The “Lousy after Bioluminescent Bay Tour” Review listed by Tripadvisor under this restaurant is, very unfortunately, not about this place(1).
We had been to this restaurant many times over the years. We gave up on them and every other restaurant along “the Strip” when they all seemed to have become the same. A couple of years ago we attended a party here. They pulled a clever variation of the old “fish-swap trick” that turned us off on them, yet again(2).
Their web page http://www.restauranteelbohiojoyuda.com/ would not open; therefore, we could not see their menu before we went. They received mostly very good to excellent reviews online by Tripadvisor and Fodors. The Fodor’s introduction is quite amusing, gushing over “seagulls.” They were describing terns; we have no seagulls in western Puerto Rico(3).
Their red awning out front is unmistakable. They are also across from the only island along the strip, Isla de Los Ratones (Island of Mice). Their parking lot, across the street from the restaurant, is ample and entrance and egress are relatively safe(4).
We were greeted three times: at the door, inside, and by our waitress on the porch. They have a large, air-conditioned restaurant, large bar, and a covered, but open air, porch-like area on stills over the water. The restaurant was empty at 6:30 pm on a Thursday(5). We were seated at a long table (26 seats) on the porch perpendicular to the water. This was the same table as the party two years before. Our party slowly dribbled in. I noticed that we were 13 adults at the table and 2 children running around. I told my wife to not get up for any reason(6)!
They had no specials. Their menu is smaller, but spiral bound with 4 or 5 pages. Their menu is nicer and more informative than in the old days. They do have a few spelling (e.g., ‘Conh Salad”) and translation errors (e.g., “Fried Pork Meat Chunk”), but that is being picky. Their prices seemed pretty much in line with everybody else (cheaper than Gonzalez; more expensive than Gatito and certainly Don Quijoto). The prices of their beers were listed in their menu, unlike many places. They have a great variety of items on the menu, but as one in our party commented, many are just variations on a theme. They did not have Chapin, filet of Hogfish [at least this was honest]. The waitress said she had fresh Queen Conch, Spiny Lobster, Dolphin, and Hogfish (whole and large).
The service was very good. They have always been courteous and polite to a fault. The waitress took and served our complicated drink orders quickly. Beer comes with glasses, but not beer glasses. They place pitchers of ice water on the table with soft plastic glasses. They make no pretense at elegance. The leader of our party ordered two large appetizers trays. The usual stuff (see their menu) and was good. The small empanadas had very little filling and were mediocre at best. The fish pieces were excellent. Salad consisted of a bed of shredded ice berg lettuce with a slice of tomato on top, in a small, worn plastic bowl (7). They had good toasted bread (pan de agua) with garlic butter and served a plentitude. There was a gap of around 15 minutes between the salad and the food. This was not unreasonable, but rather surprising, since we were their only guests. Our waitress was attentive in refilling drinks.
I had a filet of snapper in butter sauce and plantain tostones. The fish was authentic, properly cook and seasoned, and the sauce was excellent. My wife had filet mignon, a baked potato, and vegetables. The vegetables she and others had were fresh (not frozen as at Gonzalez). She found everything to be very good. Many others had various mofongo rellanos, one a whole snapper, another filet, breaded filet (gad!), etc. No one complained about their food.
Sadly, they had busboys, not waiters, who were polite, but did not know how to serve and clear. They were overly tolerant of the two wild children (from our party) running through their restaurant. This was possibly only because the restaurant was otherwise empty. They somehow managed to record separate bills. Most restaurants refuse to do this these days. Our party had very complex orders for all kinds of stuff at various times, yet the waitress recorded everything perfectly while bustling around taking orders and bringing stuff.
An attraction of this restaurant and others along the Strip is large Tarpon that are attracted by people throwing food in the water. They have lights illuminating the water around the restaurant so that you can see the fish up pretty close. There were fewer Tarpon than usual, but they made up for it by being larger than usual.
Their restroom was clean. They had paper towels. When we left, there were three stray dogs in their parking lot.
(1)The “Lousy after Bioluminescent Bay Tour” Review by cpascutt from Tucon, AZ, 13 Jan 2012, is listed under the Joyuda “El Bohio,” but that is the wrong restaurant. The Review is talking about an “El Bohio” on the other end of Puerto Rico. This is unfair to the Joyuda restaurant and a rather large geographic misplacement. This reviewer has 6 helpful votes on only 4 reviews. Strange that they would make such a mistake. This review should be moved and Tripadvisor and cpascutt should post an apology. I placed a location correction on this review 4 May 2012.
(2)There are many variations of the restaurant fish-swap trick. However, El Bohio came up with one I had never seen before. The party had appetizers only, including some excellent, good quality, fish pieces. After the second or third round of servings, El Bohio decided that everyone had drunk enough that there was no reason to waste such good fish on us. For the rest of the night, they served some mushy, flavorless, inferior fish pieces. This was pretty cute and may be they were right. No one complained. However, the Pirate never gets drunk enough to not recognize good fish. If they cheat on one thing, they cannot be trusted for everything else.
(3)You may check any local bird book. Seagulls are only seen in San Juan. Almost never in Mayaguez Bay. In Joyuda, this would be a very rare bird report, indeed. Pirates do not think seagulls are romantic; they are flying rats.
(4)Although people drive like maniacs down this little, narrow congested road. Always be cautious. Dusk, when one often arrives at a restaurant, is particularly perilous. For some strange reason, people do not turn on their car lights until it is dead dark; therefore, you cannot see them.
(5)Other patrons (parties of 5 and 3) did not arrive until we were leaving at 9:30. This was not a busy place.
(6)Pirates are superstitious. Thirteen guests at a table means the first one to leave the table will die. Fortunately, no one else noticed, and some doomed woman got up to look at the Tarpon. This may be the only record of a Tarpon killing a human.
(7)They have used these same bowls forever. Only difference, long ago, was that they used shredded cabbage.
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