Oranjestad, Aruba

Photo: The Kitchen Table

You miss a lot of things right now. You miss your extended family, your friends, and even your coworkers. You miss going to the beach, the park, and, unexpectedly, the gym. You miss being able to get on an airplane or a train to go away for the weekend. There’s one thing you seem to miss more than anything else, though. It’s restaurants. You can’t wait to peruse a menu, let someone else cook, and relax during a long meal again.

The Kitchen Table has been on your wish list for a while. You haven’t gotten there yet because it’s in Oranjestad. Yes, it’s in the capital of Aruba. A vacation that includes sunshine, white-sand beaches, and a colorful Dutch-colonial city sounds amazing. The addition of an eight-course dinner would elevate it to a heavenly trip.

The restaurant is at Paradise Beach Villas, apartment-style rentals just steps from popular Eagle Beach. The chef, an Aruban, trained at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before returning home to merge his cooking skills with Caribbean flavors. He now takes the island’s traditional dishes, deconstructs them, and then creatively reinvents them. His dishes make the Kitchen Table one of Aruba’s most exciting restaurants.

The meal begins with sparkling wine and an ocean view from the deck as the sun sets. It’s time to break the ice with the other guests; there are only 16 of you each evening. Then you move into the kitchen/salon where a long table is set with bright runners and gold chargers. Seafood-focused dishes, along with explanations from the chef, start rolling out of the kitchen. Aruban crab cakes. Caribbean corn chowder. Salt-cured tuna. Jerked cobia. Curry lamb. Wines bring out the floral and herbal notes in the dishes. While desserts have sweet and savory (think sweet potato) components. Just imagining this delicious meal is making you drool. Hopefully, the Kitchen Table will save a seat for you.

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