These great restaurants in Puerto Rico are some of the top places for savouring the cuisines of the Caribbean. The people of Puerto Rico take pride in its vibrant farm-to-table food culture, taking advantage of the rich farmland and abundant seafood on offer. 

    You don’t have to have a big wallet to taste the best of Puerto Rico – what you do need is a big appetite. From spit-roasted pork to crispy plantain fritters and flaky fish, this island will take you on a culinary adventure that’s much larger than its square mileage.

    1

    Raices, San Juan

    Old San Juan flavours in the heart of the city

    Raices is one of Old San Juan’s most popular restaurants that’s right in the heart of the historic quarter. You can find it just a skip away from the scenic Catedral neighbourhood and the bustling port.

    Raices is usually busy – which is a good sign – feeding diners with local cuisine that stays true to its Old San Juan roots. Serving up traditional favourites such as mashed plantains with mofongo (crispy pork crackling) as well as fresh seafood and steak, you’re sure to find a Puerto Rican dish that suits your palate. Don’t forget to try a cocktail or 2 – Raices makes them with local fresh fruit and generous pours of spirits.

    Location: 315 C. del Recinto Sur, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday–Monday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 787-289-2121

    Map
    2

    El Jibarito, San Juan

    El Jibarito, San Juan

    When you walk into El Jibarito, you might think you’ve wandered into a Caribbean canteen from the 1970s. The tables are bare and the cocktails come in scratched plastic pitchers. But when the food is served, you understand why this is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico.

    The Puerto Rican fare at El Jibarito is cooked to perfection, with locals claiming it tastes, “just like grandma’s recipes”. Dishes like fried and flaky empanadas, cubed beef steak, and juicy red snapper are prepared to order, so be ready to sit back and take in the local vibes for a while. The cocktails are also famous here, so spending a few hours here shouldn’t be a problem.

    Location: 280 C. del Sol, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 11 am to 9 pm, Wednesday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 787-725-8375

    Map

    photo by Brent Ozar (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    3

    Orozco's Restaurant, San Juan

    Wholesome meals after a day at the beach

    Orozco’s restaurant is a popular place to bring the family after a day at the beach, which is a short stroll away. Specializing in local meat dishes, this is the place you want to be after you’ve worked up an appetite.

    If you come just once, don’t miss the famed churrasco (skirt steak), a cut of beef known for its intense flavour. Or, try the tender lomo de cerdo (pork loin). All meat specials come with large sides of your choice. Try the rice and red beans to complete the Puerto Rican culinary experience.

    Location: 1126 Ashford Ave, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 3 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 787-721-7669

    Map
    4

    Casita Miramar, San Juan

    House-grown ingredients in a vibrant atmosphere

    Casita Miramar is a Puerto Rican restaurant in San Juan that’s well known for its fresh ingredients and colourful atmosphere. A blend of casual and fine dining, the dishes are presented with gusto and the flavours don’t disappoint. Try the chorizo buñuelos (fried dough fritters with spicy sausage), and comida criolla (fried ground beef with taro). This is also a top spot for steaks.

    Casita Miramar achieves a greater depth of flavour thanks to its herb garden located onsite. Much of the seasoning that goes into each dish is harvested to order – it’s something you can taste and see in each vibrant dish and craft cocktail. 

    Location: 00907, 605 Av. Miramar, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico

    Open: Monday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Wednesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 10 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 787-200-8227

    Map

    photo by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Deaverdura, San Juan

    A hot spot that often serves up the unexpected in Old San Juan

    Deaverdura restaurant in Old San Juan is an adventure no matter how many times you’ve been there. There are no reservations, no menu and not much organization in the small dining room. But the (somewhat) organised chaos is what gives this place its charm.

    Come in, grab a table and eat what’s fresh that day. You’ll almost always find crispy croquetas and delicious steaks served with plantains, rice and beans. The bar is also well-stocked with local liquors and fresh juices for cocktails. Don’t be surprised to see locals strumming guitars, watching football, or dancing through the crowds here. The vibe is as addictive as the food.

