Archipiélago (76 Calle Cristina, Ponce) — The new place to be in Ponce is this sixth floor restaurant that offers sweeping views of the historic district and innovative criolla and continental fusion cuisine. The interior dining area is as smart and modern as the menu with subdued tones and an expansive glass window that brings the view from above Plaza las Delicias right into the room. There are two outdoor terraces that will make you feel lost in Europe as you look out at the cathedral and the Victorian firehouse.
If you are with a group, start out with the Archipielago platter, which has fried manchego cheese and tomato jam, fried local cheese with guava and prosciutto ham, fried plantains topped with stewed shredded meat, mushroom caps stuffed with pesto and fried calamaris. The lobster in Creole sauce and the chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and Italian cheese were both excellent. The rack of lamb, crusted with annatto and panko, also impresses. There are also simple vegetarian dishes, burgers and straight up Puerto Rican classics.
There is also a lounge area and bar, so this is a one of the city’s top nightspots as well. Occasional performances and special events are held here. It’s a great place for a drink if you’re not in the mood for a full meal.