The best restaurants in Curacao showcase seafood caught along the coastline of this southern Dutch Caribbean island, as well as dishes with Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Indonesian, and African influences. Many of the local dishes are stew-based, but you'll also find fish and meat meals cooked on an open fire or grill.

    The island that serves as home to about 50 nationalities has a wide-ranging culinary scene from food trucks to beachside cafes and elegant restaurants. Include as many of these dining spots as possible when planning your culinary tour of Curacao.

    1

    Restaurant & Café Gouverneur de Rouville

    Eclectic dining with balcony and courtyard seating

    De Gouverneur is housed in a restored 18th-century Dutch mansion overlooking Santa Anna Bay and the harbour in the capital, Willemstad. Among its specialties is Curacao's national dish, the keshi yena, which is spiced chicken meat, olives, pickled onions, and plums wrapped in cheese. Karni stoba, a local stew of marinated beef and bacon simmered in onions, garlic, curry, nutmeg, bell peppers, and tomatoes, is also served here.

    Don't forget to try their Cuban banana soup and poke bowls of shrimp tempura, tuna, and tempeh (Indonesian-style tofu). De Gouverneur has a balcony with a great view of the Handelskade, a popular UNESCO world heritage site, which features a strip of colourful colonial buildings painted in pastel colours.

    Location: De Rouvilleweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +599 9 462 5999

    Map

    photo by CP Hoffman (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Rozendaels

    Tasty Curacao dishes and a romantic atmosphere

    Rozendaels, an open-air bistro that's just a 5-minute walk from Avila Beach Hotel within the trendy Pietermaai district, offers both local and international cuisine. The chef’s Curacao line-up includes karni stoba (traditional beef stew), keshi yena (cheese casserole) using Gouda cheese, Caribbean catch Krioyo style featuring local fish, sate Kriojo grilled chicken with peanut sauce, and Galina di Smor (chicken stew seasoned with local herbs).

    But what really has drawn crowds to this establishment in the past years is its A La Macho, which is marinated prime beef tenderloin served with Latin-style sauce.

    Location: 35 Penstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 518 8806

    Map
    3

    Shelterrock Paradise

    Local Curacao dishes prepared the traditional way

    Head to Shelterrock Paradise on Christoffel Mountain if you're craving for a culinary adventure in Curacao. The mountain is also the site of Curacao's largest national park. The family restaurant hosts Coconut Night, which happens every Friday: beef, goat meat, chicken meat, fish, shrimps, and vegetables are stewed for hours in fresh coconuts set over hot coals. You’re welcome to watch and you can select from an array of local side dishes to go with your order.

    Their standard menu features local 3-course meals, fried or stewed fish, vegetarian dishes (including a meat-less keshi yena casserole), kabritu stoba (goat meat), and their popular rabu di baka or oxtail stew, among others.

    Location: Flip 17, Curaçao

    Open: Monday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Sunday and Tuesday–Thursday from 12 pm to 9 pm, Friday from 12 pm to 10.30 pm, Saturday from 12 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 682 0160

    Map
    4

    Karakter

    Cosy beach restaurant for the whole family

    Karakter is one of the restaurant-bars of the Oasis Coral Estate Beach resort facing the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. This luxury establishment, based in the remote St. Willibrordus village west of Willemstad, prepares Dutch, Caribbean, and European meals.

    Enjoy a healthy breakfast of Arepa di Pampuna (native pumpkin pancakes) with Greek vanilla yoghurt. Or include the traditional Dutch bitterballen meatballs with spring rolls in your lunch order. For dinner, the choices include its best-selling red snapper with fennel risotto, yellowfin tuna with couscous, beef tenderloin, rib eye, and more. Also on the menu is a surprise 3 to 5-course supper, which the chef changes daily.

    Location: Coral Estate, Rif St. Marie, Willibrordus, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 864 2233

    Map
    5

    Caña Bar & Kitchen

    A small bar serving unique dishes and creative cocktails

    Caña Bar & Kitchen, known as Curacao's first gastropub, boasts a seafood-focused, Caribbean-Latin menu. This upscale restaurant is known for its ceviche – a starter of raw fresh fish or shrimp marinated in citrus juices, which is typically garnished. The ribs, which have rum-glazed and anchovy-chilli variants, and fish tacos have also earned positive reviews.

    Caña's bar staff can mix rum, tequila, and pisco-based cocktails to pair with your meals. They can also serve you a highball with their house-made grapefruit-basil, passion fruit-cucumber, and blueberry-ginger sodas. Caña and its sister Caribbean-European restaurant Mosa are found in the World Heritage neighbourhood of Pietermaai.

