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Dining on Aruba

No need to dress for dinner. Restaurateurs on Aruba know you're on vacation, so they don't expect you to put on uncomfortable clothes. Chances are you'll be dining outdoors on a patio, perhaps overlooking the sea, and anything more than clean shorts or a colorful sun dress will appear pretentious.

For a small island, Aruba has a lot of places to eat, and most are good; a few are outstanding. The variety of cuisine is extensive, and you can find everything from Argentinian steaks to German Wienerschnitzel to Aruban fried funchi. Chefs are determined to wow you with their talent and become the topic of complimentary chatter around the resort swimming pool.

Unfortunately, if you plan to dine well and often, you will be spending heavily on Aruba. Almost everything in the restaurants' kitchens is imported, and the cost is passed on to guests.

Some restaurants add a 10% to 15% service charge to your bill, so always review the charges before paying. The service charge is typically divided among all the employees of the restaurant, including the cooks, bus boys, and front-desk personnel. If you with to reward your server with an extra tip, add it to your credit slip or hand cash directly to your waitress or waiter. An additional 5% seems right, if a service charge is automatically added. Otherwise, leave the usual 15% to 20% tip.

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