Restaurants in Puerto Rico

Old Apr 25th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Restaurants in Puerto Rico

My friends and I have three nights in Puerto Rico. We're staying at the Ritz near the airport and are looking for restaurant recommendations. We love all kinds of food and don't mind paying a lot for a really good meal (we don't mind taking a cab some distance for something really good too). We'll have casual and dressy clothes with us so we're really open to anything. What are your can't miss choices? Thanks!
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 03:24 AM
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For casual, try Metropol. There is a location across the road from the Ritz (next to the cockfighting arena). It's Cuban/Puerto Rican fare, no frills. I like to go there for lunch. The service can be a bit brusque, but we somehow manage to break the servers' reserve by ordering Medalla beer and making an honest attempt at speaking Spanish (my two years of high school Spanish in the 80s comes in handy).

For a fancy night out, try Pikayo. It's in Condado in the Conrad Hotel. I would describe the food as haute Puerto Rican. Very stylish dining room, with prices to match, but the food is fantastic.

In Old San Juan, my favorite spot is Aguaviva (on Calle Fortaleza). I recommend any of the ceviche choices and a watermelon sangria.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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Il Mulino is located at the Ritz Carlton. It's expensive but both times I've eaten there, the food was very good. Down the street from the Ritz Carlton is El San Juan Hotel, which as a few very good restaurants including The Palm, La Piccola Fontana (Italian) and Koko (modern Caribbean).
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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If you want to head to Old San Juan - DragonFly is a pretty cool place with good food. Warning though - it's dark and really tight - tables are very close together. The duck nachos are muy delicioso.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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I would definately take a cab to Candado and/or Old San Juan. In Candado near the Conrad is the
La Concha resort. The Bar & Patio is very nice & we enjoyed drinks & apps there. As previously mentioned, the Dragonfly in Old San Juan is a good spot.
If you have a chance to spend the afternoon in Old San Juan, you can take the free trolley for sight-seeing and scope out the area. I also recommend the local beer Medalla.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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Tom42 - I understand The Palm (at the El San Juan) closed recently. For steak you have to go to either Ruth's Chris (at the Intercontinental) or Morton's (at the Carib Hilton).
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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>

Ugh! I didn't know that. I was there last summer. I go there every year - they always have a great summer special lobster dinner for two. That's too bad.
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Thanks, all. We wnt to Pikayo last night and it was delicious. We have reservations at Mramalade tomorrow night. Wish we had more time!
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 03:39 PM
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You selected well with Marmalade it is excellent, also you may want to try Perla in La Concha Hotel. Another good one is Lemon Grass in Caribe Hilton Hotel. There is a small suchi place near the airport called Ikebana which is really good but the location near the airpot is simple, they have a couple of better locations in suburban areas.
Also try Casa Lola and Budatai in the Condado area and Laurel inside the Museum in De Diego avenue in Santurce very close to el Condado.
Too many good restaurants on a very small area.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Bringing up this thread for ideas on where to eat in San Juan next month.

We will stay at La Concha in Condado in a room with a kitchen. What is the best bet nearby for stocking up on fresh fruits? Any supermarkets that I can walk to? What about breakfast..any good places near the hotel?

Finally, I've planned two dinners: One at Jose Enrique and one at Laurel in the museum. Good choices? Any tips on what to order at those two restaurants?

How much should taxis cost from La Concha to each of those restaurants?



Mil gracias!
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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Just back from a terrific four days in San Juan, so will answer one of my questions above.


We stayed at La Concha in a Tower suite room with a full kitchen.

