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“Best food, service, decor...perplexed at negative review”

Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
Ranked #2 of 1,046 Restaurants in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Bar scene, Business meetings, Special occasions, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Fortaleza Street
Transit: Bus Station is located only two blocks from the center of San Juan where Marmalade is located
Description: To preserve the Marmalade experience at the respect of our patrons the age requirement for children is 7 years or older. Marmalade serves tasting menus only of 4,5,or 6 courses. Guests are allowed to select their own course thus creating an individualized tasting menu. Each tasting menu at the table may be different. We don't offer a Ala Carte format for dining. Dinner will take a minimum of two hours at your Leisure. Groups of 6 people or more will be invited to taste Chef's seasonal tasting menu of 15 courses. Dress appropriately please, no shorts and beach sandals in the restaurant.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

I have been to Marmalade 7-8 times and apart from having good food what i admire most about Marmalade is "Consistently good food" that gets served there. I have visited the restaurant with my business partners as well as family and have had the best dining experience (Compared to other dinners at San Juan) every time. The meals are always incredible. If I had to pick the best items it will be the white bean soup, Ceviche, Paella, Quinoa Relleno and Creme Brulee. Also, Chef Peter has been very approachable. Its great to talk to him about how he gets his truffles directly from France or how he is able to get organic produce shipped to PR.

Regarding the negative reviews, everyone has right to their opinion and I don't want to undercut anyone else's opinion but I would surely not consider this a "Vegan only" place. Yes, its expensive but it has class as well. Comparing it to the rest of restaurants (similar price range) like 1919, Pikayo, Perla etc. this is the best and most consistent in good quality.

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Thank couplenj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,472 - 2,476 of 4,147 reviews

Reviewed December 1, 2013

A few days ago my husband and I returned from our vacation in Puerto Rico. Our hotel (Ritz Carlton) had highly recommended this restaurant to celebrate my husbands' 40th birthday. At the time of the booking Concierge noted it was a birthday celebration. Moving along...Overall the atmosphere was trendy and the food was unique. A few things I must note, as the evening progressed the wait staff appeared to be quite busy and less attentive (note: always very pleasant demeanor); also, we did the tasting menu (4 course) and were very pleased initially taste/portion wise but when it came to our entrees they were lacking with taste (sea bass & snapper). Once it was time for dessert I figured that the restaurant would at least acknowledge the notation of my husbands' birthday, but they did not. I wanted to note that overall this was a good experience, however, after reading the Chefs' recent response to blogger stokjoc, my mindset changed. This is an open forum for people to express their pleasure, displeasure - like it or not. It may be a tough pill to swallow with the notion "the customer is always right," but it does serve a purpose - it would make the Chef look better and more in like with a customer centric approach. My husband and I live in a very affluent area near New York City, and found the Chefs' response precocious and immature. So much for our $200 experience and leaving a bad taste in our mouth.

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Thank Fayth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TopchefPuertoRico, Owner at Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Fayth,
Thank you for celebrating the 40th Birthday of your Husband with us, I’m still researching to figure out how that detail was overlooked on your visit a few days ago. The occasion was not in our notes for your reservation that was made from the hotel before arriving that night. Nonetheless, thank you for forgiving us for that shortcoming of communication between the Hotel and our reservation team. Upon further consideration of your review, I really wanted to take a minute to reflect on the response you made to a previous blogger the day before. I carefully went back and reread my quick response over, humbly assuming that your point was noted and understood. It would not have been the first time that a Chef/Owner felt the need to rebut an angry blogger. I would like to share a slightly different perspective with you on this experience. After rereading the guests review, it would be hard for anyone to negate the sheer anger this person was carrying during his visit. After repeatedly telling us upon arrival he didn’t like anything from the food to the table, we could only offer kindness and patience. In most cases this does work, but after spending considerable time at the table all night offering to make them whatever he would like, he chose to slur and insult my Vegan wife’s and Daughter’s food preferences. He was fully aware of my families food choices as he noted it in his review……(misspelled Vegan mind you). We commit, as you are aware of already, an entire section of our menu to organic Vegetarian and Vegan preparations and their wine pairings. I graciously removed items from his bill “flat pasta with brown sauce” aka…homemade black truffle pasta with Marsala wine and organic spinach. I even brought him items from the remainder of the menu for both of them to try without charge. Truly every effort was made to make this man happy, but we unfortunately couldn’t make it happen. When I first read his review a few days later, I felt it was directed at my family…… I suppose in this instance I could of and maybe should of taken the diplomatic high road and pulled out a typical apologetic, “thank you for your awful review” response….”this will make us better improve” as I have done it before truthfully. I felt this rude blogger didn’t deserve that response from myself, my family or my staff. Who knows ….. next time I may revisit your heartfelt words of advise, but I think on this occasion I will stick to my original thoughts…..even if someone may find them immature, which is not my intent in the slightest.
Health and happiness,
Chef Peter

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Reviewed December 1, 2013

My family of four had the best dining experience. The meal was incredible. The soup was the best we ever had along with the entree and desert. Chef Peter was great to talk with very approachable. It was more casual than we expected but made it that much more comfortable. I had the scallops which were done perfect.

