My Review of Amazonia in Aruba
During one of our afternoons walking around Aruba, Nicole and I were sucked in to signing up for a timeshare tour at one of the local hotels. We were promised breakfast, a short meeting, and a selection of gifts to choose from for showing an interest in their properties.
Ironically, we showed up for the presentation and all the spots had already been taken. After some arguing with management, they offered us a gift to make us go away – our gift was a $100 gift certificate to Amazonia Churrascaria, a Brazillian steakhouse.
Amazonia is a Brazillian Steakhouse comparable to Fogo de Chao or Texas de Brazil in the United States. I’ve written before about how Fogo de Chao is the gold standard of dining for me and I was hopeful our meal at Amazonia would bring back memories of Fogo.
When we went for dinner, we were seated at a table on the outdoor patio, providing us a chance to enjoy the breeze. The restaurant is located in the heart of the traffic and lights of Palm Beach, but they do a nice job with the trees and landscaping to offer a sense of privacy. Our 6:00pm reservations must have been early compared to most guests because the restaurant was nearly empty when we arrived but full when we left a few hours later.
It’s easy to understand why the restaurant is so popular when you taste the food. To go along with the large selection of meat, Amazonia also boasts a large salad bar. The salad bar featured two different kinds of soup (I loved the Pumpkin Soup), roasted vegetables, crab salad, marinated vegetables and more. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the salad bar, but our churrascaria experience helped us know better.
An added bonus for us was the fresh ceviche. Unfortunately, the ceviche was not available on the salad bar that evening because it wasn’t quite ready. But after some pleading from Nicole, the chef brought out a dish of ceviche for us. Nicole, a ceviche connoisieur, said it was some of the best she’s ever had.
After finishing off my plate from the salad bar, I flipped my card over and prepared for the barrage of meats coming my way. It’s impossible to write in detail about all the different meat I tried but a couple of the highlights were the garlic sirloin and the ribeye. Actually, the ribeye is in its own category of glorious.
The gaucho would slice off tender pieces of ribeye steak that had an incredible crust on the edge, full of unbelievable flavor. The meat was juicy, sweet, smoky, savory and tender – causing this fat kid to be in heaven. I enjoyed pretty much everything I tried, but the ribeye will definitely be the taste I most remember from this meal.
The service throughout the course of our meal was very good. Our server, Eduardo, was friendly and attentive and the gauchos did a nice job of explaining the meat (at least the ones who spoke English). Another nice touch about Amazonia was the presence of the general manager, Patrick Van Den Berg. Patrick checked on us throughout the course of the meal and made sure we had everything we needed. For a busy restaurant, it was nice to receive this special attention from the individual running the entire operation.
Similar to our experience at Aquarius in Aruba, this buffet was not cheap. At $45 per person, you have to be willing to eat to make it a great value. We were fortunate to have a $100 gift certificate, but I’m sure we ate enough to make it good deal either way. I probably ate $45 worth of ribeye.
With the quality of service and food, I would recommend Amazonia to anyone visiting Aruba. It’s a meat lover’s dream in the middle of paradise.