Pikayo Restaurant San Juan,PR (Condado Area) - So disappointed...
I should say that I've wanted to try this restaurant for sometime, but when it was located at the Museum of Art, in a non-touristy area, it wasn't convenient to get there. Now that I'd read they moved to the Conrad Hotel in Condado, I made it a point to try what had been touted as one of the best (the best?) restaurants in Puerto Rico.
We went relatively early on a Tuesday evening with no reservations and figured we'd try some of their small plates in the lounge area. First off the hotel (at 999 Ashford) is a big boxy starkly modern building. We parked in their parking garage as there were no signs for the restaurant outside and we weren't sure where to go. We foundout afterwards they don't validate parking for the restaurant. Inside the "lobby" which looks like they haven't had their furniture delivered yet (as opposed to upscale chic ala the W hotel chain), we asked at the desk as there were no signs inside the hotel. We were directed to the elevators to the mezzanine level.
There isn't anyone to greet you when you enter the restaurant. The stark theme of the outside hotel carries through. No warmth, no welcoming smile and it was vitually empty -- one table full. We sat at the bar. The lone bartender provided good service, just didn't have any personality to speak of...
What we ordered: We started with the beef carpaccio which my husband said was wonderful -- melted in his mouth. I had the organic tomato salad. A nice size portion -- large cherry tomatoes cut in half on mini greens with a light dressing. Those were the 2 best items. Then we had the baked clams -- six microscopic clams with stuffing and a pindot of a clam in each tiny shell that came with a miniature pitcher of lemon butter. What there was of them was fine, just not enough to make a real mouthful to taste. And highway robbery at $15 for the order. The crab crepes were 2 crepes wrapped around the barest hint of crab flakes and something else unidentifiable. Pretty on the plate to look at ..with no discernable flavor of crab. I was embarrassed for the chef that they would serve this to anyone...
My husband had one glass of wine. The wines by the glass -- there were about a dozen of them from which to choose -- were priced appropriately for the location $9 to about $15 or so. The problem was that, for example, if you wanted a particular type of wine, say Chardonnay, there was only ONE Chardonnay from which to choose, same thing with Pinot Gris, same thing with Pinot Noir, etc. You get the picture.
Our 4 small plates, one glass of wine, one diet coke (which turned out to be diluted Pepsi) , a glass of water (that was $2 by the way) came to over $80...plus tax, plus tip, plus parking...
No one said anything when we left -- no thanks for coming, hope you'll be back, nothing...no acknowledgement whatsoever.
Would be back? Probabably not. We're more than willing to pay the price for a good meal, but we expect some sort of service with it...and it doesn't have to be fawning, just something.
Similar disappointment, but rather different experience. I found it to be quantity over quality with my food, which was boring. Except for a crab pasta dish (Lumachine with Spicy Crab), everything was bland. Plating was non-existent, garnish -- what's that? The veggies that came with my fish were drowning in some sort of oil that had an unpleasant taste to me, and the haricot vert were undercooked. Compulsory $2 bottled water charge is distasteful -- this place is nowhere near good enough to pull off something like that.
Some of the other dishes that came out of the kitchen looked more appetizing, but I chose mine because they seemed to incorporate more local ingredients than your standard beef tenderloin and tuna tartare. Turns out that was probably a bad decision.
You know what else was a bad decision -- choosing this restaurant and then not bolting as soon as I saw the water charge.
I disagree strongly. We had a superb dinner at Pikayo late Feb. 2011. Service was impeccable, warm and friendly, the sommelier and wine list were terrific and the food was the best and most innovative we have had in the Caribbean. To each his/her own but we would definitely return to Pikayo and feel it was a great experience.