Perla at La Concha, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Combining locally sourced ingredients with an intriguing menu to get locals in the door, Perla at La Concha is a gem of the sea to be sure. The menu is seafood dominated, which is appropriate considering you are dining in the belly of a clam shell.

The appetizers are just as fresh as they are intriguing to the palate. Some recommendations include ceviche, ocean fresh white fish bound by with a creamy and zesty creole sauce, to toothsome conch set on a fried coconut. But the winner of the starters were the fire-grilled head on prawns set in a sensuously soft red curry sauce. The table remarked how refined the presentation was in which the chef cleaned the shrimp perfectly and separated the head from the body but returned the head to the plate for effect.

This guy was swimming this afternoon.

Not to be outdone by the first course, the mains feature locally sourced fish, grilled dorado with lemon caper buerre blanc and a flash fried Puerto Rican snapper, set against more “exotic” species like tuna in a peppercorn sauce and sea bass in a lobster burre blanc.

But the winner of the table was the extra large butter baked Caribbean lobster, which was delivered with the comment that the fella had been swimming earlier in the afternoon. The thing looks prehistoric, or like a rock with legs, so how any one thought to eat it is beyond us. But thankfully they did because the tail is long and full of juicy meat while the succulent cheeks taste like the salty ocean.

Perla at La Concha is definitely a spot to hit for a fancy meal in San Juan. All the better for the after dinner party spot downstairs at the HUGE lobby bar of La Concha Renaissance Resort.

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