Instagram-worthy pics, wide variety of food, amazing coffee, the list goes on! If you’re from the Metropolitan area, you HAVE to visit the latest tendency: El Mercado. It’s in Paseo Caribe, in the middle of Viejo San Juan and Condado. You can enjoy the view of the lake and the entrance of Condado while the wind from the sea blows your locks and makes it way through this chic place in San Juan.
It was a Saturday afternoon and I woke up with a tight schedule on my hands but as always I make up a very perfect excuse for getting a cup of joe. I was eyeing for a long time Paseo Caribe due to the news that I heard that the owners bought an authentic Italian oven to bake pizza (I HOPE THAT EVERY BITE OF IT LEAVES ME TALKING ITALIAN BUONGIORNO PRINCIPESSA). Plus, it’s a tendency that everyone seemed to be thrilled about since it had a lot of variety.
I drive my way to Paseo Caribe, parked my car and went straight to the place called El Mercado. Now, I gotta tell you something, this place is ENORMOUS. I. AIN’T. KIDDING.
It is so fresh, it is so chic, it is everything that I highly wish for. I felt pretty freaking fancy when I made my first step in El Mercado. As I opened the door, a young man handed me a little map of the place… A MAP! It had a wide variety of locals that it was so difficult to choose from. I honestly felt like a little child that had to choose between cheetos or doritos in the vending machine: hardest decision ever!
You have a bar, a coffee shop, a bakery, a butcher shop, italian locals, vegetarian/vegan options, mediterranean foods —oh, excuse me, my mouth is all watery now— YOU EVEN GOT SEÑOR PALETA IN THIS PLACE!!! Unfortunately, I only had thirty minutes to enjoy this spectacular place and I went straight to the local coffee shop called Alto Grande.
There I met a super cool blue-haired girl called Wiwi that was super sweet and nice when she attended me. My dad was with me and since he likes the idea of supporting me as a local foodie blogger and so he told the manager that I did reviews on locals… You can imagine the little argument I had with my dad since I am an introvert.
Papa: She’s writes stuff for a blog. She’s an excellent writer
Me: Shhh, papa, I don’t like to say that. I just want my coffee!
Papa: She also loves coffee, she would like to know if she wants to take pictures of a behind the scenes with the presentation
Me: SHHHHH SHUT YOUR CUBAN MOUTH THIS IS EMBARRASSING!!!
The staff members kindly invited me behind the counters and I, an introvert, was horribly shy but I kept taking pictures like a maniac. That’s when i found out the blue-haired girl matched her uniform by coincidence. Now, that is SUPER rad! She let me take pictures of her process of creating the latte art that I deeply love so much. It made me even want to be a barista (sadly, I am a clumsy person and I am most likely to spill burning coffee in my pale hand).
She handed me the coffee with a smile on her face and I had to thank again the staff for being incredibly nice and for letting me see a barista’s point of view behind the counter. They truly rock as a working staff. I walked out of the counter and met with my dad, my face was all red because he made me do a thing that I wasn’t planning to do… AT ALL.
I grabbed two sugars (#TeamBrownSugar) but I thought that I should give it a try before putting it sugar. I have to taste it the Puerto Rican way… Without sugar! My, oh, my, that coffee blew my brains out. It was so good that even felt my brain waking up. The chocolate didn’t overpower the coffee, it had the perfect balance. My hands were a little bit cold from the place and that coffee sure warmed up my soul and my heart. I just needed to imagine myself curled up in a blanket watching the fireside and petting my cat.
Oh, and hello, let’s talk about their marble top table making it so instal-worthy. You can see on the other iPhone that I arranged a mini flat lay for the aesthetic of the photo. (Don’t worry, I didn’t order two coffees for me, my dad’s girlfriend ordered too).
In terms of the price range of the menu, it’s like any other coffee shop. It’s not too expensive neither it’s a cheap. It’s somewhat affordable but then again, you have to support your local gang and let’s face: Puerto Rican coffee kicks other nation’s coffee. It’s flavor is very distinct which makes it so special. Besides Puerto Rican coffee, I guess the Ethiopian coffee would be the second best of the whole world (because, duh, that’s where the nectar of the Gods came from).
The service of this local were super nice, friendly and the raddest I could’ve ever met. I need to make a perfect excuse again to come back and see these fellas again and maybe, treat myself with some good italian pizza that my tummy is excited to eat. Until next time!