LegalLee Blonde

A fashion blog for young professionals

Travel | Aruba - Where to Eat & Where to Shop

I couldn't talk about Aruba without talking about the food! Aruba has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. There are so many great choices, and I wanted to share with you my personal favorites. To round-out my review of my recent Aruba trip, I thought in this post I would also share with you my favorite place to shop, and share some last few photos from my trip.

 Best Restaurants in Aruba:

As mentioned, Aruba is known for it's incredible selection of great restaurants. Narrowing it down to just a few favorites was certainly tough, but four that I absolutely love are:

1) Pinchos Grill & Bar

Pinchos is a beautiful restaurant on the water. The views are incredible and, as you can see, there is even a swing by the bar area. The atmosphere is perfect for a night out - it is a fancier restaurant, but still with a relaxed Caribbean vibe. It was actually voted the most romantic restaurant in the Caribbean a couple of years ago! (Next time I need to bring my guy!)

Sitting at your table with the breeze blowing through (hopefully with one of their delicious cocktails in hand) you can't help but feel relaxed. Speaking of cocktails, Pinchos makes what is now my new favorite drink - a champagne mojito. You absolutely need to try this drink! Another highly recommend one would be the Aruba Aribe!

As far as the food, the seafood dishes are top notch and there is a ton of variety. My mother who I went with is a vegetarian and they were also able to make a custom vegetarian main for her, which she loved! I had the special of the day which was a seafood trio including the local wahoo fish, lobster and shrimp. It was delicious!

If you follow me on instagram, you hopefully saw my instastories of this restaurant. This is hands down the coolest restaurant I have ever been. Indoors is filled with twinkle lights and has a super hip bar area, and outside - as you can see above - is literally in the water. There are a number of these water tables and we were lucky enough to get one for our dinner. If you want to secure a water's edge table be sure to book in advance and note that they only have seatings for these tables at 5pm. 

My mom was not nearly as enthusiastic as I was about the idea of eating with her feet in the sand with waves lapping up. However, she was quite the convert once we arrived and experienced it. It is definitely an experience worth having!

Sadly, the food was not as good as expected, especially given the prices. I would say the food at Pincho's was far better, but I still recommend checking out the flying fishbone for the experience. 

The West Deck is the most casual of my top 4 restaurants, as well as the most affordable. The food here is so good that even with all of the amazing restaurants to try out in Aruba, we went to the West Deck twice during the week because we wanted nothing more than to get the Caribbean Rice and Fried Funchi dishes again! 

I highly recommend stopping at the West Deck at least once during your stay. As you can probably assume from the above the side dishes were the biggest hit for my mother and I. Instead of ordering full meals we ordered a ton of appetizers and side dishes to share. In addition to the funchi and Carribean rice, I would highly recommend the plantains! 

Screaming Eagle has been voted by a number of publications as the top restaurant in Aruba. While I am not sure I would call it the absolute best (it's a tie between all four of these restaurants!) it was definitely incredible. It is the priciest of the 4 on this list, so be prepared for that. That said however, they routinely have 40% off wine bottle nights - so plan ahead to go then! 

The menu is more European than the other options on this list, which all focus more on local Caribbean cuisine. Screaming Eagle is a nice change for a mid-week meal if you are staying in Aruba for a week or more. We ordered appetizers, main courses and desserts and after every course we talked about how impressed we were! The dessert though was definitely the best part, in my opinion. I had the La Tazza Famosa - which was a mug made of chocolate filled with liquor, white chocolate mousse and orange sorbet. Just typing that is making me miss it haha. 

Best Place to Shop:

If you are looking to do some clothing shopping, I cannot recommend enough that you go to D Shop.

The store isn't particularly cheap (dresses around $100, shoes around $70, handbags around $50) but the styles are gorgeous. What I loved is that so many of the pieces were inspired by designer collections. To be clear, these are not dupes of designer pieces, but rather brands who have taken inspiration from designer collections.

There were so many pieces inspired by Gucci - with Gucci style ribbon and bows, red and green accents, etc. There were also a number of gorgeous print wrap dresses that are clear nods to Diane Von Furstenberg ones.

I snapped two photos of clothing racks just to give you sense of the prints I am talking about. Check them out:

I could have spent a fortune in this store and cannot wait to go back on my next trip! I now know that I need to leave room in my suitcase to allow me to buy a bunch of clothes! (... You should have seen me trying to fit three pairs of high heels into my carry-on suitcase for the flight home... it was not pretty haha)

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments below if you have any questions! Thank you to Pinchos & The West Deck for their collaboration in this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

linking up with: friday favorites // FFF // WW // welcome to the weekend

Travel | Aruba - Must-See's & Must-Do's

I can safely say that Aruba is one of my favorite travel destinations. The island is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the restaurants and activities are some of the best in the Caribbean. Having returned from my trip to Aruba a couple of days ago, I wanted to give you some suggestions of the best restaurants, activities and hidden gems in Aruba.

