Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, has many fantastic food finds, but right up the hill from the main square is a building that houses three of the city's best. Located at 156 Calle Sol in an old Colonial building, this trio of restaurants is a must on any Old San Juan adventure. While all three are very different, they hold a common thread of having great staff, delightful drinks, and amazing food.
Al Fresco Rooftop Wine Bar
The Al Fresco Rooftop Wine Bar is a tiny, cozy space which holds no more than 16 to 20 people. Our plans were to just enjoy a glass of wine and leave, but we ended up staying for hours. We stopped in for the ginger honey spritzer and sparkling Negroni (click here for a recipe you can make at home) we had heard raves about, but ended up working our way through the menu as well. We savored our drinks with a sampling of prosciutto, chorizo, cheeses, and more, and stayed to enjoy some large plates and the traditional Puerto Rican flan with a wonderful sweet wine.
St. Germain Bistro and Café
On the first floor of the building, you will find St. Germain Bistro and Café, a European-style bistro with great music and fresh food. We visited for Sunday brunch, which is $21 a person and includes coffee or tea and a bubbly drink. We opted for the bellini with house-made peach juice. Three of our favorite entrée choices were the baked eggs with salmon and capers, the croque madame, and the Sicilian sandwich. Each had a bit of a St. Germain twist, which made them oh-so-special.
We shared all three dishes, but with a whole menu to work through, we went back the following Sunday. When our waitress suggested we come back that evening to The Mezzanine to hang out, who were we to say no to her invitation? We even stopped by twice to pick up to-go sandwiches for long days at the beach and exploring the nearby waterfalls.
The Mezzanine at St. Germain
The Mezzanine is a speakeasy-style bar on the second level of the building. The space is small and full of wonderful nooks and crannies where you’ll find yourself spending time. We had a beautiful table on the small balcony and sipped some house-specialty happy hour concoctions chosen for us by our waiter. We decided to limit ourselves to those happy hour choices and sampled one of each. The bar also offers a menu, so we ended up enjoying several orders of albondigas (sweet and tangy meatballs) and taco de carnita, because they were so tasty. Our Mezzanine waiter also suggested we come back tomorrow and visit their roof top bar, which of course we already did.
No matter which restaurant you choose or like us, choose all three, the food-lover in you will not be disappointed.