Ponce and the Porta Caribe Restaurants

Not all the culinary hot spots are in San Juan. In fact, people from the capital drive to Ponce or Guánica to see what's new on the horizon. Some of the more ambitious restaurants in this part of Puerto Rico are experimenting with Asian and Latin fusion cuisines, which means you might find pork with tamarind glaze or guava sauce, or snapper in a plantain crust. But what you'll mostly find are open-air eateries serving simple, filling fare. The southern coast is known for seafood, particularly Salinas and Ponce, both of which have a string of popular seaside restaurants. A 15%–20% tip is customary; most restaurants won't include it in the bill, but it's wise to check.

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  • 1. King's Cream Helados

    $ | Café

    An institution since it opened in 1964, King's Cream Helados, across from Plaza de las Delicias, is the place for ice cream in Ponce. It serves...Read More

  • 2. El Ancla

    $$ | Seafood

    Families favor this laid-back restaurant at water's edge. Generous and affordable plates of fish, crab, and other fresh seafood come with tostones...Read More

  • 3. El Balcón de Capitán

    $$$ | Seafood

    This mesón gastronómico, hidden among a string of oceanfront restaurants south of the center in the Playa de Salinas area, is one of the most...Read More

  • 4. El Mar de la Tranquilidad

    $$ | Caribbean

    Get a table on the terrace at the edge of the Caribbean. You'll find good Puerto Rican cuisine and lots of seafood, including lobster, red snapper...Read More

  • 5. El Negocio de Panchi

    $$ | Caribbean

    This Caribbean restaurant updates Puerto Rican favorites with contemporary touches, and the menu features a rotating cast of daily specials...Read More

  • 6. El Platanar

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    As the name of the restaurant hints, the protagonist of the menu here is that most Puerto Rican of ingredients. This is your chance to try island...Read More

  • 7. El Roble

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    In operation since 1961, this restaurant is still considered one of the best in town. Don't be surprised to see flapping fish delivered straight...Read More

  • 8. La Ceiba

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    The highway leading to Coamo is lined by dozens of fast-food restaurants. Luckily, there are a few worthwhile family-owned eateries, one of...Read More

  • 9. Lola

    $$$ | Eclectic

    This trendy bistro in the heart of downtown has an eclectic menu to match the decor. Grab a seat in a red-velvet booth, and start with the sampler...Read More

  • 10. Restaurante Alexandra

    $$$$ | Caribbean

    Puerto Ricans drive for miles to reach this restaurant in the Copamarina Beach Resort. The kitchen takes traditional Puerto Rican dishes and...Read More

  • 11. Sabor y Rumba

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    The short menu of this alfresco dining spot allows the kitchen to focus on its specialties, which include tostones, ceviche, and skirt steak...Read More

  • 12. Santorini OLR

    $$$ | Sector Las Cucharas | Greek

    The only Greek restaurant in Ponce, this open-air establishment has successfully captured the cuisine and atmosphere of its namesake island...Read More

  • 13. Tapas Café

    $ | Spanish

    One of the biggest surprises in San Germán is this wonderful little Plaza Santo Domingo restaurant, where the dining room looks like a Spanish...Read More

  • 14. Archipiélago

    $$$$ | Latin American

    With perhaps the greatest view in all of Puerto Rico, this ambitious restaurant sits on the sixth and seventh floors of a building that overlooks...Read More

  • 15. Canela Café


    It's a bit out of the town center, but Ponce's newest mesón gastronómico (a national designation reserved for the highest level of traditional...Read More

  • 16. Bodegas Andreu Sole

    $$ | Spanish

    The roots of this restaurant, bar, vineyard, and winery extend all the way back to Valencia, Spain, where the founder's father got his start...Read More

  • 17. Cabuqui

    $$$ | Eclectic

    On sweltering hot days, it takes a lot to make ponceños leave their homes. Yet they come out in droves to the tree-shaded courtyard of the...Read More

  • 18. La Casita

    $$ | Seafood

    The so-called Little House isn't little at all—it's a sizable establishment that sits smack in the middle of the town's main road. Generous...Read More

  • 19. La Pared

    $$$ | Caribbean

    Many restaurants in La Parguera sit beside the bay, but very few have an actual view. This elegant, second-floor dining room at the rear of...Read More

  • 20. Piratas del Toro Al' Diente

    $$ | International

    Straight out of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean , this place is a must for anyone with children. Housed inside a massive pirate ship...Read More

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