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“Believe every great review you read about this place.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Santaella

Santaella
219 Calle Canals | La Placita de Santurce, San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico
787-725-1611
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Ranked #9 of 628 Restaurants in San Juan
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: Caribbean, Seafood, International, Puerto Rican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: La Placita de Santurce
Transit: Stop #19. Bus lines: A5, B21, M3, B16
Description: Chef Santaella transforms what used to be his catering workshop into an architectural acclaimed space committed to offer a menu full of flavor using many local ingredients sourced fresh from a farmer’s market only feet away. The space is one full of history where green, brown and wood tones décor the place. An interior garden full of native plants and trees such as papaya and ornamental bananas serves as the focal point of the main dining room. Offering a 75-seat dining room and a a 16-seat bar designed for guests to eat in, Santaella celebrates the roots of the island's comida criolla, and incorporates techniques, flavors and fusions from around the world into its food.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Believe every great review you read about this place.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

We eat out quite a bit and travel a fair amount. This is one of the best meals I’ve had in a couple of years. It wasn’t just about the food, which was fantastic, it was also about the room and the experience. Our service from start to finish was nearly perfect; attentive without being overwhelming, knew the menu, and took care of everything with a smile.

On the menu?

1. Empanadas: very good, a nice way to start
2. Heirloom tomato salad with parmesan cheese ice cream (new on the menu): don’t look at me like that, just order it and thank me later
3. Tuna skewers: impressive quality tuna
4. Baby octopus casserole: yes it’s true, baby octopus can be comfort food.

Two of us had the above in courses and shared each one. I think it was perfect for two people. Be sure to check out the cocktail menu, they have some great stuff on there. My girlfriend had “the perfect lady” and a watermelon mojito. I had the millionaire and then switched to wine. All very good.

The final bonus is the neighborhood. Some of the postings about the “sketchy” neighborhood are from people who haven’t travelled. The neighborhood is perfectly safe and normal, it’s just not resort and tourist. Do yourself a favor after dinner and take a walk. Just follow the sound of the music and you’re sure to find a little entertainment, cheap beer, and locals enjoying the evening. Hell, my girlfriend won $10 in a hula-hoop competition.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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232 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“An awesome experience! ”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

Our visit to Santaella began by promptly being seated-teservations strongly recommended. Although our first drink took a little longer than I thought it should, the rest of the meal/dining experience was flawless. I lived my meal! I think couples should not be seated in the middle of a bunch of foursomes- awkward. The food, the drinks and the atmosphere were considered cool, hip and relaxed- in that order!!! I will certainly send my friends when in Puerto Rico! ! Thanks Hiram!!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Rico
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Great flavors; expert waitstaff”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

You land in a world of the San Juan "in crowd", with extraordinary culinary presentations of local flavors and cuisine; all brought to a new level; a waitstaff that can literally talk to you about each dish, its inspiration and the right wine selection - It is set in the "in" spot for locals, tourists, executives and the bohemian young crowd of San Juan. And if you are a cocktail connoisseur- a bar scene you do not want to leave.

Visited June 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ktoro, Owner at Santaella, responded to this review, September 5, 2014
Thank you for an amazing review! We are very glad to hear you had a great experience with our waitstaff. We hope to have you back soon!
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Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Outstanding Food and Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014

We chose to dine in the Plaza del Mercado area of San Juan to avoid the tourist restaurants. We had excellent food & service at Santaella. A bit pricey but worth it. The food was fresh and well seasoned. The drinks were great as well. Our server, Melvin, was pleasant and professional. I would definitely return on my next visit to San Juan.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ktoro, Owner at Santaella, responded to this review, September 5, 2014
Thank you for your great review! We're very glad to hear you had a good experience here at Santaella with Melvin. We hope to have you back soon!
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san Juan puerto rico
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great place except Thursdays and Fridays”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2014

The food , ambiance and drinks are great but-
Santaella is around a young yuppie people hanging place. This area gets very crowded on Thurdays and Fridays. If you want a quiet good dinner dont go on these days. On the other hand if you want to have a great dinner with sone local socializing these are the days for you.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ktoro, Owner at Santaella, responded to this review, September 5, 2014
Thank you for your review! We hope to have you back at Santaella even if it's not a Thursday or Friday.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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