This stylish restaurant... is owned by Carli Muñoz. The gold disc hanging on the wall attests to Carli's success in his previous role as a pianist for The Beach Boys. Nowadays, Carli entertains his dinner guests nightly with a combination of standards, romantic jazz, and original material on his grand piano. Diners can sit outside on the Plazoleta, where they can enjoy a panoramic view of the bay, or they can eat inside against a backdrop of a tasteful decor of terra-cotta walls and black marble tables. The chef tempts visitors with an imaginative international menu, including such delights as quail rockettes stuffed with dried fruits and sage. The filet of salmon and a mouthwatering rack of lamb are among the finest main dishes. The bar, with its mahogany and brass fittings, is an ideal spot to chill out.
This dark, sophisticated spot in the baroque Banco Popular also offers a terrace with great views of the ships in the harbor. Black and white dominate in a bistro space accented with marble tables and a Steinway grand piano. Owner Carli Muñoz used to play with the Beach Boys (among many other groups) and entertains nightly at the café. The menu is a continental tour that includes seared loin of lamb and duck rissolé.
Located on the street level of the Banco Popular Building in the middle of Old San Juan, the owner and pianist Carli Munoz turned this sidewalk cafe into an Old San Juan institution. Continental creations include duck rissole, cod dumplings, breast and leg of duck, and filet of salmon with mustard-cream sauce. The seared loin of lamb is known to be one of the best offerings from this excellent restaurant. Desserts include favorites like Crème Brûlée, Tart Tatin, and the decadent Kahlua-3-leches. The restaurant has a contemporary New York-style bistro appeal.
Jan 31, 2010
We happened upon Carli Cafe while trying to actually find the Hard Rock Cafe for a souvenir. We are so glad we stayed. We ate outside on a beautiful night. Not only were they accomadating to the adults but also my 2 year old daughter. They were willing to make her the most impressive fruit bowl for her and she loved it. The service was top notch and the food was out of this world.
BlushPell 103 contributions
Dec 31, 2008
Once again I had the pleasure of returning to this intimate restaurant and loved every minute of it. Carli and his staff are some of the most friendly and genuine people I have ever met
We had to depart early because we were visiting on a cruise ship otherwise we would have loved to stay for the nightly music that Carli provides. His heart and soul are in the restaurant and it shows.
Fausto the bartender is true classic bartender and remembered us from our previous visit. Ask him to make you his mojito you will not be disappointed.
The food is delicious as well. You cannot go wrong with spending a relaxing evening with jazz, great food and even better friends.
A TripAdvisor Member, Shelburne, Vermont and Humacao, PR Feb 15, 2004
Carli Munoz is an outstanding jazz pianist. It was a privilege to be able to listen to him. The evening that we were there he had a bass accompanist who was also top rate. We understand that Carli also performs with a trio and a quintet-we are definitely going back. What a terrific evening!!! The club is small and intimate with an outdoor deck. By the way we had dinner and the food is excellent. An outstanding evening-Thanks you Carli Munoz for the music that flows from your hands!!!
KevinFromOhio 3 contributions
Dec 2, 2008
Google Carli Munoz and you'll see he's played piano with everybody who's anybody in Jazz!
So you'd think he'd be aloof and showing off his skills in his own Jazz club in San Juan. Far from it! He makes everybody feel incredibly welcome and then engages those lucky enough to be in this small establishment each night with a wonderfully intimate piano performance.
Oh and did I mention this is at a wonderful restaurant with very personal service and waiters who actually remember your name on your FIRST return visit!?
Check it out, you'll return!
paulymk 6 contributions
Jul 26, 2008
My partner and I have been to Old San Juan 3 times in the past 3 years. We stay in Old San Juan and on our first trip had asked about a Jazz Club and were directed to Carli's. Now each time we go, we usually end the evening each night sitting at a table with a glass of wine listening to Carli on the piano. Over the years we have gotten to know Carli and he will come and sit with us when he is on break from his playing. What a fine gentleman he is. Very personable and down to earth. We will usually have at least one dinner at the cafe as the food is excellent but on the pricey side, but well worth it however. We are going to be in Old San Juan from August 20th through the 24th and can't wait to return to Carlis.
Don't miss it if you enjoy great Jazz. Friday and Saturday there is usually the Trio, and during the week Carli is solo.
BlushPell, Massachusetts Apr 4, 2007
I had the best experience at Carli´s, is the food, the live jazz music, the service, the ambience what makes an unmemorable experience. Absolutely Outstanding!!!
I actually had the pleasure of going to the wonderful restaurant/club twice. They have live music every night (except Sundays they are closed). The setting is very nice and comfortable.
There are only 12 or so tables in Carli's so if you want to get a table, eat and listen to music I would suggest calling for a reservation. Once the music starts everyone who is dining pretty much stayed at their tables. The bar is also available for seating. The tapas are delicious especially the plantain caterpillar. It is a ripe plantain with shrimp and scallop mousse. Yum!
The music is delightful! I bought Carli's CD on the way out and listened to it during my trip.
The bartender Fausto makes the world's best mojitos. Try one or several it is worth it. Their coffee is delicious as well. Fausto also has a few cocktails that he makes up himself and will gladly show you his newest creation and make one for you!
The restaurant is located in the Banco Popular building in Old San Juan. If you happen to get a cab driver who does not know where the restaurant is then just ask him to go to the Banco Popular building. It is well known in Old San Juan.
This is one of those once in a lifetime experiences in San Juan that you should not miss!!!
Jul 31, 2008
My husband loves jazz, so I took him there for our anniversary, and it was just perfect. The sound was great, the performers were top of the line, and the attention was excellent. The acoustic of the place is outstanding.
