The Paddock Eet-Café
The Paddock Cafe on the water in the downtown shopping area of Aruba is a gem. Nothing fancy, but it is on the water and it is very inexpensive all things considered. I’ve only been there twice for lunch, its nothing spectacular, but for a bite to eat on a budget it is definitely worth a visit if you want a view of the lagoon.
If you want to just stop in for a beer or two to take a break from sight seeing and cool off, this is exactly the place to do it where you won’t get gouged on pricing in a tourist area. The beer was less than $5, granted its a “nipper” or just 22cl (7 fluid US ounces). Normally a standard size is 12 fluid ounces, but I guess that is how they keep the prices low. I was tired of drinking Balashi which is the beer produced in Aruba, and they were out of Hopi Stout, so I went with a Venezuelan beer known as Polar Beer (like Polar Bear, get it?), its nothing special, think of it as the South American version of Coors Light or Corona.
But this place is more than just a place to drink. The menu might not be expensive but you really can’t go wrong here if you are just looking for a bite to eat. Most of the items are around $10 at this writing (November 2017). This is the fish platter which came with 1/2 grouper (fish), french fries, and “salad”. The salad as you can see is macaroni salad with peas, carrots and a bit too heavy handed on the curry. In fact, it lingered with me until I showered later that day.
You won’t get stuffed here, but you will be satisfied. If you need something more, try a burger. French fries are extra. Its simple bar food, but at night they have specials like all you can eat ribs.
The coolest thing about this place is not just the view of the water, but the bar itself. It is decorated with currency from all over the world from whoever cared to donate a dollar upon their visit. Should this place ever go a makeover, they have at least a few thousand dollars to redecorate with. I made my mark too, hopefully they will recognize my crisp new American Dollar and log it on www.WheresGeorge.com – this is a fun site, you enter the serial number of the bill and if you see the Where’s George stamp on it, you log it in to see its travels around the world.
One thing I found amusing was this clock made out of cigars which features former US President Bill Clinton and his secretary sitting on his Pinocchio like nose because of how he lied under oath about his relationship. Its amusing to see American politics from nearly 30 years ago have a place here in Aruban culture.