Xp Bonaire IslandLife Bonaire
C’est la Vie opened its doors in November, 2021, at the South Pier Shopping Mall. The small-scale restaurant focuses on light cooking, beer and fine wines.
The interior of the bar and restaurant is warm, welcoming and rustic. A few tables and the bar create an intimate setting and direct contact with Juan, the chef and owner, who prepares the food right before your eyes.
For those who like to enjoy the Caribbean breeze, the outside tables overlook the shopping mall playa with beautiful palm trees right at the ocean front. Of course, you can watch the cruise ships and their visitors arriving and departing.
Restaurant owner, Juan de Sousa, is well known on Bonaire as the former chef at the French restaurant, Bistro de Paris, and the Italian restaurant, La Terrazza. After more than 25 years in the hospitality industry and encouraged by his wife, Janeth, Juan took the step to finally open his own restaurant called C’est la Vie.
Even though the name choice might be confusing to some, when you read Juan’s life story, you might understand and even find the name very fitting considering his ability to just take life as it is and go with the flow.
Juan, who was born in Venezuela, came from Portuguese parents who left their country, Portugal, before Oliveira Salazar and his authoritarian rule was overthrown, resulting in the Portuguese transition to democracy.
Juan was always excited about travelling. When he was invited by family to come to Aruba, he left Venezuela, only 22 years old, with no experience and not many language skills, but ready to take on the world.
Juan was looking for work when he was introduced to a restaurant Executive Chef. He knew that he had to start from the bottom without any experience. In the hospitality industry that means washing dishes. The French restaurant, Chez Mathilde, was where Juan's hospitality industry passion started. He enjoyed the hustle and bustle in the kitchen and was eager to learn the real deal. Juan quickly finished his dishwashing job, hoping to be given other tasks including food preparation.
The restaurant Executive Chef saw his potential and gave Juan the opportunity to study hospitality during the night and workdays hours in the restaurant. The hard work paid off and Juan finally became Chef de Partie and worked at the French restaurant for 8 years.
After Aruba, Juan and his wife left for Portugal, and later Brazil, before they came to Bonaire. On Bonaire he was new and had to convince people of his skills once more. One of the first to give him a chance was Oliverio from El Mundo. We got to know Juan from the French restaurant, Bistro de Paris and later as chef at the Italian restaurant, La Terrazza.
C’est la Vie Gourmet Shop
Finally opening his own restaurant, Juan doesn’t need to convince us of his cooking skills any longer and many of us even have favorite “Juan dishes”. The light cooking served at C’est la Vie includes salads, salamis, hams, cheeses, Focaccia Panini sandwiches, carpaccio's, tartars, soups, marinated olives, pastas, meat and fish dishes, desserts and do not forget, fine wine. It is the perfect food for what we do best on Bonaire and what we enjoy most - meeting our friends to hang out, have a chat and enjoy some food and cold drinks.
Open five days a week, the menu changes frequently depending on the fresh produce available. Open for lunch and dinner, it is the perfect place to watch the cruise ships arrive and depart the island and have an intimate dinner with delicious food and special wines. Don’t miss the pasta days, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We are waiting for the French Onion Soup!
C’est la Vie
South Pier Mall
Monday - Friday 11:30 am until 9 pm
Phone +599 717 4688
Facebook & IG: cestlaviegourmetbonaire