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Homegrown Flavor

Lisa Loverro, Centro Y Sur’s intrepid travel guru, scours Latin America for food worth dishing about.

While Mofongo and Tostones are some of the local reasons why a foodie would fall in love with the tastes of Puerto Rico, there’s now even more culinary inspiration begging you to jet down to this tropical island destination filled with hot nightlife and steamy beaches. Jean George Vongerichten’s newest restaurant, Fern, located on the grounds of the new St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort,offers its patrons American contemporary–inspired dishes with an island twist. Fresh, local fish and only the highest grades of meats are fused together with the flavors of the island, creating a unique menu amidst a tropical setting on the first St. Regis to grace Puerto Rico.

But the icing on the cake — and the real reason to love this restaurant — is its expansive nursery located on property, featuring a hydroponic garden guaranteed to produce the most aromatic herbs and freshest produce. Most of the dishes here are prepared with a taste from this on-site garden, a prime example being the black pepper octopus with sweet onions, accented with homegrown ají dulce (sweet peppers).

The design of the restaurant mixes together Latin and Afro-Caribbean materials with a very modern interpretation. The light fixtures are African, the red accents symbolize the passion of the Puerto Rican culture and the brown textured floor pays homage to the early cigar plantations. The restaurant also offers private dinning in the wine room, accommodating a party of 10, and the bar is the perfect spot for cocktails. The sophisticated dishes at Fern are what you’d expect from a Jean George restaurant, while the atmosphere and style are a modern take on an old-world Caribbean theme with the elegance we’ve come to expect from the St. Regis.

The restaurant is open for breakfast daily from 7–11:30 a.m. and serves dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6–10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6–11 p.m.

Photos courtesy St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort