If you are planning to spend your vacations in Puerto Rico, there are plenty of options available for foodies, particularly in its capital city of San Juan. With the historic charm of San Juan’s cobblestone streets, you can really relish in culture of the city and sample the famous delicacies they offer. Enjoy notable delicious foods like salty plantains, crispy pork, and many variations of rice-and-beans dishes. You can also relish the country’s distinctive dishes like, alcapurias, mofongos and bacalaítos.
To savor these popular delicacies we highlighted the right places for your Puerto Rican dining experience. Rest assured that the food served at these restaurants will keep you yearning for seconds. With the cuisine’s unique combination of American, Caribbean, Spanish and West African influences, discovering Puerto Rican food will be an enjoyable experience for your palate. Here’s a glimpse into San Juan restaurants you should consider visiting.
Casita Blanca is a delightful and funky restaurant in the Villa Palmera neighborhood which is less frequented by the tourists as many are unaware of its existence. The restaurant is situated in the east of downtown and can be reached within 10 minutes only. It is also easily accessible from San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport because of its close proximity. It can also be conveniently reached from the Ocean Park beaches as well. The little white house in which the restaurant is located comprises of few traditionally decorated rooms. It’s not a high-end eatery, but pleasant one indeed where you will like to spend some time enjoying your delicious foods. The menu is neatly written on the chalkboard with plenty of choices available. Just sample all that are offered here. Try out the yummy bacalaítos. The salty fried, supercrisp chips of salt cod in batter will leave you hankering for more. You may even order for arroz con calamares. This is a tummy-filling fried-rice-like preparation containing bits of pork and squid. Many variations of rice dishes are available here which can be enjoyed with a delicious stew of kidney beans, garlic, cilantro, greens and roots. The list of dishes is endless and you will need to visit this restaurant to savor them.
El Mesón de Melquiades
Another neighborhood restaurant worth visiting in San Juan is El Mesón de Melquiades. This idyllic country food shack is situated in the hills of Cayey in the middle of the island. It takes nearly 45 minutes to reach from the center of the city. Enjoy the spectacular views of the scenic mountains as you head for the lunch. As you enter the peach-and-white building housing the restaurant, hunger pangs will overtake you with pleasing aromas of the dishes being prepared here. The restaurant can be visited during any day of the week. However, you are going to witness a huge crowd when you visit it on Sundays. You need to come here early or else you will have to wait for a table. The restaurant is renowned for its signature snack “Alcapurias” and bright blue drink “Tom Collinses”, which is made with Curacao. The egg-roll look-alike Alcapurias is prepared from dough consisting of several kinds of cooked and mashed roots with corned beef filling. It is usually served with garlic sauce and a tomato. Other dishes are also worth relishing. These include ham croquettes, white rice and fried pork with tostones, and a huge rack of lamb served along with potatoes and mint sauce. The wine list is quite impressive as well.
You need to visit Santurce in Downtown San Juan to relish the delectable Spanish and English dishes at the Havana's Café. The tame-looking restaurant can just beguile the visitors. A pleasant surprise is in store as you see the waiters dressed immaculately in the 1950s-styled pants, collars, ties and tuxedo vests as if they were in Broadway of yesteryears. The traditional peasant food here is unique and highly delicious. The menu is mostly Spanish with the favorite dishes being sepia (cuttlefish) served in garlic sauce or duck breast served along with honey and tarragon. The most appealing however is the Caribbean-accented food such as fried calves’ brains served along with a small pitcher of nicely browned butter filled with capers and lime. Amarillos is also served as a side dish. The wine list is also impressive. This family-oriented restaurant with friendly and formal old-fashioned service offers a fantastic dining experience.
The Pikayo restaurant, ideally located in the Museum of Art, caters to business travelers, foreign tourists and locals. The restaurant is exquisitely decorated prominently featuring fine local artwork. The food is simply delicious and decidedly Caribbean. The delectable dishes such as shrimp in a guanabana sauce with chorizo and grilled shrimp will prompt you to go in for more and more. Another great favorite worth savoring here is mofongo served with saffron chicken stock. This is simply unmatched. The service is excellent and friendly. You will love visiting this restaurant quite often.
These are undoubtedly the best and cheap eateries in San Juan catering to the gastronomy needs of the quintessential tourists. The food is simply excellent. You are sure get an enjoyable experience while vacationing in this beautiful city.