I am back from a fabulous, sun-filled week in Aruba. Although there were some strong trade winds most of the week, the weather was in the high 80s every day which made this beach-loving New Yorker quite happy.
As you know, I did my research before heading to Aruba and found multiple mentions of Linda’s Dutch Pancakes including a review by a fellow NYC gal on GF in the City and lots of posts on my favorite travel-planning resource, Trip Advisor. With all of the great reviews, I knew this was a key destination on my Aruba list.
I went for dinner at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes and Pizza on my second night in Aruba. The restaurant was about a 15-minute walk from the high-rise hotel area in Aruba. Street signs are pretty much non-existent in Aruba so to get there turn onto Palm Beach road with Benihana and Sopranos Bar on the corner. Keep on walking until you pass Kong Fui Supermarket on your right and Valero Gas Station on your left. Linda’s is the first restaurant in a strip of restaurants just past the gas station. I was a bit nervous walking there by myself at dusk and almost turned around when I didn’t see it, but don’t give up. It’s worth the walk and Aruba is quite safe.
For those of you that don’t know, Aruba is an island in the southern Caribbean only 27km off the coast of Venezuela. It is a former colony of the Netherlands and now an independent entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hence the Dutch influence everywhere on the island.
When I arrived, I immediately asked the waitress for a gluten-free menu and she eagerly pointed out everything I could eat. The menu was clearly labeled with gluten-free items. I also mentioned that I had read about their gluten-free menu online so she said she would send out Stefan, the manager. Immediately I felt comfortable eating at Linda’s. Whether at home or abroad, this personal connection with the staff makes this gluten-free customer feel at ease.
Stefan, the manager at Linda’s, was great. He told me that his mother Linda (who unfortunately passed away last year) had to eat gluten-free. Linda started serving gluten-free a couple of years ago when she realized that more and more customers were asking for traditional Dutch pancakes to be made gluten-free. After adding the gluten-free pancakes to the menu, they added gluten-free pizza as well. Stefan orders his gluten-free flour directly from Amazon.com since they are one of the only websites that will ship to Aruba.
For my first dinner at Linda’s, I decided on a traditional Dutch pancake since I never had one before. There were so many toppings to choose from but I chose ham and Gouda cheese, a traditional Dutch cheese. The pancake came out and it was HUGE. I was starving and determined to eat the whole thing. I finished about 80% of the monster gluten-free pancake, but just could not finish it. The price was reasonable for Aruba, which I found to be VERY expensive for food. For a diet Coke, the gluten-free pancake, and a tip, I spent about $16.00 US (around 28.00 AWG, the Aruban currency).
I knew I wanted to check out Linda’s again before I left, so I headed there for my last dinner on Aruba. This time, I debated between pizza or another pancake but opted for the sweet. Hey, I was on vacation and wanted to eat dessert for dinner. Stefan came out and went over all of the fruit toppings to tell me what was fresh or frozen. I thought this was a really nice touch. I decided on a Nutella and banana gluten-free Dutch pancake for this repeat visit. One word for this dinner: DELICIOUS
First of all, you really cannot go wrong with Nutella. I can eat it right out of the jar sometimes. The best thing about this pancake was that the Nutella wasn’t smeared on top of the pancake but baked right into the batter. I am totally going to try this the next time I make pancakes at home. Check this baby out:
This time around there was nothing left on the plate. I devoured that pancake and probably could have eaten a second. It was that good.
Linda’s Dutch Pancakes and Pizza is open 8am to 10pm every day except Sundays when they are closed. The restaurant was not crowded on either of my visits, but they do take reservations. If you are going to Aruba during the busy season, it might be worthwhile to call ahead. There is indoor and outdoor seating available. It was Aruba and it was February and although the view as of the parking lot I opted to sit outside both times. I am very happy I went to Linda’s twice and honestly probably could have eaten there at least once more if I wasn’t being lazy on the beach.
Thank you to the staff at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes and Pizza for providing me with safe, gluten-free food in your beautiful country!