You’re in for a treat when you experience Bonaire’s cuisine.
Not only are there top-notch restaurants, Bonaire has a culinary team that’s won international acclaim. There’s also the “Taste of Bonaire”, a regular event where everyone comes out to the center of town to sample food from local vendors. If you like to stay in and cook, there’s great local markets where you can buy fresh fish and vegetables from the farm. Explore the cuisine of Bonaire! Bon Appetit!
Aqua View is set a little ways outside the center of town. Going out for something to eat is a little more of a walk, but it’s quieter on this side of town. I discovered a lovely Italian restaurant just a short distance up the road and what I heard from neighbors is it’s the best restaurant in town. It’s nice to have such fine dining so close by for our guests to enjoy.
At Italy in the World Italy and the World, discover the best that Italy has to offer. To get to this cozy delicatessen and wine shop from Aqua View, go North a couple of blocks. It’s nestled in among the trees, so if you go as far as the rotary, you’ve missed it. Just come back around and you’ll see it just after the first road on the right.
The best Italy has to offer… on Bonaire
When you walk in, the Old World style entryway greets you with shelves of culinary specialty products for you to enjoy at home. The clean lines and elegant décor invite you to sit down and enjoy a meal and make new friends. I met up with the owner and chef, Cristina de Palma who talked about her restaurant.
She came to Bonaire the first time in 1982 with her parents. They also settled with uncles that had lived in Venezuela and knew Bonaire as an unspoiled, unhurried and beautiful island. She fell in love with the island as soon as they landed. They spent a month vacation here and like many people who fall in love with Bonaire (including myself), kept coming back every year.
Once a visitor, always a friend
Coming to Bonaire every summer and Christmas for almost ten years, she became comfortably situated here between 1992 and 2000. She went back to Italy until 2010, and during those years, she started her own restaurant and wine distribution. During that time, Cristina was studying to be a wine steward and a chef.
But she held the desire to come back and live in Bonaire, and in 2013, she sold her business and built the same concept here. The idea was to open in collaboration with other professionals in her field at other Italy in the World locations on other Caribbean islands. Italy in the World opened its doors in 2015, and Italy in the World Aruba opened a year and a half later.
The project to open the business was very ambitious, to open on an island with a very small population and small numbers of tourists. But she makes it work successfully. “I believed in what I do and go all the way,” she says, “but the risk is always around the corner!”
A local success story
She enjoys the satisfaction from her clientele day by day. Once they enjoy the wine and food that’s offered, they always come back and bring new customers with them. I asked her what sets Italy in the World apart from other restaurants on the island, and she simply suggests that her customers’ comments on google and trip advisor speak for themselves.
The food they serve is a study in the minimal details, all fresh made daily. The ingredients come from Italy; after so many years working in the field, she knows where to get the best ingredients to create her food. After all, a good meal can be mediocre or even taste bad if you don’t use the best quality ingredients.
As for wines, she goes to the major wine expositions around the world in order to find the finest quality wines. She doesn’t care about the price as much as she is searching for quality. So far, all the wines chosen have had great success with her clientele. She’s also starting her own private label, one they’ve been working on for years with a family in Italy that’s producing wine in the Piedmont area. They’ve selected seven different grapes for their private label collection. I can’t wait to try it!
The Bonaire Culinary Team
Bonaire has a Culinary Team that competes anualy in the Taste of the Caribbean. It’s a competition for professional chefs and bartenders organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). According to the CHTA, “Since 1993, the best chefs and culinary teams unite to learn and demonstrate their professional skills. They provide the general public a scintillating exhibition of the most savory and delectable treats of the Caribbean”. We’re fortunate that the Bonaire Culinary Team holds fundraising dinners. They hone their skills and we can enjoy scrumptious food for a reasonable price.
Besides farm-fresh vegetables, you can buy fish that was caught the same day. This small, family owned business love their customers and their customers love them! Drop in for some genuine Bonaire hospitality. Have your fish trimmed the way you like it with a smile, and a few tips on how to cook your fish.