Category Archives: Restaurants & Dining

Bonaire Insider Dining Review–Go Green Ayurveda Vegetarian Restaurant

Fresh, healthy, and vegetarian dining on Bonaire at Go Green Ayurveda Indian Restaurant.

 

These days many people are learning that they must change their eating habits and enjoy healthier foods. More and more people are becoming vegetarians, and some are even vegan. There is no need to worry about eating a healthy diet while visiting Bonaire, as Go Green Ayurvedic Indian Restaurant serves tasty meals which are good for you, too!

Trying organic Ayurvedic food for the first time.

I have to admit, prior to my first visit, I didn’t know much about the trend of healthy, Ayurvedic food. But, after visiting Go Green Vegetarian Restaurant for one of their Friday night dinners, I have to admit I now know much more about what goes into its preparation.

Only organic products are served at Go Green.

I might not have known about Ayurveda, but nearly everyone today knows that organic products are better for one’s body than those grown or processed via conventional methods. Organic foods must be:

  • cultivated in safe soil
  • with no genetic modifications
  • they must be kept separate from conventional products
  • farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bio-engineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, or sludge-based fertilizers

But what about the dining experience at Go Green?

Since I have now educated you on the principles of organic Ayurvedic food, let me expound on the dining experience itself! My companion and I didn’t know it at the time, but we were in for a treat!

Dinner is served every Friday evening.

Our first visit was for one of the restaurant’s Friday night dinners. Upon arrival, we were greeted by both Tina Woodley, owner and chef of Go Green, as well as Walter, who ensured all dining patrons were well taken care of.

As we arrived early, we had our choice of tables, but we were informed that they were expecting to be full. Even though we arrived without a prior reservation, they cheerfully made room for us. However, within 30 minutes, the entire restaurant was full!

The ambiance is relaxed and restful.

One can bask in the benevolence of Guan Yin, the female Buddha of compassion and mercy. There are wicker rocking chairs in which to relax, just in case you make the same mistake I did and arrive without a reservation. You may sit and rock contentedly until your table is ready.

But what of the food?

Yum–pumpkin soup.

Each Friday night there is a different four-course menu. We began our new dining adventure with Tina’s home-made pumpkin soup. Now in some areas of the world, pumpkin is only eaten in the fall–Thanksgiving in the United States being a noted holiday. However, here in the Caribbean, pumpkin is considered a staple and is enjoyed year round.

As we spooned the creamy soup into our mouths, I asked our server what was in it that gave the hint of sweetness. I was told that Tina personally shops for only the best of pumpkins, so it was truly just the fabulous taste of the natural pumpkin. Ahh, organically grown foods are just so much better!

The second course–a mixed salad, of course!

And one cannot eat healthy without some greens! Our second course consisted of a mixed green salad, served with hearts of palm, asparagus, and walnuts.

One very tempting addition was the two bite-sized fresh spring rolls in a zesty sweet chili sauce.

Third course–choice of seitan or paneer.

The night we visited, diners had their choice of either seitan or paneer with sweet peas for the main course, both served with rice.

Seitan is made from wheat, although it has little in common with flour or bread. Instead, it has a surprisingly similar look and texture of meat when cooked, making it a popular meat substitute.

Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asia, especially in Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, Nepali, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisines. This was served pika, as it is called locally, or with a bit of spicy heat.

Since neither my dining companion or I had experience with either dish, we decided to each order one and then sample the each other’s meal. I was amazed at the plate of seitan when it was placed in front of me, I would have looked at it and assumed it was beef! And when I took a bite, it was tasty, and if our server hadn’t assured me it was meatless, I would never have known!

My dining companion, who loves cheese, enjoyed his paneer, only giving up a small taste for me to try. By the end of the main course, we were both nearly full, and we still had dessert to go!

Fourth course–bread pudding.

The evening’s dessert was bread pudding, which was the perfect hint of sweetness to complete our meal. As we finished our evening at Go Green, we left knowing we had enjoyed new foods, learned more about Indian cuisine, all while being good to our bodies. I can heartily recommend Go Green to any Bonaire visitor. One doesn’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy Tina’s Indian cooking!

About Go Green Ayurveda Indian Restaurant.

Those who wish to do their bodies a favor, and treat them to a healthy meal while on Bonaire, can visit Go Green Monday through Friday for a vegetarian lunch. Dinner is served only on Friday evenings.

