Curaçao - The Wine Cellar
A top fine-dining restaurant in the Caribbean
Originally built in 1973 by the Swiss-educated Chef Nico Cornelisse

The Wine Cellar has been a part of the Curaçao gastronomy scene for decades. Originally built in 1973 by the Swiss-educated Chef Nico Cornelisse, the cosy location became heaven for sampling little-known French wines accompanied by typical French dishes such as Coquilles St. Jacques, soupe à l’oignon and escargots.

The citizens of Curaçao readily adopted The Wine Cellar as a romantic retreat. It became part of a new culinary culture inspiring staff in 1981to take the next step which was to transform the establishment into an elegant restaurant with white tablecloths, silver-service, personal attention and a stylish menu.

In 1985 Nico was invited by Wolfgang Gutmann to join the Bailliage of Venezuela as a Maître Rôtisseur where he enjoyed many spectacular dinners. This inspired a group of connoisseurs from what was at the time the Netherlands Antilles to apply to create their own National Bailliage, the inauguration of which was approved in 1987.

Nico served as Chancelier and then Bailli Délégué from the early years and for many years was an active Member of the Conseil Magistral. Today the Bailliage of Curaçao* (renamed from “Netherlands Antilles” following a change in legal status) is administered by Nico’s son Anton-Karel as Chancelier. Anton is in the restaurant in his own right having completed a hospitality industry Bachelor degree in the Netherlands. Two more sons, Daniel and Thomas are making sure that The Wine Cellar remains a popular family-run restaurant.

For 25 years Daniel Cornelisse's responsibility in the restaurant has been the bar and wine service department. Thomas Cornelisse joined the restaurant a few years ago as Executive Chef after completing his chef's study in the south of Holland. He joined our Bailliage as a Maître Rôtisseur following in his father’s footsteps!

Artistic control and appearance of the restaurant is in the capable hands of Nico's spouse, Lucia Campos.

The Wine Cellar has been a top fine-dining restaurant in the Caribbean, listed for many years among the 10 best restaurants in this part of the world by TripAdvisor - currently number six.

Nico Cornelisse
Bailli Délégué

* All the island territories that belonged to the Netherlands Antilles remain part of the kingdom today, although the legal status of each differs. Curaçao is one in this group which is still commonly called the Dutch Caribbean, regardless of the legal status.