San Juan Restaurants

In cosmopolitan San Juan European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and chic fusion eateries vie for your attention, with family-owned restaurants specializing in seafood or comida criolla (creole cooking, or local Puerto Rican food). U.S. chains such as McDonald's and Subway compete with chains like Pollo Tropical and El Mesón, which specialize in local cuisine. Many of the most innovative chefs here have restaurants in the city's large hotels, but don't be shy about venturing into stand-alone establishments—many concentrated in Condado and along Calles Fortaleza and San Sebastián in Old San Juan. Old San Juan is also home to a number of notable new restaurants and cafés, offering more artisanal-style cuisine—crop-to-cup coffee, rustic homemade pizzas, and creative vegetarian food—at affordable prices. There’s a radiant pride in what the local land can provide, and these enthusiastic young restaurateurs are redefining what Puerto Rican food is, bite by tasty bite.

Dress codes vary greatly, though a restaurant's price category is a good indicator of its formality. For less expensive places anything but beachwear is fine. Ritzier spots will expect collared shirts and long pants for men (jacket and tie requirements are rare) and chic attire for women. When in doubt, do as the Puerto Ricans often do and dress up.

For breakfast outside of your hotel, cafés or local bakeries (called panaderías) are your best bet. It's rare for such establishments to close between breakfast and lunch; it's slightly more common for restaurants to close between lunch and dinner. Although some places don't accept reservations, it's always a good idea to make them for dinner whenever possible. This is especially true during the busy season from November through April and on weekends at any time of the year.

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  • 1. Acapulco Taquería Mexicana

    $ | Mexican

    Located behind a pawn shop, Acapulco doesn't have the most inspiring address, but you should make a point to seek out this tiny restaurant to...Read More

  • 2. Kasalta

    $$ | Café

    Those who think coffee can never be too strong should make a beeline to Kasalta and its amazing pitch-black brew. Display cases are full of...Read More

  • 3. La Cueva del Mar

    $$ | Seafood

    For the freshest seafood and best value, head to La Cueva del Mar on Calle Loíza. This casual, marine-themed restaurant is a locals favorite...Read More

  • 4. Mango's at Ocean Park

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    Mango's offers a fun, lively atmosphere perfect for a drink and bites after a day in the sun. The casual, ’60s surfer-themed restaurant has...Read More

  • 5. Nonna

    $$ | Italian

    Great restaurants have recently been popping up in Ocean Park, on or near Calle Loíza. This new gastronomic hub is home to Nonna, a cozy Italian...Read More

  • 6. Pamela's

    $$$ | Caribbean

    If you dream of dining right on the beach, head to this Ocean Park favorite. If you prefer air-conditioning, opt for the elegant glassed-in...Read More

  • 7. Tresbé

    $ | Caribbean

    It's hard to miss this bright yellow container on Calle Loíza. Tresbé stands for bueno , bonito , barato , a common saying that means good...Read More

  • 8. Pinky's

    $ | Albert Park | Café

    Once a beach staple in Ocean Park, this tiny café is now tucked down an alley off the Plaza del Mercado. It's known for its gourmet wraps and...Read More

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