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In November 1998, the first edition of Tables Magazine: Puerto Rico’s Guide to Great Dining hit the shops, restaurants, and homes of Puerto Rico, as well as the hands of tourists from around the world, thanks to the sponsorship of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau and the enthusiastic endorsement of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. That first magazine was filled with food articles, restaurant reviews and a Restaurant Guide listing more than 225 restaurants around the island.
Fast forward to 2011, and the last issue of Tables Magazine appeared: twice as thick as the first, again filled with Reviews and food articles but boasting a Guide of more than 725 island restaurants.
During the intervening dozen years, the magazine had become well-respected as the Restaurant ‘Bible’ of Puerto Rico, which itself was known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.
Beginning with the 4th issue, Tables Magazine became truly bilingual (Spanish/English) and from 2000 to 2011, it presented a “Chef’s Hat Award” to the dozen restaurants voted the best of the year. Nominated by magazine readers and vetted by the magazine’s Chef’s Hat Awards Board of Judges, the winners were presented with their unique plaques during a gala evening that was first held at Cobia Restaurant in the Condado Plaza Hotel, then Morton’s Steak House in the Caribe Hilton Hotel, Ajili-mojili in Condado, Payá in Guaynabo and Ristorante Tuscany in the San Juan Marriott. For the next seven years, the Awards were held in the International Ballroom of the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
The magazine was a result of my (then) more than 10-years as a restaurant reviewer for 3 newspapers in San Juan. I continued to write for Tables, and was joined by many other professional food writers/reviewers. We were happy to present the best of island restaurants to residents and visitors to Puerto Rico and were saddened when finances forced us to stop publication after 2011.
These pages highlight some of the key elements of Tables Magazine, showcasing covers from 15 editions of the magazine, as well as details about Chef's Hat Award winners, and a photo gallery comprised of some of the food, places, and people of Tables Magazine over the years. Enjoy!
Barbara Tasch Ezratty, editor
Check out the 15 covers of magazines from 1998 through 2011
Learn more about the famous Chef's Hat Awards and which chefs/owners/restaurateurs won each year!
Look back in time at the images that helped shape Tables Magazine over the years