Marmalade chef Peter Schintler sources his food from small producers and local farmers who share earth friendly, organic and sustainable philosophies. The menu ranges from raw and vegan to fragrant and complex, ‘with layers of crafted and explosive flavours in between.’ The seasonal, 15-course group tasting menu, for example, is a ‘playful and creative’ combination of tapas-style meals. Dessert consists of a tasting of four different dishes from versatile chef Schintler’s imagination. With a menu inspired by cuisines from the Far East, Mediterranean, Middle East, Southern Europe, and Latin America, and a tastefully ecclectic interior, Marmalade has the art of dining down.
The Garden, a family owned restaurant is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant and wine garden that serves freshly caught fish and seafood and grass fed, farm-raised meats and chicken with no additives or artificial ingredients. The exclusive wine list features organic and traditional selections from North and South America, Australia and Europe. Try the Angus churrasco served with the house chimichurri, with a lavender whiskey sour. End your meal with ginger-vanilla crème brûlée or the carrot cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Fridays and Saturdays chill out with live music, samba or jazz or dj’s after 8 pm.
The Garden, 2413 Laurel Street, Punta Las Marías, San Juan, Puerto Rico+1 787 963-0087
For elegance, romance and fine dining, 1919, housed in the historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, is top of the list. The vibrant restaurant is run by people who are passionate about the locavore, or locally sourced, movement, so they aim to provide the freshest local ingredients for their farm as well as sport an ocean-to-table focus. Award-winning Puerto Rican born chef Juan Jose Cuevas has spent many years honing his culinary craft alongside many world renowned chefs, and his menu is full of eclectic and sophisticated dishes. These include coconut arepa with zucchini soup, fresh scallop crudo with frozen, grated radish, and braised veal cheeks over an apio polenta.
Tiny Café Cola’o on the pier in old San Juan, was the first specialty coffee shop in the area and set the trend for the beautiful Caribbean island’s many coffee outlets. Staff at Café Cola’o serve an excellent cup, and offer customers a choice of a selection of the finest beans.The Puerto Rican countryside-themed shop also serves juices, pastries and other items. Order a beautiful latte or cappuccino with leaf design and throw in a delicious turkey and manchego sandwich panini pressed, a chocolate chip cookie or a tasty powdered sugar covered flaky pastry with warm guava jam inside.
Café Cola’o, Pier 2 Old San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 725 4139
Parrot Club pioneered the drive to modernise local cuisine, and 15 years later the restaurant is still at its peak. The colourful, tropical interiors, the colonial architecture with its huge archways and high ceilings, the art and design, make it a vibrant place. Patrons can look into the open kitchen, or sit out in the palm-filled courtyard for dinner under the stars.The chef borrows from Spanish and Puerto Rican cuisines and combines Taíno and African inspirations. Parrot Club’s seared tuna is San Juan’s best, and the Creole-style flank steak is delicious. Wash down with the frozen blend of Bacardi limon, fresh orange and passion fruit.
Parrot Club, 363 Calle Fortaleza, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 725 7370
For something completely different, try a little spot inside the post office parking lot beside Kasalta’s, in San Juan, at the welcoming community centre and cafe of Mujeres Ayudando Madres, or ‘Women Helping Mothers’, Café Mam. The cafe offers tasty and affordable cuisine to support healthy families and pregnant women. The children can run and play while parents recharge with freshly made juices, coconut milkshakes, and hearty vegetarian and vegan dishes such as a lentil burger topped with mango sauce, avocado and papaya, or a tofu and hummus wrap. The customers are mostly locals and the staff are friendly, the service wonderful. There is also a natural food store offering a buffet spread on Friday, and daily specials include smoothies and juices.
Café Mam, 1958 Calle Mcleary, Unit 1903, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 945 5000