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Thank Timbayer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2013

My meal at Marmalade was one of the best meals I've ever experienced. This is not the place to go if you're looking for something typically Puerto Rican, or if you're looking for a cheap, filling meal. It is the place to go if you want to slow down, savor your food, and experience a meal as more than just nourishment. The serving is excellent and the chef is incredibly attentive. We spent about two hours enjoying a five course meal and in my time there the chef spoke to nearly every table in sight.

As with nearly every review hear, I will also agree that the white bean soup was absolutely out of this world. But to be honest, so was everything else on the menu. Even the cocktails were superb, mixing flavors that accent the food without overpowering anything. There was a single dish we didn't enjoy, and the chef personally collected it, asked us why we didn't like it, and created a new dish for us.

This is a serious restaurant, and the prices and portion sizes reflect that. If you haven't eaten a meal all day, or you tend to prefer heaping plates of food, Marmalade may not be an enjoyable experience for you. But if you go in with the right expectation, you won't be disappointed.

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1  Thank Evn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

The minute I walked into this restaurant I knew I had made a big mistake. Unfortunately it turned out worse then expected. First of all let me explain that we are from New Orleans and expect a lot. We like well seasoned food, reasonable prices and enough food to satisfy our hunger. Our waitress spent 10 minutes explaining the menu, wine list , progressive dinner etc. We were given a complementary tasting of white bean soup which turned out to be the highlight of the meal. My wife ordered a beet salad which came out on a flat plate barely larger then a saucer. She also ordered a glass of house wine ( $17.50 ). She then ordered a pasta dish made with flat leatherly pasta and covered with a brown sauce. She took two bites and pushed it aside. I ordered fish which arrived atop a mound of green rice. It was about 4 ounces and barely done having no distinctive taste. When the waitress returned to the table we explained that the pasta was not good. She scooped it up and quickly returned to the kitchen to report to the chef. He was at our table in short order and seemed amazed that we didn't like the offering. To be honest he was very nice and offered to replace the entrée. At this point we were done with the whole experience and ready to hit the road. The pasta was removed from our bill but the dinner still set me back $88.00. You can decide if this seems reasonable. The restaurant was filled with lots of young people guzzling down bottles of wine and in good spirits. Marmalade is not my kind of restaurant but obviously a lot of people seem to like being taken for a ride. Before being seated be sure to review the menu or proceed at your own risk. If your from California you will probably be right at home so don't bother.

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8  Thank stokjoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TopchefPuertoRico, Owner at Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar, responded to this reviewResponded November 29, 2013

Stokjoc from Pass Christian, Mississippi

We are certainly disappointed that you didn't enjoy your brief experience @ Marmalade. It was evident from the minute you arrived, that you were uncomfortable with the styling of the restaurant and our food. You could see the pure expression of fear and distraught as we described the food and progressive diner to you from the outset. On most occasions the team is great at putting couples like you at ease who have never had this type of experience before. I think if you would have let your inhibitions and pocket book go a little bit, you could have had a wonderful and educational dinner. Your $64.12 before taxes and tip was not going to be sufficient budget for the two of you together to go on that journey. We recommend a base budget of $250 per couple to enjoy a creative four course tasting with wine pairings....we offer additional tasting menus of five and six courses for a supplemental charge.

Truthfully, not to add cynicism to your ignorant comment, but we really do love vegan wine snobs. Where else can you find such green food choices, both ecologically and socially paired with a six-time Wine Spectator Award Winning List?
I think you actually just described my whole family........totally not offended

A quick internet search to our beautiful webpage would have resulted in two things:
1. Helping you confirm that this will not be the experience, food styling or price point that fits your personal taste on this occasion.
2. Allowed one of the many Californian Vegan Wine Snobs we turned away that night to be thrilled and excited to join us. It could have been a win-win for both of us.

Blessings and abundance for you and your family in this Holiday Season!
Peter
Chef Owner

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