A Review of El Jibarito in Old San Juan

This Restaurant Is as Authentic as It Gets

El Jibarito

 Brent Ozar/Flickr CC 2.0

For authentic Puerto Rican cooking, El Jibarito will serve up traditional and tasty classics every night. The food is cheap, the ambiance convivial, and the location on Sol Street make it a welcome destination in Old San Juan.

This is basic, affordable and tasty food in a great location in the old city. The colorful decor encapsulates the local culture. The service, while friendly, can be on "island time." For true comida criolla, or Puerto Rican home cooking, head straight to El Jibarito.

El Jibarito is located at 280 Sol Street in Old San Juan and open daily from 10 am to 9 pm. Call 787-725-8375 for more info. It opened with a budget of $150. El Jibarito has represented Puerto Rico's culinary and cultural roots for almost 40 years.

Review of El Jibarito Restaurant in Old San Juan

Old San Juan is big on chic, pricey, eateries that serve up delicious fusion flavors and modern interpretations of classic Puerto Rican cuisine. But there are also a few places in the old city where you can get basic, flavorful and traditional comida criolla, or local home-cooking, and El Jibarito is one of them.

Tucked away on Calle Sol, a quiet residential street in the northern part of the city, El Jibarito celebrates the traditions of Puerto Rico in everything from its name (Jíbaro is the name given to the mountain folk who farmed the land for the hacienda owners in the 18th and 19th centuries), to its decor (bright facades in tropical colors line the wall, vibrant paintings of the island and its people), to its food (displayed cafeteria-style at the end of the restaurant).

This isn't the place to come for a sophisticated night out. Instead, take a seat at a long table, browse the menu scribbled on laminated paper, and enjoy the bustling local ambiance.

As for what to eat, you'll find all the usual suspects of Puerto Rican cooking. Classics like Chillo Frito, Fricasse de pollo (chicken stew), churrasco (skirt steak), and other hearty fare highlights the menu, and come accompanied by your choice of mofongo, tostones, amarillos, and more. The flavors are simple, rich, and pleasing. The place is about as 'Rican as you can get in the old city.

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