Friday, January 27, 2012


KOCO, located in the fabulous El San Juan Hotel & Casino in Isla Verde, is the newest, hottest OOF! Restaurant, and the design showpiece of the company.  KOCO features Chef Hector Crespo’s interpretation of Modern Caribbean dishes, using fresh island ingredients, artistic presentations, and traditional techniques to create a new vibrant, soulful cuisine.  KOCO features an extensive Rum Bar and the chicest lounge in town, serving a hip modern take on some classic Caribbean cocktails, and the largest selection of rums on the island.

KOCO was designed to transport you to a sexy, tropical chic, outdoor pavilion. With water shimmering on the walls to candlelit dining spaces on the waterside decks, to the glowing imperial table under the draped island pergola, or in one of the intimate round booths, KOCO provides a magical dining experience in the Caribbean.
I traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to celebrate my sister-in-law's 30th Birthday and Bachelorette party.  Since I am the main foodie in the group, I was in charge of arranging our dining activities for the weekend.  For our first dinner, I picked the Caribbean restaurant because my only instructions were to pick somewhere nice, in the hotel for convenience (as some girls' flights arrived later in the evening), large enough to fit our group of 11, and with "local"-style food.  So when I looked up the restaurants within the hotel, KOCO fit the bill. We were seated at the Imperial Table, a long table in the main dining room - which was simply elegant with its lighted amber table. Our servers Christina and Mauricio were fantastic and very accommodating throughout the evening.

We ordered drinks and a few appetizers for the table and each arrived in an elegant presentation.  The tuna tartar was incredibly fresh and had a lovely avocado truffle butter with it.  I was happy to see those who are usually reluctant to try new things, taste the tuna and agreed with its freshness and lack of fishy taste.  The crab cakes and lollipops were also tasty and fun to share.  I could have done without the spring rolls - for some reason they tasted a bit sour to me.  For my main course I chose the seared grouper with mofongo.  I knew mofongo - a starch mash of either plantain, yuca, or tuber roots and filled with either chicken, beef, or seafood - is a traditional Puerto Rican dish, so I really wanted to try it. Two nice pieces of grouper sat on top of my mofongo mash which was seasoned very well - spicy and exotic.  I could not find any shrimp, but still found my meal to be delicious.  My sister-in-law chose the KOCO Surf y Turf - flat iron steak with tempura jumbo shrimp.  She really enjoyed it and found the meat to be cooked and seasoned superbly.  The potato gratin that came with it was also very good and flavorful.

Even though we were quite stuffed, we ordered desserts to share and they too were like pieces of art.  Overall, we had a very lovely dinner at KOCO and the staff was excellent.  I highly recommend this restaurant for special occasions for large groups or a romantic date for two.

Total Rating: 4.15
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Tuna Tartar

KOCO Crab Cakes
fresh Island style crab cakes with fresh lime aioli

Batata Lollipops
sweet potato croquettes stuffed with ginger scented pork

Chicken Spring Rolls

Seared Mero & Mofongo
seared grouper with West Indies spiced shrimp
and chorizo gulsa in a yuca mofongo

Choco KOCO
chocolate brownie with coconut ice cream in a chocolate cup

Dolce de Leche Beignets
soft fried dough filled covered with dolce de leche caramel


  1. Yum!!! The pictures of the food from KOCO look great. I would have to pick this one as a favorite for visually pleasing food from your trip.

    1. Yes, the food was presented so nicely! Everything there was great.


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