Tag Archives: Cocina Abierta

Cocina Abierta new vegetarian menu in Condado

12 Sep

I’ve told you about Cocina Abierta… a super cool restaurant owned by a former neighbor of mine, Martin Louzao. Martin is an awesome chef, one with a former vegetarian girlfriend. I would like to think that based on her insistence or my insistence on her asking if several of their dishes were truly vegetarian, that he decided to create a Vegetarian Menu in his new location in Condado.

Cocina Abierta is not a vegetarían restaurant… we still have a great opportunity for Vegetarian Fine Dining in Puerto Rico. But Martin has certainly captured my attention developing new dishes and adapting several true and tried favorites to create a vegetarian tasting menu fit for celebrations, to take vegetarian friends when they travel to Puerto Rico and when you want to enjoy truly good cooking overall.

If you ignore the smells of grilled steaks coming from the kitchen… you will find Cocina Abierta has a great ambiance and atmosphere. Their menu is divided into ACTS, like a play, but we only ordered from the Vegetarian side concert. I took my friend Andrew, who was visiting Puerto Rico for work. Aside from the Yoga Center cooking, he had not had the chance to experience fine dining in Puerto Rico.

We ordered:

Baby Arugula Salad with Almond-Stuffed Dates and Caramelized Onions

Cocina Abierta - Vegetarian Menu Salad

Eggplant Mignon over a bed of Curried Couscous

Eggplant Vegetarian Dish

Ricotta Gnocchi with Blue Cheese and Arugula

Cocina Abierta Vegetarian Menu

Gelatos – Salted Caramel and Strawberry Flavors

Cocina Abierta Vegetrian Menu

OMG!!!!   What an awesome experience we had!!! We shared everything because we wanted to taste as many things we could… I would have ordered another salad just for me… not because the serving was small, but because it was so delicious.

The Eggplant Mignon is something I would rarely order in a restaurant, yet I was very surprised to taste the flavors of India in a very refined manner, suitable for the Western taste buds. I am not too fond of Indian cooking and I enjoyed this very much…

The gnocchi are so rich and delicious… it was a good thing we shared. Because if not, I would have eaten the whole thing by myself and would have been counting the amount of calories for days.

The gelatos were spectacular, in particular the salted caramel one… with pieces of caramel inside. It was heaven on a plate. I may just go back and sit at their Dessert Bar just to have the salted caramel ice cream. Move over Mango Sorbet from Hagen Dasz, there’s a new frozen dessert in town!!!

I want to thank Martin and the whole Cocina Abierta team for a wonderful evening… our waitress Mari Carmen was a joy and made our dining experience all the better. When you have someone serving you who’s super excited about the food… it gets you excited too. We were very happy and Andrew even mentioned he might return again when his next business trip takes him back to San Juan.

I am glad I have an alternative to offer friends and people who ask on tour FB page – “Where can I eat in PR if I am vegetarian???” There’s no need to suffer or put your lifestyle aside if you’re traveling to Puerto Rico.

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Cocina Abierta… Not Vegetarian, but very delicious options indeed

19 Dec

Cocina Abierta is one of the most popular restaurants in the San Juan/Metro Area… they have a Facebook Page and very loyal following. It’s been open for little over a year now and it was last week the first time I was able to eat there.

Martin Louzao, an Argentinian residing in Puerto Rico for a few years now, is the chef/owner of Cocina Abierta and he happens to be my neighbor too. I remember him arriving in his apartment with huge bags from Marshalls telling me all this new equipment was for the new restaurant he was opening soon, that I should visit him to try his food. If the food he makes tastes as good as the smells that came out of his apartment… this was going to be a delicious experience indeed.

It has taken me over a year to visit him because every time I had tried to eat there, the place was full. The concept… an open kitchen where all the guests can see the cooks at work. The menu, super dynamic… they work off what’s seasonal and fresh. They have a few favorites on the menu, but it changes constantly according to the chef’s whimsy and inspiration.

Last week I needed to have a working lunch meeting and decided I wanted to try if Cocina Abierta was available. They now have a lunch menu and some of the options caught my eye. This is what I had:

Arugula Salad with dates, goat cheese, parmesan flakes, almonds in a balsamic vinaigrette. Proscuitto not needed at all.

Feta and Spinach Ravioli with grated fresh tomato and Genovese pesto

I debated if I should have had the Pumpkin Risotto with parmesan cheese, onion marmalade and petit pois, which can be requested to be made with vegetable stock for vegetarians like me, but decided the ravioli seemed lighter fare for lunch.

The Arugula salad was one of the most delicious salads I’ve had in a long time. It’s extremely memorable and worthy of recommendations. I almost licked the plate clean. I divided one salad with my friend Angie, but the next time, I will order one just for myself. It’s that good… just as good as Bobby Flay’s Gala Apple salad and that’s a lot said right there.

The ravioli were pillowy and light. And the sauce was more like a dressing than a sauce per se. A little fresh tomato, very fruity olive oil and a dab of pesto atop each ravioli. The portion size was healthy, but I could have eaten a few more, certainly. Out of gluttony, of course.

The next time, I will try to order their Eggplant Ravioli with pine nuts. They were not available the day I visited… good, so I have something else to look forward to on my next visit.

Cocina Abierta is certainly not a vegetarian restaurant, but they make vegetarians feel welcome and understood. Thanks Martin for a wonderful lunch and hope to be able to visit sometime soon to taste some of your wonderful and delicious creations.

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