Condado is San Juan’s hippest, trendiest enclave. This ritzy neighborhood is home to world-class boutiques, chic resort hotels, bars and clubs, and, of course, outstanding restaurants that range from refined local cuisine to inventive and elegant fusion fare. Two of my favorite chefs in Puerto Rico have their flagship restaurants in Condado, and plenty of other flavors can be enjoyed in the neighborhood.
This wonderful list was created by Zain Dean, the Puerto Rico Travel Expert and was featured in the website http://gopuertorico.about.com/od/dining/tp/10-Restaurants-to-Try-in-Condado.htm
Here are 10 restaurants to visit next time you’re in Condado.
I’ve dined with Chef Wilo Benet enough times to trust him implicitly when it comes to food. Whether he’s working with corned beef or foie gras, Chef Wilo does incredible things with any ingredient he’s given, and Pikayo is his canvas. Come for the tuna “pegao” and that foie gras with sweet plantains & black truffle honey.
Asian-Puerto Rican fusion cuisine isn’t exclusive to Budatai, but few do it better than Chef Roberto Treviño. With dishes like duck croquettes and ho fun with churrasco steak, the menu brims with decadent flavor and creativity.
My father’s birthday dinner was at Casa Lola, and it was one of the most memorable meals I’ve had in Puerto Rico. The inspired take on classic Puerto Rican cuisine, the intimate setting in a restored colonial house, and the fantastic service puts Lola near the top of my list.
Set in the historic and opulent Vanderbilt Hotel, which lay dormant for many years before it was restored to its former glory, 1919 is eclectic and sophisticated. There’s artistry in the menu here, and while Puerto Rican flavors and ingredients are never far from the kitchen, they’re not the focus. The wild king salmon confit with an herb pistou was enough to make me a convert.
Chef Treviño strikes again with Bar Gitano, a casual, boisterous place where Old World tapas are reinvented and given a culinary twist. I’ve never had calamari dusted in its own ink or garlic shrimp on skewers, as they make it here. And I give them full credit for innovating a classic.
Ok, I’ll just go ahead and say it; this was one of the best Italian meals I had in Puerto Rico. I would go back just for that short rib lasagna. And the place, modern and inviting, the staff, attentive and friendly, and the excellent brunch make it an inviting destination for any hungry diner.
Save this one for a special occasion; Perla stuns the eye and pleases the palate. Housed in a dramatic setting that resembles a giant oyster, this fine dining restaurant has a continental, elegant menu. But it’s the visual treat that really makes this place stand out.
Want to know the difference between Puerto Rican food and Cuban food? Dine at Yerba Buena for a night. The menu here is Cuban to the core, with classics like ropa vieja (shredded marinated beef with peppers) and picadillo (seasoned ground beef). Many dishes have close relatives in Puerto Rican cooking (this is the Caribbean, after all), but there are also plenty of dishes that have a unique flavor.
From Cuba we move to Argentina, with delicious cuts of meat like bife de chorizo (sirloin) and bife de vacio (flank steak) on the menu at Buenos Ayres, a Condado stalwart. If theparrilla isn’t your thing, try the pastas or the Argentinean empanadas. And save room for the dulce de leche crepes.
One of Puerto Rico’s classic panaderías, Kasalta doesn’t land on this list for its sophisticated dining or elegant setting. Instead, this bakery and gourmet shop is the ideal spot for breakfast or lunch in the neighborhood.
More images of the restaurants featured…