Many Sublime Fine Dining Choices in Puerto Rico

Chef Wilo Benet is renown for superb cuisine at Pikayo Restaurant in San Juan.

Chef Wilo Benet is renown for superb cuisine at Pikayo Restaurant in San Juan.

Tired of cold weather and snow yet? Go to Puerto Rico.
Not only because you don’t need a passport. Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., and there are non-stop flights to San Juan from most major airports in the states.
Not only for the pristine beaches, although there’s something very hedonistic about the thought of sitting bikini-clad  on a warm,  white sand beach, gazing at the clear blue ocean under a cloudless Caribbean sky. (but that’s you in the bikini, not me).
Not just for the hotels, of which there are options ranging from guest houses to 5+ star luxury resorts both in San Juan and around the island.
Not even for the shopping, which includes the glamorous, largest shopping center in the Caribbean, or a hugely popular discount mall, or the delightful shops of Old San Juan (think jewelry… and discounted Lladro…).
If nothing else, go for the food!
I’ve said it before: Puerto Rico is the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. You can enjoy American,  Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai) Brazilian, Chilean, Cuban, French, Italian, Mediterranean (Greek, Turkish, Arabic)  Peruvian, and Spanish cuisines… as well as traditional and modern  Puerto Rican classics.
Where to start? Maybe at Pikayo,  located on the mezzanine of the  Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel. It’s the first hotel you come to on Ashford Avenue, once you cross the Dos Hermanos bridge. Pikayo is owned by chef Wilo Benet, one of the island’s most famous chefs (he has his own wine, for heaven’s sake!),  as well as having had numerous appearances on local, stateside and South American television, and a best- selling cookbook titled Puerto Rico True Flavors in English and Puerto Rico Sabor Criollo in Spanish.
Pikayo is a 5-star restaurant. The dining rooms are beautiful, the service is perfect and the food is exquisite. It’s always busy, so plan ahead and make your reservation well in advance.
What to eat? Everything. Or, at least, as much as you can manage. I adore the Portuguese Octopus with Shallot Escabeche and Jamón Serrano. And the Scallop Ravioli with Asparagus Slivers and white wine Buerre Blanc. And those are just appetizers!
And the entrees… oh my: a scallop dish with roasted butternut squash with an emulsion of capers and raisins? Not to be missed! Big scallops, tender, deliciously seared… and that sauce! Raisins and capers? Yin and Yang wonderful.
Are desserts your thing? What about a chocolate tarte with peanut butter ice cream? Granny Smith Apple Napoleon with cinnamon ice cream?  Or the Key Lime… well, you get the message.
Pikayo … all you need is a reservation, an appetite, an appreciation for excellent cuisine (and a forgiving credit card.) But so worth it!
So  make somebody happy; make reservations for dinner.

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