And take a lesson from me. Be sure to make a reservation in advance! The small restaurant is popular and books up quickly! Make reservations by calling +599 700-5488, or send an email to tina@gogreenayurveda.com.

Go Green is conveniently located on the main road in the northern hotel row, right next to the Harbour Village Marina. Their street address is Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #49.

Visit Go Green’s website to learn more about this dining option on Bonaire. And, as is said here on Bonaire, bon apetit!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


 

 

 

The First Salentein Premium Wine & Dine Event is August 1st at Sebastian’s Restaurant

The event will feature Salentien luxury wines and premium beef, by Bodegas Salentein in Argentina.

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 will mark the first Wine & Dine event at Sebastian’s Restaurant, the popular waterfront fine dining restaurant here on Bonaire.

First Salentein Premium Wine & Dine Event at Sebastian's Restaurant, BonaireBegin with wine and sunset.

The evening will begin at 6:15 with a l’amuse and a glass of Salentein Brut Curveé to enjoy the sunset as the gold orb sinks into the Caribbean Sea.

Five-course dinner with wine pairings follows.

At 7:00 PM, the five-course dinner will begin. The dinner includes wine pairing, Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino waters, coffee, or tea. Relaxing lounge vibes will be by DJ Liv.

Be sure to make a reservation.

Reservations for this special evening are required and space is limited. Price per person is $75.00.  Call 717-1697 or email info@sebastiansrestaurantbonaire.com to make a reservation.

(Source:  Sebastian’s Restaurant)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Taste of Bonaire Talent Edition is Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Save the date for the fourth edition in the 2017 Taste of Bonaire events, coming on July 1st, 2017.

 

Each edition of this popular event has a special theme, and the July event is all about Bonaire’s talented youth. Be sure to come out and support them and enjoy their efforts!

Music, Food, Arts & Crafts.

 

July 2017 edition of Taste of Bonaire features the island's local youth talents.As always, the evening will be filled with a full schedule of music and displays of local talent. There are food stalls offering a variety of tastes from Bonaire’s many eateries, as well as many arts and crafts stalls through which to wander and find just the right gift for souvenir.

The stage will feature the musical group Formashon Musikal Krioyo, and an added attraction will be the group BYOF (Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation), which will present different performances in a variety of forms including dance, song, drama, and more.

When and where will Taste of Bonaire take place?

This edition will once again be held in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk from 6:00 PM through 11:00 PM on Saturday July 1st. What a great way to kick off the new month!

 

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

 

(Source: TCB)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Bonaire Culinary Team Shines at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean Competition

Bonaire’s Awards Include Nine Medals, Leading With the Overall Winner of Caribbean Chocolate Competition

The Bonaire Culinary Team at Taste of the Caribbean 2017.

The Bonaire Culinary team was on fire at Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean Awards on June 6, as the team took home nine medals. Taste of the Caribbean is a culinary competition which takes place each June in Miami, Florida.

In recent years, Bonaire has earned the reputation as having some of the best chefs in the entire Caribbean, presenting diverse cuisine to offer both visitors and residents.

Sherundly Pernabela, Overall Winner of the Chocolate Taste of the Caribbean CompetitionThe Bonaire Culinary Team 2017 was formed with Senior Chef Miguel Saragoza, Chef Sherundly Bernabela, Junior Chef Dustin Libiee, Pastry Chef Maria Mastrangelo, Bartender Kelvin Ventura, Head Coach Floris van Loo and team.

The team brings home nine medals.

The Bonaire awards included:

  • Overall Winner: Caribbean Chocolate Competition: Sherundly “Shur” Bernabela, for his very creative “Tropical Bonaire Paradise” showcasing Bonaire’s salt mountains, its sea and land elements for which Bonaire is so famous; Shur also competed in the seafood competition and won a bronze medal with his dish preparing a colorful plate with red snapper and shrimp.
  • Gold: Caribbean Chef of the Year: Miguel Saragoza
  • Gold: Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year: Dustin Libiee with his “Dry-rubbed Tera Cora beef medallion & green herb and citrus snapper”
  • Silver: Caribbean Beef Competition: Miguel “Poppy” Saragoza, with a dish which included a superb Bonaire style ceviche. Miguel also won a silver medal for the individual beef competition in which he prepared this meat 4 different ways and combined with modern Bonairean twists in using vegetables and seasoning
  • Silver: Caribbean National Team of the Year: Bonaire
  • Bronze: Caribbean Bartender of the Year: Kelvin Ventura for his use of fresh and well balanced flavors accomplished in all his four different cocktails using local ingredients
  • Bronze: Caribbean Seafood Competition: Sherundly Bernabela
  • Honorary Mention: Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year: Maria Mastrangelo

Bonaire's Culinary Team at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean

The full team, led by manager Floris van Loo, delivered on their promise to showcase not only talent, but also excellent team work by winning a silver medal for the Team of the Year competition, a three-course lunch, which included the mouth-watering dessert prepared by pastry chef Maria Mastrangelo, using locally picked Shimaruku berries.

