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Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

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arlington, VA
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15 posts
40 reviews
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Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Which would you recommend for a special birthday dinner--El Quenepo or Next Course? Emphasis on quality of food rather than atmosphere.

NYC
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for Isla de Vieques
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1. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

ive never had an amazing dinner at El Quenepo. Ive tried.

I have had some awesome meals at Next Course. And as an homage to another current thread, many AWESOME meals at Coconuts with Chef Michael I Havent been back since he left but I plan to.

I like Next Course alot. Though I have had issues with them. But what I worry about most when going there is the sewage smell. More than once I have smelled sewage. I'd say about 1/4 of the time.

Conuco is another option not to overlook as is Veritas. Though I think i would go to Conuco and Next Course first.

It's a choice between those two. I guess I would go for Next Course. But Conuco is very good but slow service.

Birmingham, AL
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458 posts
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2. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

We ate at both in the same week in July. The atmosphere was spectacular in both, for different reasons.

We eat at a James Beard award-winning restaurant here at home on occasion. I would rate both at that level. The service at Next Course seemed more formal, while the service at El Quenepo was very thorough and personalized. We preferred the food at El Quenepo, perhaps because it had a more local twist and seemed less continental.

I don't think you can go wrong with either.

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

We would also have a tough time deciding based solely on food quality. If we had to characterize them, we'd say Next Course is a little more solid in the fundamentals, El Quenepo slightly more adventurous. We did appreciate last time at El Quenepo that our server explained where the various fish on the menu came from & we were able to select something quite local.

We know that you asked about food vs. atmosphere, but it's worth knowing that Next Course tends to be quieter and El Quenepo can be extremely loud. If you're looking for a "Special" birthday dinner that's on the romantic side, go for Next Course. If you want more of a birthday party vibe, head to El Quenepo.

arlington, VA
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4. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Thanks for the responses. I think I'll go for Next Course for my hubby's 60th celebration.

Canada
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5. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Enjoy Next Course....but I would chose El Quenepo hands down!

Wilmette, Illinois
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38 posts
33 reviews
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6. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Went to Next Course for the second time a couple weeks ago. First time was last year. I'm ready to try Quenepo next trip -- which is the favorite of our rental casa owners.

Next Course was still lovely and my baby spinach salad was great! My husband's spinach and artichoke dip was still great this year. However, the entrees were disappointing: we both had linguine with scallops and shrimp in a butter sauce -- but it was covered with Parmesan, which I hate! That wasn't on the description in the menu, and I'd already had the server -- who hated me for being indecisive, which I am -- replace the blue cheese in the salad with Greek olives, so I wasn't going to send it back. I ate about a third and my husband, who loves Parmesan, ate about 2/3. We took it home and he ate it the next day or two.

I was super-disappointed there weren't more fish options: had planned on fish or seafood, as we'd been living on beef and lamb I'd pre-ordered from Buen Provecho, and chicken from Morales, and this was our sole (excuse the pun) dining-out night of the 14 we spent on Vieques this trip.

Quenepo is getting such good reviews, looks like we'll have to try it, even though Esperanza is kinda far from where we stay in Los Chivos and we're not nuts about Esperanza.

Vermont
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96 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Is anything REALLY that far away? We went yesterday, our second time over two years. It's awesome but pricey. Worth it though!

Wilmette, Illinois
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38 posts
33 reviews
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8. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

I'm assuming you're referring went to Next Course? (Wrong?)

They were open last night? A week ago on Tues, they said they'd be closed for a week. Guess that week ended last night, if y'all were there...

Touche re: distance! In fact, I made a crack about how close everything is to each other in another review; I mean, 5 miles wide? How far can anything be?!

Glad you had a great experience! Pricey: yep, but last year, sooo worth it! This year (about 10 days ago), not so much. Doesn't mean we wouldn't try again -- for the 3rd time -- next year, but DO want to try Quenepo. Next Course does seem like the better choice -- ambience-wise -- for celebrating a 60th birthday. What did y'all eat at Next Course, morggie?

Esperanza is just too touristy, as well as loud at night, for our taste. (Which is kind of a wacky thing to say, given the coquis and roosters at night!) From Lost Chivos, Next Course is simply more convenient, ie, virtually down the hill and around the corner.

Vermont
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96 posts
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9. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Oops - apologies.. We went to El Quenepo on Sunday night. I have heard what someone mentioned about Next Course apps shining over the entrees. For that and the fact that we are on vacation and don't want to spend all our money on pricey dinners, we chose quenepo, which we know and love. And I totally agree - Esperanza is on the touristy side. But on an island like this, I suppose we are fortunate that it's restricted to one area (if you ignore the W of course!).

Have a fantastic time!!!

arlington, VA
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15 posts
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10. Re: Which would you choose: El Quenepo or Next Course?

Ended up at Next Course for the birthday dinner and loved it. The food, the ambiance and the service were all excellent. I had the best swordfish that I've had in years. All four of us loved every course and we tasted each others' too.

On Christmas Eve, after returning late from the biobay tour (the van broke and we had to wait for another) we went to El Quenepo without reservations. It was close to 10 pm by then. The food was interesting and mostly well prepared, but the ahi cigars, while tasty, we're a bit on the greasy side. My tuna was not nearly as flavorful or moist as the swordfish at Next Course. The Moroccan style pork was overpowered by the cumin. Just seemed like there were too many competing spices and sauces and flavors on some of the plates. Also got tired of the thumping music from the cars driving by. Loved the quieter country vibe of Next Course. Would definitely go back to Next Course, but would be more likely to skip El Quenepo.

Edited: 25 December 2011, 11:45
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