Casa Cortés ChocoBar: Indulge Your Senses
Fine chocolate and fine art … what is not to love? Casa Cortés ChocoBar is a restaurant & art gallery in Old San Juan operated by the Cortés family. This chocolate-producing family has opened this venue to allow the rest of us in on some of their greatest family treasures — meals that incorporate their amazing chocolate, and pieces from their amazing art collection. We stopped in to savor the fragrances, flavors, and sights — we left full, and fully delighted.
The Cortés family has been making chocolate for more than 80 years. They are the largest chocolate-maker in the Caribbean. They have a huge presence in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The cacao used in production of their chocolate is grown (or is in cultivation) on both of these island.
In an effort to help expand and spread the word about their chocolate, they decided to open a storefront in Puerto Rico’s cruise port. They renovated a building on Calle San Francisco, making the downstairs a restaurant (where many of the dishes feature chocolate), and the upstairs a free gallery exhibiting some of the family’s huge, fine art collection.
Our Lunch & Art Gallery Visit
The family’s art gallery has been open for a couple of years, but we never took the opportunity to stop in a see it. But then, in the fall of 2013, they opened the ChocoBar, and we knew we HAD to go. I guess there might be a couple people on the planet that don’t like chocolate, but for the rest of us, this place is almost a mandatory stop! Their little restaurant and bar serve up delicious breakfasts, lunches, tapas, and drinks with a chocolate flair. Almost all items on the menu have Cortés chocolate as an ingredient.
We went for lunch during the first month they were open, and the place is really neat — decorated with all sorts of chocolatep-related paraphernalia and information, it is very sleek and modern.
They had an amazing movie playing on a few screens in the restaurant that showed you the entire process of how chocolate is made. We really enjoyed watching that while we waited for our chocolate-infused meals and desserts.
We each ordered something different, and it was all interesting and yummy. The desserts were heavenly — we had the fondue (pictured at the top of this article) and we could have licked the bowl!
After lunch, we went upstairs to see the amazing art from the Fundación Casa Cortés. It is dubbed the CCC — The Cortes Chocolate Collection (La Colección Chocolate Cortés).
There are two levels to the gallery, starting on the third floor. There are docents on both floors. They allow photos, and they even bring you hot chocolate to sip while enjoying the art. The art has been collected from around the Caribbean, Central American, and South America. It is an eclectic, contemporary collection.
Between lunch and the gallery, it was a pretty wonderful way to spend a couple hours in the afternoon in Old San Juan.
Admission to the art gallery is free. But it is only open on weekends.
The ChocoBar is open for breakfast, lunch, and tapas Mon – Saturday, from 8am to 3pm. The art gallery is open to the public Saturday and Sunday, from 9am to 5pm.
For more information, the phone number for the restaurant is 787-722-0499, while the number for the gallery is 787-523-4642.
The are located at 210 Calle San Francisco in Old San Juan.
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