If I could only choose one food group to indulge in for the rest of my life, it would be chocolate, and Casa Cortés ChocoBar in Old San Juan is where I would eat every meal. Based on two recommendations, Diana and I headed to the restaurant for breakfast on Tuesday morning before our food tour. We knew that we probably didn’t need to eat that morning, but with only enough time to spend one day in Old San Juan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat a meal made entirely of chocolate.
As soon as I entered Casa Cortés ChocoBar, I could tell that it was special, that the staff put a little extra love into the place. At ten o’clock, it was bustling with customers, and the decor was gorgeous.
But the decor was about so much more than just the appeal to the eye, in fact each piece was a well-thought out homage to the chocolate company’s beginnings. There is a wall made entirely of chocolate molds, the ones that had been used for years by the company, while the opposite wall tells stories of Casa Cortés’ history. It is a living, breathing museum of the chocolate company, with no detail left unfinished, even the light fixtures are fashioned to look like cocoa beans.
After a quick tour, we ordered our coffees to start the day. I had a mocha with a cheddar bite; this is a traditional way many Puerto Rican’s drink their coffee or hot chocolate. The cheddar is dipped into the coffee, or hot chocolate until it melts, and you eat it. Combining two of my favorite items had never occurred to me, and after I tried it, I couldn’t believe that it took me twenty-nine years to realize this delicious combination.
Since, Diana had given up chocolate for Lent, she went with a regular coffee. I’ll admit, maybe taking her to a chocolate restaurant was not the best idea I’ve ever had, but she hardly suffered, as all the food on the menu was delicious.
After slowly sipping our coffees, out came our breakfasts. For Diana, it was mallorca de jamón y queso, and although there was no chocolate on it, it was nothing short of decadent.
I continued with my cheddar and chocolate combination by having the grilled cheddar cheese con chocolate, which caught my eye as soon as I saw it on the menu. Covered in powered chocolate, it was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
Even though, we were getting full, I couldn’t resist two of my favorite creations: a croissant filled with chocolate hazelnut and churros with chocolate dipping sauce. The croissant was flakey and warm, and the chocolate hazelnut just seemed to pour out, while the churros were the best I have ever. There was barely any room in my stomach, but as it always seems when it comes to chocolate, I found a way to fit it in. Not that it was difficult.
As full as we were getting, it was hard to walk away without at least sampling the dessert, so the chef brought us out one of his creations. This was made up of a pear sauce and chocolate, the perfect dessert for any sweet tooth. While it was almost too pretty to eat, once I had my first bite, it was hard not to stop.
With our bellies full, we visited the art gallery upstairs, and then headed on our way to wander the streets with smiles on our faces. Casa Cortés ChocoBar was an unexpected surprise, and I am so glad we had the chance to dine there.
When a company pays respect to its history in a modern way, and delivers sweet and savory dishes with touches of chocolate, there’s no way they can go wrong. Casa Cortés ChocoBar is absolutely a chocolate-lover’s paradise in the heart of Old San Juan.
Thanks to Condado Insider, Diana and I were guests of Casa Cortés ChocoBar. As always, all opinions are my own.