About Taste of the Caribbean.

Kelvin Ventura making his rum cocktail at the 2017 Taste of the CaribbeanTaste of the Caribbean is a yearly culinary competition for professional chefs and bartenders organized by CHTA. Since 1993, the best chefs and culinary teams unite to learn and demonstrate their professional skills. They provide the general public a scintillating exhibition of the most savory and delectable treats in the Caribbean.

(Source:  TCB, Bonhata)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


It’s Time for Tapas at It Rains Fishes Restaurant’s Special Event

Enjoy live music and a special tapas menu at It Rains Fishes Restaurant.

On June 16th and 17th, 2017 It Rains Fishes will host another of their special events with a unique treat when their Tapas Nights offers a festive dinner with many mouth-watering options from which to choose!

Tapas Nights at It Rains Fishes Restaurant on Bonaire

Live guitar music.

The evenings will have a romantic ambiance with some sweet Latin music by guitarist, Jeroen.

Make an advance reservation.

It Rains Fishes special events book up quickly, so do make a reservation if you wish to enjoy this special dining event.  Call 717-8780.

(Source:  It Rains Fishes Restaurant)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Taste of Bonaire is Coming, with a Cultural Theme, Saturday, June 3, 2017

This year’s third Taste of Bonaire event will be held on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in Wilhelmina Park.

Bonaire’s Cultural Attaché to Cuba will be performing.

This event’s theme is all about Bonaire’s unique culture, and will be a one-of-a-kind-event highlighting Bonaire’s cultural delegation to Cuba in July.

The “Gala di Boneiru”, in connection with SKAL and the Island Government, will present their entire two-hour show during this Taste of Bonaire, giving anyone on the island a preview of how the island will showcase its culture in Cuba next month.

Cultural Dance, Drama, and Song.

Cultural Taste of Bonaire, June, 2017Performances at this event will be by Dance Sensation, Bonaire Folkloric Dancers, Grupo Tutti Frutti, Grupo Maskarada, a Brass Band, and also Gilberto Martis (the winner of “Ban Kanta Nos Boneiru“, Luigino Molina (“Rei di Tumba“), and Marjan Offerman (winner of “Kanto Krioyo.”)  This lineup will provide an exciting show illustrating Bonaire’s history in the form of drama, dance, and singing.

Taste of Bonaire will be taking place in Wilhelmina Park from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017.  The park will be transformed into a theater style created for this special event.

Of course, there’s local food as well as international treats.

As always, there will be ample food stands selling local and international foods. The Marshe di Playa will be present offering enticing arts and handicrafts and souvenirs for sale.

But it doesn’t end there, as the the musical group, Grupo Watapana, will be keeping everyone’s toes tapping with their great music.

Be sure to attend this fantastic show and sample of some of Bonaire’s best-known treats!

(Source:  TCB)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Bonaire Insider Dining Review–Courtyard Restaurant

The Courtyard Restaurant at Marriott launches new menu.

Bonaire: Foodie’s Paradise.

For decades, Bonaire has been known as the “Divers’ Paradise” which put the island on the world tourism map. Next, windsurfers and kite-boarders discovered that Bonaire’s charms also provided perfect conditions for their sports, and so, then Bonaire became a mecca for those who skim across the top of the water. But now, surely we can add another claim: “Bonaire, Foodies’ Paradise.”

Bonaire has over 130 eateries offering every type of food imaginable.

For such a small island, with a population just hovering around 20,000, the island has over 130 different restaurants, with every type of food imaginable from mobile catering trucks, Bonairean snacks, neighborhood eateries, and fine dining restaurants. Many establishments receive frequent accolades which confirm Bonaire serves up some of the best food in the Caribbean. And now, there is just one more dining option for visiting foodies to put on their “to do” list: The Courtyard Restaurant.

The Courtyard Restaurant offers fine dining or beach food, whichever is your pleasure.

