Santaella
Santaella

Santaella

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.santaellapr.com/
  • Phone: 7877251611
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:
    Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 4:30pm

    Dinner:
    Tuesday – Thursday 5:30pm – 10:30pm
    Friday and Saturday 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Global, International, Tapas / Small Plates
  • 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: 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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Santaella reviews from OpenTable diners
106 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelEnergetic
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
hot spot (61)fit for foodies (58)special occasion (57)vibrant bar scene (52)romantic (33)notable wine list (31)good for groups (31)neighborhood gem (30)late-night find (19)great for lunch (15)scenic view (3)great for outdoor dining (2)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Excellent food
    Chefthiago
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    My only problem is that you need almost scream to have a nice conversation with your partner. Food really good. Wine list amaizing. Service normal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Simply Amazing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    I usually don't write reviews, but I was so wowed by Santaella that I feel I had to tell the world! My husband and I were in San Juan celebrating our first anniversary, and decided to try Santaella for dinner. We dine out a lot, and this was by far one of the best restaurants we have ever been. I would put this up against any five-star restaurant where we live in NYC. The watermelon mojito was incredible (made with fresh watermelon) and the goat cheese quesadilla is a MUST. Save room for dessert and get the Nutella sandwich, you won't be disappointed. The restaurant itself was nicely decorated, and had a hip, cozy vibe. We can't wait to return to Puerto Rico just to come back here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Menu with changes
    Ninja
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Had gone before. Missed the Mac and Lobster plate. Otherwise food as expected although my Baked Alaska dessert was average and had some problems with flaming and excess of alcohol.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect place for a Friday night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Food was exquisite and excellent service. The place is perfect to share with friends, family or couple.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good but frustrating
    MartyVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We arrived right on time at this restaurant. We had a reservation for 10 ppl. We all arrived at once. They sat another group of 10 at a table that was available, but there table had only one person at it. They made us wait 40 minutes because they could not get other patrons ( a 4 top) to leave who were just loitering after a lengthy 2 hour dinner. So all 10 of us had to uncomfortably wait for 40 minutes while the people at the the other 10 top came in 1 and tow at a time, late, over the 40 minutes we waited there. The 4 top finally got up after they were supposedly asked 4 times. The staff was very nice about it, gave us free drinks and apps, but it was really frustrating and set a bad tone for all of us throughout the dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great celebration
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    First visit to celebrate Birthday with family. The morcilla eggrolls and the goat cheese quesadillas were excellent. Best grilled salmon ever. Service is corteous and fast. Have valet parking which is a most for the area. Definitely coming back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awsome food and service
    Drfeelgood69
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    From the outside does not even look like is a restaurant, but once you open the entrance door is a whole different scenario. The ambient is spectacular. The rustic walls combine with the lights, wood and the mirror garden really makes it eye catching . The waitress, Melvin was very attentive and made our special date an unforgetable one, gracias. For the food i can not describe how they had taken local food and converted into this exquisite bundle of flavors. They had taken the food to the next level, outstanding! I highly recommend this restaurant in la Plazita.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dinner
    Resortguru
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    innovative, tasty food, great plate presentation, good portion size and excellent , attentive service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Waiter was great. Food was excellent. Her recommendations right on point. Drinks and dessert were really good.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Highly Recommended
    Etzel
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Fantastic food, excellent service, romantic and chic, you just need great company
    Special Features:
    hot spot, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wow. Fantastic
    MattVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Very good. Place is in weird location but food is dynamite. They have fantastic cocktails and coffee as well.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent!
    PRfoodlover
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Always awesome, delicious, beautifully crafted food and excellent service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceptional
    ARTEE
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Located in an un-likely neighborhood and behind locked doors, this was the best restaurant experience I have had in San Juan, PR. The decor, ambiance, service, and food were impeccable. The Stuffed Apio Root Vegetable was amazing, and so was the banana foster dessert... Friendly and professional service and overall great experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    Nati
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Excellent food, drinks and service. They have a new signatur bar drinks that continue making them special for a night of drinking. Its food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome Experience
    FoodGoogler
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Awesome place - if you're in San Juan for only one night, this is the place you want to have dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • MRCP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The food, specially the appetisers were really good. We visited on a friday night, and our only complaint was that it was hard to have a conversation in our small table of four. The mix of the bar scene, some very loud tables and the volume of the music a bit too high, made us a little uncomfortable. We are taking note to not visit again on a friday night! Otherwise, the place seems very quaint.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding!
    OutstandingVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Great food, cocktails and service!! They have a great selection of single malts (Glenffidich, Balvenie etc) and great rums. Just talk to any of the bartenders and you will be amazed! The food was right on point from the appetizers to the main course.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Elegant yet casual and fun
    Enfero
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Excellent food, good atmosphere, and good service. Variety of caribbean flavors elevated to gourmet standing. Tasty and elegant. Stronly recommend.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Second time to Santa Ella. Very special place. Luis, our waiter was exellent. Food was amazing. GO!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Useless reservation!!
    Eepr
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We don't see the point in booking a table if we arrive on time we have to wait 25 min. And then, a long wait from one dish to the next one.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    Dalonso
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    a little bit expensive but it worth it. Has to update the wine list in the Ipad.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Last night before 2 week vacation
    Califoodgirl
