Why You Absolutely Must Dine At Hyatt Aruba's Mexicado And Ruinas Del Mar

Eating outdoors at either of the Hyatt Aruba's two restaurants is actually kind of tough.

That's because the scenery and is so ethereal in its ambience that it can be hard to concentrate on the food. At Mexicado, we were invited to dine outdoors at a private table — literally sectioned off from all others — next to several cascading waterfalls and the huge pond full of koi, turtles, and other exotic fish. Between that and the five black swans that introduce themselves once you move over to the Ruinas del Mar side of the pond, I practically turned the experience into a petting zoo, preoccupied with feeding them more than I fed myself.

Fortunately, I did find the time to tear myself away from the wildlife and the scenery at Mexicado — the very first Mexican restaurant to arrive on the island — for long enough to indulge in the three ceviche sampler: grouper with lemon juice, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and serrano chiles; mussels with lemon juice, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, serrano; and shrimp, red onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro, fresh mango salsa — a steal for $17. And the beef tacos, which are simple and hearty, were perfectly seasoned without much else to distract from that flavor.

Switching gears and moving over to Ruinas Del Mar, we were welcomed by the warmth of fire-lit torches in the outdoor patio, setting the stage for us to enjoy dishes that the chef descries "uncomplicated chic," and consisted of a succulent broiled lobster tail with asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and café de Paris butter, as well as an excellent Kansas ribeye steak served with fresh mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and finished with a demi-glace.

If outdoor dining is not for you (the sun in Aruba is no joke), the inside of the restaurant is equally gorgeous, and there are even a few tables flagging an indoor pond with its own fountain.

The man behind the menus at all of the Hyatt's four restaurants is executive chef Vincent Pellegrini, a Brazil native who graduated from the Culinary School at SENAC in São Paulo. Previously, chef Pellegrini spent more than eight years in Latin America and six in the Caribbean, opening restaurants at properties like the Grand Hyatt São PauloHyatt Regency Trinidad, and most recently, the Hyatt Regency Curacao.