Chef Dhanesh de Kok (middle), Souschef Marijn Koops (left) and Junior Souschef Dior Marchena

Chef Dhanesh de Kok (middle), Sous Chef Marijn Koops (left) and Junior Sous Chef Dior Marchena (right)

I recently had an opportunity to taste-test a sampling of the new fine dining menu, just launched by Chef Dhanesh de Kok, and his assistants, Sous Chef Merijn Koops and Junior Sous Chef Dior Marchena. Respectively hailing from Curacao, Holland, and Aruba, most of the Dutch Kingdom is represented on the chef’s team.

The restaurant, located at the Courtyard by Marriott, has a comfortable bar and lounge area, sitting right on the edge of the lagoon. Simply turn your head a bit, and you’re looking out over the infinity pool, with a view which then continues on. The atmosphere is relaxed and romantic.

Our fine dining tasting menu included two appetizers, two entrées, and two desserts.

Pumpkin three ways over red and white quinoa, topped with goat cheese, raz el hanout and tarragon.

Pumpkin three ways over red and white quinoa, topped with goat cheese, raz el hanout and tarragon.

Each plate illustrated how much detail and attention was given to the elegant presentations. But this certainly was not to the detriment of taste, as each bite exploded with the different flavors and seasonings used.

Our first plate was marinated quinoa (red and white) served with the Caribbean staple, pumpkin, in three ways, and then topped with goat cheese. The seasonings were raz el hanout, which was new to me, along with tarragon.

The second starter was a home-made beef pastrami served with a ginger-lime cream and radish. Since the meat was so exceptionally tender, I asked Chef Dhanesh to explain how he did the pastrami:

“The beef is marinated in a brine for three days.  Then, it is slow-roasted for twelve hours, before being thinly sliced and seasoned with Bonairean sea salt.”

— Chef Dhanesh de Kok

The first entrée was a pan-fried red snapper over a creamy yellow-rice risotto, served with a Parmesan-infused foam and a black olive crisp. Each component could be discerned as the flavors melded together.  The Parmesan foam was amazing and quite impressive!

Creamy parfait filled with caramelized nuts and toffee.

Creamy parfait filled with caramelized nuts and toffee.

The second entrée proved to be whimsical, as it was corn-fed, farm-raised chicken, seasoned with Moroccan flavors, and then served with everything the chicken would eat–basically, corn, also three ways, including a curry popcorn. This was a fun plate to eat, as well as being delicious.

For the sweet endings, we first enjoyed a creamy parfait filled with caramelized nuts and toffee. Our second dessert was a modern take on the traditional Bonairean drink, Awa di Lamunchi, literally translating to lime-water. It is a refreshing citrus drink enjoyed by many here on the island, and it was amazing to find that luscious flavor pervasive within the dessert. I thought at first the lime swirls on the glass would be the only lime flavoring, but each spoonful of the dessert was imbued with this refreshingly light lime.

A Bonairean tradition--Awa di Lamunchi--created with a modern twist.

A Bonairean tradition–Awa di Lamunchi–created with a modern twist.

This tasting menu highlighted a few of the options available on the new menu just recently launched. But others which sound inviting include Ceviche, Shrimp & Melon, a Caribbean Bouillabaisse filled with locally sourced seafood with a hint of coconut, and of course, the 10-ounce Rib-eye with Harissa–the steak rubbed in spices and served with sweet potato and tamarind. For chocoholics, don’t forget to try the Chocolate & Chocolate–chocolate ganache cake served with a chocolate mousse and crumble.

Choose a three-, four-, or five-course Chef’s Selections Menu.

And, as is becoming very popular on Bonaire, there are the Chef’s Selections Menus, with either a three-course, four-course, or five-course option. Any food allergies or preferences can be given when ordering, and the chef will customize the menu tailored just for your tastes.

Options for vegetarians or vegans.

The restaurant sits on the lagoon on one side, and the infinity pool on the other side.

The restaurant sits with the lagoon on one side, and the infinity pool on the other side.

Vegetarians will not be disappointed. There are several options on the menu which are marked as either vegetarian or which can be prepared as a vegetarian meal.  Vegans are asked to please call in advance, so the team can shop for additional ingredients, and then they would be happy to accommodate with vegan offerings.

Good, old-fashioned beach food.

And lastly, those who just wish a quick and tasty meal with some good old-fashioned beach food can enjoy the bar menu (also served at tables) which includes jalapeno balls, chicken wings, nachos, the Dutch treat bitterbal, coconut shrimp, olives with focaccia sticks, several types of panini, pizzas, burgers, and Caesar salad.

