This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 16 February 2024

Just a simple meal, or would you rather have a fancy dinner? What about a meal in a former horse stable? Curaçao has many great restaurants. These are the best and loveliest restaurants in Curaçao, a.k.a. your foodie guide to Curaçao. Enjoy!

Restaurants on Curaçao: a bit Dutch, but tasty

I don’t think I have ever seen as much carpaccio on restaurant menus as on Curaçao. Dutch influences are very present in the restaurant offers. There is even a Douwe Egberts café, and the name Koffie Kaatje doesn’t sound particularly tropical either (but the coffee is good, and that’s all that matters). Fortunately, there are also batido stands (fruit shakes) and sneks (local food trucks).

Sometimes I really like the Dutch vibe; it feels familiar, of course. Other times, I crave local food or something more refined than spareribs when I go out for dinner. Luckily, Curaçao has it all. There is a lot of choice in restaurants on the island. These are some of my favorite restaurants in Curaçao.

Karakter: carpaccio by the sea

On many blogs about Curaçao, I read about Karakter’s carpaccio. It’s supposed to be legendary, and the location of Karakter is beautiful: right on the beach. Karakter is a beach lounge and restaurant, so you can go there all day long. Dinner at sunset, chill on a beach bed during the day; you never have to leave. I’m having lunch at Karakter and, of course, order that carpaccio. My verdict? Big portion and has good flavor. So yes, it’s worth it. During busy holiday periods, it is wise to make a reservation at Karakter. You can do that online.

Google Maps location restaurant Karakter

Equus: skewers in an old horse stable

Come hungry and come on Friday. Restaurant Equus is only open one night a week and does not accept reservations. Maybe you don’t like planning too much during your vacation, but you really don’t want to miss Equus! Horses used to be stabled here; now you find candle-lit picnic tables lit and a huge barbecue. There is no menu, you don’t get a plate, and no cutlery either. You simply order a skewer (beef, chicken, mix, shrimp, or vegetables), which is hung on a hook above your table. Just add a basket of bread and lots of garlic sauce – it’s finger-licking good.

Google Maps location restaurant Equus

De Gouverneur: dining and admiring the Handelskade

De Gouverneur has been a household name in Curaçao for years, especially the spots on the balcony. If you get a table there (ask for it when you make a reservation), you have a fantastic view over the colorful Handelskade, and you get a cool breeze for free. The number of balcony seats is limited, but you can’t go wrong in the beautiful courtyard either. The menu features simple dishes with a Caribbean twist here and there. You can get everything from burgers to truffle pasta and from carpaccio to Caribbean chicken. Be sure to try a cocktail!

Google Maps location restaurant De Gouverneur

Baoase: pure luxury with your feet in the sand

Restaurant Baoase is part of a luxury resort. Everything about Baoase is excellent: the location, the decor, the atmosphere, the service, and the food. I register at the desk, and when I am brought to a table by a muscled security guard, I am in awe. It’s so beautiful here! I want to live here! It’s way out of my reach though. I need to start saving up asap – even for a night’s sleep (check the prices). Baoase reminds me of the chic beach clubs of Seminyak in Bali. I feel slightly underdressed, but luckily more guests come straight from the beach.

The food is refined and cared for down to the last detail. I think it’s a fantastic experience. So if your wallet allows, take the time to be pampered here. Reservations are recommended but not mandatory.

Google Maps location Baoase beach restaurant

Nultwintig: food for Instagram

Nultwintig (meaning zero twenty, referring to Amsterdam) is a beautifully decorated restaurant: with many light colors and lots of wood. Outside is a small pool, and the bar is right on the sea. Nultwintig is also a beach club, but I’m not drawn to chill here for a day. But the food definitely does draw me in! What a feast.

The kitchen is partly open, and I am delighted with my high table directly at the chef’s worktable. I love watching the food preparations while sipping my cocktail. Everything is placed on the plate with precision, and the flavors are intense. I wish my stomach were bigger because I have to skip dessert. It’s best to book in advance.

