This restaurant with its fine cuisine can be found in the inexpensive Numero Uno guesthouse. Pamela Hope Yahn, previously of the famous Ottley's ... More
This restaurant with its fine cuisine can be found in the inexpensive Numero Uno guesthouse. Pamela Hope Yahn, previously of the famous Ottley's Plantation on the island of St. Kitts has created something special at her self-named eatery. It attracts tourists, locals and of course in-house guests. Try one of original soups that fuse South American turkey with corn and aji sauce, topped with sour cream. For a main dish, consider the Jamaican-style roast loin of pork with candied ginger. The red snapper is also very tasty and the desserts are equally delicious.
We were in SJ at the Ritz for a five day stay. They strongly recommended Pamela's as a can't miss. The highlight of our evening was being seated at a table embedded in a beautiful sandy beach. After 15 minutes, we were handed a very expensive wine list of wines that we were not familiar with (mostly Spanish) and asked for a sommelier’s assistance to help us choose. The waiter said he knew very little about wines, but joked that the head waiter knew more about wines.
We explained to him that we did not typically choose wines from Spain because it was hit or miss, irrespective of price, as to finding an enjoyable wine. We described to him what we wanted in a wine, and brought out a bottle which he decanted in front of us. The other couple tasted the wine and accepted it as “maybe it will open”, and when I tasted the wine, I declared it undrinkable. The waiter immediately offered me a free glass of anything else on the menu. On review of the wine list, I discovered a familiar California table cab, and asked if I could order a bottle. They were out of that wine. He then recommended another name familiar California table cab, which was twice the price as the other.
When the cab arrived at the table, the other three in our party immediately switched to the cab from the Spanish RIOJO, which remained untouched for the rest of the night.
As far as the food, the appetizers of smoked salmon and the dried Spanish ham were excellent. The rest of the meals were average at best. When the head waiter came to the table at the end of the meal, he immediately saw the almost full carafe of RIOJO, and commented that he was sad that we did not like it, and then asked if he could take it inside and serve it to his staff.
This restaurant wants to charge a premium price for amateur service and knowledge. Their setting is special, but atmosphere seldom overcomes mediocre service and overhyped food quality. I understand that everyone can have a bad food night, but when I spend north of $500 for a meal of 4, I at least can expect good service.
May 2010-Charming ambience, but food not so good. If I had to do it again we would just enjoy pre- dinner cocktails and dine elsewhere.
Stumbled upon Pamela’s during an early morning beach walk and it piqued my interest. Stopped by again briefly about 9 pm on a Wednesday night and found the atmosphere of this beach front restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining utterly charming, and the host that greeted me bubbly and friendly. The restaurant was empty except for a lone table of 2 diners on the beach. The menu looked good ---had to go back the next night! Checked out the reviews on Trip Advisor which, for the most part, were very good and went back. There were only 3 couples dinning in addition to ourselves. (There are about ten tables outside, and maybe about ten 2-tops inside and a few 4-tops).
Beautiful, charming ambiance! But the food was down right terrible. Perhaps it would have tasted great if we very hungry. Oh, but wait! We were very hungry as we had only eaten a light breakfast that day. The bread was nice and crusty. A Mussel Chorizo appetizer (about $14) –mussels were tough and chewy like rubber and chorizo was spongy and tasted more like kielbasa. The ‘dumpling’ filled with shaved steak (about $12) was deep fried and tasteless except for the grease. Crab and avocado appetizer (About $16) was tasteless unless you used the pesto, mango and hot sauce drizzle decorating the side of plate. Entrée of encrusted mahi-mahi (about $32) that came out luke-warm, dry and overcooked was nothing special. Entrée of lamb ($38) was ordered medium- rare and it came out well done. Sent it back. Came back extremely rare---barely cooked. Sent it back again. This time it came back medium well. Ugh! I ate my meal while my companion watched me as they waited, and waited and waited for their meal b/c the kitchen kept messing up. This certainly didn’t add any positive notes to the experience. Then of course I got to watch them eat their rack of lamb, which was still not prepared properly temperature wise. That would have been almost forgivable if the lamb was anything special---it was not. The just-brewed coffee was room temperature. There was no excuse for this --- the cook (I won’t even call the person who cooked these foods a chef) could not have been overwhelmed as the restaurant was virtually empty. The waiter was pleasant throughout our ordeal, but the once bubbly and friendly host never approached us after the first delivery of the overcooked rack of lamb entrée ----never inquired as to subsequent attempts of a corrective measure and avoided eye contact with us altogether.
