Just a taste of Bonaire Dining . . .

Dining on Bonaire provides a wide variety of cultural experiences. Caribbean influences color the local cuisine with papaya, plaintain, Wahoo and funchi. The Dutch brought the European flavors of smoked meats and wonderful cheeses. And not to be left out, Surinam, a former Dutch colony, mixed in the great flavors of Dutch Indonesia, as well as Chinese, Indian, Thai, and African. All these combine to make local dining spicy, rich, and unusual. Try the Keshi Yena (cheese stuffed with seasoned fish), Bami Goreng (grilled meats with Indonesian noodles), and Kabrito Stoba (Goat Stew) for taste treats.

Sebastian's Restaurant
Sebastian's Restaurant offers the singular dining experience of the Pier Table.

Anybody less adventurous canít miss with classic surf níturfs made with Argentine or Brazilian beef at any of several seafood restaurants. Italian and Mediterranean style eateries offer a wide range of delectibles from pasta pots to traditional menus, not to mention desserts. Mexican, Japanese sushi, Spanish tapas or "bites," and American favorites can be found here as well, but be forewarned: We donít have any fast food burger joints! If you're craving a hamburger, however, tasty ones can be found. Vegetarians (and everyone else too) should try the fantastic Indonesian vegetable dish made of green beans, sprouts and spicy peanut sauce called Gado Gado. Nearly all major restaurants can offer vegetarian dishes as well.

For a complete list of restaurants and dining facilities on Bonaire, click here. Many of these restaurants would be happy to provide special occasion or catering information for any party planning you may need.

Many restaurants are shore-front and offer bars as well as sit-down dining. With Bonaireís year-round good weather and friendly breezes, most restaurants also offer al fresco dining (that's dining in the open for the monolingual among us). As the Dutch say, it's "gezellig" dining, which translates best as "cozy, welcoming, comfortable, and fun" all rolled into one. During the busy winter months or if you have a large group, we recommend advance reservations.

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Bonaire Dining

Reservations & Closed Days
It's recommended that if you want to dine at a particular restaurant on a given day, especially for dinner, that you make reservations. During normal periods, it may suffice to place your reservation the same day as your intended meal, but for waterside dining, it may be a good idea to call a day, or even more, in advance. The front desk at the hotel where you're staying can help you with this. Making reservations is also a good way to make sure that the restaurant you desire to dine at will be open. Most Bonairean restaurants (except those at hotels), tend to be closed one night a week.

Getting Service and Your Cheque
On Bonaire, our philosophy is that people enjoying a meal out shouldn't feel rushed. Waiters and waitresses in our restaurants will check on you to make sure you're doing fine, but are not pushy about it. If you need something, just a simple wave will do the trick. Also, since all meals are prepared fresh from scratch they may also take a little longer to cook and bring out to your table, but once you sample your meal, you'll know the wait was worth it. Finally, when you're done with your meal and ready to move on, you may need to let your waitperson know - Bonairean dining means letting diners determine when they are ready to leave, and that means not forcing a cheque on guests who aren't yet ready to leave.

Tipping & Service Charges
Some restaurants may add a standard 10% or 15% service charge to your bill. If you feel the waitstaff performed an outstanding job, feel free to add a little more. Keep in mind, however, that if no service charge was automatically added, and you felt you had good service, that a tip is appreciated. Total tipping on Bonaire is similar to that in North America, namely 15-20% of the bill. Of course, if you were not happy with your dining experience, please let the manager know immediately.

For payment, all restaurants accept U.S. Dollars. Many also accept major credit cards, but be sure to check ahead of time in case this is a concern. Please also note that there are ATM machines within easy walking distance of most restaurants in the center of town.

For more information about Bonaire,
visit the InfoBonaire and the Bonaire Insider.

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