Aruba Eats: Smokey Joe's Island Grill

Smokey Joe's, Aruba

We started and ended our stay in Aruba with dinner at Smokey Joe's Island Grill and hung out at the bar there midweek as well.

Smokey Joe's was like our Boston neighborhood bar and restaurant. It's located directly across the street from Playa Linda, and we soon found out that the owner lives in Providence, RI, went to college in Boston, and is a huge Boston sports fan. We found the whole bar decked out in Red Sox paraphernalia. (This was a good sign because we knew exactly where we'd be able to catch games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.)

Smokey Joe's, Aruba

On the first day, we arrived at the hotel after a not exactly direct drive from the car rental place, dropped off our bags, and walked over to Smokey Joe's. It was about 4:30 and the restaurant didn't open until 5:00, so we strolled down to the beach to kill a little time before dinner. We said hi to and caught up with some friends of my parents who were also staying that same week, and soon enough 5:00 rolled around, and we headed back over to Smokey Joe's. (I should mention I was beyond famished at this point.)

We were seated right away a large, colorful table. Smokey Joe's boasts the "best ribs in the Caribbean," so those definitely had to be ordered. But first things first... drinks.

My mom and I got mojitos, and let me tell you, this was just the right way to let myself know I was officially on vacation and could finally unwind a little.

Mojito at Smokey Joe's, Aruba

Jeff had his first fruity drink of the week. We've decided it's totally fine to have unmanly drinks on tropical islands. This one is called the Pink Iguana and has pina colada mix and strawberries in it.

My dad partook of the local beer: Balashi.

I got shrimp on the barbie for an appetizer, and we also got an order of cheese fries (which are topped with not only cheese but also scallions, jalapenos, and bacon) to start with.

Wings and cheese fries at Smokey Joe's, Aruba

I loved the shrimp. They were very simply grilled with no rubs or flavorings or anything. I really started wishing I had a grill so I could make this simple dish at home too.

Shrimp on the barbie at Smokey Joe's, Aruba

Then I shared the ultimate combo platter, consisting of pulled pork, baby back ribs, rotisserie chicken, and more shrimp, with my parents. I'm not a huge bbq connossieur by any means, but the components of the platter were all well flavored, and I enjoyed being able to try so many different things.

One of my sisters ate buffalo wings from the appetizer menu for her meal, and my little brother tucked right into a platter of ribs.

Jeff got the tenderloin kebab with a caesar salad on the side.

My other sister got fish and chips made with grouper. She shared a piece with me, and it was so amazing that I got it when we went back to Smokey Joe's for our last night on the island.

Fish and chips at Smokey Joe's, Aruba

Jeff and I returned on Wednesday evening to watch the Bruins game and were happy to find that the employees were routing for the Bruins as well. We sat in the bar area in front of the large flatscreen TV and sipped cocktails.

I tried the Happy Tourist (rum, coconut rum, Amaretto, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice) while Jeff went with the Aruba Arriba.

Cocktails at Smokey Joe's, Aruba

Sadly, the Bruins lost that night, but we still had a really good time, and when we went back for dinner on Saturday night, we stayed and hung out in the bar again to watch game 2. This time Jeff got a Pink Iguana, but I stuck with the Happy Tourist. This was a better game with the Bruins in the lead 2 to 1 for the better part of the game, but the game ended with a tie and went into a very short overtime, which we watched back in the comfort of our hotel room. (Even though games 1 and 2 were disappointing, back at home we got to celebrate some big wins and see the Bruins take home the Stanley Cup!! We had a blast at the parade.)

Bruins parade
Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara at the Bruins Parade

I definitely recommend Smokey Joe's as a chill spot on the island to grab some good food and fun drinks!

Have you found any bars/restaurants away from home that remind you of home?