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    santaella was highly recommended. Our visit started rough service-wise, as it was chaotic to get a table/waiter. The air conditioning was freezing, but they turned it down. And there was a condensed menu from general since the chef is closing for vakay. Had: tuna tartare (tasty but not special), goat cheese quesadillas (DELiCIOUS), Lamb w/quinoa (awesome flavor in the sauce), Filet mignon w/brussel sprouts/bacon (steak nice but not best and veggies way too sweet) And the Nutella waffle dessert (by far the best--so good we ordered two!!) Also had a watermelon mojito that was yummy but hard to drink given so many watermelon chunks. Overall, we really enjoyed the food, but the service was patchy and a few items were not worth the hype.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Waiter service unattentive.
    Santiago
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Fun and festive ambience. Active bar scene. Slow service. Stylish decor and crowd.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing food, disappointing service
    mpr3e
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Dined here for my mother's birthday and food was absolutely amazing. However, the server kept trying to up-sell and was visibly displeased when we declined one of his offers, and then stopped coming by our table all together. Another server continued to serve us. I asked this server to please bring a candle with my mother's dessert, since it was her birthday, to which he told me he certainly would. He did not. This was also on the note I had written along with my reservation on Open Table and it was completely disregarded. Not the type of service one expects from a this type of restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding food quality
    Coquit
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Third visit to Santaella and it didn't disappoint. Appetizer list is amazing, no wrong choices. The main course selection is varied and creative so be sure to be willing to share 😃 Desserts are out of this world, however if you go there and do not order the hazelnut one you are doing yourself a disservice!!! By the way the design of Santaella is outstanding, feels very familiar to me...
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceptional
    Cosmopolitan
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    Party of 2 had filet mignon and lamb chops. Exquisite! Very friendly and polite service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • mur154
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    La comida estuvo muy buena y buen servicio, pero es un poco costoso. Lo recomendaría solamente para ocasiones bien especiales.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mystery solved
    stoveovenVIP
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    I walked to this place from condado beach and the further I went the more I was regretting my choice as the neighborhood changes quickly and you have to go through a creepy tunnel to get there. However, I am glad I did! The food was fantastic and the place was really cute too. We had a pricey but memorable dinning experience. I took a cab back to the hotel
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 3rd time and still a home run!
    MelD
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    3rd time & Santaella still amazing! Their twist on Puerto Rican delights are to die for and different; house cocktail also tasty and a wide variety, so there is a cocktail fir every palate. This time we tried the berry mojito, a sour orange drink (okay for me-not my type of drink) and an artesal beer (sorry dont recall name). For appetizer you can never go wrong with any kibd of risotto prepared in Santaella, brocolli and cheese, yummy! The white tuna tartare was absolutly amazing! The entrée filet mignon w/ fingeling potatoes no regrets and dessert as always decadent (nutella sandwich and a chocolate mini bananas and ice cream). Last but not leadt Marcos our waiter was super attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just...WOW!
    LoveNewHavenPizza
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    We were in San Juan for a vacation with our two kids(14 and 12) who are very adventurous eaters. We chose Santaella because we wanted to experience local flavors. Well...what an amazing food experience!! We've eaten at some fantastic restaurants known for their master chefs--Todd English's Olives, David Burke's Prime, Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Scott Conant's Scarpetta and I would put Santaella on par with any of those fine places. Don't miss this restaurant in San Juan. We loved the empananda's, tasty zucchini w/ parmesan cheese, blue crab on fritters, root vegetable fritters, beef sliders, pulled pork, popcorn chicken and escargot. The Nutella dessert is served in a skillet w/ icecream and is NOT to be missed! Open in Boston, please:)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    MamboKing
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    This is one of the best food tasted in San Juan. The bar scene is great on Thursday and Fridays. Other days they close a little early.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lots of Food
    KyleVIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    I was visiting and went here for some authentic, local flavor. I found that in large portions. Worht the trip.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • One of the best restaurants in PR
    ENodarseVIP
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    Don't be fooled by the exterior of the restaurant.. I am a foodie and a cook who dines frecuently in restaurants in NY, Miami, Chicago and of course Puerto Rico.. Right now Santaella is my favorite restaurant for Drinks, tapas or a 5 course meal if thats what you prefer.. Watermelon mojitos are amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodie paradise
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    This is our favorite restaurant. Food is interesting and delicious. You will always taste something you haven't tried before. Specials assure you'll always find something new. The menu changes slightly from season to season but keeping their staples. Drinks are amazing; they have award winning bartenders. Have a sandia or honey berry mojito. Desserts are just as good and interesting as the rest of the food. Ambiance is cool and hip; a chance to dress up. Service is excellent, which seems hard to find on some hip places. Reservations are kept and there is valet parking. Reserve early, particularly if you want to go on a Friday night, its always packed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved it!
    deezertVIP
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    It was a favorite of mine this time in San Juan. I wish I went out in the area afterwards but I was stuffed! The good was amazing! The decor inside was also very nice! Really liked this place. Great date spot! Hens of wood, tuna tartare, nutella cake - Oh my Gawd!! WOWEE!!!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tommy
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    As usual, chef José Santaella delivered on excellent fish and sausage turnover...the best!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Spectacular
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Everything was spectacular. The Watermelos Mojitos, the beverage of the house were refreshing, sweet and incredibly good. The Food was excellent and very delicious. I give them two thumbs up and recommended to others.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent!
    Goodeater
    Dined on 5/27/2014
    Best place we went in San Juan! Pork appetizer and halibut were excellent. Waiter was attentive but not pushy. Relaxing dinner.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What a hidden jewel!
    rebucfanVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Santaella is a hidden jewel in San Juan. Great creative and delicious Caribbean & PR fusion served with great attention and service in a cozy dining room surrounded by a trendy crowd.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Isabella
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Every time I go is a new experience. The owner, the ambiance, the service and the people, are great. I highly recommend the place.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic