“I bring my childhood and nostalgia into this place”.
These are the words of owner-chef Nathaly De Mey. If you sit down and talk with Nathaly, her eyes will light up while fondly looking back on her days as a young girl in Aruba. Some of Nathaly’s most meaningful memories involve her childhood trips to the harbor with her grandmother. Each Saturday they would make their way to the fish market to bring home the day’s fresh catch. Oftentimes, it was amberjack. Together they would bring the fish home and prepare it with whatever was fresh and available. The day would conclude with a stroll to the tamarind tree, as they would pick and eventually enjoy the sweet island fruit as the sun softly set into the ocean.
As her life progressed, Nathaly ended up moving abroad and spending over three decades of her life in different parts of the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. While living in different parts of the world, Nathaly developed a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of food and culture. During her travels, she always visited local and authentic restaurants. Local cuisine allowed Nathaly to immerse herself into other cultures while remaining connected to her Aruban roots.
Nathaly returned to Aruba in 2017 after most recently living in Dublin, Ireland for 17 years. After being away from home, she longed for a proper Aruban meal with fresh fish, and the sweet nuttiness of a cashew cake dessert. However, she struggled to find anything native and authentic on the island. She was inspired to bring fresh and local cuisine back to Aruba.
Nathaly opened Taste My Aruba to showcase the delicious food that comes from the island. It’s Aruban food in its purest form. Now as an adult who has lived around the world, she still returns to the fish market each morning. She buys the freshly caught amberjack, just like she did with her grandmother, and prepares it with herbs and vegetables that are grown on the island.
For Nathaly, this restaurant is a celebration of her culture and childhood. It’s a celebration of Aruba’s fishermen and farmers. Most importantly, it’s a celebration of the little island and the people who raised her. Fresh and local food is all that Nathaly has ever known. She believes that sharing a meal should be a casual celebration of life and culture, and she modeled her restaurant to be just that. It’s unpretentious, simple, and beautifully Aruban. Nathaly loves to share the warmth of Aruban culture with all who step foot in her restaurant.
When she’s not at the fish market or the restaurant, Nathaly is oftentimes enjoying the simple pleasures of life with her family and her three beloved dogs: Puppy, Hope, and Dublin.