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  • Santaella

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Santaella Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.santaellapr.com
  • Email: santaella@josesantaella.com
  • Phone: (787) 725-1611
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch:
    Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 4:30pm

    Tuesday – Thursday 5:30pm – 10:30pm
    Friday and Saturday 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Tapas / Small Plates, Global, International
  • Executive Chef: Chef José Santaella
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: For Caterings, please contact: catering@josesantaella.com or visit www.josesantaella.com
  • Special Events & Promotions: Please inquire within.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: La Placita de Santurce
  • Public Transit: Stop #19. Bus lines: A5, B21, M3, B16
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Santaella has valet parking ($7) and there are also two public, paid parkings nearby.
A word from Santaella
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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "Excellent food! Deliciously combined tapas selections. The goat cheese Quesadillas are to die for. Service was ok, but it was usually difficult to get the servers' attention. A very romantic environment but pretty lively on weekend nights. Might be hard to hear your date. Not much nearby street parking so valet is a pretty good option."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Friendly and knowledgeable staff that will guide you throughout the menus. Very energetic bar/lounge area. Outstanding variations of caribbean, Puerto Rican preparations. Had a great time , looking forward to our next trip to San Juan."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Excellent menu, fresh fish, nice presentation and awesome taste!"
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "The food was very good but the service was painfully slow."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Great dinning experince! This place is a must when in San Juan."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "On a recommendation I tried Santaella. It was everything I had heard. Good food, great service, good ambience- very lively."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "Santaella continues to impress with its consistent blend of a hip and trendy atmosphere, a great wine and drink list, and fantastically prepared and presented dishes. It's best to order appetizers and main dishes to share with the rest of you group or date. It's a place to see and to be seen. Reservations are a must because on busy nights it will fill up quickly."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Siempre habia estado por ir, pero nunca me daba la oportunidad. La experiencia fue super, la comida muy rica. Definitivamente que regresaremos."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Great food, started with Tapas but the hit was the pork belly with plantains"
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "A must for an amazing dinner! Very reasonable if you don't run up the bar bill. Wait staff is hands on and very accommodating. The chef came out to greet us and chat for a moment. The goat cheese quesadilla is ridiculous!! Lovely night at Santaella"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "El servicio y la comida es excelente, especialmente el postre con Nutella."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Can't say enough good things to say about this restaurant! Very attentive wait staff and maitre d' moved us to a better table without us requesting it. As others have stated, the goat cheese quesadilla was outstanding. Our waiter explained how it was prepared but I'm still not sure we could replicate at home. Popcorn chicken was great as were the empanadillas (chorizo was that night's special). We also had sliders, which were good but a bit rare for my taste - we ordered them medium well but there closer to medium rare. Still, a small point. My wife had the kale salad and is still talking about it this morning. Entrees (salmon and croque Monsieur). Clearly we over ordered but everything was great. We were able to split the nutella dessert!"
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "We found several reviews about Santaella before going to San Juan which were all positive. I liked that it was close to our hotel and that we could walk without having to taxi into Old San Juan from the Marriott. The restaurant is close to the Santurce Farmer's Market which is a small market where local chefs purchase ingredients for the day. There are a number of little bars that surround the market which gives the neighborhood a festive feel at night. The service at Santaella was excellent which is what we found throughout San Juan. The food and cocktails were interesting and I would highly recommend this place for dinner."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Pleasant and relaxed inside. Service and local food well above local standard. Forced valet a minus."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Thoroughly enjoyed our early evening dinner at Santanella. Wait staff was attentive and helpful."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "This experience was second to none. Not only did we fly in to PR for vacation but I selected this restaurant to get engaged to the love of my life. The service was amazing, food was great and they went above and beyond setting up my special night. Thank you Santaella."
    Dined on 12/28/2013
  • "This place was highly recommended by several people. But we were disappointed in the food. Pros: great ambiance, great service. Cons: food was fine, a bit pricey for what we got. Interestingly, we only saw male waiters, not a single female staff member. To be fair, we (2 people) only had appetizers and nothing that exotic. Tuna skewers, sliders, popcorn chicken, and grouper fritters. Chicken was gristly. Tuna and grouper were fine. Sliders were very good. Drinks were fine. We weren't sure why people raved about this place."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Really, the best food and specialty drinks we had in Puerto Rico! Do NOT miss this place!"
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "Food, service, atmosphere and decor are great. What else do you need when you go to the restaurant… BEST in Puerto Rico! Must go!"
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Delicious, creative food. Superb waitstaff. Great local vibe. Not to be missed in San Juan."
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "Dont know why people scream about the price. If you want quality, You have to pay for it. Thats santaella."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "Service was greater than ever with an energetic new waiter called Rafael Maldonado. Our client was positively impressed with the excellent food and server. Only setback was than the reservations were behind 45 minutes, but we were relaxed and a nice draft beer and mojito made up for it. Highly recommended. Margarita"
    Dined on 3/6/2014
  • "The small plates were outstanding; each one seemingly better than the last. The burrata and croquettes were exceptionally well done. A great place to dine. Nice interior with a jungle garden behind walled glass at one end of the room."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "We had three dishes served at the table: duck breast, salmon and carne guisada. The duck breast was very fatty, however the sauce was very good, the carne guisada is better served at a local kiosk. However, the salmon was excellent. The noise level is extremely high and it made it very difficult to have a conversation. The tables are very close to each other which perhaps makes the service very difficult. We had difficulty getting served water and wine. When we finally got the attention of the waiter to bring us wine we advised that we would be ordering some wine. We were provided wine glasses, when the water came the unfilled wine glasses were taken away! Finally we received the water and wine and held on to the glasses."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "I had dinner here with 2 work colleagues and it was absolutely fabulous. The appetizers were all delicious, and the portions generous so we weren't hungry enough to all order entrees so we ordered more tapas. The octopus chorizo was good but really was more of an entree dish than an easily shareable tapas. The goat cheese quesadillas was amazing. Huge wine list to choose from."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "After reading all the great reviews, we changed our plans for an evening in Viejo San Juan and took a $25 taxi to Santurce to eat at Santaella. We started with the watermelon Mojito and it was fabulous! But the food did not live up to the reviews raves...sweet potato soup was so salty and the shrimp w green papaya salad...you need a steak knife for the shrimp and the salad only tasted of red onion. Our waiter suggested the mango dessert but we couldn't find the fruit for the powdered sugar. The service was really good..our waiter a gem...but not worth the $50 taxi rides from Old San Juan. Maybe it's more of a bar..."
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "Although main dishes are creative and tasty, the small plate menu is so extensive and the selection so interesting, it's extremely difficult to order just one. I always end up ordering a few and skipping the main dishes."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Last week was my first time in Puerto Rico. I had looked online for some great food and for a nice night out. I went with a my best friend from college and it was just the two of us. At the first the service was veryyyyyyyyyy slow. It took about 15 mins before anyone even acknowledged we were sitting, however the host did accommodate use since we arrived earlier then our reservation. Aside from that every this was fantastic. I had the baked scrod and my friend had the filet Mignon which were both out of this world. I had the watermelon mojito which is a specialty of the restaurant. It was so delicious I had two. Aside from the service being slow in the beginning we had a great meal."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "Great drinks, great food but bar service was slow. The tables were unstable,"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "I was vacationing in Puerto Rico and was given Santaella as a recommendation. The ambiance of the restaurant is beautiful! The decorations were outstanding and the most impressive thing was the wall of plants in the alley. Brilliant! We had a reservation for 9:30 but were not seated until close to 10:30pm. We were showed to the bar and the drinks were outstanding, but seriously, an hour wait for a reservation was a little excessive. After a cocktail or two at the bar, by the time we got to our table we were ravished and admittedly ordered way too much, but it was ok! We got to try a lot! All in all the food was very good. I wont say it was the best meal i've ever eaten but there were some real gems. A great place to bring a hot date."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Recommended by friends, we were blown away by the creativity and taste at Santaella. Wonderful wait staff, and delicious, innovative food. My only issue is the size of the portions! We ordered too much, but ate almost everything. Highlights indclude Grouper Fritters, Baby Octopus, simple sliced Avocado, Arugula salad, Shepherd's Pie. It was all spectacular!"
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "The goat cheese quesadilla was delicious and the Nutella desert was spectacular."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Food was good, scene happening. Near popular party area for locals."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We really enjoyed our meal at Santaella. We were seated promptly and the waiter explained the menu and feature. Wine list is quite extensive and when our choice was out of stock the waiter suggested a great alternative..Fish was very well prepared. A very enjoyable evening"
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Highly recommended! I love that they had a great selection of outstanding wines by the glass ( not the usual 10$ bottle of wine) like Belle Glos Las Alturas and Silverado cab nice!"
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Table was not ready after an hour of my reservation and after praying for it."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Came on the early side, soon after service began. Wait staff were all personable, cheery and helpful. Food was exciting as always -- tuna skewers and speck croquettes, followed by shrimp and halibut. Everything was just perfect. Interesting wines by the glass. It was our 3rd or 4th visit in the past year, and things were reliably pitch perfect. Highly recommend."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "Dinner at Santaella our first night in Puerto Rico. Great service and wonderful food. Don't miss the goat cheese quesdilla."
    Dined on 2/6/2014
  • "I don't have enough superlatives to say about this place. The food is esquisitie, the service sincere and on point and the venue vibrant. Everything was outstanding. While it is not in the heavy tourist areas, it is definately worth the journey and short cab ride."
    Dined on 2/6/2014
  • "Fue una noche de cena con mi Familia absolutamente perfecta. Servicio spectacular, comida de 5 estrellas y un ambiente elegante y tranquilo....Lo pasamos verdaderamente de pelicula."
    Dined on 2/6/2014