The food is above average, and the white wine needed to be chilled, but the music and the ambiance compensates for all that. There is no way that you can go wrong if you pick Carli, it is great.
A TripAdvisor Member, Northern NJ Mar 7, 2006
My husband and I had dinner here while we were in San Juan this past weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We sat in the dining room, close to where the musicians were playing, and were treated to a first rate jazz performance in a relaxing atmosphere. My husband and I both agreed that seeing the Carli Munoz Trio perform was one of the highlights of our trip.
Dinner was excellent as well. The plantain encrusted calamari was particularly fantastic. Service was also attentive and unrushed. I enthusiastically recommend this restaurant to anyone who appreciates jazz and fine food.
A TripAdvisor Member, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Feb 2, 2005
I had dinner with my wife and two close friends at Cafe Carli Concierto in Old San Juan on 1/21/2005. Over the course of 3+ hours, we had some of the best food and service any of us have ever experienced. We enjoyed excellent wines too and Carli and his outstanding jazz trio played nearly the entire time that we were in the restaurant. This is an incredibly cozy and comfortable restaurant that gets my highest recommendation.
May 19, 2002
I had the pleasure of dining at Carli's Cafe several times while visiting Old San Juan. The food was wonderful and the music was even better. The host, Carli himself, is gracious and charming as well as an accomplished pianist. Altogether an enchanted evening!
Jan 29, 2010
Sat in at Carli's Cafe two nights last week. This is a small but lovingly managed white linen restaurant/club/bar in the Banco Popular building just a block up from the bay in Old San Juan. No cover, no hassles, great bartender with top shelf drinks. Have him mix you a Mojito, it will be the best one you have in... more
If you can't be here for the JazzFest, don't worry: live jazz adds to the Island's rich musical mix just about every week of the year, from clubs in Old San Juan to elegant hotel lobbies to starlit parks. For all jazz all the time, it's the relaxed setting of Carli Café Concierto in Old San Juan. Carli Muñoz, a famous pianist and the venue's proprietor, was first bitten by the jazz bug in the early '60s. Aside from a few detours with the Beach Boys (an 11-year stint) and his rock group "The Living End," Carli's number-one passion has always been jazz, and he has worked with such celebrated artists as George Benson and Les McCann. Open for more than seven years, Carli Café Concierto offers a savory international menu to go with the jazz.
Puerto Rico Com.
From Monday to Saturday all the tables at Carli Café Concierto are full of patrons, and locals know that if they want to enjoy the magnificent atmosphere, spellbinding live music and mouthwatering good food of Carli Café Concierto, they need to make reservations way in advance. It is these rare and unique qualities that make this restaurant one of the best in Old San Juan, and renowned in Puerto Rico.
Located in the Banco Popular building, the architecture of the historical building adds an air of sophistication, charm and warmth to the restaurant. Patrons here consider themselves lucky as they will be dining and listening to the soothing pieces of music that owner and legendary musician, Carli Munoz, brings to life each time he takes to the stage.
Carli Munoz received his first piano in 1961 for this thirteenth birthday. Although reluctant at first, the piano soon unlocked the natural music talent and ability that lay hidden for so many years. He soon became a noted pianist as he developed his skill and love for jazz. After staying in Los Angeles for sixteen years, the list of artists and musicians that he worked with seems endless and includes celebrities such as George Benson, Chico Hamilton, Wayne Henderson, The Beach Boys, Wilson Pickett, Henry Gross, Peter Cetera and Jimmy Haskell. He returned to Puerto Rico in 1985 to reestablish old ties and a home, which led to the founding of a jazz trio, with whom he still performs today. The idea of opening an up-market restaurant with live jazz music, performed by the himself, was made reality when Carli Café Concierto opened in 1998.
The restaurant menu is overwhelming, as each dish seems to be the perfect choice. International guests will be comfortable with the menu as it accommodates the tastes of both local and foreign patrons. The bar is another magnificent feature, adorned with brass and rich mahogany. Here, people are able to relax, while sipping on one of the Carli Café Concierto’s unique drink choices. It is also home to an intriguing variety of martinis, made with care and to tempt patrons to try something a little different each time they dine.
This restaurant is definitely recommended, as it is a spectacular combination of good food, enjoyment, fantastic live musical performances and a gracious host. Seeing Carli Munoz performing is a unique opportunity, and being able to watch him while sharing a glass of wine with a loved one makes it a priceless experience.
NYC, June 2006
Carli Café Concierto. Plazoleta Rafael Carrión. Banco Popular building, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tel: 787 725-4927. Top notch fine dining with world class live jazz -- Carli Café Concierto (Est. 1998) - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the real deal; a unique world class fine dining restaurant featuring superb live jazz performances nightly. Owner and host Carli Muñoz, ex Beach Boys band member (11 years), performs solo and accompanied on his Steinway Concert Grand piano by some of the best local jazz musicians and visiting international stars from Monday through Thursday and with his famed jazz trio on Fridays and Saturdays. Its unique infusion of classic international, Caribbean and Asian infused cuisine created by Carli's executive chefs has been consistently rated by its patrons as the best in the old city. Carli's is romantically nested at the basement of the landmark Banco Popular art deco building, with additional open dining space Al Fresco at the adjoining plazoleta overlooking the San Juan harbor. The ambiance indoors is commonly referred to an "oasis", with its poignantly elegant décor, hosting precious artwork from some of the best known local artist and a picture collection of many of the all time great jazz and pop superstars that Carli have recorded and performed with. Great cuisine, great jazz, great service, great wines, a great classic bar, great atmosphere, great view and a great location; it all adds up to GREAT experience at Carli's, conveniently located in the heart of the historic old city, Recinto Sur Street, corner of San Justo; a real jewel, and not to be missed.