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Gingambo – Aromas Del Caribe

October 7, 2019

  • 1309 Ashford Avenue
  • San Juan, PR 00907
  • (787) 722-7000
  • Website
  • Menu

Day three of our 10th Anniversary trip was really lazy.  We spent time at the beach, walked the neighborhood for lunch, then spent even more time at the pool before almost falling asleep at 4:00 in the air conditioned hotel room on the 7th floor of the Marriott Resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

We didn’t fall asleep though….and when it came time for dinner, we decided that night was going to be our lazy night and we’d just eat at the hotel restaurant.

Gingambo is the main sit down restaurant inside the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino on Ashford Avenue in the San Juan’s Condado sub-barrio.   The restaurant’s presence is felt all throughout the outdoor activity areas of the resort at the beach level entrance.  If you come in from the street, you will have to take the elevator down to get to the entrance.

The restaurant has both an indoor and outdoor dining space.  The indoor space is pretty large with tables kind of spread out.  The main advantage to sitting inside is that it’s air conditioned and on hot days, can be kind of refreshing.

The outdoor space wraps around the building underneath a canvas awning.  The tables and chairs outside are a little more all seasons but they’re well above patio furniture status.  Like most places, the lighting is provided by string lights hung from the ceiling and ambient light bleeding over from the nearby pool.

The restaurant is part of the main entertainment complex for the hotel.  The courtyard it sits in is right in between the two towers of the hotel where the pool and beach entrance are.  There are palm trees planted around the pool to add to the Caribbean ambiance as well as to provide shade during the hotter parts of the day.

We both started with drinks.  J stuck the one she really began to like on this trip, a Coconut Mojito.

The restaurant had a few craft beer options on the menu but the only one available at night was the Blonde Ale from Boqueron Brewing Company.  The drafts were only available at the pool bar (more on that later) and that was closed for the night.

The menu is pretty small but there are a lot of big flavored items.  We started with the Prosciutto and Pepper Jack Croquettes.  The 3 fried balls of cheese and uncured pork were super crispy on the outside and soft and steamy in the middle.  Not sure exactly what they were served on top of but it didn’t matter.  The croquettes were delicious and needed no additional dipping sauce.

J selected the Brie, Arugula, and Pear salad for her entree.  The plate of arugula was topped with Bartle pear slices, caramelized nuts, breaded brie, and a blueberry vinaigrette.  The fried brie was probably her favorite part of this salad but she had good things to say about all of it.  There was a lot of toppings on top of the greens and plenty of dressing.

I picked the Angus Coal Burger.  The sandwich came topped with Applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, American cheese, and a Homemade smoked olive oil.  The sandwich was a pretty solid burger with a lot of crispy bacon held in place with a gooey slice of American cheese.  The meal came with fries, but again, the fries were pretty underwhelming.  They were the same frozen fries I’ve already had at multiple places around San Juan.

So, this dinner experience set us back a little over $70 before tip.  It was by far the most expensive meal we had in San Juan which is to be expected at a higher end resort like a Marriott.  We just charged this one to the room because we had a $40/day food and dining credit through our travel package from Costco.  It didn’t cover all of it, but it did cover some.

Gingambo is more than just this restaurant as we found out pretty early in our vacation.  Gingambo is also the swim up bar in the pool and the outdoor bar overlooking beach.  We took advantage of both of those locations every single day we were there.

The swim up bar was pretty awesome.  There is a bar at deck level so you can order drinks if you don’t want to get in the water but the fun part was getting in the water and sitting there relaxing in the water with a drink.

J mostly went for the Coconut Mojitos here.

But there was one time she just had to drink out of a pineapple…because why not.  This is the one time she strayed from her new favorite drink.  The pineapple came filled with a strawberry daquiri.

Not sure why but this is the only one of the three areas of Gingambo that had draft beer.  It was on all the menus but you could only get it at the pool bar.  I mostly stuck to FOK Red Ales when we went for a swim but there was one time I opted for a Jack and Coke instead.

You could actually get food ordered to this bar too if you wanted.  It came in a large plastic dish to help keep the water out.  We never did order food while we sat here but saw others do it.  Drinks could be charged right to our room so there was no need to worry about credit cards or cash while swimming.

The other bar overlooks Condado Beach and is right next to the main restaurant.  The bar itself is covered from the elements but there are also tables and chairs to hang out and watch the sun go down and the waves crash against the shore.

We drank here the first night as we were getting acclimated to the hotel and we drank here one other night because the hotel gives you a coupon for a free rum drink at check-in.  It’s limited to a Rum and Coke or Rum and some other mixer but it’s still a free drink and we didn’t pass it up.

We ordered appetizers from here a couple of times.  J got chips and salsa the first night and brought them back to the room.  The night we had our free drinks, we ordered the nachos to hold us off until dinner.  The simple plate is tortilla chips, nacho cheese, red peppers, and black beans.  We could have added another protein but decided against it.  We just wanted something light to hold us over.

Gingambo is actually really darn convenient if you’re staying at this Marriott.  The bartenders were always super friendly and very attentive as was our waitress the night we ate dinner.  The prices are a little higher than if you’d venture out in to the neighborhood but the convenience factor really comes in to play here.  We were big fans of the swim up bar during the day.  The meal we had was by far the most expensive we had on the trip and it wasn’t near the best meal we had.  It was still really delicious though and I don’t feel bad about spending the money we did.  The open air setting is really relaxing and we had a really great dinner.

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