Food and restaurants in Curaçao are quite low-key and easy going compared to other higher profile Caribbean destinations. You can get about Willemstad, the capital, on foot to take in its eateries and bars, and there are options right in the city and at the beaches nearby. Other areas have less choice, with hotels typically providing all the entertainment. Along with bars and clubs are casinos and dancing under the night sky.
Bars and Pubbing in Curaçao
While Curaçao doesn’t have the best nightlife in the Caribbean, it is one-up from nearby Aruba, and there are many places to let your hair down. Willemstad has the best of it, in particular within the Salina district, which is to the east of the town proper, backing the main beaches.
Head for Penstraat, which has many watering holes, including Blues (Avila Beach Hotel, Penstraat 130-134, Willemstad) known for its jazz and food. Mambo Beach is also fun at night and includes the Wet & Wild Beach Club (Seaquarium Beach, Bapor Kibra, Willemstad). It has free barbecue on Friday nights and a DJ and live music on Saturdays (to 1:30 a.m.).
There are several other night spots in the area, although they don’t all go off in equal measure every night. Each place has its ‘unofficial’ night, which is fostered by the owners—see the K-Pasa (http://www.k-pasa.com/) tourism guide for more information. For a schooner of Amstel with the locals, take a look at the Grand Café de Heeren (Zuikertuintjeweg, Bloempot, Willemstad).
Curaçao also has many casinos in its plush resorts and these venues are a source of nightly entertainment. They typically have restaurants, bars, clubs, and live music, and include the Carnaval Casino (Renaissance Curaçao Resort, Baden Powelweg 1, Willemstad). Casinos often stay open until 4:00 a.m., while bars in general typically close around midnight or 1:00 a.m.
Dining and Cuisine in Curaçao
All main beaches have cafés and restaurants, with the best eating in Willemstad. Head to either side of the channel for a variety of choices, though the Point (Punda) has more options than the Other Side (Otrabanda). The Point on the east is where Willemstad proper, made up of multicolored houses, forts, and markets, is located. Dine on typical Dutch and European foods, Caribbean fare, and great seafood. Gouda cheese is very popular here.
There are many mouth-watering eateries in this area of Curaçao, including the Plasa Bieu (Punda, Willemstad), which has well-priced regional fare and is near the Old Market and floating bridge. The Pietermaai area of Punda (just east of the fort) also has good restaurants, including the Eetcafe Old Dutch (Pietermaai 25, Punda, Willemstad), a traditional brown café with Dutch food. On the Other Side is the highly rated Gouverneur de Rouville (Rouvilleweg 9, Otrabanda, Waterfront De Rouvilleweg, Willemstad) for good European cuisine.
Farther east is the Salina district and beaches where there is good food, as well as nightlife. Chinese shops known locally as ‘snacks’ are found around here, as well as in the town proper, while all top Curaçao hotels come with excellent restaurants. Many of the best accommodations with eateries reside around Mambo and Kontiki beaches.