Aquí Está Coco is a large restaurant that specializes in seafood. It has 2 floors of dining spaces and additional private dining rooms. Tables are nicely spaced and made of pretty woods set with seafood skins to hold the plates in place. There is subtle background music and terrific natural light during the daytime. It is worth noting that they have wonderfully large cloth napkins which didn’t seem to be the norm for Santiago. The place is full of decorations, many having to do with the nautical theme and some just interesting old stuff. The service is helpful and very friendly but the amount of English spoken varies among the staff, however communication seemed to work. Our waiter had been with the restaurant for 44 years and even with limited English was able to guide our choices and suggest a delicious wine for the meal.
We started the meal with their version of a Pisco Sour and after ordering food, bread and butter are brought to the table as well as a nicely seasoned sauce which was good on the bread or any of the food.
The razor clams were simply broiled with parmesan cheese. They are not the razor clams I’ve had other places, these were small and not long. The parmesan was the stronger taste in the dish and the clams seemed a tad over cooked. It was an interesting taste but not one I’d order again.
The abalones were 4 large pieces of a shellfish that was amazingly tender and tasteless. It was a huge portion accompanied by a tasty potato salad with fun chives and so-so avocado. They were served with chili flavored and plain mayonnaise for dipping. I couldn’t say that one was better than the other but it did help vary the bland texture. It’s worth saying again that they were very tender unlike other abalone I’ve had but I wouldn’t order this again either.
With the main course we ordered a side salad which was filled with nice lettuces, ‘Frenched’ green beans and avocado. It was very good but portions are generous enough that we probably shouldn’t have ordered it.
The “Mai Mai” Conger eel, a classic of the restaurant, was pieces of eel with a really good and rich sauce. It was full of lots of things – little shrimp, corn, calamari and topped with a huge shrimp. Alongside were a couple nice pieces of delicious boiled potato. The shrimp topper was a bit mushy but overall it was a great dish and one I’d get again.
The fried Conger eel medallion was served with French fries and an egg on top of caramelized onions. It was a slice from a large eel and was very mild with a coating that was not crisp. The fries also were not crisp and pretty greasy. The egg had a lovely orange/yellow yolk but the onions underneath were the real star. They were sweet, delicious and full of good onion flavor.
For dessert we had grandmother’s cake which was a wonderful sweet fix coated with caramel. The cake was made of lots of layers of crisp buttery pastry and served with a buttery cookie and vanilla ice cream. It was crisp, gooey and an extraordinary compilation of ingredients and textures. Yum x3!