    Location: 200 C. del Sol, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 787-463-1038

    Map
    6

    Cafe El Punto, San Juan

    A creole cafe with above-and-beyond service

    Cafe El Punto is a place for large plates of traditional creole food, a relaxing cup of coffee or a round of icy draught beers with friends. Whatever you come here for, you’ll enjoy some of the best services in Puerto Rico. The staff are known for being extremely kind and knowledgeable about the menu and the area.

    Start with a delicious fresh juice and then move on to tangy ceviche and prawn stuffed avocado. There are traditional pork and beef dishes too. After your meal, browse Cafe El Punto’s small onsite craft shop. 

    Location: 105 Calle de la Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 787-646-4943

    Map
    7

    Jose Enrique, San Juan

    Caribbean fusion on the water

    Jose Enrique is creating elevated fusion cuisine with traditional Caribbean flavours. Located on the water, this restaurant specialises in fresh seafood, including halibut, snapper and lobster. There’s always a catch-of-the-day option, which is practically pulled from the water and put on your plate. You’ll also find hearty beef stews, fried plantains and croquetas here – all prepared and served with a modern twist.

    Chef Jose Enrique was twice nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award, which recognizes culinary excellence in America. If you’re a foodie visiting Puerto Rico, this San Juan restaurant should be at the top of your list.

    Location: 1021 Ashford Ave, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from noon to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 787-705-8130

    Map
    8

    La Cambija, Rincon

    An outdoor garden dining experience

    La Cambija is located near the tiny beach village of Rincon, and the vibes at the restaurant are fitting. The outdoor venue is surrounded by lush greenery and food is served to you at picnic tables. The fresh air and salty breeze from the nearby beach add to the flavour of the Caribbean fare.

    At La Cambija, it’s all about uber-fresh seafood. From prawns to octopus to clams to fish tacos, you can taste the treasured flavours of the sea in every bite. Of course, everything is garnished with plenty of fresh salsa, avocado and local herbs.

    Location: Calle Cambija, Rincon, Rincón 00677, Puerto Rico

    Open: Monday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Wednesday–Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Saturday–Sunday from noon to 9 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 787-823-1118

    Map
    9

    La Casita Blanca, San Juan

    Vintage vibes and homestyle Caribbean cooking

    La Casa Blanca is one of the great restaurants in Puerto Rico for Caribbean cuisine. The first thing you’ll notice at La Casa Blanca is that it doesn’t look much like a restaurant at all. The wicker chairs and antique decor make the eatery feel like you’re dining in an eclectic local’s home.

    When you take a seat at a table with a plastic tablecloth, you’ll be served as if you’re family – that is, you’ll get huge portions of comfort food. La Casa Blanca is as traditional as it gets. Enjoy mountains of tender pulled pork over creamy avocado, steaming beans and rice, and the heartiest stews on the island.

    Location: 351 Calle Tapia, San Juan, 00912, Puerto Rico

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 4 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 787-726-5501

    Map
    10

    La Guardarraya, Yauco

    Home of the famous can-can pork chop

    La Guardarraya offers rustic, experiential dining in Puerto Rico with its special pork offerings. To reach the restaurant, you’ll need to venture far from the capital of San Juan to the small town of Yauco. Even so, the trip is well worth it. It’s more of a pilgrimage to taste the original can-can chops that have become a Puerto Rican staple.

    La Guardarraya’s famous dish was born in the 1950s, and it’s just as delicious today. The giant on-the-bone pork chop barely fits on your plate. Tender meat is surrounded by glistening fat and crispy skin. It’s everything you’d want in a piece of pork, served with rice and beans. For meat-eaters, La Guardarraya is a must.

    Location: 127 Carr. (Old Road From Yauco to, 00656, Puerto Rico

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 939-258-2101

    Map
    Benjamin Gorman | Contributing Writer

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