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Finding authentic, Puerto Rican food is a snap in San Juan. From sweet to savory, casual mom-and-pop cafe to swanky five-star restaurant, the city has something for every taste and budget. Here are a few of my top choices for eating out and about in San Juan.

Good for
  • Foodie
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Raices

Restaurants

Bar Gitano

Restaurants

Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar

Restaurants

UVVA Restaurant

Restaurants

Kasalta

Restaurants

Nuyorican Cafe

Bars & Clubs

1919 Restaurant

Restaurants

Caribe Hilton San Juan

Hotels

Sage Steak Loft

Restaurants

Chanize's City Tips

  • If a restaurant specializes in "comida criolla," expect seriously down-home cooking.
  • Most menus are in English, but if you encounter one solely in Spanish, you can usually ask your server to translate.
  • For nights on the town, dress your best. Locals can be quite fashionable, and some establishments frown upon overly casual dress.
  • Puerto Rico's residents have a love-affair with plantanos (plantains) which they prepare in a multitude of ways, from mofongo (mashed and stuffed with seasoned meat, chicken, or seafood) to tostones (sliced, fried discs) to alcapurria (fried, then mashed).
  • Raices
    Restaurants (Puerto Rican)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Located two blocks from Old San Juan's Calle Fortaleza, Raices is known as much for its rustically authentic island cuisine as for its vibrant atmosphere, where the waitstaff wear white uniforms in the Old-World peasant style. Raices is quite popular with tourists, although children might balk at unfamiliar foods. My favorite dish is mofongo con camarones al ajillo: mashed plantains stuffed with garlic shrimp. It's served in a seemingly bottomless bowl (called a 'pilón') and is quite filling.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Raices has a new outpost in Hato Rey, only a 15-minute drive from most hotels.
    • Try the homemade sangria. Prepared with red wine and white Bacardi Superior rum (instead of the traditional brandy), it's a potent Puerto Rican spin on this Spanish favorite.
    • Lunch time, especially when cruise ships are in port, can mean a wait for a table (sometimes up to an hour). Consider having an early meal, or wait until after 2pm, when crowds thin out.
    • Non-drinkers may want to try the refreshing coconut water, or fruit smoothies.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The best Puertoricans food!! 19/10/2018
    • Mofongo Relleno de Churrasco 19/10/2018
    • Raices
    Address:
    315 Calle Del Recinto S
    San Juan 00901-1941
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-289-2121
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$20
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Mon - Sat
    11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Bar Gitano
    Restaurants (Spanish)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Situated in the heart of Ashford Avenue, this trendy Andalusian-style tapas spot is helmed by former Iron Chef contestant Robert Treviño. There are more than 20 small plates to sample, including the popular Jamón Ibérico, cheese-stuffed and bacon-wrapped dates, and Spanish flatbread pizzas.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Fans of Trevino's cuisine will also want to try his new restaurant, a pink palace called Casa Lola, which features Criolla favorites such as grilled chorizo, spinach, and fried pork crackling.
    • On Thursday and Sunday evenings, dinner is accompanied by a flamenco show.
    • If you're looking for a quiet meal, try to go midweek, on a day when there isn't a show. The bar is a hotspot for the young and restless, who can get boisterous.
    • Wednesday means salsa night, so expect a clamorous crowd of "salseros," ready to get their groove on.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quick Snack 27/04/2018
    • Enjoyed twice! 17/09/2017
    • Bar Gitano
    Address:
    1302 Ashford Avenue
    Condado
    San Juan
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-294-5513
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
    Mon - Wed
    4:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    Thu - Sat
    4:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
  • Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
    Restaurants (Caribbean, Spanish, Soups, International, Fusion)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Marmalade is proof that Puerto Rican cuisine is more than arroz con pollo, pork, and plantains. The trendy restaurant embraces the farm-to-table concept, with a heavy focus on raw food and vegetarian dishes. Chef Peter Schintler is committed to using locally grown produce to ensure maximum freshness in his creative dishes. Vegans have a range of choices, including poblanos rellenos topped with spicy black beans and mole.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The white-bean soup is so popular that the restaurant will give you a recipe card in case you want to make it at home.
    • The restaurant takes reservations up to 30 days in advance, so plan accordingly and reserve as early as possible.
    • Compared to many other restaurants, Marmalade is quite expensive. Know that in advance and you'll avoid shock when the bill comes!
    • You can order a la carte dishes, but I recommend opting for a tasting menu (in four, five, or six courses).
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Exceptional all around! 18/10/2018
    • Amazing food; excellent service and great place to spend time with friends and work colleagues 14/10/2018
    • Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
    Address:
    317 Fortaleza Street
    San Juan 00901
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-724-3969
    Price range:
    US$25 - US$100
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • UVVA Restaurant
    Restaurants (Caribbean, Latin, International, Spanish, Puerto Rican)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    The Hosteria del Mar hotel is ight on Ocean Park's beach, and its restaurant, Uvva, provides excellent views in addition to great food. I love sitting out on the patio and listening to the waves. Uvva's menu changes frequently, but you can count on the fish of the day, usually served with garlic sauce, to be a great option. There is also always a ceviche available, though the type of fish may range from dorado to mahimahi.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • LGBT
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • Bring your bathing suit! The beach is steps away, and the hotel provides chairs so you can sunbathe in comfort.
    • If you're coming to Ocean Park beach in the morning, try Uvva's brunch menu. The ginger banana pancakes are a must-try.
    • There's only side-street parking in this residential area, and it might be tough to find a spot close to the restaurant, which is not easily visible. You may have to walk a few blocks to get there.
    • The restaurant's bartender makes a mean mojito, so order one or three!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Nice little restaurant 17/07/2018
    • Beach bar and more 10/07/2018
    • UVVA Restaurant
    Address:
    1 Calle Tapia
    Ocean Park
    San Juan 00911-1447
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-727-3302
    Price range:
    US$9 - US$50
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Kasalta
    Restaurants (Caribbean, Latin, Cafe, Spanish, Soups, Puerto Rican, International)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Sanjuaneros have long had a deep love affair with this bakery-slash-restaurant's casual vibe and extensive menu. Breakfast (think fried eggs with ham and cheese) is a big seller here, and cafe con leche (coffee with milk) is generally the drink of choice — served in a paper cup and often enjoyed with a guava puff or a quesito (a delicious cheese-filled pastry). When President Barack Obama visited Kasalty during his 2011 reelection campaign, however, he had other ideas, opting for the medianoche sandwich (a twist on a Cuban.)