Google Maps location restaurant Nultwintig

Jaanchie Restaurant: iguana on the menu

Restaurant Jaanchie is located all the way in Westpunt. Jaanchie himself is a lovely older gentleman who has probably told the same jokes for years, but does so with gusto. “Would you like breaded or naked shrimp?” Or, “It’s full of vitamin L … love.”

Jaanchie’s restaurant is the only place on the island where you can eat iguana. I get a compartmented plate, and the pieces of iguana taste good. You have to be careful with the bones, there are quite a few, and they are so small! The decor of the restaurant is traditional, and so is the menu. Real, local food, I love it. The birds in the garden and the ice cream from the house complete a visit to Jaanchie.

Google Maps locatie restaurant Jaanchie

Zanzibar: the tastiest pizzas on Curaçao

Although Zanzibar has an extensive menu, you should still go for the pizzas here. They are richly topped and crispy fried. I have also eaten other dishes from the menu, but they did not match the pizzas. The atmosphere at Zanzibar is always good. It is a busy beach club, and the restaurant is packed by default at night. Unnoticed, you roll into the late evening, and you celebrate the night drinking and dancing. The place is extremely popular among Dutch tourists: this is Dutch gezelligheid in tropical atmospheres.

Google Maps location Zanzibar

Pop’s Place (Brisa do Mar): local food

Ready for something local? Then go to Pop’s Place on Caracasbaai. Pop’s Place is a simple, open-air restaurant. The waitresses are very nice. You have a beautiful view over the water and can enjoy tasty, local food at a friendly price. For example, in the afternoon, go for an affordable sandwich with stewed beef (Karni stobá) or goat meat (kabritu stoba). The fish is fresh; there is even an aquarium with lobsters in the back of the restaurant. Good idea for dinner, right?

Google Maps location Pop’s Place

MosaCaña: food to share (or not)

The food at MosaCañais all so refined, so full of flavor. Prepare for a memorable evening, but do not pay too much attention to the restaurant design. I find it quite disappointing and boring (sorry!). But the works of art on your plate and the correction controls more than make up for that. The dishes are meant to be shared with your table companions, or … don’t, and keep everything to yourself as it’s so delicious. I recommend booking a table online in advance.

Google Maps location restaurant MosaCaña

Plasa Bieu: local market hall, a lot for little

I always like to try local food on my travels, and you simply HAVE to go to the market. On Curaçao, you can visit the local market hall Plasa Bieu in the center of Willemstad. Years ago, it was pretty worn down, but now the market hall has been given a new fresh look, and the kitchens look a lot more professional. I let one of the chefs inform me about the different dishes because I don’t understand anything on the menu, and I am pleasantly surprised. So delicious, and so much! Many people from Curaçao also like to come here for lunch.

Google Maps location Plasa Bieu

Just to compare: these are my pictures from Plasa Bieu in 2006. What an upgrade! (also a camera upgrade, obviously)

De Visserij: fresh fish! Fresh fish!

At De Visserij, you order at the hatch upon arrival. There is a chalkboard with all kinds of fish and preparation methods, but there is a good chance that what you want is not there right now. Or that there aren’t 100 grams of blackfin tuna, but 200 is available. The logic is inimitable, but just go with the flow – you’re on holiday. Everything will be fine. Because as soon as you sit at a picnic bench, take in the view, and the service staff puts the fish on the table, you have long forgotten the chaos of ordering. I want to have lunch at De Vissery every day, just saying.

Google Maps location De Visserij

Unfortunately, I was not able to try ALL restaurants in Curaçao. So if you have a great restaurant tip for a good meal in a nice restaurant: let me know! I will probably revisit the island and look for the tastiest and nicest restaurants in Curaçao again. A girl has got to eat, right?!

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First published: April 2021. Updated since!

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