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“A must in Aruba”

Carte Blanche Restaurant
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $95
Cuisines: European, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Carte Blanche is a restaurant for foodies, people who are open minded for an exquisite fine dinning experience, without limitations. Carte Blanche features a 14-seat elegant bar in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. The highlight of the restaurant is Chef Dennis van Daatselaar cooking right in front of you a 5-course Carte Blanche dinner known as a “chef surprise”. Alongside him is Maitre d’ Glen Bonset pairing wines and mixing premium drinks
Reviewed March 21, 2013

One doesn't visit Aruba and not expect to eat well, but Carte Blanche takes it to another level. A 14 seat diner/bar awaits you upon arrival. While Dennis prepares his unique 5 course dinning experience, Glen pairs wines from around the world for each course (please, pace yourselves). An experience you'll not find anywhere else, interacting with both chef and guests. Reservations required well in advance (months) or you can try your luck with the wait list. With one seating per night, expect to spend the evening. Well worth the price.

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1  Thank jeffprupis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 18, 2013

We generally wait to write our reviews after we return from our trips and, in the interim, sometimes some interesting reviews are written which reflect on our experience as well. Such appears to have been the case this year for this restaurant and we were pleased to see the menu described by HF and the disappointing similarity it had to the menu we experienced on a previous night. We tried to go to this restaurant last year and wound up being wait listed and eventually did not get in.This year we booked early and initially were rejected because of some dietary restrictions, we tried again and eased the restrictions and did get in and were very much looking forward to going especially since we had experienced "2 Fools and a Bull" last year and wanted to compare the two.

The concept as we understand it is that a unique five course excellent meal is to be prepared in a small setting environment conducive to interrelating to fellow diners while being catered to and entertained (to a certain minimal degree) by the proprietors and that the meal may be accompanied by optional beverages chosen and suggested by the proprietors. It is a wonderful concept and it is something that we refer to as private dining.

The new setting at the BUCUTI area is designed in the fashion of a large counter area where everyone can view the work being done. That is great and it is entertaining but it interferes with one's ability to communicate with or interact with all of the other participants without shouting across the room. In general, you will wind up conversing with your neighbors and that may or may not work out well on any given night (it was fine with us) and that puts a certain burden on the proprietors to entertain in some fashion. CHEF DENNIS gets very justifiably wrapped up in his preparations and Maitre D'/Sommelier GLENN is left to interact with the crowd except when plates are served when GLENN might participate in explaining them and this all works out fine. The only issue we had with this, other than the inability to interact with some without yelling was that, though beverage options were presented with each course and were attempted to be explained, though we are not experts in the matter, we had reason to question some of the accuracy of what was being stated. Additionally, there is no indication to anyone what the additional cost of the beverages is to be. At 2 Fools the menu is placed on a board and recommended beverages are listed for each course along with prices for the optional beverages - nothing is hidden and nothing becomes a surprise at the end of the evening. Beverages at both places tend to be on the expensive side and can add a substantial amount to any final bill. CAVEAT EMPTOR.

We were told that CHEF DENNIS tends to pre-plate a significant amount of his dishes and we understand why that might be necessary. That did not detract from the meal at all - the food was excellent and we would be remiss to say or even suggest otherwise. The dining experience is excellent as is the overall experience.

Our concerns come in other areas which may seem picky to some, but nonetheless we believe are legitimate concerns. As we were presented with our dishes, it became apparent that, though CHEF DENNIS made a very good effort to accommodate the party with dietary issues, he did not fully do so for an apparent lack of understanding of some of the ingredients he used. Furthermore, we left wondering just how much of the meal was not really unique and this is where the review of HF proves useful - not less than two of the dishes HF experienced were also experienced by us and HF appears to have eaten here only a few days after us. We would have expected greater diversity.

Additionally, despite the effort to entertain, CHEF DENNIS' comprehension of ENGLISH can lead to some interesting, controversial and embarrassing situations. In the group that dined with us there were a number of smokers who occasionally stepped out to satisfy their nicotine
cravings and some discussion turned to that and it became a bit amusing when CHEF DENNIS asked a lady whether she smokes" or whether she "blows" - thankfully it is an adult setting and everyone had a good laugh especially as Glenn tried to explain the situation to Dennis.

Overall this is a very good dining experience, it is pricey, and you should inquire as to the price of any beverages before indulging. But now comes the question that is on everyone's mind when you discuss Carte Blanche and 2 Fools and that is which is better - in our opinion, both are very good but, for reasons discussed in our review of 2 Fools, and herein our preference is 2 Fools. Which does not mean that we will not be back to Carte Blanche or that we do not encourage everyone to try it - it clearly is one of the better dining experiences in ARUBA and one that should be partaken of by everyone.

Be sure to make reservations early and plan on a 2.5 to 3.5 hour wonderful dining experience. GO AND ENJOY.

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3  Thank OMNISCIENT_ONE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2013

Dennis and Glen really know how to WOW a crowd. We made these reservations 6 months in advance and it was worth the wait. Only 16 guests per evening and chef/owner Dennis prepares the meals in front of your eyes. The menu consists of an amuse bouche, 3 appetizers, dinner, and choice of dessert. That evening was a pea/thyme soup; a ceviche accompanied by a rock lobster salad, and lox with beet mousse; sucking pig shank; prawns on a bed of eggplant; flank steak; and either a chocolate or cream puff dessert. I am giving only very basic descriptions and these meals were anything but basic. It was a myriad of flavors that danced in your mouth. We decided to also add the wine pairing in which Glen is the sommelier and explains why he has chosen each one to accompany the meal. Dennis and Glen work very well with one another and provide an amusing repertoire for the guests. Do not be shocked when you open the bill, it is pricey (even by DC standards) but it is worth every dollar. Will we be back? Absolutely!

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Thank H F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Friend of ours from Boston told us "must go "!!! But booked thru June....got on a waiting list...called and emailed... Finally got in. Well worth the efforts too!! The food was amazing and paired perfectly with each wine. I cannot wait to come back next year...to see Dennis and Glen.. And of course be pampered! After dinner we were lucky enough to hang out with them both too!! One of..ok the best...meal I have had in Aruba in 8 yrs!!!!
If you can get in...do it!! Be open to new dining experiences, sit back and enjoy.... True foodies will fall in love!!!
Jen & Mickey

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1  Thank Jprentice1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

We dined at Carte Blanche two nights ago and it was a great experience. Just like going to a great party with some of the best food you ever had ! Only 16 people sharing incredible food (three appetizers,a main and a dessert and wine pairings or cocktails. The food made by chef Dennis in front of you with food allergies taken into consideration. This is a one seating 4 or more hour meal.We have eaten in some of the worlds finest restaurants but none as much fun or had better food. Make reservations far in advance and bring your platinum card. Worth every expensive penny.
To enjoy this wonderful place. Ask for instructions to find this tiny gem.

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Thank Robert K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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