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • LGBT
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • It's quite busy here in the morning and late at night, when locals are wrapping up a night on the town. Expect long lines at the counter, and slower table service.
    • You're more likely to hear Spanish than English here. The menu is in Spanish too, so prepare to point at what you'd like — or bring along a phrasebook or translation app!
    • There's a plaque on the table where President Obama sat. People get a kick out taking a picture there, and some get lucky enough to sit at the same table.
    • The restaurant is open early (6am) and closes late (10pm).
    • Kasalta is in Santurce's residential area. Walk there for exercise and then reward yourself with one of the dozens of desserts (I like the flan) in the display case.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes 17/10/2018
    • A PR institution 14/10/2018
    • Kasalta
    Address:
    1966 Mc Leary
    San Juan 00911
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-727-7340
    Price range:
    US$5 - US$10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Nuyorican Cafe
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    More club than restaurant, the tiny Nuyorican Cafe sits inside Da House Hotel, on a side street in Old San Juan's trendy SoFo district. The lights are low, but the ambiance is high — thanks to the crowd of laid-back locals looking to get their groove on. This spot is so popular that even Mick Jagger stopped by and stayed a while. In addition to salsa and jazz music played by live bands, it also hosts poetry readings on select nights. However, it's the feverish dancing that works up an appetite, and the no-frills snacks such as hummus with pita bread, nachos, and pizzas hit the spot, especially in the midnight hour.

