Papiamento Restaurant an Aruban tradition

Swifts of spices and aromas, soft music, muffled laughter and the clinking sound of glasses and cutlery, all combine to make the dining experience at Papiamento Restaurant a total delight for the senses. But Papiamento Restaurant, considered one of the top culinary destinations in the Caribbean, is more than that.

It is a story of a family that enjoys seeing happy patrons enjoy not just their culinary conceptualizations, but also the ambience they have created; at first, for themselves and later on, with everyone who is looking for a classy and romantic setting for any gastronomic occasion.
Eduardo Sr., Aruban born, and Lenie Ellis, born in Leiden, Holland, first opened Papiamento Restaurant 1983. It was located in a monumental manor in downtown Oranjestad. The Ellis’s focused their attention to their restaurant, but also to their unique home, one of Aruba’s oldest and few stone country villas, on an empty lot with sand roads and dirt, not much more. The landmark home was an abandoned structure when the Ellis’s moved in and had only two standing trees. Yet, the quiet neighborhood and proximity to Aruba’s famous beaches made it a haven for the busy family of six.

Soon the barren garden was blooming with the help of the Ellis children, and the rooms got their own personal touch, thanks to an impressive collection of antiques; from furniture pieces, crisp linens, to European collectables, some dating far back as the early 1800s and taken to the island when the family returned back after living in the U.S.A. and Holland.

Lenie’s special decoration talent allowed for the old villa to live again, with its thick stone walls and antique floor tiles, high vaulted ceilings to showcase chandeliers, sconces and other heirlooms from the old continent. The soft lighting complemented the cool breezes caressing the home through its small yet quite effective windows.

That oasis though, had to be shared. The busy family wanted to enjoy their home while at the same time continue to create delicacies and prize-winning cuisine. And that is how they brought their patrons to their home. The Papiamento Restaurant experience was born.

The family no longer lives on the monumental country home; they have moved close by though, to make the space for the ever so popular restaurant shared with locals, Aruba’s beloved repeat visitors as well as new patrons visiting Aruba for the first time.

The cellar at Papiamento Restaurant was the store room of the first owners of the 130-year-old house and at a time was used as a cheese factory and produced Aruba’s own butter.

Chef and co-owner Eduardo Ellis Jr. who oversees the daily operations, designed the cellar himself. By using the original thick walls of the old store room and cheese factory, and cover them with wine racks, locally made out of imported, untarnished cedar, he was able to instinctively create the perfect repository for quality wine and cigars. Now, the collection of up to 250 labels and some 2500 bottles of international vintage rests quite comfortably in a natural temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, waiting to be savored by the guests.

Nowadays, patrons of Papiamento Restaurant enjoy their dinning experience under the twinkling lights if stars that still shine through the thick canopy of the luscious vegetation of the garden. The gastronomy continues with the Ellis touch, promising a culinary evening with the Aruban hospitality. And while the décor is a narration of times gone by, the arrangements by Lenie and the quiet presence of Eduardo Sr., proudly overseeing their legacy in the work of their son and staff, continue to make Papiamento Restaurant a very present family affair.

Enjoy & Bon Appetite! 

Opening hours: 

Monday to Saturday: 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Menu offer: 
Dinner ($40)
Washington 61

Phone:  +297 586-4544