Most restaurants you see advertised in Curacao are for those who don't live in Curacao (tourists). These restaurants are quite expensive because most of the ingredients they work with are imported from the US or Europe to the island.
Unfortunately, there does not grow much on the island as the island is too hot and does not get enough rain. Besides some bananas, mangos, papayas, peppers, tomatoes, and funny sized cucumbers, there is not much to find.
Fortunately, Venezuela is close by and there they have plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. Small boats daily deliver fresh products from Venezuela to Curacao. Besides Venezuela, there is the Caribbean Ocean, which always has been a good supplier of fresh fish.
Local fresh fish in Curacao is Grouper, Tuna, Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo. You should also know that fresh fish is marketed by the local names, rather than what we call them; Mahi Mahi is known as Dradu and Wahoo is known as Mula. In addition you nowadays often find Lion Fish on the menu. Lion Fish is caught in the ocean around Curacao, but really should not be there. It is an Asian fish that somehow ended up in the Caribbean Ocean, but should not be there as it eats all our local fish. Therefore, divers are asked to try to catch each Lion Fish they see.
I almost forgot there is also fresh meat on the island. You have probably seen them running around or almost caught one under your car: goats. They are called Kabritu and are a local delicacy used in stews and soups. In addition there is a local chicken farm that produces daily fresh eggs and well fed chicken.
Fortunately, there are many small and often local restaurants all over the island that use these fresh products. Several of these restaurants are located on Bandabou, the West side of Curacao:
One of the most famous local restaurants on the island is Jaanchies. Here you can order conch shell, goat, and even iguana. It usually takes a while for the food to arrive. Ask to sit in a rocking chair and order the best rum punch of the island while watching the sugarbirds before your meal arrives.
For an excellent and affordable lunch with the locals you have to go to Komedor Krioyo at Landhuis Dokterstuin. Every Sunday around two the restaurant is loaded with people, often more than hundred people.The menu is full with local specialties such as Sopi Kabritu (goat soup), Sopi Kadushi (cactus soup) and Piska Kóra Hasá (fried red snapper). The fresh juices are very refreshing.The cosy restaurant is located in an 18th century restored plantation house. The restaurant is open from Tuesday - Friday from 9AM till 4PM, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM till 5PM.
Not low priced but definitely worthwhile to go to is Restaurant Karakter, located at Coral Estate. Karakter is not only known for its excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also for the viewing the best sunsets on the island. Make sure you make a reservation before hand! If you like fish try the Red Snapper Filet, it is delicious and super fresh.
Only open till the beach closes at dusk is the Restaurant at Playa Porto Mari, great for lunch or early dinner. Prices are very reasonable and the quality is much better than the ordinary beach bar. They usually have a catch of the day as their daily special, but what I would really recommend is the nasi or bami; an Indonesian dish made with rice or noodles and a chicken skewer with peanut sauce.
If you are looking for a cozy little place with very enthusiastic people, visit Sol Food. They use mostly fresh ingredients, have interesting side dishes, and the price/quality rate is very good. They often offer Lion Fish and Red Snapper.
By far one of the best restaurants at Curacao and very reasonable priced is Trio Penotti at the entrance of the Christoffel Park. The specialty is local fish as well as local island recipes such as empanadas and iguana. The chef of Trio Penotti teaches cooking school for other chefs on the island, and it shows in the way they run the place. For those who like a nice space, this place has that as well; the seating outside is very comfortable under the shaded tent.
Last but certainly not least Bistro E Lanternu, close to Cas Abou, It is a great little restaurant owned by our friend and excellent cook Brian and his wife Arina. One can dine inside in a truly European-feel décor or at the outside picnic tables. Make sure to get the stoba, which is a local Curacao dish of stewed beef, and the fried banana with ice cream for dessert.
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