Puerto Rico's capital city of San Juan is the cultural epicenter of the island and home to a number of its best restaurants, diners, and cafes. Whether you're looking for an affordable, rustic eatery or a posh culinary restaurant, you can have it in San Juan any time of year. While you're there, be sure to sample local favorites like cheese-filled pastries at Santaella and squid ink Fideua with prawns at Cocina Abierta as well as numerous other dishes at these great restaurants.
When it comes to old-fashioned, home-cooked Puerto Rican food, there's no place in San Juan quite like La Casita Blanca. A favorite of everyone from politicians and celebrities to blue-collar workers, this authentic restaurant is set in a quiet corner of Santurce. The best day to go is Sunday when heaping cauldrons of the food Puerto Ricans love are lined up for a gut-busting feast. In San Juan, this is certainly one of the most authentic representations of what pure Puerto Rican cooking is all about.
Priding themselves on creative dishes using sustainable foods, Marmalade is not about following the latest cooking trends. Instead, Chef Peter Schintler brings nutritionally inspired ingredients to the table in a unique and complex way that will indulge all of your senses. One of the best ways to enjoy Marmalade is to select one of the tasting menus—four, five, or six courses—so you can explore the variety of the island's organic produce and local foods in imaginative combinations, including several vegetarian options.
Enjoy ocean-front dining in the heart of San Juan at this trendy Condado restaurant. The sleek, modern "mansion" of Oceano sets the stage for a one-of-a-kind experience—and the food doesn't disappoint. The seafood-heavy menu is influenced by tropical flavors and features creative dishes to satisfy any discerning palate. Start the evening with one of Oceano's signature drinks, then savor the talents of Chef Ann Marie Antonetti as you take in the ocean breeze.
Set in a historic building, Santaella is a restaurant serving authentic Puerto Rican recipes utilizing local ingredients from the farmers market next door. Chef Jose Santaella turned his catering business into a dining destination using his 20-plus years of experience to marry the island's tropical flavors with San Juan's rustic heritage and current trends in cuisine. Select from a vast cocktail menu, then try favorites such as the goat cheese quesadilla and braised pork shank, and finish the meal with a quesito, a Puerto Rican cheese-filled pastry.
This beloved New York City fixture has made its way to San Juan—and has been welcomed with open arms and rave reviews. Set in La Concha Resort and Hotel, Serafina brings the flavors of Italy to Condado beach. Enjoy traditional specialties such as crostini di sofia (toasted bread with mozzarella and prosciutto), tagliolini di Portofino (pasta with pesto, string beans, pine nuts, and potatoes) and chicken Milanese (crispy organic chicken with mixed greens and tomatoes) as well as an expansive pizza menu.
Located in the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, dining the elegant 1919 Restaurant has been described as an experience and not just enjoy a meal. Michelin-star-rated Chef Juan Jose Cuevas shares his culinary expertise by crafting locally-sourced ingredients into exquisite dishes that are fresh and contemporary, exploring new boundaries of flavors. Choose from the a la carte menu, three-course prix fix, or the farm-to-table experience menu as you take in the extraordinary ocean view.
The evolving menu at this eclectic restaurant is inspired by different cultures' cuisines and innovative techniques in the culinary world. Through the open kitchen, watch the chefs create the visually appealing dishes you'll be enjoying. The courses are broken down by "acts" one through four, plus a variety of vegetarian options and side dishes. From butternut squash flan to squid ink Fideua with prawns and double-cut lamb chops, you may have trouble deciding what you want to eat during this meal.
The climate and ingredients of Puerto Rico are what inspires and directs Chef Jose Enrique when developing the dishes for his restaurant. One year after opening, Jose Enrique was voted one of the best new restaurants and has continued to gain praise since. Upon sitting, your waiter will hand you a handwritten sign of what the chef is cooking that night, so the menu is constantly changing.
As the name suggests, Punto de Vista (Point of View) Rooftop Restaurant offers stunning views of San Juan from atop the Hotel Milano. Featuring authentic Puerto Rican cuisine served up in a hip atmosphere, Punto de Vista has some of the best local dishes around. Entree specialties include churrasco Punto de Vista (Angus skirt steak slow-cooked on the grill), carne frita (traditionally-seasoned fried local pork), and chicken tacosuavecitos (grill chicken tacos).
Open all day—from 6 a.m. through late-night—Pannes Restaurant offers everything from breakfast favorites to authentic Puerto Rican dinners accompanied by a huge selection of wine from the cellar. The menu at this Condado restaurant features breakfast all day with fantastic locally-sourced coffee as well as Creole and other international dishes for dinner including mofongo, special beefsteak, and mamposteao rice.