Meet the Charming and Talented Chef Ever De Peña at Ike’s Bistro, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa

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While instilled with traditional values of Caribbean hospitality the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa delivers a rewarding contemporary guest-experience. By offering a unique blend of beach-life and gourmet cuisine, spa pampering, and high-tech amenities, the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa creates the perfect backdrop against which guests quiet their minds and de-stress. Recently, the tropical garden terrace has been repositioned as Ike’s Bistro, serving a modern twist on Mediterranean cuisine under the guidance of the full-of-surprises Chef Ever De Peña.

Chef Ever de Peña

Just 26 years of age, the chef has nevertheless been cooking for the past 11 years. Venezuelan-born and raised in Aruba he entered the apprenticeship program at the local vocational high school at the age of 15, and for five years combined school and hands-on training, in some of Aruba’s finest restaurants under the watchful eye of the island’s top chefs. While the first dish he ever prepared as a young man was Pasta Primavera, he today deftly composes beautiful dishes with subtle and complex flavors, under-promising and over-delivering, on taste and on presentation, each time!

Since he recently joined the culinary team at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, Ike’s Bistro now boasts a delicious menu of the chef’s specialties. While Mediterranean at heart, it is inspired by Caribbean ingredients and the chef’s passion for avant-guard fusion ideas.

Among appetizers, the most-delicious Ceviche and Avocado presents a ying & yang marriage of fresh grouper marinated in zesty lemon, and paired with sweet mango and creamy avocado. The Scallops and Corn serve the delicate grilled giant scallop on a bed of slightly-sweet corn puree, drizzled with orange vinaigrette. Plentiful salads take on Mediterranean classics such as the Caprese by pairing buffalo Mozzarella with tomato, orange, basil, and basil mousse. The chef’s Caribbean Chowder is a velvety, rich seafood cream flavored with Pernod, crunchy onions, carrots and celery, and fragrant basil. And it is hands-down, the best soup you’ll ever have.

His homemade Portobello Mushroom Ravioli is a giant pocket, swimming in a flavorful chardonnay, butter, basil and shaved parmesan puddle. You could probably eat fifteen, but two is just right. Among entrees, Ike’s Bistro lists a solid repertory including the catch of the day, Tuna, Sea bass, Shrimp, Mussels, Tenderloin, Sirloin, Veal, Chicken and Steak & Shrimp. Very notable are the Grilled Tuna with stewed cherry tomatoes and avocado salad, flavored with a chardonnay, balsamic thyme reduction and the Sliced Sirloin with bleu cheese potatoes, wilted greens, over an aromatic thyme sauce.

Those with room for dessert will be gratified to find Chocolate Temptations, a chocolate three-way treat, and an Orange Catalana, as good as the ones served in Barcelona. The Passion Fruit Parfait and Berries, and the Mini Treats round up the menu, created for the garden terrace by Sous Chef Ever de Pena, paying homage to the late resort founder, award-winning hotelier Ike Cohen. Ike’s passion for food introduced the island of Aruba to gourmet cooking as early as the 60s when he created the Talk of the Town restaurant and later, in the 70s when he conceived the French Steakhouse, a bastion of culinary flair at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa.    

With seating in the garden terrace or around the tropical pool, Ike’s Bistro experience is enchanting and all menu items are extremely enticing. Undecided guests may opt for the tasting menu of 4 or 5 tasting portions of the chef’s seasonal specialties. The chef will come to your table to consult you about likes and dislikes and will tailor the meal to your palate!

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Deyanira Zuniga
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