Dining on Bonaire

Bonaire has a plethora of great restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. It’s surprising that an island of 18,000 people has so many great choices, but the options are indeed staggering. The influences of many countries and cultures bring together a lovely blend of flavors and cuisines to suit all tastes. Most restaurants offer moderately priced menus making for an affordable dining experience. With seaside settings, local establishments, and gourmet menus there is something for everyone.

IMG_4202_600x600An Indonesian influence may be found in many menus featuring lovely noodle dishes such as Nasi Goreng. This Indonesian delight is flavored with peanuts and spices and sauces. Sate is a local favorite appearing on most menus featuring a tangy peanut or pinda sauce. A local favorite is Mati’s Place located next to Flamingo TV. This daytime lunch spot serves the best saté and Roti, a burrito like curry dish.

A South American influence may be found in the sauces used to enhance Argentinean steak and local fish dishes. Chimichurri sauce is a lovely blend of garlic, parsley, salt and olive oil creating a flavor-enhancing sauce.  Fried yucca is another starchy side found on local menus. One of the best restaurants for Columbian fare Is Mi Banana. Not to miss is their signature dessert, Tres Leche.

Tourists and locals alike flock to smaller establishments for some local flavor. Stoba is a name given to a stew type dish which can feature chicken (galina), or beef (carne/baka). Soups or sopi are made with chicken and fish (pisca). Funchi is almost always served as a side particularly with fish or yambo (okra). A lovely dish is Bonchi Cora or red beans. It is mashed and sweetened and served as a starchy side. Rose Inn in the old town of Rincon has arguably the best local menu. The kabrito (goat) stoba is one of the best on island. The charming garden setting is cooling and relaxing. Enjoy a Polar or Amstel Bright while listening to local music.

bonaire_diningDuring the holidays the Dutch influence is seen with the arrival of several food items at the stores and in local menus. Around New Year’s Eve, Dutch houses smell of piping hot oil deep fryers in which Oliebollen and appelflappen and are prepared. These yeast dough balls, filled with dried fruits, pieces of apple and raisins are served with powdered sugar. Many grocery stores sell fresh Oliebollen during the holidays.

Bonaire is BBQ rib heaven. There are several places vying for the attention of the rib lover. Top spot goes to Bobbejan’s, a weekend BBQ spot owned by a friendly Dutch couple. The ribs served with rice, fries and cold slaw are simply delicious. The special sauce blend fires up your taste buds. Local fresh fish such as Wahoo or Dradu (Mahi Mahi)  can be found on the menu. Fries and chicken are served with the house peanut sauce. Take out or eat in, this one of the most popular dining spots on weekends.

IMG_4214_600x600Gourmet dining can be found at a number of places.  Capriccio’s, owned and operated by Andrea and Lola, a lovely Italian couple, created a tantalizing and creative menu featuring homemade pastas, sauces, and desserts. Their wine list is staggering representing one of the largest collections in the Caribbean. Each meal begins with a complimentary Mimosa and home-made crusty breads and Foccacia. Savor some traditional and newly inspired Italian dishes including a house favorite, the lobster fettuccine. The homemade gelato is creamy and decadent.

One of the best values on island may be found at Mona Lisa. This restaurant features a popular bar and a well established dining spot in sleepy Kralendijk. Mona Lisa serves a bar hap (special menu). For USD $18.00, the friendly servers present you with crusty bread and a sun-dried tomato tapenade as well as garlic butter. From the bar hap menu you may choose from a fresh fish entrée, a meat entrée, or a sate. Each meal is accompanied by a fresh veggie mélange and creamy au gratin potatoes. This is a casual setting with a gourmet appeal. Try one of the house-made desserts to end a perfect meal.

IMG_4407_600x600All clients of Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations are offered complimentary Concierge Services, so email ann@bonairecaribbean.com or call to make your dinner reservations.

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