Dinner as noted above was about $185 total which included a $45 dollar bottle of wine and the 15% tip automatically added to the bill. I have no problem spending this kind of $$$ on a restaurant meal if the food is good, however this was not our experience at Pamela’s. I can cook a better tasting meal at home any day of the week, which is how I rate the restaurants I dine at. I always avoid any type and all levels of chain food restaurants (i.e. Morton's of Chicago Steak house) not because some of them aren't good but I prefer to support the local restaurateurs and experience new twists on cuisine. But I also expect to get what I pay for I don't like to be taken advantage of either while on travel.
I am really surprised about the ratings we found on Trip Advisor. I told the inn keeper where we were staying to be sure and alert any of his future guests to steer clear of this place for food. If I had to do it again, I would just enjoy the ambiance, ocean views, and pre dinner cocktails and then dine elsewhere.
It was great service and wonderful to sit on the beach and have our meal served to us in February of 2009.. But we both ordered a fish meal and both were very overcooked. Mine actually was burnt on the bottom and it was an effort to eat it. Very pricey for overcooked fish. The salad was very good though. The service was good. I would probably not eat there again unless a new chef was hired.
Second visit in Jan. 09 and were wowed once again (first visit (Aug. 05) was part of a 1st anniversary cruise, and the experience was fabulous)! Excellent food, eclectic menu choices, and focus on FRESH seafood helped to create a memorable dining experience. Must mention the dreamy, romantic, and unique location -- we dined on the beach about 150 feet from the ocean. Simple and elegant outdoor furniture, romantic lighting. The service was pretty good, with knowledgeable waitstaff -- hitting that fine line of being attentive but unobtrusive. Location is not easy to find, and parking appears to be limited -- save the stress and take a taxi to/from the restaurant. Highly recommend this restaurant!
Pamela's made my Birthday an unforgettable one. Sitting outside on the beach was so serene and romantic the staff took very good care of us; they made sure that we got everything we wanted and more. The food was delicious as well as the service.
My parents had stayed at Numero Uno and eaten at Pamela's. They said it was the best meal they ever had. We took a cruise out of San Juan and arranged to stay in San Juan an extra night upon returning to San Juan just to go to Pamela's.
My husband made a reservation the month before we went and explained I was a vegetarian. He was told the chef would take care of me and it wouldn't be a problem.
When we got there, they had not written down our reservation. There was only one vegetarian item on the menu, and the waiter said the chef could possibly make me some eggs.
I ordered the only vegetarian item (a double stack of a polenta slice, an eggplant slice, and a squash slice) it was cold and disappointing! My husband ordered fish which was overcooked and cold, as well. He didn't even finish it-and he's a big guy! What a big disappointment. We didn't even bother to order dessert. The place was pricey! I don't mind paying for a gourmet meal when the food is superb but this wasn't even edible.
Sitting on the beach is nice but other than that...stay away. I had better meals on the cruise ship (so you know it was bad!)
We went to Pamela's this year for Thanksgiving dinner. The food was excellent, the service was great and having dinner on the beach for Thanksgiving couldn't be beat. Only had one problem...getting what we ordered. At the bottom of the menu, they note that all the food is fresh and they order things in small amounts...therefore they may run out of things...and they did. I ordered the Mussels & Dorado. My wife ordered the Shrimp bisque & Shrimp main course (she likes shrimp). The waiter came back a few times with "bad news" that they were out of the Mussels & Dorado, and my wife couldn't get the bisque because it was on the tasting menu. They were very nice about it, and when we got was excellent. We would definitely recommend it and look forward to coming back in our next trip to PR.
The experience was excellent. We arrived at the restaurant around 6pm, the place was empty, so we were a bit apprehensive. Then we learned from the waiter the locals like to eat late. Anyway, everything we had was fantastic: green lip mussels, seafood chowder, shrimp cocktail, lamp chops, chocolate creme brulete, rum cinimon bread with ice cream( i think this is what it was called) was out of this world. The only knock was the drink, a virgin mojito(can't drink alcohol) was not very good.
The best thing about this restaurant is the opportunity to eat your dinner right on the beach. You can slip off your shoes and relax your feet in the sand as you enjoy your dinner. The service was great and very accomodating. The food was good. I cannot say that any of the dishes we ate were fabulous, but overall, the food was good. The lobster tail was prepared great and was very delicious. The vegetarian dish with corn cake was great as well. I would like to warn you of the "lump crab" appetizer. Coming from the northeast of USA, when we see the words "lump crab" we think of something different than mashed blue/gray crab pieces. We did not like this dish. It was quite fishy in taste so we sent it back and ordered the calamari, which was great. Overall, this place is super for the ambience and a definite must see if you want to relax and dine at the same time.
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