San Juan Restaurants
Calle Caribe 58, San Juan
Chef and owner Martin Louzao recently moved Cocina Abierta to the trendy streets of Condado, where the cool-kid atmosphere of the eclectic kitchen fits right into the fashionable neighborhood of boutique stores. The menu is composed of five acts, with each unit working to form the full dining experience: appetizer, vegetable, seafood, poultry and pasta, and finally, red meat. Select one dish from each act to create a custom tasting menu, so your final play-by-play might be fresh ceviche, roasted cabbage with onion jam, seafood green curry, goat cheese ravioli, and lamb Wellington. Even the wine parings have a creative edge: Sommelier Arturo Campos suggests multiple wines for every dish—a classic if you want to play it safe and a wild card if you have a taste for adventure.
1055 Ashford Ave., San Juan
The bar for fine dining is set inside the walls of the historic Condado Vanderbilt hotel. Here, executive chef Juan Jose Cuevas crafts his menu in collaboration with local farmers. The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has been a lesson for Cuevas in what plants best survive devastation. The menu explores the whimsy of Cuevas’s mind: tuna in arugula-almond pesto, salmon confit, eggplant for dessert. More than a meal, 1919 is a conversation with the land of Puerto Rico that can connect you to the spirit of the country.
317 Fortaleza St., San Juan
Iowa native Peter Schintler has attracted culinary praise in restaurants across the globe, from New York City to Singapore. But over the past decade he has put down roots in Puerto Rico, where his restaurant Marmalade checks every box of the perfect dining experience. The service is informative but unobtrusive, the atmosphere offers a balance of romance and comfort, and the innovative farm-to-table menu features paella sushi, shrimp tossed with popcorn and avocado salsa, and a lobster risotto that melts in your mouth. Do not underestimate the tiny white bean soup, Marmalade’s signature, topped with black truffles and guaranteed to have you singing Schintler’s praises before you reach the entrée. And although water damage from Hurricane Maria forced Marmalade to temporarily close its doors, its liquid gold—an impeccably curated wine collection—was thankfully preserved.