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Palmas Culinary Delights

PALMAS CULINARY DELIGHTS

Special report by Lizette Pérez, food and wine blogger

 

It has been one and a half years since we moved to San Juan from Humacao and I miss going to Palmas del Mar to eat once in a while. Palmas del Mar has a great gastronomic offering that fits every budget and preferences. My friend Lissette Rosado gave me the opportunity to write about this in her great magazine Live & Live in Palmas del Mar and I have been enjoying every minute of the great gastronomic proposals that Palmas has to offer. Some of them have been here for many years, which is the case of Chez Daniel that has been open for 30 years, La Brochette which opened its doors on l992 and La Pescadería, which has been opened before Palmas was built, closed some time and reopened a few months ago with new owners. Blue Hawaii, Flying Pizza and Amalgama (the restaurant at the hotel) have not been open that long; C Bar, Pura Vida, Chihuahua and Bistro Rico are the latest additions to the gastronomic experience that Palmas has to offer. As you may notice, if you live or stay in Palmas you don’t have to go to any other place to have a good dinner. And if you live somewhere else in Puerto Rico, remember that there’s nothing far away in Puerto Rico.

 

CHEZ DANIEL • TAPAS • BISTRO RICO

Chez Daniel has been open for 30 years, which deserves its title of the oldest French restaurant in Puerto Rico. Enjoy the exquisite French country style dishes that their owners, Chef Daniel Vasse and Chef Frank Arnould, cook in a very romantic setting with the wonderful ocean view of the anchored boats at the marina. Enjoy the best Marseille-style Bouillabaisse, their emblematic Cassoulet or the Duck Confit or the Ossobuco.   If you happen to visit Chez Daniel when they have fresh Lobster, don’t miss it!  Or enjoy one of the best Sunday Brunch in Puerto Rico, with a great buffet including one cocktail. The buffet consists of various offers, such as endless fresh fish and seafood bar, a cheese and bread bar, a big dessert bar, a salad bar and a station with various emblematic dishes of the day. As for the desserts, don’t miss the fresh Apple Tart, the Chocolate Mousse or the Crépes Suzette…you can’t go wrong. Reservations are recommended by calling 787-850-3838.

If you don’t feel like eating a whole plate, visit Tapas Bar at Chez Daniel and enjoy wonderful tapas in the best ambiance!

And for a more creole taste and ambiance, next to Chez Daniel you will find Bistro Rico, good Puerto Rican food!

 

CHIHUAHUA TEX-MEX CANTINA

At CHIHUAHUA TEX-MEX CANTINA you will find Tex-Mex food and drinks that rock! Chef Pedro González is always in the kitchen preparing delicious dishes. For appetizers, I recommend

to start with their Loaded Nachos al pastor with meat, or with chicken, loaded with “refrito” (beans with cheese and meat), onions, peppers, cheese, salsa, etc. You can accompany it with a

Margarita Don Julio with lemon or a Margarita Toronja–both prepared with Don Julio Tequila. Then you can try the Fish Tacos a Capella, which are delicious. For the main dish you have to order the steak or chicken fajitas. Their homemade “pique” (hot sauce) is addictive as well as very fresh and outright delicious. If you have space for dessert, you have to try the Choco Rolls or Mama’s Famous Orange Cake, which is a recipe of the owner’s mom. By the way, the owner Rene Arana and his staff are very friendly and ready to help you with everything you might want. If you are lucky and Yahaira Medina is your attendant, you will have a superb service. Chihuahua is located in Palmanova Plaza. Opens Monday through Thursdays, from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Friday from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday from 12:00 to 2:00 am and Sunday from 12:00 to 11:00 pm. You can call 787-850-2993 for more information and reservations.

 

C BAR

C Bar Kitchen In Style has a new Chef, Alvaro Sosa Urquisa from Mendoza, Argentina. It’s hard not to tell that he wanted to be an artist. His plates are artwork–full of forms and colors. “I grew up wanting to be an artist. I loved to draw. I grew up in a bakery, that’s where my two passions merged,” he said. “I want my clients to come to C Bar not only to eat, but to have a culinary experience.” Alvaro loves to play with textures and tastes but respecting the flavors of each one of the ingredients. “It’s a matter of giving the ingredients a different twist,” he said. C Bar offers a 4-course menu available and, in-between courses, something fun and tasty is going to happen…something to refresh your palate and make your dinner truly an experience. Their menu is changed every three months. C Bar’s modern atmosphere, friendly wait staff and excellent menu make this one of the top restaurants in Palmas. C Bar is located at Palmanova Plaza, opens Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 5:00 pm to 1:00 a.m. and Sunday, from 5:00 pm to 20:00 p.m. You can call 787-852-5600 for reservations.

