La Mer Aruba, Now Open: Mediterranean Flavors in the Heart of Noord

The neighborhood of Noord/Tanki Leendert, according to a survey by the Aruba Tourism Authority, harbors 61.4% of the total active short term vacation rentals, available on island.

That translates into 2,301 units of vacation homes, villas, apartments in complexes and apartments in guesthouses, etc.

It means that there are up to 10,000 visitors in that area, shopping for a great dinner place in the hood, every night.

Two of the area’s deluxe apartments complexes, are Waykiri and Wariruri within a short distance of each other in Rooi Santo, developed by Giovanni De Vecchia, Vecchia Estates NV.

Waykiri is home to OAK, already well-established and popular, by veteran food & beverage professionals Ricardo and July Chirino. Wariruri which was just completed with 63 new residences, was originally meant to offer a Greek restaurant. That concept was traded for a broader vocabulary, a Mediterranean fine dining establishment, which opened last week.

La Mer.

The sea, in French. And a huge classic hit, about love of the sea, by French composer, lyricist, singer Charles Trenet, from 1945. You would recognize it, if played.

The menu reportedly features Italian pastas, delicious steaks and locally sourced fresh seafood, paying homage to Italian, Greek, Spanish, French, and Portuguese kitchens.

Owner Rutger Herber, engages in Food & Beverage on the island, started working at 2 Fools and a Bull, a cooking studio on Palm Beach Road. He eventually took it over from the original operators, and even opened a new affiliate in Bonaire. He also owns Chicken and Lobster, at Playa Linda Beach Resort, open for breakfast, lunch & dinner, and popular among eateries at the high rises.

Leading the La Mer culinary team is Chef/co-owner Mitchell Pereira, with Portuguese roots, as his name attests. Chef Mitchell has 17 years of experience, having spent the last decade with the Ritz Carlton as specialty restaurant chef and banquet chef. As a professional, he is an inspiration, having embarked on a culinary career at age 14, as an intern at the Buccaneer restaurant, guided all these years, by a quest for excellence.

The third leg of the trifecta is general manager Alexander Myer, with 31 years of experience in hospitality, the former president of the Aruba Gastronomic Association, a certified wine sommelier, with special expertise in spirits and cigars.  Alexander spent the last decade as the leader and motivator at Texas de Brazil and joined the team at La Mer as co-owner.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by guests and owners of Wariruri, press members and local friends.

The new restaurant is beautifully appointed, in blue and aqua. The floor tile and bar design are inspired by an Italian color palette and architecture. La Mer has airconditioned indoor and outdoor, under a pergola, seating. Italian blown glass, by Lava Aruba Glass Studio, lent the walls some custom ornaments, in the form of colorful underwater flowers and delicate seaweed.

Two ministers attended the opening, as officials and friends, a harpist played, we sipped bubbly, nibbled on butler-passed hors d’oeuvres.

Let me know what you think about the total experience when you visit.

@LaMerAruba officially opened January 13, 2024.

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January 17, 2024
Rona Coster