Condado has a new spot where you will be taking all your next Instagram posts, celebrating your and your friends’ birthdays and having breakfast, lunch and dinner all year long. Inspired by maritime cargo ships and the ever-evolving marketplace economy that spearheads the world’s trade industries, the food-truck park-like food hall has a refreshing ambiance with an upscale yet comfortable and inviting feel.
Marine blue hues, calming white and cream accessory pieces, wooden tables and the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore surround you as you devour chef Mauricio Santelice’s specialty creations. The new space has beautiful oceanfront views that complement a delicious and varied selection of culinary offerings, including 10 different menus: Mediterranean, Italian, Asian, Puerto Rican - “Criollo”, Mexican, seafood, vegan, café and juice bar.
The menus feature staples in the respective cuisines. Rustic classics like the Margarita pizza star in the Italian menu, babaganush, spicy chicken curry and gyros on the Mediterranean menu and shrimp avocado salad and calamari tempura on the seafood menu. At the Mexican station, the Rústica flour tortilla is prepared crisp and topped with roasted tomatoes, diced jalapeños, fresh cilantro, a Mexican cheese blend and pesto. Mexico’s take on pizza.
Vegan options are featured on all the menus, but there’s also an entire menu dedicated to the lifestyle diet, featuring items like roasted sweet potatoes with sautéed garlic and spicy pepitas, veggie sandwiches, black bean burgers and stuffed corn “arepas” with roasted eggplant, mixed greens and basil oil.
The Asian menu features Thai, Japanese and Chinese selections to complete the world food tour. Sushi rolls like spicy tuna and California are on there, as well as poke bowls, fried rice with the choice of chicken, pork or veggies and Thai fish, steamed fish with garlic and ginger served with white rice and Thai sauce.
The chef, born in Chile, was inspired by his rich 25-year trajectory serving international clientele, has convened his top-grade culinary lethal weapons into the menus, killing palates with flavor and bringing consumers a completely cultured gastronomic experience.
“This project wouldn’t have been complete without a Puerto Rican station of course, so we have classics like lechon asado, empanadillitas and sorullitos. We are also going to be changing and switching the concepts as we start to see what the customers are preferring” said the chef.
Two fully-stocked bars house the most creative of cocktails, like the Piña Picante, made with tequila, pineapple juice, cilantro, jalapeño and lime; and the refreshing Isla Fresca made with vodka, grapefruit, lime, rosemary and thyme. A crowd favorite is the Dragon Berry, a mix of gin, blackberries, lavender and dragon fruit. These can be found at the signature cocktail bar, fresh pressed fruit and veggie juices are at another.
“We really wanted to create something different, refreshing and creative. Something fun. We are also in the process of creating a garden where we will be growing our own herbs, like rosemary and thyme, for our signature drinks,” said Jessy Peters, La Marqueta general manager.
150 food trucks around the island are creating some 600 jobs and pouring $40 million a year into the economy
The establishment, another Paulson and Co. project, has generated a total of 48 new jobs for the tourism industry, as Paulson believes in Condado’s potential to be internationally revered.
“At Paulson and Co. we are strong believers in the potential of the island as well as its world-class local talent. Whenever we launch a project it is our main goal to have all the staff be local, furthering the economic development of the island,” said Fahad Ghaffar, Paulson and Co. partner.
For breakfast lovers, La Marqueta has a café and juice bar on the exterior of the establishment, which open at 8 a.m. every day of the week. On the menu are classics like the eggs Benedict, the egg sandwich and the omelet. A more fun item is the huevos rancheros, two poached eggs, jalapeño cheddar corn bread, black beans, avocado, “crema mejicana” and cotija cheese. For the sweet tooth, sponge cakes, waffles and French toasts are available to order.
Lox bagels, grilled cheeses, BLT’s and pastramis are some of the offerings on the sandwiches and wraps section. You can also create your own burger. Appetizers include chicken or pork skewers with a selection of chimichurri, bbq or aioli sauce; beef, cheese or chicken turnovers; steamed bao bao buns and flatbread.
La Marqueta had its grand opening on Monday, Nov. 18 and is open seven days a week. It is located on 1005 Ashford Ave. in Condado, next to the Condado Plaza Hilton Hotel. You can visit their social media platforms on Instagram and Facebook for more information.