PURA VIDA

Pura Vida is the “in place”, located at Palmanova Plaza. Its owners, Ivan and Jason and manager, Zack are always on the go, in charge that everything runs well.   Ivan and Zack are in charge of the floor and Jason is in charge of the bar. The food is a Caribbean fusion created by the young Chef Franco. You must try their Mahi-mahi nuggets and their ceviche as an appetizer. Their Jambalaya or mofongo filled with seafood, meat and chicken is a must. Among their emblematic dishes are the “Chillo entero, relleno de mariscos” (Whole red snapper stuffed with seafood, served with garlic sauce and “mofongo” –crushed plantain), the Filet Mignon with shrimps and mashed “vianda”, (a combination of sweet potato, malanga and yuca) and their Lamb chops are their emblematic dishes. You should try their famous drinks such as the Pachola and the Passion Fruit Mojito. Pura Vida is in Palmanova Plaza and opens Tuesday to Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 m, Friday and Saturday, from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 12: a.m. The restaurant is quite small, so reservations are a must to 787-914-0316.

 

BLUE HAWAII

Blue Hawaii Asian Food Restaurant & Sushi Bar has been in Palmas for many years. Lead by big-little person Sue Sue and her sister Chin Chin, Blue Hawaii is an institution in Palmas and Humacao. Try the Szechuan hot and sour soup, my favorite. Mongolian Beef is one of their emblematic dishes. Now they offer Vietnamese dishes– try the summer rolls or the Barbecued Skewers or the Vietnam Spring Rolls. Expect great service, by the owner and her staff who are always willing to please you. And believe it or not their Margaritas are very good. Blue Hawaii is located in Palmanova Plaza. Blue Hawaii also offers take out and delivery from 5pm to 9pm.Open every day from 12:00 pm to 10:30 p.m. For reservations, call 787-852-0897.

 

LA PESCADERIA

La Pescadería (the Fisherman’s wharf) has been in Palmas before Palmas del Mar opened. It had been closed for a long time, but now recently reopened with new owners and management with a completely renovated concept. It offers three different food services: The Kiosko, the Terrace and its enclosed restaurant. The “Kiosko”(Kiosk), where you can get their famous “empanadillas and alcapurrias” filled with fresh seafood, meat and chicken. The Pescadería’s Terrace has a huge bar, which offers great lunches such as fresh fried fish, seafood salad, and fish tacos, among other delicacies. Its open Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 am to 6:30 PM, the rest of the week until 10:30 pm. The Pescadería has an enclosed restaurant in which you can enjoy a full course meal and a good wine. Most of the recipes are the creation of Chef Dr. Pedro Bustillo, who leads the kitchen with the two other Chefs, Anthony Ortiz and Otoniel Castro. Yes, Dr. Bustillo is a Radiologist/Oncologist, during the day and a Chef on nights and weekend. The menu changes every day depending on the fresh fish and fresh ingredients. You can start with the Tuna Tartar on a Parmesan cheese crust and the “churrasco” and “mamposteao” fritters. As a main dish I recommend the fresh Codfish with Gorgonzola cheese sauce and the Seared Tuna with yum-yum sauce. For reservations, please call 787-552-0110.

 

LA BROCHETTE

La Brochette is a small charming place found on the terrace of Palvanova, offering great local and International cuisine. It has been open since 1992 and most of the employees have been working there since then, so you can be sure that you are going to be well taken care of. It is one of the friendliest restaurants in Palmas. You must start with a “picadera” (sampler of their appetizers). All of their steaks are 100% Angus Certified beef accompanied with side dishes, such as, “mamposteao” rice (Puertorrican rice cooked together with beans), or “mofongo” (crushed plantain with garlic). The white rice with beans and the “arañitas” are absolutely delicious. La Brochette is open every day, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Reservations are recommended by calling 787- 852-7173.

 

ALSO AT PALMAS ….for informal dining you will find …

FLYING PIZZA

Flying Pizza–A great pizza at a great price with real Italian taste. Build your own pizza with 15 toppings, which includes cheese, chicken, chorizo, pepperoni, shrimps, mussels, and vegetarian, among others. Accompany your pizza with beers, wine and soda. Open Mondays through Fridays, from 11:15 to 9:00 pm; Saturdays from 11:15 to 10 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Flying Pizza is located on the terrace of Palmanova Plaza. To order, please call 787-850-4688.

 

DAVID COOKIES

Located at the Wyndham Garden lobby area you will find breakfast all day, light lunches, snacks, shakes and ice cream, cookies, and coffee all day. Open Sunday thru Thursdays from 6:30am to 11pm and Fridays and Saturdays until midnight. For More information call 787.850.6000 ext 5042

 

PALMAS MARKET  DELI

Located at Palmanova Plaza inside the Palmas Market, where you can eat a wonderful sandwich or a wrap with a delicious coffee, juice or soda. (Try the seafood sandwiches!) You may also want to buy a bottle of wine from their cava and consume it at deli area with your meal.

 

THE BEACH BOHIO

Located behind the Hotel Wyndham and Palmas Doradas, right on the water. Here you can enjoy good fried fish, seafood salad or hamburger among others delicacies while enjoying the Caribbean sea breeze and a view of the ocean. Very relax and informal, bathing suit or beach attire.

 

CENTER COURT BAR & GRILL

Located at the Tennis Court area, underneath beautiful trees is the perfect spot for a good burger with fries among family and friends. Kids love the area because they can play around the tree and feed the ducks of the pond. It’s very informal and very tropical, a true hidden paradise inside Palmas.

 

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