    Location: 4-6 Lombokstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 6 pm to 12 am, Friday–Saturday 6 pm to 1.30 am (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 691 5429

    Map
    6

    Fish & Joy Bistro & Wine Bar Curaçao

    Order tasty seafood dishes and dine under the stars

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Luxury

    Fish & Joy Bistro & Wine Bar Curaçao is where seafood lovers can feast on crowd favourites and sip from over 50 different wines and champagnes. It’s right across the Avila Beach Hotel and is a merger between Fishalicious restaurant and Joy wine bar.

    Seafood selections include takoyaki crab, sashimi tuna, Scottish salmon, wahoo ceviche, red snapper fillet, and octopus with garden peas hummus. Meat dishes include duck confit, small rib eye burgers, and its Surf and Turf meal, which consists of roasted pork belly and shrimps with coconut and pumpkin. You can go for patio dining or eat indoors. Air-conditioned rooms are available for reservation by small groups.

    Location: 57 Penstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 461 8844

    Map
    7

    Kome

    Enjoy unique desserts in a relaxed atmosphere

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Luxury

    Kome may be a new kid on the block in Curacao, but locals and visitors frequent the place for its a la carte weekend brunches. The brunches feature cured fish and caviar, chicken and waffles, cheeseburgers, eggs benedict, steak and eggs, and more. Kome's Frites Canard – duck confit, which comes with fries using the local funchi (cornmeal mush), poached egg, and velouté – is highly recommended.

    Kome is the only dining establishment in Curacao with an in-house pastry chef. Its guests have the privilege of sampling its signature dessert, the Kome Bolo – a plate with flourless chocolate cake, passionfruit mousse, and local fruits – and house-made ice cream with exotic flavours, such as banana-parchita and guava-hibiscus.

    Location: 6 Johan van Walbeeckplein, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 12 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 465 0413

    Map
    8

    The Wine Cellar

    Elegant, art-filled interiors with beautifully presented dishes

    The Wine Cellar is a top pick for French fine dining in Curacao, across the Pietermaai Cathedral in Punda. This is the same area where the picturesque Handelskade pier is located. You can select from the world's most popular wines to go with your dishes, which are healthily prepared by the Cornelisse family using the freshest herbs and virgin olive oil.

    The restaurant's stuffed mushrooms, roasted rack of lamb (flown in weekly from Holland), Coquilles St. Jacques (sautéed sea scallops), Escargots Alsace, and lobster bisque are some of their guests' favourites. For dessert, you can try their homemade walnut and cashew pie or Crepe Suzette. Dutch chocolates come with your order of Italian coffee. 

    Location: Concordiastraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Monday–Friday from 12 pm to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 6 pm to 10 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +599 9 461 2178

    Map
    9

    Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant

    Luxurious dining by the beach

    At the Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant in Curacao, you can enjoy French and Asian fusion dishes in a private gazebo or have a picnic by the shore. The restaurant is inside the Balinese-inspired Baoase Luxury Resort. It offers 3 to 5-course lunch and dinner options when reserving for 2.

    The resort has unique dinner offerings for everyone apart from the a la carte menu during certain days of the week: Live Music Night with performances from local talents on Tuesdays, Fruits de Mer featuring freshly harvested oysters, mussels, clams, crabs, and lobsters on Thursdays, and Italian Night on Fridays. Meanwhile, its Culinary Barbecue on Saturdays and Asian Night on Sundays present the 3-course menu that includes maki and sashimi dishes.

    Location: 2 Winterswijkstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 461 1799

    Map
    10

    The Pen Restaurant & Terrace

    Open-air dining complete with an ocean view

    The Pen Restaurant & Terrace is part of the Avila Beach Hotel, which is considered Curacao's oldest operational hotel, dating back to the 1780s. The keshi yena casserole is the signature dish of this semi-outdoor restaurant that was also known as the Belle Terrace in the 1970s. Goat stew bitterballen and pumpkin cheese bitterbal are also available.

    You can select from a diverse list for your main dish – mahi-mahi with pineapple salsa and pickled red cabbage, Indonesian-style chicken sate, Argentinian rib eye, Thai coco-curry vegetable, pasta primavera, and more. Guests are treated to live music on Wednesdays and during Saturday BBQ Night from 6 pm.

    Location: Avila Beach Hotel, 130, Penstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 788 1949

    Map
    Geri Mileva | Contributing Writer

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