XpBonaire IslandLife Feature Story
For the past few months, we have been eagerly following the developments in Antriol, where the new project, SACA Foundation Art Center Antriol, is taking shape. Within this project, Janos opened his new restaurant, Zara's, in July 2023.
The industries finest
Janos Vermaat, a passionate and skilled chef, has honed his culinary expertise by working in the most exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants in the Netherlands. His mastery, particularly in the field of pastry, was acquired through learning from the industry's finest. When Janos arrived in Bonaire, he established himself as the renowned chef at Sebastian's, where he showcased his talents for an impressive seven years.
In November 2019, BonBons Bonaire welcomed the public, with Janos as its owner. He brought a refined and unique taste to the island, making the patisserie well-known for its exclusive bonbons and unconventional wedding cakes. Unfortunately, Janos opened his shop during the COVID-19 crisis when the entire economy came to a standstill. Consequently, it was better to temporarily close the store and solely accept online orders.
What you didn’t know
However, Janos is not just a gifted pastry chef and executive chef; he also provides advisory services to businesses. Three years ago, he was approached for a new project in Antriol, a developing neighborhood on Bonaire known for its limited prosperity. Initially, Janos had not considered participating directly, but as the idea of starting his own venture took hold, he embraced it. Developing a business in this neighborhood presented its fair share of challenges, but through continuous conceptual discussions, Zara's was born. After dedicating seven years to a single company, Janos took a year off, primarily engaged in advisory work, and eventually decided to embark on a new challenge. The restaurant's name, Zara's, was chosen in honor of Janos' daughter.
At Zara's, the paramount focus is on delivering a great culinary experience. The restaurant offers a unique setting where guests can indulge in the new menu on the rooftop terrace overlooking Bonaire or while seated at the chef's table, which provides a view into the kitchen, cocktail bar, and pastry kitchen. Guests can enjoy a chef's choice menu. The rooftop restaurant accommodates 60 diners, with an additional lounge area featuring 15 seats.
Operating Zara's comes with the challenge of being a hospitality entrepreneur on an island where competent staff is scarce. Janos' core team comprises Isabelle, the operations manager responsible for recruiting the service staff and curating a cocktail menu boasting classic and unique creations. Additionally, Isabelle has carefully selected the wines. Roger, the sous chef, collaborated with Janos crafting the new menu featuring five dishes per category: meat, fish, vegetarian, and desserts. The chef's table offers a chef's choice menu with six courses and the possibility of drink pairing, allowing guests to specify any allergies or dietary restrictions.
Let us tease you a little for the fun of it:
Pumpkin and lobster Ravioli with black garlic, mustard greens, and hazelnut
Duck breast with parsnip and blood orange
Avocado Ceviche, sweet peppers, popcorn, cucumber, and parmesan
Smoked dark chocolate and passionfruit
Expectations are high
Although there are high expectations, Janos and his team are determined to meet and exceed them. Initially, they will concentrate on providing exceptional service at the chef's table, with plans to accommodate 20 guests on the rooftop terrace. Janos has made significant investments in quality tableware and glassware at Zara's. His team is extensively trained in cocktails, coffee, and wine service. The patisserie kitchen, equipped with temperature control, offers a wide range of desserts, bonbons, pastries, and ice cream. Additionally, there is a variety of takeaway options available in the display case.
Throughout the years, Janos has collaborated closely with investors and entrepreneurs, particularly as Bonaire experiences rapid growth and development, marked by the construction of new shopping centers, cinemas, and other facilities. Zara's aims to contribute positively to the evolving needs of both visitors and residents.
Zara's operates from 12 pm, with the kitchen closing at 10 pm. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Located within the newly developed SACA Foundation Art Center Antriol, Zara's finds its home in Antriol. This remarkable project seamlessly blends historic buildings with modern architecture. The non-profit organization, SACA, endeavors to make a positive impact on the island's culture and art scene.
Open Wednesday – Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm
Kaya Korona #74
Phone +599 701 0040
Facebook & IG Zaras Bonaire