An Insider Look at San Juan (Part 1)

Isla-Verde-Beach-Copy1It’s still best known for hectic coastlines, forts, and post-cruise sightseers, but San Juan is escaping from its rural former. An advanced combination of Latin and Yankee cultures is upping the hipness ratio, as is the buzz generated by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Marc Anthony. The new fine art gallery is an amalgam of Neoclassical and contemporary style, loaded dining establishments are offering eager multicultural menus, and fashion designers are providing a dosage of caliente chic.  While Old San Juan still draws crowds to its patched roads– and is appreciating its own mini-renaissance– the vida loca vibe is apparent across town.

The New Community: SoFo
The district south of Calle Fortaleza in Old San Juan is the current city territory to get its very own acronym. A previous industrial area near the location’s galleries and boutiques, SoFo developed into a restaurant hub after the 1997 debut of the Parrot Club, which serves chef Roberto Treviño’s Latino fusion dishes, such as risotto con chicharrones del país (cracklings). Right across the street is Treviño’s most recent endeavor, the “Latinasian” Dragonfly, where the specials include “Peking duck nachos con wasabi sour cream.” A third Treviño station opens nearby later on this year. Trois Cent Onze is prominent for its Provençal classics, wisely clothed personnel, and also crisp insides. On weekend break nights, a sleek and also attractive crowd spills onto the Plaza Arturo Portella from Il Grottino, an enoteca that puts more than 500 wines.

Vamos a la Playa While all P.R. coastlines are public, each entices its very own social caste. Students, surfers, and see-and-be-seen kinds go to Sea Park. Tourists gather at resort-lined Isla Verde. Family-friendly Playa Carolina lies past the flight terminal. Everyone goes to Playa Luquillo, 20 miles east of town, with coral reefs and also limitless comida criolla stalls along close-by Course 3.

Colonial Chic SoFo restaurants might be everything about contemporary food, yet various other chefs are bringing diners back to the island’s Continental origins. At the Iberian-style La Querencia in Old San Juan, you could make a meal of the “Spanish cutting board” starter (serrano pork, olives, chorizo, as well as Manchego cheese) and the coconut-infused crème brûlée. French-trained regional Jeremy Cruz prepares restaurant standards– lobster bisque, goat cheese terrine, coq au vin– at La Belle Époque, a dining-room resplendent with Murano chandeliers and hand-painted murals.

Rhythm Part Salsa is treated like faith in Puerto Rico, and there are lots of clubs– from dives to dance royal residences– spread throughout the funds. One of the most prominent is Babylon, the classic disco in the Wyndham El San Juan Resort, where gringos can tremble their bon-bons with the city’s old guard. The no-frills, dance-till-you-drop Rumba rotates salsa and African-tinged bomba faves for a younger crowd of travelers and homeowners.

San Juan Nights Nightlife here starts late– especially on weekends– so bask on the coastline for as long as possible, dine after 8, and afterwards struck the community. At Ñapa, vernacular for “a little something additional,” the incentives include a waterfront area, an inventive food selection, and a minimalist appearance– proprietor Luis Moscoso has actually enhanced the former movie house with Italian marble, Spanish feces, and slinky German lamps. Open for virtually three years, Neon still loads them in, many thanks to semi-exclusive “private” events lasting till dawn. Café Bohemio at the Resort El Convento provides online jazz, light meals, and also fruity mixed drinks to elegant locals who have actually proposal adiós to their clubbing days.

A New House For Art San Juan had little except the historic, 1920 metropolitan medical facility in the Santurce community, which stood vacant for decades. However following a four-year, $53 million restoration, the Neoclassical structure has been reborn as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Keeping the shell intact, neighborhood designers Otto Reyes and also Luis Gutierrez bonded a soaring glass-and-steel structure onto the back of the structure, creating 130,000 square feet of display room. The premiere event was primarily of island musicians, as is the permanent compilation; a program on baseball game Roberto Clemente opens up in March. A 400-seat cinema named for the late Puerto Rican star Ra l Juliá, a five-acre garden, and also a brand-new manifestation of the trendy nuevo latino restaurant Pikayo are tempting the city’s trendy collection, no matter their preference in art.