Restaurants & Bars 2

Isla Verde-San Juan Update & new arabic restaurant

JulieF | Apr 29, 200802:40 PM

Just back from Isla Verde area.Visited some of our favorites and got to try one new restaurant this time.

Went to Metropol (got a kick out a comment here previously about someone who tried to make reservations there; and since they didn't take them, they did go). You don't need reservations...it's not that kind of place. And even when they're busy, they have pretty fast turn over. Anyhow we were exhausted from an early morning flight so it was a good place to go -- nothing fancy, can go casual,quick service,etc. Tried a different dish there than I usually get (the whole fish/but didn't feel like "working")--so tried a snapper filet which was very lightly breaded and fried. Very very good. And btw, you don't have to always have their sides of rice and beans (black,red,or mixed)...you can request salad as a side.

Went to Atlantica in Punta Las Marias part of Isla Verde. Had my usual zarzuela -- came with lobster (nice size),scallops, mussels,clams,octopus,shrimp,one very large prawn, and a fish fillet...still yummy tomato based sauce. Trying to watch carbs so got side of veggies instead of rice (it turned out to be carrots -- pretty good and red cabbage -- which I skipped). My husband tried a new to him fish dish with clams and eggplant. Not as successful. Eggplant kind of anemic, but fish was tasty. He'll probably go back to their paella next time.

Tried new restaurant -- Tierra Santa. It's not far from Atlantica and Che's (another of our favorites). It's on Calle Loiza #2440. Just continue down Isla Verde Bvd. like you're going to Atlantica and you'll see it on the left side of the street. They have valet parking like all the places in the area. Food is arabic. Menu is in spanish,arabic,and some english, but you should have a problem if you know anything about middle eastern food. I mean houmous is hommos...you can figure it out. We never got past the appetizers -- can highly recomment the hommos maa lahmeh (which is houmous with fried beef or lamb meat on top). We had the fried lamb pieces. It came with a basket of freshly made, just warm and toasty pita bread. We also had an arabic salad (tomato,cukes,parsley,olive oil, lime) which was a nice palate cleanser. Tried the kibeh mklieh -- which is wheat stuffed with meat,onions, and pine nuts. They have a couple things with raw meat which i would stay away from, but...who knows? And we also had the grilled slices of eggplant with garlic and lime -- it was okay but a little overpriced for the 4 pieces we received. They have over a dozen appetizers, soup, and then main dishes that come with rice and the arabic salad. We saw someone with lamb chops (more expensive than most items but they looked good) and some of the kababs. Vegetarians could do pretty well here -- they even offer grape leaves with and without meat, plus a couple vegetarian combo platters -- or you can create your own.

And the last night we just ran over to Lupe's. This place is good only for a few things -- it's really just a sports bar -- okay margaritas, good chips and dip (comp on the table), their fish ceviche (quite good),their fish tacos, and I just tried their dolphin fingers appetizer. If you stick to these basics you'll be okay. Other things are a bit iffy and you might be disappointed if you're really looking for good food.

Sorry to see that the Bohemia restaurant fronting Isla Verde Ave (just down from Lupes/across from the El San Juan) is still papered over. Was hoping something new would take it's place. And saw a sign that Chili's is coming to the bottom of one of the condos on the same side of the street (and just down from the Hampton Inn).

Anyone been to the Cafe La Place in the Beach House hotel? Just saw their ad for the first time and it looked intriguing.Supposed to be french and italian....

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