ABC


Advertisement
Andorra's flag
Europe » Andorra
October 27th 2012
Published: September 30th 2017
Edit Blog Post

The Floating Market ...The Floating Market ...The Floating Market ...

... vendors sail over every morning from nearby Venezuela, selling all manner of tropical fruits.
Geo: 12.0998, -68.9293

The ABC islands - Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, also known as the Lesser Antilles, are all part of the Netherlands, though they seem to function as independent nations. The Dutch influence definitely lends a unique atmosphere to the place, especially when combined with the fact that it's a Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela. Sitting on the Punda waterfront in downtown Curacao, it's striking how reminiscent it is of Amsterdam's canals and architecture, except that here it isn't grey and dreary, and the buildings are painted in vibrant Caribbean colours.

At times it also feels as if you're at a conference at the UN, with the variety of languages spoken in the streets, which include Dutch, English, Spanish, and Papiamento, a creole language that seems to be heavily-influenced by Spanish and Portuguese. There's even a daily migration of people from Venezuela, who arrive early every morning with fish, produce, and other goods to sell at Willemstad's Floating Market.

Though Curacao bears similarities to other Caribbean islands, it doesn't quite have the same annoying cruise ship carnival atmosphere, because it's just outside the reach of most cruise itineraries. It's a shame, really, as the cruise ships have essentially reduced
Typical Caribbean Shopping Street ...Typical Caribbean Shopping Street ...Typical Caribbean Shopping Street ...

... every Caribbean island has it - lined with jewelry, electronics,and perfume shops, with the single-minded goal of taking hard-earned dollars from cruise ship passengers, under the guise of duty-free shopping.
most Caribbean nations to a shore excursion, in the eyes of the typical passenger. A snorkel trip, a driving tour around island, a stop at a rum factory, some duty-free shopping, and perhaps a dolphin encounter ... that's nearly all that a ten-hour whirlwind cruise ship stop allows you to do, and it ends up giving Caribbean ports a very uniform, and perhaps even mundane, feel to them.

Perhaps it's because cruise ship season has yet to ramp up, but Willemstad's port seems to feel unique, in comparison. It may also be because the island is heavily touristed by the Dutch, who seem to have different vacation expectations than the typical cruise ship passenger. Curacao has an abundance of self-catering options and few all-inclusive resorts, making it a more rewarding place for independent travelers who are willing to wander around on their own, rather than joining up with an organized tour.

At any rate, it's nice to have more than just a handful of hours here, to be able to slowly wander around Willemstad, and have a few patio stops for some cold drinks. And without having a cruise ship to rush back to, we had plenty of time to finally find Fishalicious tonight - and even better than finding the place, was that it's one of those rare restaurants that actually lived up to the hype!


Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Advertisement

Hotel Kura Hulanda ...Hotel Kura Hulanda ...
Hotel Kura Hulanda ...

... a Dutch billionaire decided to restore a crumbling block of homes in the Otrobanda district, converting it into a high-end hotel - a perfect spot for an evening cocktail.
Cheap Cheese ...Cheap Cheese ...
Cheap Cheese ...

... you wouldn't believe how cheap the cheese is here, nor the variety of Dutch varieties - back home you can maybe find some gouda and havarti, but not much more than that. The grocery store featured probably ten varieties I had never even heard of before. You can even find a little Spanish manchego, but about 50% cheaper than you'd find in Calgary.
Strange Combo ...Strange Combo ...
Strange Combo ...

... mojitos and Dutch bitterballen - deep-fried balls of dough that supposedly contain meat, though we couldn't find any. Still, they were delicious - crisp on the outside, and smooth and creamy on the inside.
Strange Combo #2 ...Strange Combo #2 ...
Strange Combo #2 ...

... more bitterballen, but this time with a firmer and doughier consistency, served with some killer Caribbean Coladas, zapped with some electric blue curacao.
Fishalicious ...Fishalicious ...
Fishalicious ...

... purportedly one of the top restaurants in Curacao, and though this gazpacho wasn't anything to brag about, the rest of the meal more than lived up to the billing.
Sprats ...Sprats ...
Sprats ...

... fried sardines, with remoulade. Crisp, salty, delicious!
Trio of Fish ...Trio of Fish ...
Trio of Fish ...

... lion fish ceviche, tuna tartare, and tuna sashimi, which was served with a little eye dropper of soy sauce. My fave was the ceviche, and my least fave was the tartare, which had a bit too much sesame oil.
Kabritu Stoba - Again ...Kabritu Stoba - Again ...
Kabritu Stoba - Again ...

... but this time, along with some more lion fish in a lobster sauce. Though the food was great, the menu here is odd - located on an island that should have access to all kinds of stunning locally-sourced seafood, the menu is stacked with items from halfway around the World. Scottish salmon, Maine lobster ... who wants to eat that here?
Tender, Tender, Tenderloin ...Tender, Tender, Tenderloin ...
Tender, Tender, Tenderloin ...

... a killer piece of beef, perfectly-cooked and served with truffle butter, and equally-killer mushrooms. Expecting that this piece of beef originated from a nearby South American country, I was shocked to find that this steak was USDA, even though some of the finest beef in the World is located much closer to Curacao. But still, we can't complain that much of the menu isn't locally sourced, because nearly everything we had was excellent. And the fries were phenomenal - they tasted like they were from McDonald's, but taken to the next level - so crispy and good. We wondered if they had just ordered them from McDonald's and fried them a second time to make them crispier. But given the restaurant's track record of importing food from lands far, far away, perhaps they were McCain's fries from Canada!


Tot: 0.146s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 11; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0127s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb