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“Cool spot for lunch”

St Germain Bistro & Cafe
Ranked #45 of 1,094 Restaurants in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $14
Cuisines: Healthy, Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations, Takeout
Description: Eat where the locals come when they visit Old San Juan. Located off the beaten path, this neighborhood bistro serves a range of creative dishes along with some comfort classics. Using fresh ingredients you can expect some great sandwiches, a selection of salads, fresh ceviche & quiche, yummy soups, and more.
Reviewed April 29, 2011

The variety and quality of sandwichs here was some of the best i have ever seen. Cobblestone streets outside, its like a mini version of Europe. Staff was great and friendly. Go to the fort then walk to st. Germain for lunch then on to El Morro castle. Perfect day

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Thank SneakyJackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,199 - 1,203 of 1,414 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2011

We rented an apartment for a week on Calle Sol in Old San Juan, and had read about the St. Germain Bistro & Cafe in the neighborhood and were curious to try it. We had a late lunch the same day we arrived, and had such a good time we came back nearly every day, and some days more than once. We soon got to know the staff by name, and it really meant a lot to be able to walk in at almost any time and be recognized and greeted as old friends. This is very much the style of a down-to-earth neighborhood cafe in Europe, something very different from so many American restaurants with wait staff carefully rehearsed how to greet, to recite the specials of the day, ask for your drinks order and then leave you to peruse a menu carefully crafted to emphasize the corporate theme. Walking down toward the harbor where the cruise ships dock, there are a lot of very touristy places of this type which we tried to avoid. St. Germain was a breath of fresh air, and in fact the location reminded me of a small hotel where we have stayed on a back street in the 6th arrondissement in Paris (St.-Germain-des-Pres, maybe not a coincidence): close enough for easy access to everything you want, but not too close to the circuit of tourists looking for Starb*cks or T.G.I.F. The bartender's Vespa parked by the front door adds to the image, as does the clientele, which is diverse: families, students, a group of ladies having a night out, a businessman still wearing his necktie meeting his family for a dinner out.

The decor is very simple and unpretentious, white tables and chairs (not necessarily matching), antique photos of San Juan on the walls. The menu offers main dish salads, ciabatta or baguette sandwiches, quiche, soups, and pita pizzas. A chalkboard on the wall lists the soup and quiche of the day. As in France, the best option is often the "formule" -- our favorite dinner for two included a bottle of house red wine (a very nice Shiraz-Cabernet blend), a shared appetizer (we always took the hummous and pita), two main courses, and a shared dessert, for a grand total of $45. There is also a lunch formule, as well as one for people just coming by for dessert and drinks. Ceviche of mahi-mahi and shrimp is excellent, and available as a starter or with a large bed of greens as a main dish salad. Quiche is another option, as well as soup (potato and spinach was very good). Sunday brunch offers quiche, crepes, and champagne mimosas. They are not open for breakfast, unfortunately.

As noted by another reviewer, this may not be the place for a conventional dinner: if you crave a steak and potatoes, look elsewhere. The menu offers nothing fried, no potatoes, no pastas, and on the table you find no salad dressings, no ketchup or mustard. Though not strictly vegetarian, St. German emphasizes fresh, light and healthy ingredients with meats as an element rather than the main feature (though we found generous servings of prosciutto on one main dish salad, and fragrant salmon on a wonderful pita pizza). We really enjoyed sharing a main dish salad and a pita pizza, but I can understand that might not be for everyone.

Dessert choices included carrot cake, brownie a la mode, a croissant with Nutella which we never got around to trying, pecan pie, and one of the best Key lime pies ever. Espresso is made from freshly-roasted, shade-grown coffee beans from Cuatro Sombras (see my review in TripAdvisor), and we learned that the owners of Cafe St. Germain are good friends of Pablo and Marianna Munoz from Cuatro Sombras, which somehow seems fitting. We enjoy supporting small local businesses run by people who love what they do. Elsewhere in San Juan we found too many places serving drinks based on packaged mixes or concentrates, which seems a shame in a place with such a variety of wonderfully fresh fruits. Cafe St. Germain serves some terrific drinks made from fresh ingredients, including (of course) mojitos, but also tall lemonades with fresh basil or ginger, wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

The service staff were warm and friendly, and we got to know them by name: Judith, Veronica, Chris, Dey, Nanette, and the bartender Josie. Along with Cafe Quatro Sombras, Cafe St. Germain was one of our favorite places in Old San Juan, and we definitely plan to return. Highly recommended!

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2  Thank fredswartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2011

After a few days of eating fried, unhealthy food with few fresh fruits and veggies, their fresh sandwiches and salads were a welcome change. Creative and refreshing combinations in salads, sandwiches and the like were very much appreciated after a hot tour of St Cristobal. Kid friendly, have a few off menu items sure to please picky eaters. Drinks were homemade and refreshing - the agua fresca and lemonade were fab!

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2  Thank Gooselee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2011

Our son recommended this restaurant as he found this wonderful restaurant during his visit to Old San Juan last year. We missed their Sunday Brunch which they are famous for but our lunch experience during the week was a wonderful experience. The service was spectacular and the food was absolutely fantastic with an exciting menue and we cannot wait to go back. If you visit Old San JUan...it is a MUST.

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Thank reick1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2011

Very glad we listened to the other reviews. The basil majito was the best we have had since we have been here. The hummus was wondeful. I had the mango, pear avocado salad with chicken. Fantastic!! My husband had the tango!!! Wow best steak sandwich!! Wow!!!! Very well worth it!

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Thank chaenlouis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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