Santaella

4.8
1567 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Puerto Rican
Chef José Santaella has trained with some of the best chefs in the world, including Ferrán Adriá, Eric Ripert, and Gary Danko. His apprenticeships and successful catering career paved the way for Santaella, his signature restaurant in Santurce's La Placita Marketplace. The decor is rustic yet elegant, with exposed walls, Edison light fixtures, an interior garden, and a sparkling bar. Chef Santaella fuses local and international ingredients to perfectly execute Puerto Rican nouvelle cuisine. The menu is dominated by tapas, which you can easily make into a meal. Favorites include the ahi tuna skewers, goat cheese quesadilla, 'alcapurrias' topped with crab, and foie gras terrine with fruit jelly . The cocktail bar is one of the best on the island, so don't leave without trying one of the concoctions by Santaella's mixologists. -Fodors
What 1567 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best meal I have had in a long time. The octopus appetizer was incredible!

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RK
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely dinner, great food, great wine and great service. Special recommendation salted caramel for desert! Delicious 😋. Go for it😃

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OT
New England
22 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

the food is like having a drop of water after walking through the desert. it is refreshing, and brings life to you. amazing experience everytime we go.

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AA
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The location at La Placita enhances what is already a unique experience. Excellent food and service. You will not be disappointed.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The sea bass was absolutely delightful!

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FT
Atlanta
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been coming to PR for 25+ years. Santaella is my favorite restaurant

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KS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was great—I have a food allergy and he was very thoughtful in helping me navigate the menu. Everything we ordered was delicious, we tried the tuna tacos, croquettes, and the pork shank. The pork shank is massive, definitely can be shared if planning to order other items as well. But the flavor was delicious—sweet and tender. The ambiance was perfect for a romantic date night. We also tried the tamarind cocktail and it was very tasty, citrus without being sour and hints of cinnamon.

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MM
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always lively and bustling with happy energy, this is one of my favorite places to dine and have fun!

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LS
Denver
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food and cocktails were amazing! Our curry coconut Salmon was done perfect and the flavor and balance was incredible! I had two different cocktails made by Pedro and they were some of the best!!

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BG
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

This restaurant was AMAZING! The food was phenomenal, everything we ate was so delicious and the cocktails were great too I highly recommend you go if you’re visiting San Juan. The service was a bit slow but it was no wonder the place was packed. Go hunger because you’ll want to try everything on the menu.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Food was overall very good. Liked the Brussels sprouts, goat cheese quesadilla, and ahi tuna. Popcorn chicken just okay but i wouldn't order again. I was really excited about the skirt steak initially but I didn't like it at all - the sauce was overpowering and resembled a Panda Express type flavor. The service was very friendly but not well trained. We got our appetizers within 3 minutes of ordering but had 30 min wait times for main dish and dessert. Ambiance very nice. 3.5-4 stars overall.

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Miami
13 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service!!! Fun to share all the apps and drinks are STRONG and delicious!!

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OT
Columbus
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I were on vacation and researched this restaurant online and decided to go based on the positive reviews it had. We were not disappointed!

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CC
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was perfect except for the fact that they couldn't find the reservation.

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OT
Caribbean
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lunch with friends.

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S
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Service was not great and the food was average. Would not go back

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MS
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We love Santaella. The ambiance is the best, the service is great and the food is usually delicious, although this last time it was not as good as usual and it took very long to have our meal. We were the first to enter the restaurant when it opened, so we are thinking maybe the kitchen and the cook had not warmed up enough yet... We are confident it was just an isolated event and we are still going to give it more tries.

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JC
Caribbean
5 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I forgot his name but french waiter is the best, exceeds customer service expectations

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LI
Miami
5 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very “Williamsburg” hipster kind of place, busy, reservation required! Creative interpretation of Puertorican staples like morcilla (blood sausage), malanga fritters (root vegetable), alcapurrias served with crab (green banana fritters), octopus with bean cassoulet, and super delicious cocktails. Everything was excellently prepared and presented. The place was packed on a Wednesday night, a bit loud, but the food and drinks made it all worth it.

