The best local restaurants in Curacao offer dishes that reflect the island's diverse ethnic mix and Caribbean soul. Curacao cuisine is drawn from African, Dutch, Spanish and Latin American influences, and there's a range of restaurants, markets, and food trucks where you can sample some of the tastiest meals the island has to offer.

    Many top Curacao restaurants are found in its capital city, Willemstad – a UNESCO World Heritage site with colourful streets to wander in search of tasty local eats. Grazing the Plasa Bieu local food market or feasting on freshly-caught red snapper while overlooking the sea are some of the quintessential ways to dine local-style in Curacao. Here are a few suggestions on the best places for local food in Curacao.

    1

    Old Market

    Brimming with local eats

    Old Market (Plasa Bieu) hosts dozens of local vendors offering a range of tasty dishes. Found in Willemstad, this marketplace is the place to come if you’re craving some authentic Curacao meals like kabes ku higra (goat head and liver stew), cactus stew, and iguana soup.

    Old Market is a great spot for a casual Curacao-style meal at a good price. It’s busiest at lunchtime, so you might want to visit early to secure a seat. The open-air dining area has a bit of a mess-hall vibe, with long picnic tables set under a vaulted roof cover.

    Location: De Ruyterkade, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm (closed on Sundays)

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    photo by Kattiel (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Rozendaels

    Open-air dinner spot with Caribbean flair

    Rozendaels serves Curacao and Caribbean dishes in a lovely tropical garden setting near the Octagon Museum. Located in Willemstad, the restaurant has become known for its well-presented offerings of local foods like karni stoba (beef stew), galina di smor (chicken stew) and keshi yena (stuffed cheese casserole).

    Rozendaels also has a range of seafood and international dishes, as well as vegetarian options for those with specific dietary preferences. This dinner-only venue is worth visiting for its local tastes and classy vibes.

    Location: 35 Penstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 518 8806

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    3

    BBQ Express

    Food truck for the late-night crowd

    BBQ Express is a food truck known for offering generous-sized takeaway meals. Many locals recommend its barbecued ribs, chicken, burgers, seafood, and pork chops. If you can’t decide what to eat, go for the mix combo meal for a bit of everything – it comes with French fries and sauces, too.

    BBQ Express opens from dusk to the wee hours of the morning, making it a great place to stop for a refuel after partying in Willemstad. Most patrons get their meals to go, but the food truck has several picnic tables out front if you want to dine out and enjoy some people-watching.

    Location: Caracasbaaiweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 7 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +599 9 682 7567

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    4

    Jaanchie’s Restaurant

    A casual restaurant specialising in iguana soup

    Jaanchie’s Restaurant serves Antillean fare in a lush garden setting in rural Westpunt. This family-owned restaurant has been around for over 60 years, serving local-style fresh fish, shrimp, and cactus soup. However, it’s best known for its iguana dishes, chosen from Jaanchie’s own breeding farm and prepared in soup or stew.

    Going to Jaanchie’s for a meal offers a good chance to explore the Westpunt area, which is considered to be the most scenic part of Curacao. Just a 5-minute walk away is Playa Grandi, a pretty little pebbled beach that’s good for snorkelling and spotting sea turtles. Playa Forti, with its cliffs for thrilling jumps, is less than 10 minutes away on foot.

    Location: Westpunt 15, Sabana Westpunt, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +599 9 864 0126

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    5

    Komedor Krioyo

    Authentic local dishes served in a historic building

    Komedor Krioyo is a coveted restaurant for its Creole food and lovely setting. It occupies Landhuis Dokterstuin, a restored 17th-century country house that’s painted in bright yellow, with a fan-cooled indoor dining area and a large dining terrace covered by a tin roof.

    Hungry locals often come to Komedor Krioyo for tasty local dishes as kabritu stoba (stewed goat), banana stoba (stewed banana with meat), and piska kora (red snapper). Be sure to allow for some extra time to have a look around at the restaurant’s many colonial-era artefacts and antique furniture.

    Location: 66 Schottegatweg Oost, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 516 2701

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    6

    De Visserij Piscadera

    Fresh seafood in a casual waterfront setting

    De Visserij Piscadera is great for enjoying fresh seafood with excellent views of the Southern Caribbean Sea. While it’s not the place to come for a fancy meal, you get to enjoy a very friendly and local dining experience in Curacao.

    Diners have a choice of whole red snapper, a bucket of prawns, or the catch of the day – usually blackfin or yellowfin tuna – prepared 4 ways. You'll need to queue up to order at the counter before grabbing a seat at its outdoor picnic table. De Visserij Piscadera doesn’t take reservations, so try arriving before or after peak dining hours to avoid a long wait for your meal.

    Location: Piscadera z /n, an800 Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Friday–Monday from noon to 9 pm (closed Tuesdays to Thursdays)

    Phone: +599 9 521 0000

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    7

    Purunchi Koredor

    Fisherman’s house serving the catch of the day

    Purunchi Koredor serves fresh fish in a charmingly modest house along John F. Kennedy Boulevard, a beachfront strip of fishermen’s homes and shops. The menu is usually red snapper, lionfish or whatever has been hauled in that day, fried up and set on a big plate for you.

    The restaurant’s streetside dining area offers views of the big towers of the Aqualectra desalination plant across the road. It’s best to try getting a table at the back to enjoy the beach views and cooling sea breezes. Purunchi Koredor is a tiny place that’s open for limited hours, so reservations are recommended.

    Location: John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 462 4560

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    8

    Pop’s Place (Brisa do Mar)

    Sunset views over Caracas Bay

    Pop’s Place, also known as Brisa do Mar, is a colourful spot to enjoy beachside dining and authentic local food in Curacao. Set on scenic Caracas Bay, the restaurant specialises in sauteed codfish, whole red snapper, and conch prepared in the local krioyo (Antillean Creole) way.

    While seafood is a highlight at Pop’s Place, karni stoba (beef stew) and kabritu stoba (goat stew) are also on the menu. This eatery is open all day, but the best time to go is just before dusk, when you can dine with brilliant sunset views.

    Location: Caracasbaaiweg, Jan Thiel, Curaçao

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +599 9 747 6688

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    9

    Seaside Terrace

    Fresh catch of the day in a sea-breezy setting

    Seaside Terrace is a local low-key seafood restaurant on Marie Pampoen Beach, along Curacao’s southwest coast. The kitchen is set in a converted container that’s painted in bright colours while the dining area is a scattering of beachfront tables set under tents and umbrellas.

    Seaside Terrace’s owner is also a working fisherman, so the menu usually consists of what he has caught on that day. A standout is fried red snapper, served whole with rice, plantains, and salad. It’s the kind of place to while away a lazy afternoon, sipping mojitos and wading into the water to cool down, then lingering on to catch the sunset over the sea.

    Location: Goetoeweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from noon to 10 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +599 9 461 8361

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    10

    Tabooshh! Curacao

    Seaside eatery with traditional family recipes

    Tabooshh! is a family-run restaurant serving seafood and a variety of local dishes in a scenic seaside location. The chef's recipes date back more than 100 years, having been passed down through the generations, but these old-style dishes are presented with a fresh and modern flair.

    The signature dish is fresh lobster, but you can also try local dishes like karni stoba (beef stew), keshi yena (cheese casserole), and piska koko mango (the day’s catch with coconut rice and mango salsa). Seating is available in a covered dining area with white linen-covered tables or out on the large terrace with fine views of the bay and yachts moored at the pier.

    Location: 405-1, Caracasbaaiweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +599 9 747 5555

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    Lana Willocks | Contributing Writer

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