    Good for
    • LGBT
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • There's a small per person cover charge to enter the club. Make sure you bring your ID.
    • Let your ears be your guide to the cafe. There isn't a sign on the dark side street, but you'll hear the music streaming out.
    • Locals tend to party late, so the place won't be in full swing until 11pm. If you arrive early, order a pre-dancing dinner (even though the kitchen stays open until 1am).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 48 Nightlife in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Casualty of Hurricane Maria 08/11/2017
    • Best place in San Juan for Live Local Music! 31/08/2017
    • Nuyorican Cafe
    Address:
    312 Plaza San Francisco
    Old San Juan
    San Juan 00927-5812
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-977-1276
    Other:
  • 1919 Restaurant
    Restaurants (Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    At 96 years old, the opulent Condado Vanderbilt is a San Juan institution. It shut down for ten years, and finally reopened in 2013. With the renovations came a new restaurant named after the year the legendary hotel was introduced to the world. The menu, courtesy of Michelin-starred Executive Chef Juan José Cuevas, is as modern as the hotel is historic, with a devotion to local and organic produce. The freshness is evident in dishes like the cod with yucca pasteles and the chayote salad with guanabana vinaigrette. The cost of a meal will be on par with some of New York's finest establishments, but if you're looking for that one, splurge-worthy dining experience, then this is it.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A four-course prix-fixe menu is available for dinner. There's a three-course menu at lunch.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Complete perfection- even for vegetarians! 16/10/2018
    • This is the real deal 16/10/2018
    • 1919 Restaurant
    Address:
    1055 Ave Ashford
    Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
    San Juan 00907-1128
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-724-1919
    Price range:
    US$50 - US$90
    Hours:
    Tue - Thu
    6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Fri - Sat
    6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Caribe Hilton San Juan
    Hotels
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Given its claim as the inventor of the piña colada in 1954, it's no surprise that the Caribar at Caribe Hilton San Juan is quite popular with tourists. Whether or not the boasting has base, the rum-heavy cocktail is delicious — and potent. That's why it's a good idea to line your stomach before you sip, and the selection of tapas here hits the spot. If you need something more substantial, the hotel also has eight other eateries to choose from, the most interesting being the Lemongrass Pan Asian Latino restaurant, where innovative dishes like chorizo and sweet plantain wontons, tempura lobster with Asian-style churrasco sushi rolls, and coconut brûlée are standouts.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Most of the restaurants stay open until 11pm, and the Caribar doesn't close until 1am.
    • Hotel guests get WiFi included in their resort fee. If you're staying elsewhere, bypass the hotel's WiFi fee and head to the in-house Starbucks for a free web fix (and a shot of java).
    • Don't imbibe? Try the alcohol-free piña colada coconut fried shrimp, or piña colada tres leches cake at the aptly named Piña Colada Club.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 49 Hotels in San Juan
    • EXCELLENT PLACE TO STAY IN SAN JUAN 14/09/2018
    • Love this place! 31/08/2018
    • Caribe Hilton San Juan
    Address:
    1 San Geronimo Street
    San Juan 00901-2401
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 855-605-0316
    Other:
  • Sage Steak Loft
    Restaurants (International)
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    The Real Housewives of Atlanta took the Olive Hotel by storm when they stayed there for the series. But while they certainly brought some drama, it didn't extend to the serene scene at Sage (once called O:liva), the hotel's steakhouse manned by Next Iron Chef contestant Mario Pagán. The cozy space has an open kitchen and holds two long communal tables, as well as a few tables for two and four diners. People often speak in hushed tones, but once the wine starts flowing the atmosphere gets quite buzzy — including exclamations of joy over dishes like burrata, heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, and Angus skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. I initially balked at sitting at the communal table, but found that literally breaking bread with a mix of hotel guests and locals was quite a fun way to get insider tips on San Juan's scene.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Vegetarians and vegans are welcome. Try the golden-crusted vegan pot pie!
    • Make advance reservations. The restaurant is quite popular with locals, and guests get first dibs.
    • Those with dinner reservations are allowed access to the hotel's rooftop bar, normally a members- and guests-only spot. Have a pre-dinner drink and take in the gorgeous views of the bay.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good Food and great times! 28/08/2018
    • Learn how to cook porterhouse 02/08/2018
    • Sage Steak Loft
    Address:
    55 Calle Aguadilla
    San Juan 00907-1115
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-728-3535
    Price range:
    US$28 - US$45
    Hours:
    Tue - Wed
    6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Thu - Sat
    6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    Other:
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