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. 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

  • 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 meson gastronómico , hidden among a string of oceanfront seafood restaurants south of the center in the Playa de Salinas area, is one...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 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Sabor y Rumba

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    The limited menu of this alfresco dining spot allows the kitchen to focus on its specialties, which include tostones (fried plantains), ceviche...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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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