The Renaissance Marketplace recently welcomed a number of new very exciting eateries and activities. Among the new tenants of the mall, a major attraction, Cuba’s Cookin’, having moved from its hide-away on Wilhelminastraat into a more prominent part of town.
After spending almost 13 years in a quaint colonial location, Cuba’s Cooking Restaurant relocated to an airy, charming and high-ceilinged outdoor-indoor space, adjacent to the ever-so-popular CILO, City-Lounge, and facing the movie theaters.
Fans of Cuba’s Cookin’ will find the decor familiar, with genuine Cuban art on the walls, and an abundance of musical instruments on the small stage, promising to come into play in the evening hours when Cuban culture springs to life with the talented house-musicians, delivering catchy renditions of classic Cuban love songs, salsa, rumba, mambo and Latin contemporary tunes!
The food also stayed the same starring a delicious selection of Cuban and Nuevo Latino favorites with Chef Aldo in the kitchen serving abundant plates, heaped with Ropa Vieja, Picadillo and Lobster Enchilada, which is Cuba’s greatest contribution to the culinary world, grilled specialties, and daily fresh catch, escorted by shrimp and the world’s best fried plantain, traditional black beans and white rice besides many more Caribbean soul dishes.
Most importantly, the mojitos remained unchanged made with authentic Havana Club Cuban rum with mint leaves, muddled in a glass with sugar, topped with club soda and crushed ice!
Owner Douglass Markus is always on hand to welcome guests, hand out the maracas just ahead of nightly jam sessions, and even sing a song or two, playing the tambourine.
Wrapping the total experience up, the dining room staff, the girls in Cuban puff sleeves and full raffled skirts add flair to any of Aldo’s entrees, when they join the party dancing between courses, showing off the Rhythm in their blood.
The old/new Cuba’s Cookin’ retained its charming Cuban Para Servirle attitude, the restaurant is eager to please and entertain, besides boasting the best matzo ball soup on the planet, mom’s recipe, Douglass explains!
The restaurant is open for lunch & dinner and any amount of drinking and nibbling in between.
Another new eatery, Spanglish, promoting regional Caribbean and Latin flavors, is the brain child of three local friends Steven, Gino and Oswald, two young chefs and one food & beverage professional.
The Spanglish menu is based on culinary traditions brought to Aruba by their immigrant parents, family members and friends, who hail from other Caribbean Islands and Latin American countries.
These different flavors inspired the trio of creative foodies to come up with a fusion menu with a twist and thus you may find, under just one roof, favorite dishes and beverages which honor their heritage.
Appetizers include Chorrizo y Morcilla, Empanadas, a drunken Ceviche, Chicharones, Arepas and Nachos, covering more or less the entire South American continent. Spanglish also offers a seafood soup nickname Rompe Colchon, touted as a powerful aphrodisiac, and guaranteed to get a rise from most.
The menu continues to scour Havana, Caracas, Rio & Puerto Rico for favorites such as Pan Cubano, Grilled Picanha with Chimichuri, and Mofongo in many ways. The Spanglish Parrillada for two, is served table side on a mini coal grill. Other interesting entrees include Paella Latina, Chilean Salmon, and a number of steaks with flavorful Latin/Caribbean sides. Desserts also stick to the continent with Sweet Caramel Custard, Tres Leches, and Chocolate, Banana-Nut Crepes!
Kids will be pleased to meet the Bungee Jumping facility, in the heart of the Renaissance Marketplace. Kids and adults, up to a certain weight limit, are invited to jump, stretch the cords, fly upward, catapult forward and backwards, for a small fee with prizes for the acrobatically-inclined individuals, or rent the small robotic vehicles which promise to be a lot of fun, as a motorized way for toddlers to tour the mall.
Other welcome additions to the Renaissance Marketplace include a lounge area for Casa Tua Pizzeria, and more live entertainment for Café Tropical, Cilo – City Lounge and the veteran Café The Plaza.
Visit the Renaissance Marketplace for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and anytime in between, it is brimming with activities and bursting with flavors.