Seafood and Steak
The sensual delights of Juanita Bananas (1 Barrio Melones, 787/742-3171 or 787/402-5852, www.juanitabananas.com, Fri.–Mon. 5:30–10 p.m., $22–32, cash only) start before you even enter this romantic yet casual fine-dining restaurant. The Eden-like grounds are filled with flowers, fruit trees, fresh herbs, and a vegetable garden, which provide many of the ingredients in chef Jennifer Daubon’s sublime contemporary Caribbean cuisine. Specialties include panko-crusted snapper, citrus-marinated salmon, and conch fritters. Sundays feature sushi specials. Reservations suggested, and BYOB.
Another romantic fine-dining option is Club Seabourne resort’s White Sands Restaurant (Calle Fulladoza on Ensenada Honda, 787/742- 3169, fax 787/742-0210, www.clubseabourne.com, Wed.–Sun. 6–9:30 p.m., $18–22). A cozy screened porch overlooking Fulladoza Bay is the setting for a menu with an emphasis on seafood, including lobster, scallops, salmon, and halibut.
Dining doesn’t get much more casual than at
Barbara Rosa (189 Calle Escudero, 787/397-1923, Tues.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., $6–16, cash only) where you literally dine in the front yard of the cook’s house. Diners peruse a handwritten menu and place their orders at the counter for excellent, inexpensive seafood dishes, including fish and chips, crab cakes, and dorado.
Mamacita’s (64 Calle Castelar, by the canal south of the drawbridge, 787/742-0322, http://mamacitasguesthouse.com, restaurant daily 8 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6–9 p.m., bar Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.–11 p.m., $14–20, plus 15 percent gratuity) is a colorful open-air restaurant and bar serving excellent Caribbean-American–style dishes featuring dorado, churrasco, pork, and pasta, as well as a few pub-style appetizers. The dinner menu changes nightly and recently included a terrific dish of grilled dorado in cilantro lime aioli. Mamacita’s doubles as a popular watering hole at night and rents rooms too.
Shipwreck Bar and Grill (at Bahía Marina, Calle Punta Soldado, km 2.4, 787/742-0535, www.bahiamarina.net, daily 4–10 p.m., $10–24) is a casual open-air eatery in the corporate environs of the Bahía Marina hotel, high up on a hill overlooking the water. The menu serves everything from burgers and conch fritters to whole snapper, mofongo, and New York strips.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition