Pincho's Grill and Bar
L.G. Smith Blvd. 7 At The Surfside Marina
www.pinchosaruba.com - +297 583 2666
Pincho's Grill and Bar Reviews
Fabulous setting...but left feeling disappointed! Feb 04, 2017
We ate at Pinchos Grill & Bar one evening during our stay in Aruba in May 2015.
Pinchos enjoys an excellent setting. It is situated on a wooden deck over the sea, reached by walking along a wooden boardwalk from the beach. It is located close to Surfside Beach, about 20 minutes walk south of the centre of Oranjestad.
It comes highly rated – it was ranked 12th out of 171 restaurants in Oranjestad on TripAdvisor at the time of our visit.
However, I've got to be honest, I never really warmed to the place.
The first impression (well, the second impression after admiring its beauty from the beach!) wasn't great. We walked along the boardwalk to enquire about booking a table for that evening. Having come from the beach we were wearing shorts and t-shirts and were heading back to our apartment to get showered and changed. We would return dressed much smarter later that evening. The waitress who met us at the entrance said that she would have to fetch the manager to see if there were any vacant tables that evening. Fair enough. We waited for a few minutes and then the manager came. After consulting his list of bookings, he said that we could come after 8:30pm. I just got the impression that he thought he was doing us a favour letting us eat there. He appeared very aloof.
We arrived just before 8:30pm and were welcomed by the manager. I say "welcomed", but there was no warm greeting, just a cursory "enjoy" as he beckoned one of the waiting staff to show us to a table.
We were shown to a table which had very nice sea views. It would have been a nice spot to watch the sunset an hour earlier. However, despite it now being dark, we could see the lights of Oranjestad on the horizon and the lit up Royal Caribbean Adventurer of the Seas ship docked at the cruise terminal.
Unfortunately, our table was next to a very noisy, mainly female birthday party from California. We had to endure their loud and vacuous conversations and screeching voices throughout our meal. Not the ideal atmosphere for a romantic dinner. The party left just before we finished our meal and another diner (an American lady) came over to us to offer her sympathies – she and her family had also had their meal ruined by the noise, but at least they hadn't had to suffer it from quite such close proximity!
Our waiter, Davy, was pretty good overall. He talked us through the day's specials and topped up our water and ice throughout our meal. However, he neglected us for quite some time while dealing with the bills and taxi arrangements of the aforementioned party. Eventually, another of the waiting staff (a more laid back, elderly gentleman) seemed to remind him that we were still there. Had we been waiting to order desserts, we would have been getting a little impatient by the time he returned to ask us.
As in many of Aruba's restaurants, the menu at Pinchos was dominated by meat and seafood. The starters ($US 6 - 13) included salads, ceviche, fish cakes, shrimps, tuna, conch fritters, chicken satay and beef tenderloin skewers. The mains ($US 19 - 44) included chicken satay, pork tenderloin, mixed BBQ skewers, various steaks, shrimps, lobster tails, mahi mahi, grouper and salmon.
I started with:
Mild Spicy Fish Cakes - Price: $US 8
A couple of fish cakes which were supposed to come with a pineapple and curry mayonnaise. I could just about detect the merest hint of mayo beneath the fish cakes, but didn't detect a hint of either pineapple OR curry! The fish cakes were topped with cherry tomatoes and accompanied by papaya and kiwi. Nice enough, but not particularly memorable.
For my main, I had:
Pan-seared Caribbean Grouper - Price: $US 24
The two fillets of grouper were deliciously tender and didn't contain a single bone. The fish was accompanied by a nice portion of coconut jasmine rice and a sweet apricot and ginger sauce. The bed of grilled vegetables (green and red peppers, carrots, courgettes) on which the fish was served was disappointingly bland. Although the fish itself was delicious, the meal as a whole lacked something; it was more expensive and less tasty than meals that we'd enjoyed elsewhere.
Emma started with:
Cucumber and Sesame Salad - Price: $US 6
Cucumber, onions and green leaves sprinkled with sesame seeds and a vinaigrette.
Emma then opted for:
Catch of the Day: Wahoo - Price: $US 28
Davy had told us that the "Catch of the Day" was wahoo – a deliciously meaty fish – and having enjoyed it elsewhere in Aruba, Emma didn't hesitate to order it. It was served on the bone, almost steak-like in its texture, and accompanied by coconut jasmine rice, grilled vegetables and a garlic sauce. Emma enjoyed it a lot.
To drink, I had a small 200ml draft Balashi Chill beer ($US 4.50) – which wasn't as nice as the standard Balashi beer (and that's saying something!) - and Emma had a lemonade ($US 2.70).
We didn't have room for desserts...but we suspected that they would be expensive. There was no dessert menu, but we heard Davy reading out a selection of cakes (but no prices!) to the noisy table next to us.
A 15% service charge (common in Aruba) was automatically added to our bill. A footnote on the menu explained that this would be used to supplement the serving staff's salaries on a points basis and that additional gratuities were welcome. Coming from the UK, the concept of an automatic service charge is fairly alien to me. The notion of then tipping more on top of a 15% service charge wasn't one that I was prepared to entertain.
I left Pinchos feeling rather underwhelmed. The food itself was pretty good – but not as enjoyable as at other restaurants that we had visited. The setting was nice and I don't blame the restaurant for the excessive noise coming from the adjacent table (even though it undoubtedly had a detrimental effect on the atmosphere for us and other diners).
Emma enjoyed it more than I did, but we both agreed that Pinchos' sister restaurant, The West Deck (located along the coast closer to Oranjestad) was far more enjoyable. The West Deck had a friendlier and more laid-back atmosphere, not to mention a menu of exciting, flavoursome Caribbean food at more affordable prices than Pinchos.
Pinchos – a great setting near Surfside Beach, but the food (albeit pretty good) didn't justify the high prices or the manager's aloofness. I wouldn't go back.
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Aug 16, 2007
Pinchos, is a casual yet chic grill and bar, located at the Surfside Marina, on a pier surrounded by the clear blue waters of Aruba. Pinchos is an outdoor grill and bar that offers a distinctive concept and atmosphere. Pinchos offers al fresco dining. The atmosphere is very intimate and romantic. All tables are right by the water’s edge, under the stars accompanied by the twinkling of candle lights. Enjoy a healthy meal (all grilled items) or just stop by for the unsurpassed bar/lounge atmosphere. To truly enjoy those ideal Aruban sunsets, Pinchos awaits all guests with a tropical concoction, an outdoor chic living room type setting, and a mix of contemporary tunes, which will enchant each and every visitor