered with bits of sizzling tenderloin, served with various dipping sauces.

The Swiss chef and patron fuses exquisite European flavors with local island produce to create classical dishes including a catch of the day that always comes with a lemon-butter sauce.

Loction: Rif Fort, on the Otrobanda side of the pontoon bridge

4. Blues


The Blues allows visitors to dine on a pier jutting far out from the beachfront of the Avila Hotel. This creates a rather calm atmosphere as water ripples beneath the seats.

Visitors can help themselves to platters of fresh seafood and hearty appetites. Additional dishes include homemade wild-mushroom ravioli or chargrilled swordfish filet with a garlic-butter crust. The seafood special is made from three different types of fish, depending on the catch of the day.

Apart from the main menu choices, visitors often rave about the great desserts, including the all-time favorite, a lemon panna cotta. Reservations are required.

5. Golden Star


Golden Star does not offer the typical formal, fine dining setting, but a more laid back, tropical style atmosphere. In fact, the restaurant is almost synonymous with a Caribbean roadside diner.

Visitors can purchase tasty Antillean dishes from bestia chiki (goat meat stew) and bakijauw (salted cod) to concomber stoba (stewed meat and spiny cucumbers). All meals are served with a side order of funchi, a cornmeal polenta. No reservations required.

Location: At Dr Hugenholtzweg and Dr Maalweg, southeast of Willemstad

Prices


At this point, it must be pointed out that some of the fine dining establishments on the island tend to be exquisite and also pricey. The island's up-scale restaurants may charge anywhere from about $20 USD to $60 USD for the main course. Finally, note that most Curacao Island restaurants add a 10 percent service charge besides the 9 percent government sales tax.

Curaçao has many different styles of cuisines with culinary influences from around the world that vacationers are sure to find tasty dishes to satisfy their particular tastes. All in all, a vacation in Curaçao will not only allow access to world-class beaches and invigorating outdoor adventure, but tantalizing restaurants as well.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020
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