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S
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 4ambience 2

Our visit on Wednesday, May 1st, was a bit of a mixed bag. The food is phenomenal. The wait staff are friendly and attentive. The space is lively and can be a bit loud, but on the evening of our visit, there was a table that was especially loud and obnoxious, to the point that not only we, but also other tables were openly complaining. We brought up the issue to our waiter (as other tables did as well). We kept pressing the matter as the transgressive party kept getting louder and more obnoxious. I finally asked our waiter if the manager was going to come out and speak to us. He said no, he would not. I then asked if the manager had been made aware of the issue, and he said yes. We then asked why the manager would not come out and deal with a situation that was angering several tables. He couldn’t adequately answer, and I’m not angry at him. Our waiter didn’t have the authority to deal with an abusive table. The manager did, and the manager chose to ignore his guests’ well being and instead hid out in the back like a coward.

Shortly after our complaint, the offending table left, and the other tables and we all exchanged glances that said “thank god.” We stayed because our waiter was very nice, and we felt bad that he was put in an incredibly difficult situation due to the manager’s cowardice. If the manager isn’t empowered to deal with transgressive patrons, then who is? The point being, someone needs to have the authority to eject patrons who disrupt the dining experience.

I think the owner needs to do some rethinking about the management of this place. He has wonderful wait staff and a completely flaccid manager. Do the math.

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OT
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 2

The food was wonderful but the noise level painful. I won't put myself through that again.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always consistent, Santaella brings the perfect scenario for a business meeting...or a hip fashion dinner. Great and good looking staff, innovative cocktails, and the best kitchen in Puerto Rico all together in the heart of Santurce. Ask for the goat cheese quesadilla to start!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

I wish I could leave a great review. However, we waited a full hour past our reservation to be seated and another hour+ to get our first appetizer. The food and drinks were good, but super overpriced. We paid over $450 for dinner for 5 of us.

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D
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best meal we had in San Juan. Also the most reasonably priced wine list we encountered. Santaella would fit right in back at home in NYC. Crowded and trendy, if eating on a Friday or Saturday night, better to make reservation a bit earlier than you want. We had more than 30 minute wait for a table to open up, but it was an opportunity to sip a very tasty drink at the bar and soak up a bit of the local scene. Highly recommended!

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

On holidays in San Juan. Loved it.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super elegant. Great quality of food. Attentive service throughout

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E
Orlando
4 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and outstanding service!!!!

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SS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Five stars!!!

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DL
Philadelphia
17 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Lively,fun atmosphere with a young crowd. Food was fantastic with big portions. The burrata was excellent. The pork shank was great and probably the best thing we had on the menu, but it is huge and can probably serve two people.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was amazing!

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AA
1 review
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience, great food, and cocktails. Highly recommended to anyone either local or visiting the island.

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OT
Caribbean
2 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Sooo good!! Would love to come back soon xx

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OT
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was excellent! I love this menu—you can design different dinner styles (tapas, large plates, etc.) based on your groups preference. All of the food was incredible. The octopus was cooked perfectly, no easy task. The goat cheese quesadilla was excellent. The Crazy Japanese salad tasted like a mix of poke and Puerto Rican cuisine. Lastly, the crazy popcorn chicken was some of the crispiest chicken I’ve eaten

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F
1 review
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food. Theres just not enough words to describe how delicious ever single plate was. One after the other. Its worth it.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The crowd behind our table at the bar was rambunctious. Seemingly drunk woman spilled her margarita over another patron and all over the floor, causing our server to slip and fall as he attempted to deliver a dessert to our table. It was not even 8pm yet...Noise level was deafening, but the food was delicious!

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R
Raleigh
19 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We dined there while on vacation in Puerto Rico. The food and service were great! We loved the octopus appetizer, the pork belly entree, and the sea bass. We are foodies, and this was right up our alley!

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L
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I would go back in a heartbeat. Restaurant was beautiful, staff was friendly, food was wonderful. Loves the Brussels sprout salad.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First night back on the island where I grew up after being away for many many years.

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G
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

La comida como siempre deliciosa, pero me parece q por dos aperitivos , un postre, una copa de vino y un trago $100 es excesivo. No hay necesidad de tener esos precios tan altos , el agua la sirvieron y no me dijeron que había que pagarla. Nada malo tiene q la cobren pero deben advertirlo.
Ustedes tienen fama y volumen de clientes , sean mas considerados, visito muchos restaurantes cuando salgo de la isla y puedo comparar precios y calidad. Ustedes también venden calidad pero me parece que los precios están muy altos.

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OT
Caribbean
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

The food was excellent but we waited an hour for the table to be ready!

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