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. Bodegas Andreu Sole

    $$ | Spanish

    The roots of this restaurant, bar, vineyard, and winery extend all the way back to Valencia, Spain, where the father of Bodegas Andreu Sole...Read More

  • 2. Chaparritas

    $ | Mexican

    On San Germán's main drag, this place certainly feels like a traditional cantina. The Mexican food here is the real deal. Although you'll find...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 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 the plantain, that most Puerto Rican of ingredients. This is your chance...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. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. La Ceiba

    $$ | Puerto Rican

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

  • 11. Lola

    $$ | Eclectic

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

  • 12. Rex Cream

    $ | Café

    The fruit-flavored ice cream at Rex Cream is hard to pass up. Flavors vary, depending on what produce is in season, but often include coconut...Read More

  • 13. Santorini

    $$$ | Sector Las Cucharas | Greek

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

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