Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Café La Plage in Isla Verde

Sunset from Cafe La Plage

Tonight's phone conversation with Scott:
Me: Scott, I have to tell you something. It's kind of serious.
Scott: What?
Me: I fell in love tonight.
Scott: With who?
Me: Not with who. With what. It's a café .
Scott: Okay. Hey, do you think I need to pack sneakers for Puerto Rico?
(Scott is used to and now unaffected by my dramatic reactions to dining establishments)

Friends, tonight I found the BEST little café /restaurant/bar in the world. It is called Café La Plage, and it is located inside of The Beach House Hotel in Isla Verde. Here is the truth-I could come to Puerto Rico for 5 days and never leave this hotel, the beach bar is that amazing. I cannot attest for the hotel rooms, but they look pretty nice on the website. Very upscale Euro-chic, but not so overly fancy that you are afraid to walk in with sand on your feet.
View from bar at Cafe La Plage

The atmosphere of this bar is top notch, and as a matter of fact, if I were designing my dream house patio, it would look exactly like this. The ambiance is elegant and romantic, with soft lighting, "mood" music, and a variety of cozy tables, chairs, couches, and little nooks for privacy. My date was my adopted "Puerto Rican from the Bronx" mami, and since we didn't need privacy, we sat at the bar and had some piña coladas. The drinks, for such a beautiful beach side establishment, were very reasonably priced. The piña coladas were pretty standard, although they use white rum and I really prefer dark in coladas. The menu was heavily seafood based and a little on the pricey side, with appetizers like Organic Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Croquette with Balsamic Reduction (picture below) and Crispy Calamari with a Citrus Vinaigrette, and main courses like Diver Scallops with Yucca Cake Seared with Lemon & Garlic with a Seaweed Salad, Seared Ahi Tuna in a Ginger Sauce served with Lo Mein Cake & Roasted Sesame Sauce, and Charcoal Grilled Churrasco Steak with Blue Cheese. Since I am trying to be a little frugal this week to stay on budget, I just sampled the appetizer goat cheese croquette and the bread with roasted garlic hummus, both were sophisticated and divine, and I felt sophisticated and divine as I ate them and watched the sunset on Isla Verde.
Their wine menu is extensive and featured here on their website.
The website says you can see their full menu here, but this looks nothing like the much fancier seafood based menu they showed me tonight. Perhaps the website only features their lunch menu?
Note: I strolled in off the beach in beach attire, and although they whole-heartedly welcomed me in, I felt a little out of place and definitely recommend dressing up a bit. Maybe a sun dress and sandals for ladies and at least a polo and khakis for men. But I would still wear sandals, you are on the beach, after all!

One of the coolest parts about Café La Plage is that it is sort of a hidden gem. I've walked by it on the street about 20 times without every noticing it. If you are coming from the street, Café La Plage is across the street from the Howard Johnson's Hotel in Isla Verde, and you actually have to walk through The Beach House Hotel parking lot to enter the café . If it's nighttime you will see the soft glow of the candles and romantic lighting near the entrance. You can also find Café La Plage by walking on the beach of Isla Verde, and makes a very romantic stop on your sunset walk with your sweety. Look for the giant beds, there are about 4 of them, and I am fairly certain they are the only beds on Isla Verde Beach. For the record, you are allowed to lay in the beds if you consume at least $50 per person at Café La Plage, and this is easily done if you plan on having dinner there. I haven't worked out the logistics of whether you actually have to eat in the bed, I will check it out and report back.

So overall, my review of Café La Plage in Isla Verde is as follows:
1. Best atmosphere I have ever seen.
2. Very good menu (although could use some more variation), very good wine list, good drinks. A little bit pricey, but more than worth it.
3. Unbelievably romantic.

If you are couple coming to Isla Verde, I definitely recommend taking a walk down the beach at sunset, stopping at Café La Plage, ordering a few glasses of wine or maybe dinner, finding a comfy couch or bed to sit on, watching the ocean, and spending the night flirting and celebrating your love.
Actually, if you are in Isla Verde with your friends, family, or by yourself, I still recommend stopping by. I will definitely be back, and soon.
Happy Eating!

Café La Plage (at The Beach House Hotel)
4851 Ave Isla Verde
Carolina 00979
Puerto Rico


Abby said...

spend the night flirting and celebrating your love? i think i know where WE'LL be having our first meal when i arrive...

Right Now I'm Thinking... said...

Hey thanks... it's like midnight and now you made me hungry.

Way to go Renee!