 But first; on a personal note: I have actually been going to Aruba since I was 7 years old. My grandfather has a timeshare there, and so as a kid, I went quite frequently. My parents even let me and my best friend travel to Aruba by ourselves (to meet my grandparents staying there) when we were ten years old. Once I was in high school (...and then my undergrad degree... and then my master's... and then law school) I wasn't able to take the time away to visit this magical island.

This trip was my first trip to Aruba in nearly 20 years. It was a very personal trip for me because it was the first time I have been since my grandmother passed away last year (read more about my relationship with her / what a fashionista she was) It was really interesting because a number of people remembered her and asked about her. Even the owner of her favorite restaurant in town remembered her fondly and gave his condolences. She certainly had a big personality and it was great to meet with people who knew her. 

Best Way To Get Around Aruba:

Okay, on to the good stuff! First up: when you get to Aruba go to Budget rent a car to pick up a car for the duration of your trip. Aruba has so much to explore that you will want your own vehicle to get around to restaurants and beaches in different neighbourhoods. Budget is right across from the airport- when you walk out the door it is about 15 feet directly ahead of you - so it is ideal for convenience! 

Driving around Aruba is actually quite easy. Most tourist type things are very well marked and your GPS map will work easily in Aruba. Just be sure you are prepared for a LOT of roundabouts (This country LOVES its roundabouts) 

Best Unconventional Thing To Do:

In a world of sand, sun and pina coladas it is nice to find something to do that is a bit different. I cannot recommend highly enough the yoga & pilates classes at Manchebo beach resort. They have both morning and evening classes (I did the morning classes 5 out of the 7 days I was there!) and they are such a great way to unwind and feel healthy during your vacation. The classes are held, as you can see in the photos below, in the most gorgeous outdoor spot overlooking the beach. 

On a similar note - the outdoor restaurant at Manchebo, Ike's, has amazing healthy breakfasts which I would recommend grabbing after your yoga/pilates class! The chia pudding is so delicious, and an absolute must try! 

Best Beaches:

Let's be honest, you can't really go wrong with any beach in Aruba. Aruba is lucky enough to have crystal clear water and fine, white sand beaches. That said; there are different perks to different spots. 

If you're interested in snorkeling, two of the best beaches are Boca Catalina and Baby Beach. Baby beach is usually quite busy, but definitely worth checking out. Boca Catalina is very small, but has great snorkeling to see fish. It's not a reef sight so you get different fish than you would in other locations. I also like that Boca Catalina is easily accessible and very close to the low-rise hotel area.

 If you want great views, and don't mind people, Eagle beach is fantastic. This is the beach I spent most of my time at- simply because it is right out front of where I was staying. 

Places to Visit:

The Aloe Museum/Factory is definitely worth a visit when you need a break from the beach (or when it rains!) Free guided tours (that last about 15 minutes) run every 15 minutes and are a great way to learn a little bit about One of Aruba's biggest exports and a great little Aruban company. The gift shop at the end is SO good. Get at least two tubes of the sugar scrub cubes - You'll thank me later!
The California lighthouse is also worth a visit. It is a great way to get a sense of the geography of the island.

That is all for today; stay tuned for Friday's post for more! On Friday I'll be covering the best places to eat (so many restaurant reviews), as well the #1 place to shop and the "most instagramable places"

Thank you so much to Budget Rent-a-Car Aruba & Manchebo Resort & Spa for collaborating on this post. As always, all reviews and opinions are my own.

Weekend Wear | Eliza J Bell Sleeve Dress

One of my favorite unexpected combinations for fall is blush pink and rose gold. When I received this gorgeous Eliza J dress I knew immediately that I wanted to wear rose gold with it! I think this outfit would be great for a date night or even a holiday party as we move towards the end of fall and into the holiday season. 

The sleeves on this dress are, clearly, the real showstopper here. They are so breathtaking! I have been loving the statement sleeve trend for a while and have a number of shirts with bell or ruffle sleeves. This dress definitely has the most dramatic sleeves though and they make such a statement when you move. Something about them just makes you feel so elegant when you walk.

I also love the neckline of this Eliza J dress - some V Necks are just too deep for me to feel comfortable in. This V hits at just the right point on your chest to be flattering and not too low cut. Huge fan over here!! 

In other news, I am officially back from vacation!! I am feeling so rested and ready to get back to work tomorrow. That said, I will definitely be needing a lot of coffee this week to help adjust my body to not napping on the beach throughout the day haha.

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