Latest update: 8 October 2021
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 on Curaçao, a.k.a. your foodie guide to Curaçao. Enjoy!
I don’t think I have ever seen as much carpaccio on restaurant menus as on Curaçao. The Dutch influences are very present in the restaurant offers. There is even a Douwe Egberts cafe, and the name Koffie Kaatje doesn’t sound particularly tropical either (but the coffee is good, and that’s what it’s all about). 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 a sparerib. Luckily, Curaçao has it all. There is a lot of choice in restaurants on the island. These are some of my favorites.
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 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), and it 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 on Curaçao for years, especially the spots on the balcony. If you manage to 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 cooling 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 taken 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 do feel slightly underdressed, but luckily more guests seem to 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 is a beautifully decorated restaurant: lots of light colors, 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 work table. 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 was bigger because, unfortunately, I have to skip dessert. It’s best to book in advance.
Google Maps location restaurant Nultwintig
Jaanchi Restaurant: Iguana on the menu
Restaurant Jaanchi is located all the way in Westpunt. Jaanchi 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.” Jaanchi’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 Jaanchi.
Google Maps location restaurant Jaanchi
Zanzibar: the tastiest pizzas on Curaçao
Although Zanzibar really 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 coziness 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 you 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 here; there is even an aquarium with lobsters in the back of the restaurant. Good idea for dinner, right?
Google Maps location Pop’s Place
Mosa: food to share (or not)
The food at Mosa is 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 makeup 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. It is advisable to book a table online in advance.
Google Maps location restaurant Mosa
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
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. 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 and stress of ordering. I want to have lunch here every day.
Google Maps location De Visserij