Bonaire Insider Dining Review: Bon Aroma, a Fusion of French, Italian, & Caribbean

Restaurant Bon Aroma offers an intimate setting, with a fusion of tastes from France, Italy, and, of course, the Caribbean.

There have been quite some changes in the Bonaire dining scene over the past six months, and the Bonaire Insider is highlighting one of the new eateries which has been discovered as a hidden gem.

Bon Aroma offers a romantic, intimate setting with only six tables.

Restaurant Bon Aroma on Bonaire

Bon Aroma opened up several months ago in the pool-side setting of the YachtClub Apartments. A long-time dream of owner Karen van Dijk, the small restaurant offers only six tables, insuring an intimate dining experience.  This reporter found out that not only is the setting special, but the food is exquisite as well.

Two friends and I decided to try out the new restaurant. We did make an advance reservation, which is strongly recommended, as the small restaurant can book up quickly. Bon Aroma is in a convenient location, just on the north side of Kralendijk, an easy walk for many visitors staying in the northern hotel row or a quick drive from those staying south of Kralendijk.

The menu offers entrées from the sea or land, direct to the restaurant’s grill.

Not quite knowing what to expect, we inspected the menu. For such a small eatery, we were impressed with the scope of the menu, which offered a selection of starters with two soups, a salad, or three seafood appetizers, including the traditional French scallop dish, Coquilles St. Jacques.

Main courses included seafood, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb, or duck breast. One could choose their favorite sauce:  mango basil, white wine, or the sauce du jour for seafood entrees, or shitake, Cointreau honey, or rosemary port sauce for meat or poultry.

House specialties are indeed special.

In addition to the menu items mentioned above, the restaurant also has three house specialties: Confit of Duck Leg Gratinee, a Caribbean Court Bouillon (a steamed catch with local seasonings and hints of hot peppers), and there is always a vegetarian special of the day.

This reporter was undecided as to what to order, vacillating between the duck confit, the vegetarian dish du jour, or the fisherman’s catch of the day, which, on the evening we visited, was a duo of Bonaire lionfish and grilled blue marlin. Karlijn, our very attentive server, suggested that I go with the catch of the day, since I could return another time for the vegetarian house special or duck confit, as they are always on the menu. She did not steer me wrong!

Wines are available by the bottle or glass.

All three of us indulged in some wine (an excellent Pinot Grigio), and then we unanimously decided upon the Fisherman’s Catch of the Day, served with mango basil sauce. I opted for a side of roasted rosemary new potatoes, while my dining companions choose a side of Italian-herbed rice.

Fisherman's Catch of the Day at Bon AromaWhen our dinners arrived, we were delighted to see that the presentation was just as lovingly prepared as the l’amuse we were served while waiting. The plate was a tantalizing mix of tastes and textures, from the mild-tasting lionfish to the more firm blue marlin. A collection of vegetables, including prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and walnut/balsamic green salad, were served in addition to our elected sides. Each bite was an explosion of flavor!

Dessert plate at Bon Aroma on BonaireThe portions proved to be just right, by the time our plates were empty, we were happily full. But we could still use a sweet finish to the meal, so we opted to all share a dessert plate of home-made Dutch apple tort, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a warm compote of currants and berries, also served à la mode.

Chef Christiaan Thole prepared wonderful meals.

My dining companions and I decided we had to give five stars to our meals prepared by the new chef, Christiaan Thole.  By all means, add Restaurant Bon Aroma to your list of “must-do” eateries on your next Bonaire visit.

Where to find Bonaire’s Bon Aroma.

Restaurant Bon Aroma is located at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot 54. Parking is on the interior side of the apartment complex.  Reservations can be made by telephone at 795-9009; the restaurant is open from 6:30 PM through 10:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Bon Apetit!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)