Courtyard Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.

The Courtyard Restaurant is open for dinner (call ahead to 715-2222 to be sure you visit on their open days) and also serves a buffet breakfast. Feel free to visit without a reservation, but if you do have any food allergies or special requests, let the restaurant know in advance, so they can best accommodate your wishes.

Have I made you hungry yet? Silence those rumblings, and make your stomach happy with a visit to the Courtyard Restaurant soon!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week is May 1st through 7th, 2017

Take advantage of the Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week, with three-course dinners only $25.00 per person.

 

Bonaire’s own beer has its own special celebration between May 1st and May 7th, 2017 when a great many of the island’s eateries will host a special three-course culinary dinner for only $25.00 per person.

Sebastian’s Restaurant
Rum Runners
It Rains Fishes Bonaire
La Cantina Bonaire
Cuba Compagnie Bonaire Restaurant
Bistro de Paris Bonaire
Spice Beach Club
Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino Chibi Chibi
La Guernica Bonaire
Breeze ‘n Bites Bonaire
Capriccio Bonaire
Ingridiënts Restaurant
At Sea Restaurant
Joe’s Restaurant

Be sure to visit your favorites during this special event, or try out a new eatery.

(Source:  Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


Sebastian’s Restaurant Premieres New Summer Menu

Everyone’s favorites are still there, but there’s some exciting additions to the new summer menu at Sebastian’s Restaurant.

Just this morning, Sebastian’s Restaurant premiered their brand new summer menu. A favorite on Bonaire, Sebastian’s is well known for keeping his menu updated with the latest offerings of what is fresh and in season, with ingredients imported from locations around the world. The new menu selections are available starting tonight for dinner at the oceanfront restaurant.

What’s on the new menu?

Long-time favorites are still available.

Sebastian's Restaurant Premieres New Summer MenuWhen taking a peek at the new menu, it appears that favorites of many are still available, such as the Land & Sea (Filet Mignon with grilled Black Tiger Shrimp), the Octopus Carpaccio and Tuna Trio starters, the Caribbean Shrimp, and the Gorgonzola fettuccine. But there looks like there are some new menu items which definitely will require further investigation.

New menu items entice the taste-buds.

The “Salmon Meets Seaweed” appetizer sounds very interesting, as does the slow-cooked Pepper Steak and the New Zealand Rack of Lamb. Vegetarians will find a variety of options with four appetizers and three entrées delineated with a heart-friendly, green V.

With 15 appetizers, nine main courses with meats and seafood, six pastas, and six desserts, including the intriguing Grandma’s Cheesecake, there is no doubt everyone will find the perfect choice of meals.

After dinner, sit back, relax, and enjoy a special coffee and dessert.

After dinner, enjoy a cappuccino or late, or a fresh mint tea, or try out a special coffee–there are seven from which to choose, originating from countries around the world. Savor them with one of Bonbons Bonaire’s special chocolates or lollipops.

About Sebastian’s Restaurant

The new fine dining menu is available Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, Sebastian’s serves an Italian Night with pizzas and pastas. The oceanfront restaurant, located at J. A. Abraham Boulevard #60, is open daily from 5:30 to 11:00 PM.  Advance reservations are always recommended, and can be requested by calling 717-1697, 701-1697, or using the restaurant’s online form available on their website.

Although every day on Bonaire is summer, there are still “perfect” summer days–those with Sun, Sand, and Sebastian’s!

(Source:  Sebastian’s Restaurant)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


Bonaire Insider Dining Review–La Cantina del Mar, Reincarnated

La Cantina del Mar on Bonaire has reincarnated itself into an exciting and fun eatery.

La Cantina del Mar, conveniently located on Kaya Grandi in Kralendijk, has undergone a metamorphosis in recent months, reincarnating itself into a world-class restaurant. Previously serving an eclectic Mexican-inspired menu, La Cantina del Mar, as it is today, is a totally new restaurant! And one which you should definitely add to your Bonaire restaurant Bucket List.

My dining companion and I decided to check it out. We made an advance reservation (HIGHLY recommended) and were surprised when we arrived to see the line of people waiting to be seated. But the line moved quickly, as the hostess efficiently seated everyone, and we promptly informed the hostess we had a reservation. I do believe it was the last open table in the house. Even every bar-stool was taken.

The menu truly offers something for everyone.