While nearby Walgreen's have milk and other basic, packaged foods, the best bet for food shopping is the SuperMax, a tremendous full-service supermarket located a 10-15 minute walk SouthEast of La Concha at 114, Avenida de Diego. Here you can find anything you need for your stay, including a great array of fresh local and Caribbean fruits.


http://www.supermaxpr.com/index.html


I'm happy to discuss our restaurant experiences if anyone is San Juan bound, and I may write a short trip report discussing these, as well as our trip to the Ruta de Lechon in Guavate, which no food lover should miss.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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ekscrunchy - headed to San Juan on Thursday and interested to hear about your restaurant experiences - pretty sure I will be eating at Koko's one night (at El San Juan), at Il Mulino one night. The other three are up for grabs - one will likely be in Old San Juan - but also considering La Perla and Pikayo.
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 03:11 AM
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Hello, Tom:

We had two free nights in San Juan, and I did a lot of research on where to eat. I was not interested in local outposts of big city restaurants such as Il Mulino and The Palm, since I live in New York. I wanted to focus on renditions of local food in moderate or upscale settings, and so I narrowed my list down to two places--Laurel in the Museum and Jose Enrique. (A third choice, Santaella, was closed for the month of July) We wanted to dine at restaurants with a big local clientele, as opposed to being surrounded by tourists.

We went to Jose Enrique on the night of arrival and liked it so much that we decided to have our second meal there as well. The menu changes every day and they were out of their signature entree, the whole, deboned chillo snapper, on the first night. We had hoped to try this on our return visit but they did not have it then, either! No matter..we ate very well on both occasions.

Jose Enrique is popular with locals and they take no reservations, so be prepared to wait for a table or arrive before 6pm, even earlier on weekends. It is located in an unmarked, yellow house on Calle Duffaut, just west of the plaza in Santurce, and so within an easy (less than 15 minutes from La Concha) walk from hotels in Condado (but not from the El San Juan). They have both indoor and outdoor dining. Servers speak impeccable English and the chef/owner trained at CIA.

The immediate area of La Placita is filled with locals restaurants and cantinas and becomes a very lively scene at night, especially on weekends. I would not miss this if visiting San Juan.

I will be happy to discuss our meals there, and hope to write a brief trip report later this week.

I'll take this opportunity to mention the wonderful taxi driver who squired us around San Juan and up to the Ruta de Lechon, or "Pork highway," near the town of Guavate, about a 40 minute drive from the capital. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone in San Juan on a weekend who is interested in fabulous food (whole roast pig is the specialty but they also have chicken, turkey, and a vast array of local side dishes from pasteles to platano en escabeche to arroz con gandules) and a chance to be surrounded by locals feasting, dancing, listening to live music. A real fiesta in every sense of the word! Of the long string of eateries, we chose Los Pinos, where lunch for 5 of us cost less than $45. I was later told that this restaurant was featured on Tony Bourdain's "No Reservations" program on tv.

Here is the name and contact info for the driver, Mario Gomez Robles; he speaks impeccable English and is knowledgeable about many aspects of life on the island.

787=425-9437

[email protected]
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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Thanks eks. I will research that one a little more. I had never heard of Jose Enrique's. My only concern is that we will be a group of 6 adults and 3 children. What do you think? Would the surroundings be comfortable for a party that large or is this better for couples dining?
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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Depends on the age of the kids. They can easily put a few tables together, but you would either have to get there early or be prepared to wait. Waiting is not a bad thing, as there is a very lively scene around the bar in the rear of the dining room. But if the kids are small, you would just want to get there early enough to be seated without waiting. It's a very good-looking place with a tropical kind of decor..ceiling fans, bare tables without linen, well dressed local clientele mixed with a few tourists. Extremely friendly staff fluent in English.
They play taped music, so it is not at all a quiet evening. Inside has strong a/c, while the outdoor area, which is quieter, gets a good breeze and also has ceiling fans.

Two of us had dinner on a Wednesday night and spent $75 for 2 appetizers, two mains, one dessert, plus one drink and one coffee (which is excellent, as you might expect in PR). They have several choices of meat and several fish, along with chicken. All are served with starch and/or vegetable.

I'll go into details about the specific dishes if you'd like....I will also try do write up a short report.
.
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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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We ate at Marmalade in Old San Juan and it was awesome! Super cool, hip atmosphere too. The food is five stars. BTW, Just got back from The Ritz and was really disappointed. It's not as nice as others...but, you'll have fun.
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