Isla Verde is San Juan's golden-beach resort strip. (Actually, that's not entirely accurate.) Isla Verde isn't technically part of San Juan at all, but rather a section of Carolina, Puerto Rico. But who's worried about borders? This magnificent stretch of beachfront is a short cab ride from Old San Juan and close to Condado. With its bevy of hotels, boutique hotels and resorts, it's no surprise that you can also find some great restaurants in this part of town, and no less than three steakhouses make the list.
One of the few restaurants outside the confines of a ritzy hotel, Ceviche House is an informal, welcoming place with rustic tables and Peruvian-themed decor, an absolutely heaping Pescado a lo Macho (a smorgasbord of shellfish and shrimp over a fish fillet), and of course, a fine ceviche menu.
Sirena's airy outdoor restaurant right on the sand serves up gourmet fare with strong Puerto Rican accents in a beautiful setting. Located at the Courtyard by Marriott in Isla Verde, it's on the eastern edge of the resort strip, with access to a pristine beach and a lively casino.
From mofongo to chillo frito and other classics, the menu at Platos is all about Puerto Rican cuisine. Tucked away in Isla Verde, the restaurant has long been heralded for its local cuisine. Also, check out Platos' inventive cocktails inspired by local ingredients.
Stylish and swanky, the Meat Market brings a bit of South Beach cool to the El San Juan Hotel in the heart of Isla Verde. One of the pricier dining options in the neighborhood, it offers a menu of signature steaks with add-ons like lobster or seared foie gras.
The quintessential steakhouse, the wood paneling, surf 'n' turf special, and sizzling steaks can all be found at Ruth's Chris San Juan. The staff is polite and old-school, and the quality is what you'd expect from this global fine-dining staple.
Eighty20 Restaurant at the Verdanza Hotel has a varied menu that ranges from gourmet bites like lobster empanaditas to comfort foods like sloppy Joes and fish tacos. This is a kind of upscale diner that offers something different for those who want to escape the ritzier restaurants in Isla Verde.
Zest, the über-cool restaurant at the San Juan Water & Beach Club, wows with creations like fettuccine with truffle-bacon carbonara, crabmeat and peas, and beef short ribs with ripe plantain gnocchi. It's a creative menu that highlights Puerto Rican ingredients.