The wait staff in any of Rick’s and Kim’s restaurants are highly trained and they quickly brought us menus and took our beverage orders. At first, I was overwhelmed by all the choices on the menu, as I turned page after page. But with only a moment’s review, I quickly caught on that La Cantina del Mar truly has an option for everyone:

  • Those who want to sit back, socialize, and be served a great meal,
  • Those who want to have a little say in the decision of what will be served, and
  • Those who have definite ideas as to what and how much they will eat, and how it is prepared.

Once we figured this out, it was quite simple to make our choices. But let me describe the various options.

The Chef’s Table.

For those who want to enjoy their meal, but don’t want to bother with having to figure out what to order, La Cantina del Mar’s Menu JRE is just the thing!

Chef Rick is a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs, an association of young chefs who share their talent and passion for great food. The chefs of this elite group combine high quality culinary craftsmanship, incorporating local culinary traditions and produce.

La Cantina del Mar offers either a four- or six-course JRE “surprise” menu, and the entire meal is prepared in the outdoor kitchen, so you can even watch its creation. A four- or six-course drink and wine option is available as well, with beverages carefully selected to meld with the food courses.

One important note about the JRE menu, it is available by the table only, so everyone at the table must take part.

À la Carte Menu.

So then we come to the second type of dining patron, those who have an idea of what they would like, but are open to suggestions from the chef. For these, the menu offers a long list of starters, all inspired by local ingredients. For main meals, there are ample choices from the restaurant’s à la carte menu, the Meat Market, or vegetarian options.

The Fish Market.

And for the foodies among us who want to have full control, there are also many options from which to choose. My dining companion and I quickly decided we fell into this category, so we zoomed in on the menu choices available via the Fish Market. The fish is fresh right from the sea, caught by the the restaurant’s fishermen. The variety changes every day, and you can check out what is available on the Catch of the Day signboard.

The Fish Market allows one to choose fish fillets in either small (80 gram), medium (160 gram), or large (240 gram) size, or one can elect a trio of fish (240 gram). Seafood, including shrimp or scallops, can be ordered by the piece. Octopus can be ordered in 50 gram increments. Total control for foodies! And so we placed our orders. You can even specify how you wish the food prepared.

The edible bread basket highlighting Bonaire and Klein Bonaire

The edible bread basket highlighting Bonaire and Klein Bonaire

The dining experience at La Cantina del Mar.

The bread basket is unique and fun to eat.

While we waited for our meals to be prepared, the bread basket was brought to us. Immediately, we sat up and took notice, as we were served our squid-ink dinner rolls (very Italian!) on a chopping board in the shape of Bonaire, complete with Klein Bonaire. We were highly amused with the divi divi trees (edible, of course), and the sand (actually bits of cheese), as we sat and chuckled over the ingenuity of the presentation.

The whimsical  l’amuse bouche were served.

Deep-fried anchovies in a luscious sauce, served as a l'amuse bouche

Deep-fried anchovies in a luscious sauce, served as a l’amuse bouche

Next, our server brought us a variety of l’amuse bouche, complimentary small bites. I particularly enjoyed the deep-fried anchovies, but all three bites were delicious.

 

Since I had ordered a medium-sized, whole red snapper, I was invited to go up to the Fish Market with my server and personally choose my fish. What fun! While there, I told Rick I wanted the whole barracuda, so he pulled it out to weigh it for me, saying my wish could be accommodated. Sighing, I replied I could only wish, and then I picked out a more suitable (read: smaller) red snapper from the displayed fish.

Then our starters arrived. I had chosen some grilled shrimp from the Fish Market menu, while my dining companion exclaimed over the beautifully pan-seared scallops melting in his mouth, also from the Fish Market. Since he didn’t share them with me, I will just have to go on his say-so. Then, again, I was enjoying my shrimp so much, I also didn’t share!

When our meals arrived, we promptly devoured them! My whole red snapper was succulent, beautifully seasoned, and just the perfect size. My dining companion had elected to have the barracuda (but not the whole fish!) and said it was exquisitely prepared.

By the end of our entrées, we were very full, and decided against dessert. But we shall return again soon, to try out other menu items, as well as dessert.

La Cantina del Mar is the third restaurant developed on Bonaire by Kim van Dijk and Rick van den Broek. Over the past six months, they have put a lot of love and attention into making the La Cantina del Mar dining experience a true pleasure. The restaurant regularly holds special culinary events. The menu is international in nature, with fresh, local ingredients as the star of each dish.

Have you tried La Cantina del Mar recently? If so, please add your own review!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


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