Tired of the banking industry, native Ponceño Alejandro Vélez Blasini set off for the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. After a successful run with a tapas bar, in mid-2009 he opened Archipeilago, a restaurant on the sixth and seventh floors of a building overlooking Ponce’s Parque de Bombas and Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe on Ponce’s Spanish style plaza. The rooftop view is stunning, one of the best of any restaurants I’ve ever seen. The town square below glows at night.
Inside, there’s a high fashion crowd that rivals any scene in San Juan – even the hostesses and waiters could be on Top Model.It’s as chic and modern as anything I have seen in San Juan, or Miami for that matter. Everyone is beautifully dressed and the scene of everyone dining on plates like Fried Cheese stuffed with guava and wrapped in prosciutto and Sancochado de Viandas gives the feel of some sort of Nuevo Latino photo shoot or telenovela.
Churassco with chimichurri and arroz con habichuelas was a delight as was the Toasted Café Mayor coffee bean Crème Brûléethat followed Next time I’ll try the Crab Cakes with Mango Cilantro Aioli. On the balcony there’s live jazz that night. I take my Don Q mojito and sit near the edge. The scent of the Caribbean Sea blows in with the wind.
76 Calle Cristina
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.